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Who made the Caithness thimbles? When?

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Thanks so much. You gentlemen are terrific. I have two thimbles, a red-based with millefiori cluster and a blue-based with a millefiori circle surrounding an cane with an anchor in it.

The photo I put in above is just a generic Caithness thimble image I had in my files. It was easier than snapping new pics. However, I will soon take pictures of the ones I have and post them herein and email them separately to Frank.

Thanks again, guys.

Frank says above

--- Quote ---
Stones made by:
Paul Ysart 1970-73
Peter Holmes 1973-75

--- End quote ---

To add to the uncertainty in all things paperweight related: my wife and I bought each other silver Caithness rings with millefiori stones on a trip to the Orkneys in August 1971.  When we visited Peter Holmes in July this year and showed him her silver ring he said, without hesitation, "I made that stone."  So that suggest Peter H was making them in 1971.

Regards, Alan.

A lot of the confusion (and mis-information on eBay listings) derives from the fact that after Paul Ysart had left Caithness, there were still many of his paperweight stones available and these were not exhausted until about 1973. This had been mentioned by both Colin Terris and Peter Holmes.

The same point applies to Peter Holmes' stones where supplies would have been available to Caithness for a while after he had also left.

So, putting definite start and end dates to the use of these paperweight stones is unwise - apart from the examples with an accompanying 1970 hallmark, of course.

For later Caithness versions (i.e. stones not made by Paul or Peter) the visual aspects are enough to tell them apart. But Peter's work was very much like Paul's and so it is often difficult to be sure about whose stone was set in a piece made from 1971 to 1973 (and maybe a bit later). Only a comparison against a known example or a personal confirmation from Peter would really prove the case.

The Caithness thimbles I have were in a collection of thimbles of all kinds that my aunt owned. Seven years ago, she became bored with her thimble collection and gave it away bit-by-bit to relatives and friends. An uncle, for example, got the ones that had names of and designs from national U.S. parks on them because he collects national park memorabilia. The collection contained around 250 pieces. I got two, the Caithness glass thimbles, the only two glass ones she had. She noted that they were purchased together, new by her, in the 1980s; she thinks the mid-80s, at a store called Birk's in Toronto.

By the way, at 72, my aunt is still collecting many other things. She has some incredible Rookwood pottery and an original Tiffany (LCT) lamp plus a lot of nifty Pan-American Expos and World's Fairs items. She also has two pieces of classic antique Lalique and some items that contain the name of the Paris arts and decor expo that gave us the name "Art Deco." Her newest passion is collecting tiny hand-made folk art thingies, like little figures or animals or farm buildings. She is truly an incredible lady.

Christina Davidson was one of the workers who lost their jobs when the administrators closed the Wick factory down the last time we were up for sale and Edinburgh Crystal bought us.She was not a cane maker ;she only made the"stones "from the cane, then fitted them to the various blanks.The guy who left in 2001 I think would be Syd.Frank's info jogged my memory as to the cane making returning to Wick after the initial switch to Perth before coming back to Perth after 2001.
 Sorry Frank but I don't have any pictures of the thimbles etc at all.
The reason for the brief contracting out of canes to "The Scottish Glassmaker" was not for any shortage of skills at Perth;Harry Mckay was still employed at that time but it was decided to see if it was cheaper to get the canes made outwith the factory.This exercise proved to be unfeasible for various reasons and we resumed the making of canes "in-house".


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