Sewing pins were expensive items in the early USA and were generally imported from Britain. During the War of 1812 (1812-1815) between the USA and Great Britain, there was an embargo on imports from Britain, so pins became even scarcer. An entrepreneur is said to have taught convicts at the Greenwich Village State Prison in New York City how to make pins by hand, which he then sold until the end of the war.
An ari hook is a long, fine ‘needle’ ending in a fine hook. The hook is normally fitted to a wooden handle. The shape of the handle depends on the ground material being used (such as cotton, leather or silk). The size of hook used depends upon the type of work being carried out. A very fine hook is used for fine work, etc.
A betweens is a short (c. 3-4 cm in length), fine needle with a small, round eye and very sharp point. These needles are often used for tailoring, fine needlework and quilt making. Some manufacturers at the beginning of the twenty-first century also produced a quilting needle, which is slightly shorter and narrower than a betweens.
A bodkin is a thick, medium length needle of between 4-6 cm in length, which has either a rounded and blunt, or a pointed end. This type of needle may be round (also called ballpoint) or flat in section (threader). It has a long, elongated eye. Some bodkins have two or more eyes.
The Cornely machine is used to produce chain stitch embroidery. The history of the Cornely machine mirrors the history of machine embroidery stitching. During the nineteenth century, there were various attempts to produce a simple, commercial machine that could produce a continuous chain stitch. An early attempt was made by John Duncan of Glasgow, for example, who invented a machine in 1804, but the stitching was not regarded as consistent.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses an eighteenth century, American-made adjustable embroidery frame, designed to be placed on the floor, leaving the hands free to work the embroidery. It is made of mahogany and cherry wood and measures 139.7 x 105,4 cm.
An eighteenth century embroidery frame from France is housed in the Palais de Versailles (V6144). It is 80 cm high and 117 cm wide and made of rosewood. It is a professional type, the angle of work can easily be altered. The two boxes are probably for storing threads and equipment.
A finger shield is also known as a finger stall, finger guard or a finger protector. It is basically a thimble made from a ring with a long shield attached to it. They can be made of a very wide range of materials. Finger shields often have a crown or a partial crown, while being open down one long side (the side far away from the needle).
A machine that could imitate the appearance of hand stitches is the Hand-Embroidery Machine, which was invented in 1828 by Josué Heilmann (1796-1848) in Mulhouse, France. In 1835, technical drawings of his machine were published and over the following decades various companies, especially in France, Germany and Switzerland, and later around the world, developed variations on Heilmann’s machine.