Most Avery style needle cases were manufactured between 1867 and 1890 although a few were made for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Over twenty-five years have passed since Estelle Horowitz and Ruth Mann researched and wrote their book in 1990 about Avery style needle cases entitled Victorian Brass Needlecases. During those years additional information about these needle cases has been gathered. Using information from previous authors, historical sources, eBay auctions, and collections in the U.S.A. and Australia, a new master list has been created. In addition, errors and oversights have been uncovered and corrected. Not only do we now know what 31 needle cases look like that were listed but not photographed in Horowitz and Mann’s book, but we have also identified 56 totally new needle cases that these authors did not know existed. The original patents and design representations registered between 1867 and 1890 have been retrieved where possible from various archives and libraries in the UK so we now know what many of these needle cases were originally designed to look like. Currently there are 226 Avery style needle case designs on our new Master List and the patents/design registrations have been located for 201 or 89%. In addition there are 8 items that we are still researching which will be added to the list in the future if we can locate additional evidence to support their classification as Avery style needle cases.
If you have a needle case that is not recorded on the master list on this website that you think should be included, please contact us.
Avery style needle cases were original classified into 14 (1 Figural and 13 Flat) different categories by Horowitz and Mann. To simplify and reduce redundancies these have been reclassified into the first five major groups listed here. In addition several new categories have been added: one to include items that haven’t been proven to be Avery style needle cases; another for items that were erroneously listed as needle cases in the past; and lastly another for other items produced for W. Avery & Son.
Accordion-Folding– flat-style needle cases that fold up like an accordion.
Demi-Quads – a specific flat-style rectangular needle case that holds two packets of needles.
Figural – needle cases that are representations of recognizable objects (e.g.: butterfly, chair, dog, etc.).
Flat-Names – flat-style needle cases, most which have unique names stamped or engraved on them, that hold one to four needle packets (e.g.: Athena, Britannia, Cupids Casket, etc.).
Quadruples - a specific flat-style rectangular needle case that holds four packets of needles.
Possibilities – receptacles that might be Avery style needle cases but might be something else as well – these have not met all of the criteria to be classified as an Avery style needle case – to date there is not enough evidence to prove these are or aren’t needle cases.
Missclassified – items that have been proven to be something other than Avery style needle cases.
Other Items – items that were registered to or are marked W. Avery & Son that are not decorated metal needle cases.