Sunday, October 14, 2012

"If wisely taught,

it develops the thrifty dispositions and habits of  neatness, cleanliness, order, management and industry."
This week's opening quote is from a 19th century instruction manual for teachers describing the virtues of darning as part of the American public-school curriculum.  I do not think they even teach Home Ec anymore in many schools, let alone teach students to repair socks!  We could use a little management and industry with or without holes in socks! But, there was a time though when the sock darner was as common as the remote control in today's households.

They came in a variety of styles...eggs, balls, bell, spools, mushrooms...there is even an entire book dedicated to them!
159 pages of the darn darners!

And, from that book we learn that they were made from nearly every conceivable material, most commonly wood, as well as stag horn, mother-of-pearl, porcelain, ceramic, celluloid, plastic, Bakelite, papier-mache, ivory, brass. aluminum, and tin.

While some glass darners were commercially produced,
many of them were intended not to be used
but to showcase glass blowers' artistic talents.

Between 1865 and 1956, the U.S. Patent Office issued more than 100 patents for this little tool, but the 1920s marked the height for patents when 17 unique models were recognized.

The word "darn" dates to the late 16th century,  perhaps to be identified with Middle English dernen to keep secret, conceal, Old English (Anglian) dernan since one is trying to conceal a hole.  Of course, we all know it is the kinder way to say "Damn"..."Darn it" has nothing to do with mending those socks!

But, this quote is in my collection about mending..."Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Michelangelo to paint your garage."  

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