Thimble with an extra passenger

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Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:47 am

Found yesterday on our club dig. It's obviously a thimble but has something else inside it. At first I thought inside it was a musket ball, but the weight wasn't right for that as it felt too light. I also thought the ball might be hiding something interesting inside it, but I haven't tried to clean it up yet. I will investigate that later.

Copper thimble. Unknown material inside (avec mud ;)) ). Looks like a later period one so maybe 19th century.

It's been suggested that it's a piece of porous material that would have been used to mix paint of some sort inside the thimble which sounds very possible. Anyone know which profession may have used such a technique? Or was it a common practice?

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Thanks for looking. ::g

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by Owain 1405 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:04 am

Intriguing find, could be from an old game called thimblerig, similar to the shell & pea trick. Check this link for info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_game" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ::g
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by roamingrob » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:32 am

Interesting, like the idea its from gaming, different ::g
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:37 am

Cheers Owain that's a good idea. Quite possible. Will have to explore the insides later on. ::g
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by Redcap » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:30 am

Unusual, but nice ::g ::g ::g
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by f8met » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:03 pm

Looks like a clay marble. I found one on the surface a few weeks ago.
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by sweepstick47 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:57 pm

f8met wrote:Looks like a clay marble. I found one on the surface a few weeks ago.
I tend to agree with f8met, clay marbles were a common kids cheap version of their glass counterparts and were sold in boxes of10/20 at a cost of twopence - (2d). To make them more appealing, they were painted in quite dull colours. Cheers ::g
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:03 pm

Thanks folks. That clay marble idea sounds the most likely. ::g I started on cleaning it out a bit earlier. I don't want to rush and break any bits although I fear I may have to to get it out. Thin copper snaps way too easily and it's held in there by the folded over edges of the thimble. Will post another pic once done.
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by roamingrob » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:34 pm

Never heard of clay marbles ! you learn every day on here, It may just have ID one of my finds. A few weeks back I found what I thought was a pistol musket ball, but it was not lead or metal ? the signal was from a horse ring under it. I kept it, but could not think what it could be. Thanks Rob
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by MetalMonkey » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:38 pm

Looks like a musket ball inside that thimble to me, does it have a bit of weight to it?

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by roamingrob » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:51 pm

They do look just like a musket ball mate, it surprised me I can tell you.. Is there a date for clay
marbles ? Look forward to seeing the next pic...
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:10 pm

hihosilver wrote:At first I thought inside it was a musket ball, but the weight wasn't right for that as it felt too light.
Yes it does look like one but it's not a musket ball. A piece of lead that size would be at least 3x as heavy as it is. It also has slight porous 'holes' on the outside, which are currently filled in with mud. I will sort it tomorrow and take some pics in the daylight.
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by alloverover » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:23 pm

Couldnt just be a stone hiho could it ? :D ::g

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by geoman » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:52 pm

Someone who was a great shot with a musket.
Seriously i have found one in the past which was filled with a musket ball. Strange.

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by geomorphicmat » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:47 pm

HiHo,
whatever it is it has been deliberately inserted and the ends of the thimble bent over to keep it in place!
When you have cleaned out the mud, does the 'stone' stay in place or does it drop out easily?
Maybe this was a cheap idea of a bell replacement?
(just an engineer's view!)

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:56 pm

alloverover wrote:Couldnt just be a stone hiho could it ? :D ::g
=)) No, it's something man-made, well.. i hope it's not a stone after all this. =)) Will take it out tomorrow.
geomorphicmat wrote:HiHo,
whatever it is it has been deliberately inserted and the ends of the thimble bent over to keep it in place!
When you have cleaned out the mud, does the 'stone' stay in place or does it drop out easily?
Maybe this was a cheap idea of a bell replacement?
(just an engineer's view!)
Another possibility, cheers Matt. Those edges seem to have been folded over... maybe deliberately.
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:21 pm

Managed to remove it without breaking the thimble. Looks like a clay marble to me with that red mottling in it. There wasn't anything else inside after all, except mud, which didn't appear to have anything that had decayed in it.

Thanks for all the ideas folks. ::g The mystery of why someone sealed it in there many years ago I fear may never be solved. :D

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by ringpullfinder » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:32 pm

Clay marbles that's what I've found in the past but just couldn't id them.

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by roamingrob » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:53 pm

Just found this....http://www.greyhoundmarbles.com/#/histo ... 4552604595" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:08 pm

Thanks for the link. Interesting stuff. Sounds like this one will be 1800-1850 then. I like the sound of the ‘Manly games for Boys’ book. :D Can't think of anything less manly to be honest. =))
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by antiphonus » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:11 am

Hihosilver, thanks so much for this post. I've had a similar find: Two weeks ago on my permission I found a thimble with something inside -- at first I thought musket ball, but it was too light. When I'd soaked the thimble in olive oil for a couple of days, the grit holding the ball in place loosened up, and I was able carefully to work it out of the thimble (which looks Victorian or later to me). The mouth/rim of my thimble wasn't crimped as yours seemed to be. The object that emerged was a clay marble.

I showed it to my FLO tonight, and she said that she'd heard of something similar in the past -- definitely not a unique phenomenon. Whether this was a sort of ball-in-cup children's game, though, or a bit of residual superstition I'm not sure.

I found the thimble with the Deus on Gary's Hot programme, about five inches down in arable. VDI was upper 80s. In one of the pics you can see the greenish ring around the circumference of the marble where grit and copper patina from the thimble held it fast inside.

Thanks for taking a look, all.

::g ::g ::g

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by hihosilver » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:00 am

Your one looks flawless. ::g
As you mentioned the rim of mine was folded in which appeared to have been done deliberately to hold in the ball. I was hopeful it might have been hiding something else in the cavity but there wasn't unfortunately. I fear we may never know the true purpose but the game theory is certainly the most logical and therefore most likely, but as you say there may have been more to it. Still a strange but interesting find. :D
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by pakeha » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:43 am

I remember when I was a child (not many years ago...cough cough ! ) I used to sometimes play with my sisters marble collection and in that were some ceramic marbles that must have been passed down somehow from previous generations.Do children still play marbles these days I wonder...something tells me probably not !

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by lord lovell » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:23 am

intresting find i have allso found the same a clay ball in a thimble mine was found in a area producing items from first to second world war period ie early 20th century

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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by antiphonus » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:38 am

Interesting, LL. Do you have any pics? Maybe we should record on UKDFD or similar so that a knowledge base gets built up about this recurring phenomenon?
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by Bkmike » Thu May 07, 2015 6:26 pm

I found this one yesterday. Marble is a perfect fit into the thimble. A good tight fit. 5 inches down in brown sandy soil. Anyone come up with an answer to this conundrum yet?
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by findyaown » Fri May 08, 2015 12:50 am

Old gaming piece,three thimbles find the pea ,?
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by gwernogle » Fri May 08, 2015 8:09 pm

Can't shed light on the thimble, I'm afraid, but we could still buy clay marbles in Woolworths in the 1940s, although they were very much looked down on. 10 clays to win one blood alley (ceramic) and 5 of them to a glass marble, as I recall. Sister used to pinch my marbles to play at cooking for her dolls -at least that was what she said! I think the old shell game is the most likely, myself.
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Re: Thimble with an extra passenger

Post by JBM » Sun Sep 27, 2015 1:26 pm

Its surprising just what our ancestors got up to.

Especially youngsters with time on their hands.

Some months back a friend found a ampulla on a club site and when hes was cleaning it up inside were 3 Henry VI pennies.

I always have a look inside any finds that may contain something extra. ;) Jerry.

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