Tag Archives: auction sales

Washboard – The Economy

The Economy Washboard by The Canadian Woodware Co.

The Another Auction sale buy – the Economy washboard manufactured by the “The Canadian Woodware Co. in St. Thomas, Ontario – Canada.
This company has been making washboards since the company’s founding about 1916 in St Thomas.
It is made with a wooden frame and the brand name is written in large letters on the front and reads “Economy”. This washboard features a metal grate that is in very good condition. That metal grate means you can make music with it if that’s your thing. It measures 31cm x 60 cm x 4cm and construction is strong and sturdy with no excessive imperfections.
A washboard is a tool designed for hand washing clothing. Clothes are soaked in hot soapy water in a washtub or sink, then squeezed and rubbed against the ridged surface of the washboard to force the cleansing fluid through the cloth to carry away dirt. Washboards may also be used for washing in a river, with or without soap. Then the clothes are rinsed.
I am thankful for my washing machine, and the dryer.
My mother would tell stories of having to do the laundry by hand in the cold of winter. These were the days before washing machines, before indoor plumbing and running water. The clothes had to be taken to the wash house, clothes were rinsed in cold water, and during the winters my mother’s hands would be red, raw and swollen because of the icy temperatures.
I do not remember my mother ever using a washboard, but I do remember my mother’s first wringer washer and next to it a centrifuge, to get rid of as much water in the clothes.
Washing machines have improved since then and thanks to modern technology,  laundering clothes is much less of a chore. Thankfully laundry is done no longer on a specific day of the week, which was usually Mondays; it is no longer a chore that took a whole day; it is no longer dependant on the weather (even though clothes dried outside on the clothesline smell so nice and fresh); now we just throw a load of laundry in the washer, the dryer and hopefully the clothes make it out of the dryer on the same day. Oh, the luxury! Let’s not complain anymore about doing laundry!

“Plunge & Scrub” – a line from a favourite movie of mine, 
“Far and Away”, with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman


I  enjoy auction sales, and in the past have come home with “treasures” and stuff. Once I went to an auction sale at a nursing home. The place was packed, and one could barely see the items that were up for bids. I was under the impression I was bidding on a box of board games, and I was the one to win that particular lot. I did not go home with a box of games, instead I went home with 2 boxes of catheters, because that is what I had been bidding on. I can laugh about it now.
I recently discovered the on-line auction, not ebay, but a local estate auction. Items listed are up for a week, with images and description and bidding is done from the comfort of my couch. The day after the auction is over, you just go and pick up the items you won.
I am now the proud owner of a new steam iron, even though ironing is at the top of the list of things I don’t like to do, after 37 years of marriage I needed a new iron, and I bought it at my first  online auction for $10.00. With this lot also came an old, pink sewing box with its contents, which consisted of a lot of buttons, needles, thread and among others 4 thimbles.
Even though I own a few thimbles, I have never used them, and really never had a close look at them.
I have now 8 thimbles and I was quickly able to separate them in 2 groups of 4.

The first set of 4 were easily distinguishable from the others. They were shiny and looked cheaply made.
The first one was made in Taiwan, the other 2 metal ones, which were different sizes, were made in Spain. The largest was a porcelain thimble, probably made for the souvenir market. A Christmas themed from Prince Edward Island, Canada, with the price sticker still attached on the inside. Bought at one time for $2.99. This thimble would have been too large and too heavy to be used.

A thimble is a small hard pitted cup worn for protection on the finger that pushes the needle in sewing. Usually, thimbles with a closed top are used by dressmakers but special thimbles with an opening at the end are used by tailors as this allows them to manipulate the cloth more easily.
A thimble is traditionally worn on the middle finger of your sewing hand.
The dimples and grooves on a thimble catch the needle eye and keep it from slipping. A thimble protects the finger from the eye end of the needle. Pushing a needle through thick layers of fabric is much easier with a thimble. Pulling a needle through fabric layers can be very tiring on your thumb and index finger.
Metal thimbles began to be made in standardized sizes around the middle of the nineteenth century Frequently the size is marked on the inside top of the thimble, what thimble collectors call the “apex.”  Ceramic thimbles are not sized.
Sizes differ in the US (size 6 small to size 12 large) and in Britain it is the opposite (size 12 is small and 3 is large).

The other 4 were heavier and worn.
So far for my research:

“Made in England”
Size 1

“Size 9”
(because it is smaller than the previous one, it is measured on a different scale – so I would assume it is American)

“Size 11”
 it is bigger than the previous one, so must also be American)

This is an antique Goldsmith Stern & Co. Sterling silver thimble. The thimble has the Goldsmith Stern & Co. and Stern Bros. maker’s marks, and marked “STERLING” and “10” on upper band. Greek key design on lower band raised rim.

l will continue to research and trying to find out where these came from, and I will never look at the thimble the same way.

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