c1870 “The Unique” large gilded brass Avery-style needle case
“THE UNIQUE” gilded brass needle case is embossed with a central cartouche containing floral embossing and surrounded by beading, floral and scroll patterns (“beading” refers to the little rounded decorations). It opens to reveal a hinged sleeve containing four various sized pockets for needle packets, each pocket numbered for the needle size (no needles are included). The interior is fitted with a hinged flap to cover the open tops of the pockets; it’s impressed “THE UNIQUE” in elaborate lettering. The exterior edge is impressed “REGISTERED APRIL 6.1869.* This style was produced between 1869 and 1890 in Birmingham, England.
Closed, the case measures 3 7/8″ x 2 1/2″ and when open it’s 5″ across. Each needle pocket is 7/8″ wide by 2-1/8” high.
The condition is very good, the gilded brass still colorful and shining. Slight wear to the finish on the needle pockets from use, one sleeve has a slightly loose hinge. The outer hinge and closure still work well and close securely.
*A bit of history: the patent was registered April 6, 1869 by manufacturer William Lewis, licensed to R.J. Roberts and Henry Milward & Sons. Avery was probably the best-known manufacturer of elaborate needle cases, so it’s common to see cases referred to as “Avery-style” even when made by another company.