Who Made the First Needle?

A needle is a very slender tool that is sharp at one end and often has a little hole, or eye, at the other end to pass a thread through. Man first though of the needle so long ago that we cannot know when it was “invented”.

We know that the earliest needles were made of bone, ivory, wood, bronze, or thorn. Some were really awls, such as a shoe maker uses, for they had no eyes. They were used to punch holes in the material. Well-Finished needles of fish or bird bone have been found in remains of the Stone Age.

For thousands of years, bone needles pierced with eyes have been used among more civilized races. Even stone needles have been dug up in the ruins of ancient Egypt. Bronze and iron needles were known to the Romans.


Many well-made needles have been found in the ruins of Pompeii. Steel needles like those we used now are believed to have been first made by the Chinese. They were brought into Europe by the Moors in the Middle Ages.

The First steel needles made in Europe were manufactured at Nuremberg, Germany, in the fourteenth century. During the reign of the Queen Elizabeth I, Elias Grouse, a German, taught the art of needle-making to the English. It is now an important industry here.

The world’s principal producers of needles are England and France. Even though many machines are used in making needles, they are still not easy to make. A needle passes through the hands of more than 20 people before it is finished!

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