Not much thought is given to a thimble other than it is a tool used for pushing needles through fabric, when sewing on a button or hemming a garment or quilt.
However, thimbles are much like a history book. They tell stories of presidents’ slogans, British monarchs and many other moments in history — in fact, they’ve been with us as long as the Egyptian pyramids.
Mary Smith of Deloraine started collecting thimbles in 1978 after receiving a gift of two Chinese thimbles.
The collection has grown immensely, as has the value. The thimbles are made from many different materials, including gold, brass, sterling silver, ceramic, leather, wood, steel and porcelain.
One thimble has Herbert Hoover’s presidential slogan, "Hoover, Home and Happiness," while another has a picture of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
There are children’s thimbles with nursery rhymes painted on them and others with magnets on the end to collect pins.
Giveaway thimbles were great advertising gimmicks. After the Second World War, plastic thimbles were all the rage, advertising companies such as Watkins and Coca Cola.
Smith has done lots of "horse trading," scouring antique shops and garage sales and even attending a thimble collector’s convention in search of unique thimbles.
She will have her "Thimble Keepsakes" on display at the International Peace Garden during the Quilt, Button and Thimble Display on Saturday and Sunday, the same weekend as the International Country Gospel Festival.
This Sunday at 1 p.m., Smith will provide visitors with a presentation about her wonderful thimble collection.