Museum sign
The Cowper and Newton Museum
Lace making equipment: bobbins

Bobbins were the thread carriers. The threads were wound onto the long neck of the bobbin and secured with a hitch to the short neck.

In this area the bobbins were quite different from those of any other lace making area: in other areas the bobbins had a bulbous shaped shank to give weight and keep the thread taut. Here they had slim shanks and were weighted by a spangle of glass beads.

In general, bobbins were made from various types of hard or fruit wood, but in this area bone was also used.

"Kiss me Qick My Mome is Comin"

Many of these bone bobbins were made to commemorate special events and were suitably inscribed and decorated: examples of these are the "hanging bobbins" (see NEXT) commemorating the executions of infamous criminals.

The Story of the "Jack Alive" Bobbin

At the end of the 19th century there lived in the nearby village of Lavendon an illiterate lacemaker, whose son, Jack, was a sailor.

Wherever he went in the world he had a bobbin made for his mother. On receiving these tokens she knew her son was still alive.