History of the sewing needle


A needle is a filament of metal, copper, or other hard material, relatively small in size, usually straight, sharpened at one end and with the other ending in an eye or handle for inserting a thread. It has been used since prehistoric times for sewing. 

The sewing needle has a confirmed age of at least 40,000 years, but it could be more than 60,000 years old since a small point of bone sculpted during the Middle Paleolithic of the African continent could correspond to the point of a sewing needle. The point was found in 2006 in Sibudu Cave in South Africa, and has been dated to more than 61,000 years ago. Confirmation that it is actually a sewing needle has not yet been obtained. The oldest confirmed sewing needle known to date was discovered in the 20th century by the Slovenian archaeologist Srečko Brodar (1893 - 1987) in Potok Cave, located in the east of the Karavanke Mountains in Slovenia, and is dated about 41,000 years old.

One of the oldest specimens comes from the Caves of Altamira: a needle made of deer bone with a very sharp point drilled at the end. 

Later, during the Upper Paleolithic, in Europe, bone-carved sewing needles became common in the Solutrean (approximately 22,000 to 17,000 years) and Magdalenian (approximately 17,000 to 12,000 years) periods. 

Those needles reached a high degree of perfection: 20,000 years ago they were sewn in the prehistoric caves of southern France with bone needles that could be used today given the degree of perfection achieved. This is how primitive man made the capes and cloaks that protected him from the cold. 

Much later, with the discovery of metals, sewing needles began to be made first from copper, in Anatolia, about 5,500 BC, and later from bronze and iron. 

The oldest preserved specimens of needle are Egyptian and date back to 2,000 BC. These are iron needles that instead of having an eye or a hole had a kind of very closed hook where the thread was inserted. 

In Greece and Rome needles were made of the most diverse materials, from bone or ivory to wood, silver and gold. Among the ruins of baths and temples, of villas and houses throughout the Empire, there are numerous examples of Roman spiers found. Coming from the ancient ruins of 1st century Pompeii, there are some examples that hardly differ from the modern ones: small iron needles, about three centimeters long, that appear next to the dressmaker's basket with its thimble and buttons included. 

It is believed that about a thousand years ago the Chinese, during the Middle Ages, were the first to use steel needles and that the Arabs were responsible for bringing steel to Europe. But the manufacture of the sewing needle boomed and developed around the 14th century. In the East the spiers of Damascus and Antioquia were famous, and in the West those of Toledo obtained such prestige that they ousted the German spire of Nuremberg around 1370. 

In Toledo, all kinds of sewing needles, buttonholes, sewing needles, sewing needles, sewing needles, darning, basting, gluing buttons, fixing braid, executioner or garments that women used under the basquiña were manufactured. to hollow them out. All had a reputation for not breaking and even sayings and sayings circulated about it: "Aguja Toledana, just one, and the thimble will still be dented." 

Also famous was the Spanish Arabic bronze thimble made in Córdoba, Granada and Toledo in a cylindrical shape and a great profusion of ornaments. There were special needles like the virgin needle. The virguera required dexterity and a firm hand with the silver needle to make someone who was not a virgin pass as a virgin. The virguero saved the honor of the single woman who lost her maidenhood. 

From the 15th century, the competition from the iron needles from the Netherlands began to be noticed, but it did not undo the prestige of the Spanish sewing needle, which lasted until the 17th century when the foreign needle of inferior quality began to be introduced in Castile. and cheaper. This would make the needles from Syria and Spain, of higher quality, replaced by German and English needles. 

As early as 1730 there were important needle manufacturers in Nuremberg (Germany), and during the reign of Elizabeth I of England there were already many needle manufacturers in England. From prehistoric times to the 19th century, needles with an eye (a hole called a "hondón") were still made by hand, as in prehistoric times and as in all previous ages. The first mass-produced metal eye needles came onto the market in 1826, but it was not until 1885 that the machinery was fixed to properly stamp the eye on the needle. Sewing machine needles, similar to a normal needle, but with the eye at the bottom of the needle, were later disclosed.