c1870 “The Unique” large gilded brass needle case Avery-style
“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 (and there are two packets of needles still tucked inside!). 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.
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