tatting Newsletter


December 11 2012 Tatting Newsletter

What's the Story on Nun's Thread?

I was recently asked if I had any information on Nun's Thread. I did not. So I have been researching my vintage booklets and searching the web for bits of history on it. So far I have found out that Nun's Thread was sold by T. Buettner & Co., Inc. with which we are all familiar through their tatting pattern book. Buettner Co. began around 1888 but was incorporated 1903.

Buettner's sales store in Chicago 1911 postcard.
This image used with the permission of Chuckman's Photos on Wordpress from the Collection Vol. 1 - 16.

The "TBC" pattern book, "TBC's Designs for Tatting" Booklet #8631 (third edition 1916) is available for a free download. The link is posted here on BellaOnline.com: http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/3137.asp. The cover of this booklet gives the best clue. At the bottom left it advertised "Nun's Thread" and on the right "TBC", both listed as trademarked. So that shows a close connection. T. Buettner Co.& Inc. was based in America and in Hamburg, Germany. It imported art needlework supplies. On page 41 there is an advertisement showing several balls of thread manufactured by Buettner and Co. of Chicago and Germany. The threads are perle coton (pearl cotton), cordonnet special and Saxonia cordonnet. Next to one ball of thread is this statement:

"The trademark T.B.C. stands for the highest quality, best value and most satisfactory service in crochet cottons. The trademark NUN'S represents the same high standards in embroidery threads."

Ah ha! So Nun's Thread is an embroidery thread not a crochet or tatting cotton. And the Nun's thread trademark appears at the bottom of each of the five Buettner instructions booklets advertised on page 40. These booklets deal with crochet, hardanger embroidery and the use of novelty braids such as rick rack, coronation cord and turtle braid. A small sample of the different braids and tapes appears on page 2.

I have also learned that Nun's Thread was advertised as Nun's Boilproof Two-Ply High Luster threads! This seems to advertise the fact that their colors did not fade. I have seen a color chart that shows brilliant shades so they must have been in the forefront of the use of chemical dyes back then. I am now searching for photos of the embroidery thread. All this info will be posted as an artcile here on BellaOnline.com later.
I welcome any photos or information you might have to share.

Happy Holidays!

Here's the latest article from the Tatting site at BellaOnline.com.
Split Ring Vintage Pattern Coats #14 An early example of the split ring was used in the J.P. Coats Co. Booklet #14.


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Georgia Seitz, Tatting Editor

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