Monday, March 26, 2012

Spool story

Coats & Clark, the thread manufacturer, is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.  The firm started in Scotland, came to the U.S. in the mid-19th century, and is still going strong.  I  happened upon a special anniversary section of its website the other day and spent many pleasant and some frustrating minutes looking through its history.

You will drool over the photos of old sewing machines, thread cabinets, sewing notions and, of course, spools of thread.  If you don't want to take the time to visit their website, I'll give you the second-best Coats & Clark nostalgia tour from my own collection of sewing memorabilia.

Unfortunately, you will gnash your teeth trying to figure out the details of the company's history, as many fun facts are as cleverly hidden as Waldo.  Each page of the site has big arrows left and right, which you can use to move forward and backward in time.  But each one also has tiny arrows which you can use to find more info from the same time period.  It took me a whole lot longer than I should have spent on the site in toto to discover the second set of arrows.

The best joke in the website came at the very end, where they show an array of spools from then to now.  The copy reads:  "Gold metal spools replaced wooden spools.  These were soon replaced by plastic spools."

I don't know how old you have to be to remember the gold spools, but they haven't been gone all that long -- it took me less than two minutes to find a representative sample in my own thread stash.

And no, the gold spools are not metal.  They're plastic.

Which makes me wonder who put together this website, and who at the company approved it before it went live.  Surely in a company celebrating its 200th anniversary there's somebody around who sewed with their thread in the last decade or two.

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