This site aims to allow a single thimble to be identified with regard to its country of origin, approximate date of manufacture and maker. Of course this will not be possible for all thimbles, especially those without markings, but it is hoped that many thimbles will able to be identified. It is recognized that this is not an easy aim and there will undoubtedly be errors made in the process which is based, firstly, upon the material from which the thimble is made.
One of our mentors used to say that '' that condition is measles because the last time that you saw a patient looking like that it, it was measles too''. This concept applies to thimble identification so that there is no substitute for experience, only a guide. This site attempts to be such a guide.
'Every rule is there to be broken' and so there are bound to be exceptions to every piece of information on this site!
Unless a thimble has a specific date mark it is possible only to arrive at an approximate time of manufacture and for very old thimbles this is best expressed in terms of the century or centuries in which the thimble was made, all other thimble should simply be dated as 'early', 'mid' or 'late' what ever century they were made in.
Auction and manufacturer's catalogues are good sources of identification data, as may be the many books that have been published about thimbles already. An iBook, 'The Anatomy of the Thimble', is a good source for learning about the identifying features of a thimble and may be downloaded from the iBooks Store if you have an Apple computer but it is also available as a .pdf file here.
Only the commoner marks will be included in this first version of the identifier and thus it is probable that many marks or identifications will not be included. This is a work in progress and there are bound to be mistakes, please contact email@example.com with corrections or suggestions.
It should be noted that many marks, in practice, especially on older thimbles, may be rubbed, they may be poorly stamped so that the mark is either unclear or parts are even missing, and they are usually very small so that the actual marks may not be as clear as those illustrated.
We would like to thank Wolf-Dieter Scholz for his help in identifying some of the thimbles illustrated, supplying some of the images and helping to correct the mistakes in the text. To 'W-D' we are extremely grateful.
What is the thimble made of:
Copper alloy (bronze, brass, latten etc)
Mother of Pearl
The collected papers:
'More about Thimbles'
may be downloaded, free, as i-Books, in two volumes, from the i-Tunes store:
Additional i-Books relating to thimbles may also be downloaded free from the i-Tunes store:
The Anatomy of the Thimble
European Porcelain Thimbles