Antiques column: Something special at your fingertips

William Wilson, of Chris Clubley and Co
William Wilson, of Chris Clubley and Co

Many people regard a thimble as a merely basic tool, made in a single shape and in a limited number of materials and styles.

There, however, is an enormous variety of thimbles, both from the past and currently being made, which are available to the present day collector. Numerous examples appear in the saleroom.

A thimble is by definition a cap worn to protect the finger while pushing the needle in sewing. It is shaped somewhat like a bell, sometimes opened topped, and usually worn on the middle finger of the hand.

The origin of the word is the old English thymel or thumb stall; in Germany the very apt name is finger hut, literally a finger hat.

Read William’s full column in tomorrow’s (19 June) Pocklington Post.