Tools of the trade: Prym’s Thimbles

Throughout our 120-year long history, we haven’t just established lasting relationships with valued customers – there are also a number of suppliers we have worked with for a significant amount of time, whom we continually trust to provide us with premium-quality products.

In this new blog series, we pay homage to those brands whose enduring renown and reliability have won our loyalty over the years.

Following on from our exploration of garment chalk manufacturer Hancock’s illustrious history, this time our attention is on heritage brand Prym – the oldest family-owned business in Germany – whose steel thimbles have become a classic in the world of textiles.


The history

Prym’s humble beginnings started almost five centuries ago in 1530, when founder Wilhelm Prym became an independent goldsmith in Aachen, Germany. This led to the creation of the company and by 1559, Wilhelm’s son Kergsten Prym was also running a brass workshop, further strengthening the family expertise within the metal industry. Their proximity to significant deposits of zinc ore provided ideal conditions for the Pryms to start producing brass themselves.

Fast forward to 1642, and rising religious tensions brought trying times for the business. The Prym family lost their guild rights as a result of being Protestants in the Catholic city of Aachen, which saw Christian Prym moving his entire family to the town of Stolberg, wanting a better life. To this day, the company headquarters are still based there in an area known as Dollartshammer.

During the next few centuries, Christian Prym married into the Peltzer family –  one of the region’s most important brassmakers – beginning a long-standing partnership between the two. By the late 18th century, the company had 140 furnaces producing 40,000 hundredweight (equivalent to 320,000 stone) of brass.

Despite difficulties at the start of the 19th century – resulting from a wider decline in brass production – by its end the company had begun to flourish again. With a pioneering spirit at its heart, the business moved along with the changing market and started manufacturing copper alloy wires. After undertaking an apprenticeship in Birmingham, Heinrich August Prym brought his skills back to Germany and the company began mechanically producing small metal parts – including thimbles. With a focus on manufacturing sewing accessories, Prym started branding its items with a stag – taken from the family crest – with a needle in its antlers.

But the innovation didn’t stop there. In 1903, Hans Friedrich Prym took the existing press fastener model and improved it by inserting a spring and patenting his creation. By 1909, demand was high for the new design and the business continued to go from strength to strength over the following decades. And although considerable difficulties were endured in the aftermath of WWII, Prym eventually reacquired all production sites that were lost throughout the country – as well as in Austria and Poland – as a result of the war.

Still prevailing in the 21st century, the company now manufactures around 15 million press fasteners every day. With an array of sewing, craft and apparel accessories in its product portfolio, Prym has branched out further in recent times and now makes small mechanical elements for the automotive and electronic industries too.


The tools

Prym is well recognised for its impact within the textiles industry and supplies a wide range of sewing accessories – including thimbles, pins, needles and fasteners – to tailors and designers around the world. The company’s wide thimble offering encompasses enduring classic styles – which have remained largely unchanged over time – as well as the more innovative prym.ergonomics series that has been specifically designed with the comfort and convenience of craftspeople in mind.

Made for sewing, quilting, and embroidering, these tools are essential for keeping fingers protected, whilst ensuring minimal interference with the job at hand. Available in multiple sizes, these steel-lined thimbles are expertly designed to be anti-slip, providing optimal needle control within the intricate hand-sewing process.

As anyone in the industry knows, a well-finished garment can only be achieved through an array of elements being executed beautifully. Prym’s thimbles have played a part in this complex ensemble for hundreds of years, and we expect they will prevail for plenty more.

At Dugdale Bros, alongside our many fine cloth collections, we also provide tailoring products of the highest quality. As a proud supplier of Prym’s thimbles, we recommend them highly and can attest that the company’s long-standing renown is well-deserved.

You can find Prym’s steel thimbles on our online trimmings store, or by contacting our sales department on 01484 421772.