Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Pinballs: not just for sewing.  Think about it, most women fastened some part of their outfit with straight pins.  I use them to close my gown or jacket, attach the ribbon to my cap, close my kerchief, attach a bow on the gown front, and sometimes to hold or mark other random items (like that pinball on a slippery silk ribbon).  Keeping a few pins nearby just makes sense.  I did find this one image of a woman sewing with what appears to be a pinball, although she's taken it off and set it on the table.  The rest show women with pinballs in all sorts of situations, even a rather fancy woman coming from church!  It's hard to find these images purely because of the tiny size of the object and the difficulty of verifying that it's not a watch, etc.  If you know of any others, please let me know!  I'm trying to expand this collection (and hopefully expand the use of pinballs).

The Mutual Embrace, John Collet 

 A Harlots Progress by Wm Hogarth, 1732

Spring, 1779

Plain Brown Velvet
Rust Cross-Stitch
Silk Thread Wrapped
Silk Brocade
Two Knitted
Knitted Ship
Knitted Brown & White
Thread Wrapped
Knitted 1759
Knitted Blue & Pink
Crewel Embroidery
Small Embroidery
Winterthur Collection (so much Queen's Stitch!)

It's not really a pinball, but even Indians were making fancy embroidered pincushions.  Just out of Birch bark and Moose hair.  Wow.


Katherine said...

OOoh! Hadn't seen a bunch of those before. Thanks so much for sharing, I'm finding these posts very informative! :)

Alexa said...

I'm definitely making one! This would come so much in handy. I've got silk thread and some wool stuffing... but I'm debating whether I'd prefer to use the thread for embroidery or thread-wrapping.... hmm.

Anonymous said...

I found another one, and it's heart shaped! It's in your post about cloaks, 18th print down, marked LWG 1769. She also has a pair of scissors hanging beside it. I had never heard of pinballs being used as accessories and i will definitely make one, I think the one in a harlots progress is a watch though.