Victorian W. Bartleet & Sons, England — needlecase with needles PLUS thimble in leather case


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The company known as W. Bartleet & Sons was established in 1750 in Redditch, England.  This area of England was world famous for its manufacture of needles and by the 19th century there were over 160 manufacturers working to produce millions of needles every month.  The demand for needles was so great that Japan named a street in Tokyo “Redditch” so they could (deceptively) claim their needles were made in Redditch. Bartleet & Sons had two exhibits at the Centennial International Exhibition in 1888 and began to manufacture needles, needle cases, crochet hooks and fish hooks in 1914.  This decorated brass case, measuring 2 l/4″ tall, dispenses 5 sizes of needles (4, 5, 6, 7, 8) from the top when the arrow at the base of the top is dialed to the appropriate needle number. And it still has needles inside! The case is marked “Archer” which shows embossed on the top and embossing on the bottom shows that the needles are “English Steel.” A delicate floral pattern encircles the case with just one tiny area where the pattern has been worn/torn off.  Along the bottom edge reads: North London Novelty Works–which I am guessing was the name of the distributor/retailer. Also included is an antique thimble in its’ own leather and fabric lined (looks to be perhaps silk) case. I could not find any markings to indicate whether the thimble was sterling or silver plate and have not had it tested so I’ll just say it is “silver toned.” The top three quarters of the thimble shows a raised textured pattern and along the lower quarter it has been etched with what look like leaves and “hash tags” (see close up photos).  Nothing to indicate the size, but it is quite small and fits on my pinkie finger. Just how old is it? While I can’t say for sure my best guess is that it is late 19th, early 20th century.  There is a hook closure at the top, but alas the hook is still intact but the eye is missing and the case is in two halves. That said, it would still make for a great addition to a antique/vintage sewing collection. Thimble is approx. 3/4″ tall and fits snugly inside the case. You are buying both the needlecase and the cased thimble for one price!