Monday, December 03, 2007


A thimble is a bell-shaped sheath worn on the thumb to push the needle through resisting material while sewing. It is believed that the earliest thimbles were made of leather, although the oldest surviving thimbles are made of bronze or other metal. In modern times, they have been made of any material accessible to humans.

The word thimble is close in appearance to the word thumb, and that’s no accident. Thimble tracks back to the Old English thuma, thumb. The -le ending sometimes signifies an instrument or tool, as in handle and paddle.

In construction, a chimney thimble is a sleeve embedded in the chimney wall designed to accept the flue connector from an appliance.

Collectors of thimbles call themselves digitabulists, from the Latin digitus, a finger. [Pollicist, from the Latin word for thumb, might have been more appropriate.] A couple of other thumb words are pollical and pollicar, pertaining to the thumb.

SIDEBAR: The Thimbles

SIDEBAR: Thimble Collectors International

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