This is the place to come to learn about Avery style needle cases.


New collectors often wonder if anyone has ever seen an Avery needle case reproduction, especially since some of the more expensive antique needlework tools have been copied in modern times.  For example, many thimble replicas were created from the 1970s through the 1990s when collecting sewing tools was extremely popular and these reproductions were frequently sold as authentic antique originals.  Being able to identify modern copies is an important part of thimble collecting today.  This did not happen with Avery needle cases because they were not as well-known in the years when these other imitations were being made.  To the best of our knowledge none of the major collectors have seen any Avery needle case reproductions although a number of old brass boxes have been incorrectly described as needle cases when in fact they are pen nib containers or something else.  Nevertheless, many Avery needle cases available for sale today are missing significant pieces or contain replaced parts.  Some of these are discussed in further detail on the Missclassified webpage whereas repaired and missing pieces are covered on the Variation webpage.

There are several reasons why we don’t think reproductions have been made.  First and foremost, the process to create a reproduction is a complicated one because of the complex design stamped onto the brass and also the way in which each item is assembled.  A method would need to be developed or a company would need to be found that could make these types of reproductions.  If an individual wanted to create a replica, they would not only have to locate a source for brass strips with the correct thickness, but would have to spend considerable time creating the dies or molds and assembling the individual pieces.  This would not be easy.  Companies that produce precision metal parts for industrial use are common, however the parts they create, through a process known as photochemical machining, usually are flat without the degree of detail one sees in an Avery needle case.  These companies create designs using a computer and the image is then photochemically etched onto the metal.  One such company, located in the Chicago area, is Fotofab and their website at provides detailed information on how the process works.  However, none of their finished products resemble an Avery needle case in any way.  A visit to FotoFab or another similar company to see firsthand how their manufacturing process works would give us a better idea of whether they could actually produce a realistic imitation.  Perhaps this will be undertaken in the near future.

With the recent introduction of 3D printing, some think it would be relatively easy to produce a reproduction.  Although today’s newest technologies allow many items to be duplicated more easily than in the past, there still is no simple way to create designs with the detail seen in an Avery needle case.  Of course, a forger would need to obtain an authentic Avery needle case to use as a model in order to make a credible copy.  It would not only be time consuming and costly to find one to purchase, because of their rarity, but selling the forgeries would also be difficult.  Collectors would start to wonder where they were coming from if suddenly an item that was only seen occasionally in the past started to appear for sale on a regular basis.  Even if a method was discovered, the brass would not have the same patina as one seen on an Avery needle case that is over 125 years old.

In all probability, the reason for not seeing reproductions is that the market for Avery needle cases is limited.  There are simply not enough collectors willing to pay a high price for them to justify the amount of time and effort necessary to create imitations.  Of course, this could change in the future.

Master List

To date 227 Avery style needle cases have been discovered.  Visit these pages to see photographs of each design as well as the original design registration or patent and gain knowledge about variations within each design.

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Avery Survey

In 2013 an Avery Survey was created in order to gather as much information as possible about Avery style needle cases from collectors and interested parties around the world.  The Avery Survey is easy to complete and gives you a chance to contribute to this important research.  Be sure and stop here to see the survey results.

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About Us

Learn how the author turned a hobby cross stitching antique sampler reproductions into a passion for collecting Avery needle cases resulting in a published book, a Wikipedia article, a TCI Bulletin article and conference presentation and this website.

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