Monday, 31 July 2017

Antique Thread & Pin Dolls House Furniture

So many wonderful miniature treasures have passed through these KT Miniatures doors over the years, and then sometimes something comes in that baffles me.

On this occasion it was some pin and thread furniture. I have seen various forms of this kind of furniture before, often so very obviously homemade and from various decades...even as late as the 1960s. And it is when these items come in quite randomly, with no provenance or exact date, then I have to try and figure out their age. 
Each piece of this particular set has been constructed from using heavy dressmaking pins and strong thread, plus red velvet for upholstery. The thread has been woven very intricately and delicately around the pins to create the framework. The legs and chair backs have been bound tightly with the thread. They are quite small in scale - the table measures 3 1/4″ in diameter x 1 1/4″ high, and each chair measures 1 1/8″ sitting height x 2 1/4″ back height.
It was because these particular pieces of furniture were so well made and in such great condition that I was a little stumped. So after canvassing the thoughts of other miniaturist colleagues, the consensus of opinion between us was that they could be pre-WW2 or post -WW2, even possibly as late as the 1960s. Hence they were then put up for sale, with a vague open description...

and then a lovely lady emailed me, to shed some light on their age!
She told me that her mother-in-law had been given an exact same set of this furniture when she was a little girl, although hers had a green/blue velvet upholstery but that the lacing and everthing else was identical. 

 The little sofa measures 2″ wide x 7/8″ sitting height x 1 3/4″ back height. Each chair measures 1 3/8″ wide x 1″ sitting height x 2 1/4″ back height.
The lady then went on to say that her mother-in-law was born in 1909, and being a Methodist minister's daughter,  money had been very tight, hence the little furniture had been very special to her. 

So very fascinating indeed. This furniture is a lot older than we first thought, maybe pre WW1 or during WW1! Since I learnt this, I discovered some other furniture exactly like this, so I am now firmly of the conclusion that these were most definitely commercially produced and not homemade ...I never stop learning about these old treasures! 
But it is often thanks to other people who so very kindly take the time to email me their information.


Robin said...


Giac said...

Hello Celia,
That really is interesting. I am glad you got more information. It is not the type of miniature I collect, but I must say it is really charming and quite beautiful.
Big hug

jenann said...

I had some of these. Oh, so inexpertly made by me!

My primary school head, who also taught all the chidren aged 8 to 11, had some very ancient 'Handicrafts for School Children' books and we made some fascinating, if wonky items.

This was one of my favourite projects. We used pins, waxed thread, cleaned fleece for wadding (provided by my uncle) and conkers - the kind we called cheese cutters that came in pairs in the case and had one flattish side. We made woven and lumpy mats to go with them too, some a little threadbare and others that were narrower in the middle than at either end but we were so proud of our efforts. It was such fun and I am so glad to have grown up before the Health And Safety Police Force came into being! Mine later had pride of place in my dolls' house though my poor little Grecon family needed a ladder to get up to sit round the table and had to step up onto the rug!

My fingers were full of pinholes for days and there were dozens of bent and discarded pins lying around for the poor caretaker to get rid of. But the last day of the Christmas term 1964 was one of my happiest days in school, when Mr. Webster presented each of we girls with a Christmas gift of a little Ari doll to carry home with our table sets that evening.

KT Miniatures said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment Robin and Giac.

Jenni....what a fascinating story - thank you for sharing! How ingenious to use conkers with your pins! Can you imagine children nowadays, either at home or at school, using pins to make dolls house furniture?

Having grow up being an avid fan of Blue Peter, I was always making bits and pieces that they showed us, and of course I was always making furniture for my dolls house. Usually out of matchboxes (as my dad smoked a pipe) so I had an endless supply. But I don't remember making pin furniture. Celia