Copper alloy thimble with heart stamps around base
Thimble with heart decoration

This thimble, similar to another found at James Fort, was made in Nuremberg, Germany. It has a shape characteristic of Nuremberg-manufactured thimbles, but is unique in its border of heart-shaped stamps. It would have been made in two parts: the rounded body of the thimble with the heart border would have been decorated as a flat sheet of copper, and then rolled, soldered together, and the cap attached at the top. Unfortunately, the top for this artifact broke off and is missing and the thin metal has been squashed flat. Look closely and you’ll see a maker’s mark above the band of hearts and below the hand-punched indentations. It is a crowned “S,” appearing sideways as the thimble stands upright.

Thimbles were important tools for the Jamestown colonists. They enabled the repair and manufacture of clothing, which would have been particularly important as the weather turned cold, the preservation of limited fabric supplies. Thimbles would have also been used by sailors to repair thick canvas sail cloth and by cobblers to make and repair leather shoes.