People wander around saying things like, "My mom had one of those--I wonder what happened to it?" and "I used to have a whole bunch of those--I wish I'd kept them."
I recently noticed batches of old thread spools in a junk shop and realized that I had thrown many similar ones away over the years. All of the thread I use now is wound on plastic spools, but I love vintage sewing stuff. I sew on a 1970s Kenmore portable machine that Doug found for me at Goodwill for $8 several years ago. The machine sits on a 1950s linoleum-topped table that I got for free after student move-out last June.
Yesterday in a Goodwill store, I noticed a hideous, filthy, green plastic storage box filled with thread--30 or 40 spools, about half of which were wooden.
The box was marked $5. Sold.
When I got home, I sorted the wooden spools from the plastic ones, snipped off the dangling threads, and put the vintage spools in an old Mason jar.
Then I decided to do a little research. I learned that Coats & Clark, the maker of most of the older spools of thread, is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2012. I don't know when they stopped marketing their thread on wooden spools and switched to plastic, but one of my finds was marked 15 cents. Since I now pay about $5 for a spool of good thread, I'm guessing that a 15-cent price tag places these spools back at least a few decades.
Further research took me to a website where someone is selling random spools of vintage thread at $9.97 for 10.
That makes my purchase of that junky green box even better.