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Needles - Milwards Gold Seal, circa 1938 Object Reg. No: HT 7518

Milwards Gold Seal needles in cardboard insert with plastic sleeve. Used by Kath Davis to make items for her glory box in the late 1930s.

Kath Davis began collecting items for her glory box when she started work at 17, living with her parents in Traralgon, and had competed her collection by around 1940.
Red and white cardboard packet open to contain 3 (remaining) sewing needles; Brand 'Milwards Gold Seal Needles, England'. Packet in plastic sleeve (possibly not original to this packet).
Statement Of Significance:
Glory boxes represented a significant rite of passage for many women growing up before, during and after World War Two. They provide a material symbol through which can be explored themes of artistry, sexuality, economy and cultural maintenance. Of particular interest is how glory boxes can be used to track the growing consumer culture after World War Two and how there was a shift from the hand made to the mass produced. The traditions cross time and cultures.

Kath Davis's box is significant for the strength of its documented story, and for its completeness in terms of survival of both the box and its collection.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms Kath Davis, 2005
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 5.30 cm (Width), 9.70 cm (Length)
Dimension Comment: Measurements of entire packet (carboard insert inside plastic sleeve)

More information

Tagged with: glory boxes, marriage customs rites, sewing
Themes this item is part of: Kath Davis' Glory Box 1930s-1940s, Domestic & Community Life Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: ART & CRAFT
Secondary Classification: Sewing
Tertiary Classification: hand tools
User: Ms Kath Davis, Traralgon, Latrobe Valley, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, circa 1938
References: Oral history interview, 2003 (disc and abbreviated transcript); references in 'The Glory Box: Origins, Symbols and Experiences', 1996 (masters thesis) and in 'The Glory Box: Marriage, Migration and Material Culture in Australia, 1930-1960' (phd thesis in progress) - all produced by Moya McFadzean


Diane Posted on 09 Feb 2011 11:45 AM
I have a packet of milwards gold seal nickel plated needles red cardboard pack (same as above) Betweens 4, there are 5 left in pack, packet measure 4.5cm x 7 cm. Are they old, or do you still buy them today? Thanks Diane
Discovery Centre Posted on 18 Feb 2011 1:21 PM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi Diane,
The Milwards company was, in the middle of the 1800’s, a prominent manufacturer of needles (sewing, surgical and also fish-hooks). The firm was absorbed by Coats-Patons in 1973. As for how old your needles are – this is a difficult question to answer, as we do not have any information as to when they changed their packaging. Milwards needles are still available today from Coats Crafts UK.
bonnie bass Posted on 07 Jun 2012 4:43 AM
I recently bought an old singer treddle machine in the draws are numerous prestine packs of needles. one is a pack of yarn darn needles 14/18. package is red white and gold. there are 7 needles held with pinked edges of cloth. can you shed any light on their age

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