Monday, December 23, 2019

Featured Artefact: The Bodkin

One day several of the volunteers at the Benton County Historical Museum were talking about unusual objects or those not seen much anymore. Some of these I’ve featured in earlier posts. One object that another volunteer mentioned is shown in the picture below.
This is a bodkin.  Once upon a time a bodkin would have been in every woman’s sewing box.  They used these blunt needles with large eyes to pull ribbons through lace or cords through a casing. One might have been used to insert the blue ribbon into this baby’s cap. Pulling elastic through a casing sure would be a lot easier with one of these that with a large safety pin used by many home sewers today!
Bodkins were also used to thread laces through holes in corsets or other clothing closed this way, especially before manufactured cords were fitted with aiglets.
In the 17th century so many items of clothing were laced closed that women kept their bodkins handy in special decorative cases or acquired fancy silver bodkins which they stuck in their elaborate hairdos until needed.

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

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