Needle Threader

Clover brand needle threader. Clover brand needle threader.

A needle threader is a small sewing tool designed to help pull a thread through the eye of a sewing needle. Both hand and machine forms exist, but the information given here refers to the hand sewing version.

When exactly the first needle threader was invented is unknown, but within the European context it is likely to be an eighteenth or early nineteenth century development. It is known that there are various forms of nineteenth century needle threaders, including one that consists of a tube with two holes set horizontally, opposite each other. A needle is placed in the tube so that the needle eye corresponds to the paired holes and then a thread is passed through the three holes at the same time.

Slightly more complicated forms of this type of needle threader include a spring loading mechanism that pushed the thread through the needle’s eye. Apparently a company called Joseph Rodgers and Sons of Sheffield (England), was producing these in the early 1830's.

A popular, late nineteenth century form consists of a small plate (often stamped with a profile image of a woman), with a diamond shaped loop of fine steel wire attached to it. The wire loop is flexible and easily passes through the eye of a needle. The sewing thread is passed through the loop and the loop (with thread) is then pulled back through the needle eye. This form is still available in the beginning of the twenty-first century.


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 8th July 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 13 May 2017 17:25
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