Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"Prinzess Victoria" and a tiny old package of sewing needles

Part of the fun of modern computing is having the ability to scan old items and magnify them many times in order to see details that might not have been apparent to the naked eye.

I have an old package of needles that I picked up at a yard sale. The package is no bigger than my thumb.1 So I thought it would be interesting to scan it and present it here, magnified for posterity.

The name "PRINZESS VICTORIA" appears above the line drawing of the woman wearing a crown. I suppose two options for who that might be are Victoria, Princess Royal (1840-1901), who was the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom (1868–1935), who was the fourth child of Edward VII.

Or perhaps it's a botched attempt at referencing Queen Victoria. While this package clearly states that it was "Made in Germany," it's possible that similar packages — minus the "Made in Germany" — were created in an attempt to misrepresent the country of origin and gain access to various lucrative European markets.

The following passage is from the November 18, 1899, issue of The Economist, and lends credence to this theory:
"A deputation of cravat manufacturers was received this week by the Minister of Commerce of make representations on the use of false trade-marks on importations of the articles they sell from Germany, Austria, Belgium and Italy. These goods, the deputation declared, are marked with the words 'Made in London' or other words imply that they are of English origin, which appears to be a recommendation with buyers ... It is, however, a common practice to import German goods marked as English, and recently the attention of the British Chamber of Commerce was called to the sale, in France, of packets of needles bearing a portrait of the Queen, with the words 'Prinzess Victoria Needles' and the name of a fictitious manufacturer at Redditch. The spelling of the word princess betrayed the origin of the article, but would escape the attention of the buyer."
So there you have. Cravats, chicanery and Prinzess Victoria.

There are, by the way, three needles left in the Prinzess Victoria package. Maybe I can use them with my colorful embroidery thread.

1. I'm serious. It's the size of my hideously scarred left thumb.


  1. Interesting! I have a similar packet of needles, similar but not identical. The portrait is slightly different, and they are marked "PRINCESS VICTORIA," no country of origin, but found in an antique sewing kit that was made in Austria. Interesting!

  2. I have EXACTLY the same packet of needles, but only 2 remain.
    the case is slightly damaged, however, I fancy the round zippered leather case and embroidered top. I wonder how much this is worth. It has sentimental values as it was my grandmothers and have no interest in selling it.
    Trish, New Jersey

  3. Very interesting, thank you!
    I just wrote a blog post about needles myself - among them Princess Victoria needles - and was amazed at all the different labels I could find for them online!
    My own are "Finest silver eyed sharps" in a size 12, no country of origin and "Princess Victoria".

  4. I have just found one in a sewing case and I wondered if it had any value it has a leather case Add a embroidery top With a zipper And it has the stamp in your number 3 the silver eye Blunts