Pin Cushion

Modern pin cushion. Modern pin cushion.

Until the twentieth century pins and needles were very expensive and as a result they were stored in special boxes. But they were also put on display, using pin cushions (usually round) or pin pillows (usually rectangular).

The more pins on display the higher the status of the owner. Pin cushions and pillows were often made of scraps of material salvaged from more expensive garments or furnishings. Some were further embellished with embroidery. Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) of Britain, for example, received among her many New Year gifts in 1562 an elaborately embroidered pin pillow (Groves 1966:50).

See also the TRC Needles entry on Elizabeth Wriothesley, countess of Southampton.


  • GROVES, Sylvia (1966). The History of Needlework Tools and Accessories, Feltham: Country Life Books, pp. 49-56.
  • Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: 'Pin'.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 21 June 2016).


Last modified on Friday, 21 April 2017 17:18
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