I have a bunch of old sewing, knitting, and crochet stuff from my great-grandmother; I love these items, and I display them with pride. I just got my review copy of the November/December 2010 PieceWork, and
I just had to share this article with you about a salesman's sample book of Boye needles because it reminds me of my little collection!
Nehring practices, teaches, and writes about a wide range of needlework
techniques. Her interests include dating needlework tools produced
after the industrial revolution according to materials and manufacturing
Boye Needles Salesman's Book
Boye Needles salesman's book. Collection of the author. (Photograph
by Joe Coca)
by Nancy Nehring
years ago, I acquired the Boye salesman's book of handsewing needles shown here.
The ring binder, measuring about 9½ by 11 inches (24 by 28 cm), is bound in
faux leather; a thick plastic cover protects its inside covers and pages, which
are separated by protective sheets made from pieces of woolen fabric.
||A page from the Boye Needles salesman's book with package
labels and examples of needles. Collection of the author. Photograph
by Joe Coca.
Sample retail packets mounted next to needle size charts illustrated with
actual needles are affixed to the inside front and back covers and the book's
four pages. Half of one page also contains an educational panel titled "How a
Needle Is Made."
Based on prices on the packets and lack of Universal Product Codes, the book
probably dates to the 1960s. The
smaller, basic sewing needles are made from steel wire. The larger, specialty needles
are made from cast steel.
Basic sewing needles were available in packages containing multiples of a
single size or a range of sizes. Those who sewed only occasionally could buy assortments
of different types of needles, particularly specialty needles; some assortments
included a needle threader. The cast-steel needles came in packages of a dozen
in a single type/size.
from the Boye Needles salesman's book with retail packets and individual
examples of needles. Collection of the author. Photograph
Most of the needles displayed in the book are still available today, although
some names have been changed. We do more quilting than hatmaking today, and so
millinery needles are sometimes labeled as basting needles; mattress needles
may be called doll needles. Only pack needles, originally designed to sew
coarse sacking such as duck or burlap, seem to be disappearing as paper and
plastic replace cloth for dry-goods sacks.
I just love PieceWork. It always inspires me with a sense of nostalgia and excitement for needlework projects to come. Get your gift subscription now and delight someone for the holidays! You'll get a neat free gift, too.