Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Plastics became a common product in packaging and container design during the 1950s and 1960s. Materials such as wax paper, cellophane, wood, ceramics and foils stepped aside a bit to make room for the extraordinary popularity of plastic products, which are made from petroleum. One object that gradually disappeared was the wooden spool that held sewing thread.

Many kids during that era had relatives who sewed, and saved the wooden spools for various uses. You could tie a string to a spool and tease the household cat into chasing and pouncing. People painted wooden spools with bright primary colors and created toys. The bright spools could be stacked like blocks. Very young children were given thick shoestrings that were easy for small hands to manipulate, and they threaded the spools onto the shoestrings to create play necklaces.

Speaking of young children and early hand coordination, another popular plaything was the sewing card. Cards (around 5 by 8 inches) made of heavy colorfully illustrated cardboard had holes about a quarter inch in diameter punched in them. The child would be given a long shoestring with a knot in one end, and then 'sew' the string to the card by threading it in and out through the holes.

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