Vintage thread cards, a real collector's item

Vintage thread cards, a real collector's item

- Categories : Haberdashery Collectibles


Highly sought after by collectors, thread cards are small cardboard shapes on which once were wound sewing threads, particularly linen thread. Before the arrival of sewing machines in households (in the 1930’s) and before
the development of ready-to-wear (1950’s), everything was home-made or, for the wealthy, at the dressmakers.
At the time it was mostly linen thread or silk that was used.

Cartes à fil anciennes marque A La Louve

The À La Louve (Wolf) brand was founded in the 19th century by Ignace Lambin at Comines,
a small town in the north of France near the Belgian frontier.
You can see the different thicknesses of the threads indicated on each of the cards.

Cartes à fil anciennes collection Sajou

The majority of thread brands had simple names, often associated with an easily recognisable object.
This dates from the not so faraway time when a large number of people could neither read nor write.
Appointing an object, a fruit, an animal… became a reference for the brand.
This method was also used in other domains and for products much older than threads. Thus we can find in cutlery and scissor making such brands as the crowned clover, the harp, the axe, the Moorish head, the ace of spades.
It was also the manner of naming inns such as the White Horse or the Smoking Dog….

Cartes à fil anciennes fils de lin


The biggest dilemma for those who collect this type of object
is to decide whether to keep the card with its thread intact, especially when it is perfectly wound. But by doing this, they deprive themselves from revealing the often marvellous images hidden beneath the thread. Of course, the best thing is to have both.




Les cartes à fil anciennes collection Maison Sajou

The 19th century being much less saturated by images than today, it is easy to imagine the effect these colourful cards could have on the clients. The manufacturers understood and multiplied the images, the names and the brands, the idea being that the clients used the thread as quickly as possible to find out what was hidden beneath. The first signs of a consumer society…

Collection de cartes à fil de Frédérique Crestin-Billet

You can choose to sort your cards by colour, by theme, by shape,
by brand… Whatever your choice, treat them carefully as rubbing can damage them and remove the fine paper which is stuck on the cardboard. This was the most common method of making the thread cards.

Maison Sajou has kept with tradition in re-launching the use of thread cards. The ones we sell are made in the same spirit of quality and amusement as those of yesteryear.

All Sajou thread cards

Wooden storage boxes for thread cards

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