Petites mains is a French term that literally means ‘tiny hands'. The term refers to ateliers and individual artisans that supply large haute couture houses, such as Chanel, Dior, Hermes and Lacroix, with various handicraft items. They are also known as fournisseurs. The petites mains include button makers, embroiderers, feather workers, flower makers, glove makers, milliners, etc.

The Singer Sewing Machine Company was founded by Isaac Merrit Singer (1811-1875), an American inventor and businessman. Singer had a long and varied career. He initially moved to Boston (USA), a centre for the printing trade, where he tried to find financial backers for his type-carving machine. He rented a workshop from Orson Phelps, who built and repaired Lerow and Blodgett sewing machines.

Tokuda Shoten is a firm in Kyoto, Japan, that makes and sells tools and instruments for the embroidery industry. The traditional shop is filled with embroidery frames, needles, spools, and thread-twisting machines.

The company of W & J Knox was a linen thread company based in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland, established in 1778. They advertised themselves as a Linen Thread Manufacture Works and Fishing Net Manufactory. It eventually became a Scottish based company with outlets and, later, mills in Canada (especially the Vancouver region) and the USA. The initials stand for William Knox (b. 1802- ?) and James Knox (b. 1807).

The Zweigart und Sawitzki company is a German firm based in Sindelfingen (near Stuttgart). It produces a wide range of textiles suitable for decorative needlework, as well as soft furnishing textiles for homes and hotels. The firm has a long history, dating back to the late nineteenth century.

Page 2 of 2