16th Century Bodkin, 1590

17th century silver bodkin
17th century silver bodkin DSCN0626 DSCN0628


Bodkin - Ballpoint - English circa 1590 - 7.6cm long; 4.1g - EJ/1500

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The blunt, rounded end on this Elizabethan period silver bodkin was used to thread a cord or ribbon through a pre-made hole in cloth.  The other end has a small spoon bowl that was used to pick earwax out of the ear. The earwax was used for smoothing rough or frayed threads in to usable pieces of sewing yarn!

It has an elongated, rectangular eye and is naively engraved in typical style of the late 16th century. As this bodkin is unmarked it is likely provincial in origin. Typically English in style, bodkins were a standard part of the stock-in-trade of itinerant silversmiths that would travel from one town fair to another to sell small pieces of silver to the local populace. 

This charming silver bodkin remains in excellent condition.