Metal detecting holidays in England

with the Worlds most successful metal detecting club

Twinned with Midwest Historical Research Society USA

Thimbles

Based on archeological finds near Moscow, 30,000 years ago mammoth hunters created buttons by drilling through pearls made of mammoth ivory. They fashioned bone rings to help them apply pressure while stitching the buttons to leather garments. The modern concept of a thimble comes from the Etruscans living in what is today Italy. They made thimbles from bronze using clay casts. They were difficult to use because the high copper content of the bronze discolored fingers and clothing. In Nürnberg the famous traveling doctor, Dr Paracelcus lived as a sub-tenant in the house of a copper smith. Very curious as to why the copper turned yellow, he researched the problem and discovered that the special earth contained zinc. In a short time, the process was refined to produce pure brass. From then on, the Nürnberg thimbles were no longer cast as a whole but were made from stamped disks and metal strips that were bent conically. The new thimbles were a big success world-wide. Everyone wanted the Nürnberg thimbles because they were better, more comfortable, and cheaper. In order to keep the method of producing brass a secret, the town council of Nürnberg prohibited its thimble makers -- a profession with apprentice, journeyman, and master craftsman -- from leaving the town. For the next 200 years the secret stayed in Nürnberg.

Things changed with empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Angry that she had to buy thimbles made abroad from a place with which she frequently waged war, she sent spies to Nürnberg to steal the secret of the thimble making process. The spies returned with the plans but her copper smiths were unable to reproduce the process successfully. Not to be put-off, she arranged for Nürnberg copper smith masters to be smuggled out of the town in a straw wagon. Each master received his own house and garden. She built a thimble making facility in Vienna and broke the Nürnberg monopoly. Only after his time was brass produced in Europe.

The next break-through in thimble making technology was the development of a device that permitted them to be made by machine. The son of a master tailor in the town of Schorndorf near Stuttgart gave his father a silver thimble for a birthday gift. Having learned the silver smith profession, he recognized the most difficult part of the work in producing the thimble. He experimented for six years before finally developing a device that would do the work. Device in hand, he and his brother built a manufacturing facility and became the biggest suppliers of thimbles in the world, the company Gebrueder Gabler in Schorndorf. They sold more than 4000 different types of thimbles in 18 different sizes and kept an on-hand inventory of over seven million silver thimbles. Each month one railroad car of thimbles was delivered to Russia alone. The company manufactured thimbles for 140 years until the heirs lost interest in the business.

Medieval beehive thimbles from 12thC

   

15thC Open topped thimbles

Like a present-day tailor’s thimble, these sewing rings were clearly designed to apply the pressure sideways.
They are also known as open-top or ring-type thimbles, and have complemented their more conventional counterparts from the earliest times. Both the present examples have hand-punched indentations in a spiral pattern, forming five rows on (a) and four on (b). Below the start of the spiral on item (a), there is sometimes a maker’s mark.

A
B

 
Later thimbles

Georgian solid gold thimble

4.67g, 22.75mm H

17thC
Tudor period gilded thimble
17thC
Georgian
20thC aluminium thimble
Georgian thimble
Georgian thimbles
16th C thimble
Cocoa advertising thimble
16th C thimble
Very unusual open castle top thimble - post medieval

15th to 17thC C thimbles
Georgian decorated thimble
17th & 18thC thimbles
17thC thimble Nurnberg Type ll - mid 16thC thimble
17thC Dutch type thimble with crest and name

15thC rim less copper-alloy thimble with an openwork top and small, circular, manually produced indentations.

 

Silver thimbles

Circa 16thC decorated silver thimble - Inscription

+ FARE GOD -(FEAR GOD)

5.33G, 26mm H

Reported to museum as treasure

17th/18th C silver thimble - maker CB - reported as potential treasure to the museum 6.51g,17.72mm H x 16.24mm dia

1901 London hall marked solid silver thimble
18thC silver thimble - initialed M
Georgian opened topped thimble
18thC decorated silver thimble with initials EC
Silver open topped thimble - Chester hallmark 1852
18thC silver thimble marked BB
18thC silver thimble
Large 18thC silver thimble
Large 18thC silver thimble
Georgian decorated silver thimble
18thC silver decorated thimble
17thC decorated silver thimble reported as treasure - inscribed BB maker W
Mid 18thC silver initial 'AM'
Mid 18thC silver initial 'W' thimble
18thC silver thimble
1898 Birmingham solid silver hallmarked thimble (b)
Mid 18thC silver thimble
18thC Decorated silver thimble
Mid 18thC silver thimble
Early decorated silver thimble with lions head design
18thC silver decorated thimble
18thC silver thimble(r)
Huge 19thC silver thimble
18thC Decorated silver thimble
18thC decorated silver thimble
18thC decorated silver thimble
Mid 18thC silver thimble
Georgian silver thimble
Georgian decorated silver thimble
Georgian silver thimble

Silver thimble - Birmingham hall mark - not checked books for date letter yet

Maker JS - James Swan

20thC Sterling silver thimble
19thc silver thimble - 'KEEPS'
18thC silver thimble - monogrammed HC Georgian silver thimble
Georgian decorated silver thimble Georgian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble Victorian silver thimble
Georgian silver thimble - 'Friendship' Georgian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble
Victorian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble Victorian silver thimble

Neat 19thC silver thimble - engraved PAT.G

This thimble has another silver liner or another thimble ?

17thC - Very interesting figure of 8 design on this silver thimble

Reported as Treasure - matching design in

PAS NMS-653275

Treasure case tracking number: 2012T135

Initially before I cleaned this token I thought of a 1640's Civil War siege token but this looks to be middle eastern in origin - sent of to the Fitzwilliam museum for their views, Crusades ? Could just be a fragment off a thimble ?

0.53g, 11.83mm x 14.02mm

 

 

18thC monogrammed silver thimble Victorian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble
Georgian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble Victorian silver thimble
Georgian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble
Georgian silver thimble Georgian silver thimble