On the whole, bodkins are simply large needles, sometimes as long as 6 or 8 inches. They were originally purely practical and used by both men and women for running in drawstrings and threading ribbons. They could be made of everyday materials such as wood or bone, but in higher echelons of society were made in silver or gold, sometimes ornamented with the initials of the owner and a date. Bodkins often feature earspoons, which were used for extracting human ear wax, used to wax the thread or cord to ease it's passage through the material. By the end of the 18th century, bodkins were smaller, usually about 3 or 4 inches and most commonly in silver. Sometimes they were modelled in the form of a fish or other suitable natural form and they also became a medium for commemorative subjects such as coronations or royal deaths. Bodkins cases, usually of cylinder form, echoed the size and material of the bodkins itself and ranged from the most humble to the elaborate and can range from just a few pounds to many hundreds.
'Country Life' journalist, Huon Mallalieu, captivated by Sewing curios - Read more...
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