Until the 1880’s, industrial production of needles was situated in Aachen in Germany but particularly in Redditch, England. This town was once considered the world capital of this speciality. The production in the 1870’s was estimated at 3.5 billion units. Even though production in France was not so substantial, the most significant manufacturers were based in Normandy.
As the packa- ging proves, a large majority of needles sold in France came from Great Britain. Some kept their original packaging, other were repacked but specified that the needles were English.
These needle packets were boughtonEnglishsoil.Twofamous brands among them: Kirby Beard,
also largely distributed in France and Flora Macdonald, a folk hero whose celebrity
never crossed the borders of her own country.
The charm is to be found in the labels. These packets normally only held one sort of needle..