Monday, 31 January 2011

Learning Something New

If there is one thing that I like better than buying a thimble, it's finding out more about it. Where it was made, what it was made from, has it got signs of use.  The history behind every thimble is just fascinating.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a lady who was keen to find out about a thimble that she had inherited. The thimble had been passed down through the female line for at least three generations.

There wasn't too much to go on, but using the little bits that she had sent through and my trusty research tool, the internet, I was able to track down the thimble's origins.

The thimble was from Taxco in Mexico and very similar to the one shown here.  Now, up until that point I hadn't heard of Taxco so researching the information for her was an absolute joy. It opened up a whole new world of thimbles that I didn't know existed.

Back in the 1920s an American called William Spratling moved to Taxco de Alarcon in Mexico.  He found out that the area had once had a thriving silver industry thanks to the ample supply of silver deposits.

In the 1930s he set up workshops and began teaching the art of silversmithing to apprentices from the local area.  Once trained, the apprentices could go on to set up their own jewellery workshops to continue their new trade.   The silver industry and the economy of the area was rejuvenated. 

I managed to purchase my own Taxco thimble on Ebay last week. As the picture above shows, it has an all over decorative filigree design and is also stamped with the following markings:

The circle in the centre reads "Sterling, Taxco, Mexico".  The initials in the centre are the maker's mark.  I'm not sure what the splodge is to the right of the circle as its too small to decipher properly. So I'll give it my best guess and say that it could be the eagle mark.  If it is, then it would date this thimble to between 1948 and the 1970s, ish or thereabouts. 

Unfortunately, the drawback of buying thimbles second hand is that you don't tend to find out the human side of the story.  I don't know if this one was ever handed down from mother to daughter, or even if the daughter used it to learn sewing at her mother's knee.  One thing I do know is that the lady who contacted me has a very precious link to her own personal history through her thimble.  A link which is just simply priceless.  

Bye for now


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful thimble, often step on your blog, I also I have a small collection of thimbles, I invite you to my site
    A greeting.