We are a group of individuals who share a passion for Avery style needle cases. The idea for the website came from Terry Meinke as she wanted a place to share her research and also to meet other collectors. One of her goals was to encourage dialogue between collectors in an effort to learn more about Avery needle cases since everyone has a slightly different perspective. Terry’s education and professional work experience provided her with the skills necessary to program this website which she was able to add to her existing genealogical website. As a result, there was no additional cost in hosting the Avery Needle Case Resource Center, hence the reason the website’s domain name is www.coulthart.com/avery.
However, Terry alone could not have accomplished all of this by herself. Bunny’s Place provided Terry with photographs of most of the items they sold on eBay throughout the years including many items that were originally part of Ruth Mann’s collection. Without these photographs there would be huge gaps in our knowledge as many of these items have only been seen a few times. From Australia, Lynda Herrod, contributed many photographs as well as reviewed and commented on much of Terry’s research especially helping to analyze the mechanical patents to decide which patent covered which needle cases. Lynda also assisted with the individual needle case web pages by researching and writing some of the side panel facts, history and misc stories.
If you have contributed photos or additional information to make this website the resource that it is, please send us a short biography that we can include here.
Biographical Information About Us
Terry has been collecting Avery needle cases for over 27 years. She comes from a family of three generations of antique dealers. Her grandmother had an antique shop on the porch of her home in northern Minnesota. After her father retired from a career in the military, Terry's parents spent 30 years traveling throughout the Midwest where they had a booth at all of the area’s major antique shows. Around 2004 they moved to Arizona for the winter months and opened an antique shop in Jerome with their son who lived in the area. Terry's father collected medieval armor, her mother and younger brother collect copper and her older brother collects Belgian military medals. In 2012 her younger brother and mother opened the Copper Art Museum in Clarkdale, AZ. Obviously the Meinke family has a genetic predisposition for a love of old metal objects!
Terry attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she obtained a bachelor’s degree with a major in Art History. After college, she moved to the Chicago area and within a few years came to the realization that her degree was not well respected in the business world. She returned to college taking evening and weekend classes and after six years received her second degree in Computer Science. For the next 24 years she held various positions at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. The first six years were spent as a Client Electronic Services Representative assisting clients in using the agency’s software products to administer student loans and scholarship and grant programs. Another three years were spent assisting the agency in updating all of their computerize systems for the new millennium change-over known as Y2K. Her last 15 years were spent as the Manager of Electronic Product Delivery where Terry and her staff were responsible for assisting with the development of the agencies Internet based products.
From the mid-1980’s to the mid-1990’s Terry’s passion was cross-stitching. She started by purchasing counted cross-stitch kits, however after a few years she started to design her own from the photographs of antique samplers she found in books and magazines. In the early 1990’s Terry started to collect Avery style needle cases and since then has added 2-10 new items each year to her collection. Visit My Avery Collection for more details on how she got started collecting and built the collection she has today which consists of over 120 items.
In 2009 Terry decided to photograph her collection so she would have a permanent record of all of the pieces she had accumulated over the years. She purchased a “Desktop Studio in a Box” online which consisted of a collapsible 12-inch light tent, two professional flood lights, several black-to-white photographic backdrops, an instruction manual, and a video on how to get started. Over a two year period she must have shot close to 5000 photographs that needed to be reviewed, leading to the selection of about 500 of these to be enhanced in Photoshop. During the process she discovered there were times when she needed a break from photography. Terry started to wonder about some topics related to needle cases that might be of interest to the general reader or collector. This led to research and the discovery of amazing things she never knew.
In 2011, after preparing three photo books for herself with full page photographs of all of the items in her collection, she decided to publish a book in order to share this information with others and to document her research. She created “My Avery Needle Case Collection” on Shutterfly.com which gave her full control over the layout and design, although she was limited by the company’s book dimensions and the number of pages it could contain, which was limited to 100. After it was published in April 2012, with the help of Bunny and David Gorfinkle, who assisted by proofreading the text, she started to sell the book on their website at Ruby Lane and through the Gorfinkle’s connections with Thimble Collectors International (TCI). In May 2012 Terry prepared an article for Wikipedia about W. Avery & Son. She subsequently joined TCI on Bunny’s recommendation and shortly thereafter volunteered to prepare and present a lecture on Avery needle cases at the organizations 2014 semi-annual conference. She later joined the organizations local chapter, Thimble Fools of Northern Illinois (TONI), where she met other collectors who are as passionate about their collections as she is.
While researching W. Avery and Son, Terry made the acquaintance of a number of people in the UK and as a result traveled to England in October 2012 to visit them as well as the sites associated with William Avery. After returning home she wrote an article entitled My Visit to England in Search of William Avery which was published in the spring 2013 edition of the TCI Bulletin. In early 2013 Terry created the Avery Survey in order to gather more information about Avery needle cases. Also that year she worked with a researcher in London and was able to locate most of the patents and design registrations associated with Avery style needle cases. See Patent/Design Registration Research for more details. Once this research was completed Terry focused most of her attention on creating this website which was launched in April 2014.
In 2015 Terry traveled to London and visited the National Archives in Kew where she continued her search for Avery needle case patents. She traveled to Melbourne, Australia in October 2016 to give a presentation on Avery needle cases at the Needlework Tool Collectors Society of Australia (NTCSA) conference. Five months later, in March 2017, Terry finished writing her second book entitled “A Guide to Collecting Avery Needle Cases” which was published in April. Then in May she returned to the UK to give more presentations on Averys, one at the Dorset Thimble Society (DTS) conference in Bournemouth and another at the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch, the town where Avery needle cases originated. Once back home she wrote an article entitled Creating Memories with Avery Needle Cases and Other Needlwork Tools which was published in the fall 2017 edition of the TCI Bulletin. Terry returned to Redditch in 2018 and 2019 to continue her research of the 25 Redditch area companies related to Avery needle cases for a new book she is writing. In the interim she wrote an article entitled The History of Avery Needle Cases which was published in the Feckenham Forester in January 2020. Her new book entitled "Histories of the Redditch Area Manufacturers Associated with Avery Needle Cases" in two volumes was published in July 2020 as was the Second Edition of her "A Guide to Collecting Avery Needle Cases . Later in 2020, another article written by Terry entitled The Avery Quadruple Needle Case Known as "The Lady Mayoress of London" was published in the Thimble Collectors International Fall 2020 Bulletin.
David Gorfinkle graduated from Harvard in 1954 with a major in Psychology. One of his professors was none other than E. F. Skinner, one of the 20th century’s most renowned American psychologists, behaviorists, authors and social philosophers. David received his MBA in 1956 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and returned to the Boston area where he pursued a career with Swift Chemical Company as a Division Manager before going into biotech. Bunny Cohen Gorfinkle graduated from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1960 and spent the next 20 years as an elementary school teacher. She married David during her junior year of college. In 1976 Bunny became an antique dealer in Salem, Massachusetts specializing in jewelry and silver.
The most famous Avery needle case collector and the first president of the Thimble Collectors International (TCI) organization, Ruth Mann, was a family friend who took Bunny under her wing and became her mentor for the next 30 years. Bunny had an antique shop in a Salem coop for 13 years and later, a shop with two other dealers for another 4 years. During this time period her business became known as Bunny’s Place. Her booth at antique shows throughout the Northeast contained beautiful items, many that she and David found on their travels to England which occurred two or three times a year. Bunny’s Place was represented at all of the antique shows in the Boston area and also the one at the Pier in New York City and another in Atlantic City. One day Ruth called Bunny and David as she wanted them to sell her collection and they left her house with an entire van filled with antiques!
After retiring to the Palm Beach area for the winter months Bunny and David participated in antique shows in southern Florida. Bunny has been a TCI member for 14 years and Bunny's Place currently sells needle work tools on eBay and through their Ruby Lane website.
Lynda lives in Queensland, Australia. With a long standing interest in antiques, and having enjoyed doing various forms of embroidery over many years, it was not surprising that she would begin a collection of antique sewing tools. One of her first acquisitions was an Avery needle case. This was such a beautiful and fascinating little item that it sparked a keen interest so that the Avery cases are a favourite part of her collection.
Training as a Therapeutic Radiographer, now known as Radiation Therapists, her career path included providing undergraduate education in the roles of clinical educator and part time lecturer. After completing a six year degree in Health Administration part time, Lynda moved into the administrative side of the profession and advanced to the position of Director of Radiation Therapy Services at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in 1998 a position she held until her retirement in 2010 after forty years in the profession. In 2011 she was awarded Life Membership of the Australian Institute of Radiography for her contribution to the profession.
Lynda is a member of the Needlework Tool Collectors Society of Australia (NTCSA) and Thimble Collectors International (TCI). Responding to an invitation to partake in the Avery Survey advertised in the TCI Bulletin, she was very keen to participate seeing it as a great opportunity to get in touch with fellow enthusiasts, a view that any collector in isolation might share. Since becoming involved it has been her pleasure to assist where possible in Terry’s undertaking to develop a comprehensive reference site for all those with an interest in Avery needle cases.