Welcome to my new blog series, crafting through history! I thought it would be fun to put together a mini series based on two topics that interest me immensely: history and crafting. Each Thursday in March I’ll be sharing about the history of important crafting tools or techniques that are still used today. Please keep in mind, the information researched on these topics has been gathered from internet sources so anything I say could be inaccurate at anytime. This is mostly for fun!
Week 1: The invention of the sewing needle
It’s easy to say that the development of the sewing needle was a huge step in advancing human civilization. With the invention of the sewing needle came the development of clothing, and without sewing needles, early humans would very likely have had difficult times surviving the colder months.
The very first needles with an eye are thought to have been developed with a flint tool about 35,000 years ago by Western Europeans and Central Asians. They were made of wood or bone and the thread was made of animal sinew (aka dried shredded tendon). Splinters of bone would have been cut out and trimmed roughly into a pointed shape. It likely then went through a process of being polished smooth with sand, water and a soft stone rubber. The needle eye would be created with a stone “drill.”
Eventually, the wooden needle evolved from wood and bone to ivory, copper, bronze, iron, steel, to high carbon steel, gold or nickel like the ones we use today.