Emaille en aluminium

messing reclame vingerhoeden meeste vingerhoed verzamelaars zullen weten van aluminium reclame vingerhoeden, die werden geproduceerd in hun Mio, vooral in de jaren 1920 en 1930. Er zijn duizenden verschillende reclame merken beschikbaar en het zou zo’n moeilijk onderwerp voor mij om aan te pakken-met name te vinden foto’s. Ik heb een database van verschillende aluminium merken en er zijn op dit moment 1350 daarop. De meeste van deze vingerhoeden afkomstig zijn in de VS, reclame Amerikaanse producten en diensten.

Most aluminium advertising thimbles have a colour around the band, which emphasises the name of the product being advertised, as the lettering is left clear of colour. Some have coloured apexes – known as ‘glass’ tops but it is just a coloured piece of plastic which usually matches the colour on the band.

Brass advertising (including promotional or marketing) thimbles on the other hand are found far less frequently – now numbering 135 different adverts – and they would have been produced earlier than the aluminium ones – but I don’t know when – my guess would be from the 1880s onwards to the 1920s, after which aluminium thimbles were so much cheaper to produce. They were made in far fewer numbers and tho more durable than aluminium, not as many have survived. There are very few brass US brands on thimbles, the preponderance being made for British and other European products.

When I began this research, I would have guessed that there were more British products advertised than European – but the reverse is true – more French!!

Most brass advertising thimbles are just the one colour of brass, with no coloured band – the exception to this is some of the French thimbles: they have muted colours on the bands.

Lettering also varies from country to country or the length of the advertising slogan – most are in UPPER case. Occasionally the lettering is in italics. Unless specified, the lettering is raised and there is a solid raised rim.

I have tried to indicate where the thimbles were made but this is the most difficult information to find: even more so the manufacturer. With excellent new reference texts being published in France (Michel Painsonneau), this should be remedied with time. Many of the British brass advertising thimbles were made by Charles Iles of Birmingham. Their factory closed in 1990. Most of their thimbles have a striated or milled patterning behind the lettering. Do you know any of the other makers of advertising brass thimbles? Were all the rimless ones made by the same manufacturer?

It is rare to find a size number on brass advertising thimbles. When there is a size number, it was made later than the non-sized thimbles ie 1900 onwards.

Appropriately for thimble collectors, a large number of advertisements are for sewing threads or sewing machines. I wonder how they were distributed? Were they free as giveaways or did one have to collect coupons? To me there is nothing lovelier for my collection than a patina’d brass advertising thimble.

I have started to include other metal advertising thimbles that are neither brass or aluminium, including steel advertising thimbles – they are very rare!! It is also difficult to know what the makeup of brass or brass-plated thimbles is. John von Hoelle defines brass as “a generic term for a group of alloys made of copper and zinc. The more zinc, the yellower the color; the more copper, the redder”. Tombac is a type of brass and they are included in this survey – they are Austrian-made by Settmacher Bros of Vienna. This factory closed in 2005.

Occasionally there are brass advertising thimbles on brass which forms the top or lid of sewing kits. I have only included these when the thimble additionally has the advertisement lettered on the thimble. See the example for ‘Use Hudson’s Soap’. I have consulted Sandy Woodward’s authoritative work ‘Pocket sewing kits’ and there are very few examples where this occurs.

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