When tested with an XRF instrument this antique (likely c. 1920-1940) child’s thimble (given as a reward to children who have done a good job with a sewing project!) that has the words “For A Good Girl” on the side…. had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): 839,800 +/- 6,000 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 139,600 +/- 2,500 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 7,417 +/- 612 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 1,265 +/- 319 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 5,592 +/ 1,298 ppm
The test results shown here are for a 30 second test done with a freshly calibrated XRF instrument testing in “consumer goods” mode. Results are science based, replicable and accurate. If you have questions about the testing reported on this site, please click here to learn more.
How much Lead is too much Lead?
The amount of Lead that is considered unsafe and illegal in a modern / newly manufactured item made and sold for use by children today is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint / glaze or coating and anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate. Since there is not a paint or coating on this item the “100 ppm” standard to determine toxicity would apply for this item (if it were modern.)
To show the size of this tiny thimble, the photo below is of the thimble with a tube of Lead Safe Mama lip balm, which is a standard size lip balm tube.
Continue reading below the image
How dangerous is this item?
This item is incredibly dangerous.
- INGESTION: If it were swallowed by a child it could kill them – AND it is the right size to be swallowed by a young child.
- SKIN CONTACT: If a child touched this, Lead would wear off on to their hands and that child could be poisoned by any subsequent hand-to-mouth contact.
Sewing supplies are not toys. In the absence of intentionally choosing nontoxic sewing supplies, vintage and antique sewing supplies should not be played with or used by children. Sewing supplies often have Lead (even some new/modern sewing supplies!) If you do put together a sewing kit for a child to use, please choose known Lead safe and Lead-free options (there are some in the link below, and I will work on writing a post that lists Lead-safe or Lead-free options for everything that a child might need for sewing!) In the meantime here is a link to a modern and likely Lead-free thimble choice on Amazon*: https://amzn.to/3avCvIr
If you are a collector of this sort of thing and have more information to share with me about the origins of this thimble, please do let me know by commenting on this post – and I will also update the post as appropriate.
Thank you for reading and for sharing this post.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!
*Amazon links are affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking on one of my links I may receive a small percentage of what you spend at no extra cost to you.