The word thimble that concerns us now we have to establish that it has its etymological origin in Latin. And it is the result of the sum of two elements:

-The noun “digitus”, which is synonymous with “finger”.

-The suffix “-al”, which is used to indicate “related to”.

A thimble is a small, hollow piece used to protect the finger during sewing.

When a person sews, they are in charge of joining different fragments of cloth or other material by means of a thread that is threaded into a needle. Since the needle is pointed, the seamstress or seamstress can be pricked. However, if you protect yourself with a thimble, you have the possibility of handling the needle without risk.

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Thimbles are usually cups made of metal or other rigid material, which have small notches and an opening to insert a finger. The finger protected with the thimble is used to press the needle in the frame of the development of the seam.

In Ancient Egypt thimbles were already used, according to what emerges from the findings in various tombs. At that time it was about leather thimbles. In various countries, ancient ivory, bronze and bone thimbles were also found.

About its history we can establish that in the Iberian Peninsula there are already documented Islamic thimbles from what was the caliphal stage. Specifically, where it has been possible to find and document a greater number of these sewing objects is in the Al-Andalus sites.

Precisely in the Museum of the Alhambra you can admire a large number of thimbles rescued from that time and they are basically of two types:

-The saddlery, saddlery and saddlery thimbles. They were the ones used to make belts, chairs, espadrilles, harnesses for horses, esparto objects… Precisely because of the tasks in which they were used, they stand out for being longer and also for being made with very resistant materials and with a great hardness.

-The tailoring and sewing thimbles that, as their name indicates, are the ones used to carry out the making of clothing. Compared to the previous ones, they are characterized by being shorter, finer and more rounded.

Of course, all these thimbles have the peculiarity that they are made up of three differentiated parts from top to bottom: the apex, the belly and the base.

There are also artistic thimbles that, made with ceramics, have drawings or impressions. Many times these thimbles present some image and inscription of a city and are sold as a souvenir.

The diversity and richness of thimbles make them collectible items. There are people who seek, keep and trade these products as a hobby.

Finally, children’s thimbles or foxgloves are common names for the plant whose scientific name is Digitalis thapsi.


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