Thursday, January 5, 2017

Embossed Wooden Thread Spools


Maybe some of you are like me and love vintage sewing notions and supplies.  Whenever I see old wooden spools of thread at a good price I buy them.  Sometimes the thread is too old and fragile to use, in which case it sits on a shelf and looks pretty.  Other times the thread is just too beautiful to use and sit on the shelf with the fragile thread.  Sometimes I use the old thread, especially if it's strong and a color I need.

But this post isn't about the thread. The person who writes the blog Scrapiana published a post a few days ago asking several questions about American embossed thread spools.  One of her questions was whether most were for silk or if cotton thread was also sold on embossed spools.  I found that my eight silk spools were all embossed (though that doesn't necessarily indicate that paper labels were not used for silk).


The spools of silk thread I have were made by Belding Hemingway Co., Hemingway & Bartlett (Paragon), Thresher's, Clark's, and Belding Corticelli Richardson.  Some have 50 yards, others 75 or 100 yards.  None of the spools has the price embossed on them.

My favorite silk spool, a Belding Corticelli, recommends I sew with silk.  Silk is certainly smooth and sews easily but it isn't good for all situations.  Another spool claims the silk is boilfast.  Perhaps that indicates the color will not fade with boiling but I don't know how silk stands up to water or the heat of boiling.
 

When I looked at my cotton spools I found that most of them had paper labels, but some were also embossed.  The small ones, with 100 or 125 yards, were made be Trusew, Belding Corticelli, and Belding Corticelli Richardson companies.  One was priced at 15¢ and another at 19¢.  Not all spools had embossed prices.


Every large embossed spool of cotton thread I have is embossed with "Belding Corticelli."  The spools have 275 yards or 600 yards.  The spools with 275 yards cost 25¢, 30¢, 40¢, 45¢, and 55¢.  The last has a paper label attached to the end which covers an embossed price of 45¢. 


I have no dates for any of these spools but a search of old newspapers for advertisements for sewing notions could possibly reveal the price of thread which could thereby date some of spools with prices embossed on the ends.


To answer Scrapiana's question about whether embossing was reserved mainly for silk spools, I'd have to say no -- at least my own collection doesn't indicate that.

Do you collect old spools?  If they have thread on them, do you use it?  What other sewing notions do you collect?

--Nancy.
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14 comments:

  1. I have a few old spools that I collected years ago, but nothing like you show here. Don't even know for sure where mine might be right now.
    I just collected a few vintage sewing items at one time to use as an historical re-enactor demonstrating hand piecing and quilting at a local heritage center.

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    1. My old spools are in a couple of different containers and I don't do much with them other than appreciate the colors, but when Scrapiana asked about the embossing, I decided to see if I had any embossed spool.

      What time period did you re-enact, Janet? Did you make your clothes or did they have dresses on hand for you to wear?

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  2. I do collect old Spools and have many. In fact I have an extensive collection of old needlework tools and accessories. Some I use, depends on many factors. I have a Facebook Page where we share our antique and vintage sewing tools. Hundreds of members and more photos! Please join us.

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    1. Oh, maybe you would post photos of some of your collection on your blog, Dawn?

      I collect, too, but not actively and avidly. Just whenever I find old things that appeal to me.

      I would love to join your Facebook page. How can I find it?

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  3. I have a basket of wood spools and no, I do not use the thread. I just like them to look pretty and colorful in the basket.

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    1. That works, too, Karen. I rarely use the thread on the ones I have but sometimes the color works better than any other thread.

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  4. I have several wooden spools that have or had cotton thread, so I agree with you.

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    1. I wonder if the cotton thread was used and used up more often and that's why there are more silk spools (with silk still on them). I'm not interested in doing the research to find out ... just wondering.

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  5. I found this very interesting, Nancy. I don't have any spools as old but a few that are vintage. They take on a certain look that I like. My son-in-law actually got some at an auction for me knowing I like them. Surprising how many of us collect spools.

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    1. I suppose -- wonder if -- those of us who collect old spools are older and more interested in vintage/antique things, Jocelyn. I think everyone who has responded to this post (except Brenna) is at least middle age. I do love the aged patina of old spools.

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  6. Those spools are so artistic. I love how in the past things came in such nice packaging that could almost pass for art.

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    1. I hadn't actually thought of them that way, Brenna, but now that you mention it, it's true. Some of the paper labels on less old spools are beautiful, too.

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  7. I don't collect the old spools, but they are lovely. Hadn't ever paid much attention to the embossing. Very interesting!!!

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    1. I'm a lover of "old," Jennie. Old furniture, old fabric, old sewing tools, almost old anything. I just like old/vintage/antique. The patina, the knowledge that other hands held, enjoyed, appreciated the items before me.

      I hadn't thought much about embossing, either, until I saw Scrapiana's post, and then I dug through my spools to see if I did have embossed ones.

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