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Measures: 6” tall, 5” long
Made of solid brass, this sewing bird/clamp is very heavy and sturdy! I had never seen one like this! There is a spool holder and a moveable pin cushion cup which swings to either side. The spring to open the beak works well as does the screw to attach to a work surface. The pin cushion is missing, this could be replaced, the cup is deep enough that the pin cushion will not need to be placed permanently and could be changed with the seasons! The spool holder has a “make do” spindle – it is a large blunted needle! The curve in the spring handle fits the finger perfectly and makes opening and closing the beak easy. This is likely a very early version of the sewing bird.
The sewing bird was invented in the 19th century to assist ladies with their hand sewing. The fabric could be put into the bird's beak and there it would be held taut. The sewing machine had not yet come to be and having that third hand to hold fabric was a great help! The patent was obtained by Charles Waterman on Feb 15, 1853 though he had been selling them for a while prior to this. Not long after, the sewing bird took a romantic turn. Young men began presenting their brides to be with a sewing bird months before the wedding so that she could sew the necessities for her trousseau. As she was sewing she would be reminded of her beloved….