Thimbles

Thimbles dimensions

There are 2 kinds of thimbles: open and closed. Closed type thimbles date from 1350 AD and the open type date from 1450 AD. Thimbles are cast or hammered. Cast ones are more regular in shape and have thicker walls. They can be made of silver, iron or more common is copper alloy.

Indentations are either hand made or machine drilled. Earlier thimbles have less ordered holes as they are made by hand, and usually they are in vertical lines or concentric circles. By the 16th century spirals of indentations are found. Thimbles with no indentations on the crown are rarely found after 1620 AD. Size of indentations can show the use of the thimble, i.e. smaller indentations for finer work. Decoration is not common before 15th century, apart from an incised line running around the base.

Example Description

A complete Medieval cast copper alloy thimble. This is a closed thimble with tapering sides, and a domed top. There are irregular hand drilled holes around the outside, forming a spiral which starts on the crown. There is a plain band around the base. It measures 17.8mm high, 15mm diameter at the base and 1.49mm thick. It weighs 1.70g. Margeson 1993 shows a similar example (p188) and dates it to before 1500 AD.

Example records