by Carole Meeker

In 1902 one John H. Post of Hartford, CT invented an embroidery hoop holder. In 1999, 97 years later, I decided to take up the craft of Early American rug hooking. It was fate that brought Post's invention and me together.

Patent Number: 707,353
Patent Date: Aug. 19, 1902
Invention: Embroidery Frame and Holder
Inventor: J. H. Post

Lend Me A Hand!

I actually had several of these cast iron clamps in my possession, having accumulated them over the past 5 years without knowing exactly what they were or what they were used for, Meanwhile I sat fumbling while trying to hold an embroidery hoop with my one hand and needing more than just my other one to maneuver the hooking tool, the strips of wool and the canvas cloth, Just when I was ready to 'throw down the hoop', I was informed by a quilter that I met over the internet that this neat metal clamp had a very specific purpose, functioning as a fully adjustable embroidery hoop vise, The rest, as they say, is history!

How It Works

With the twist of a thumbscrew on the bottom half of the device, it can be firmly clamped to the edge of a table or chair ann (see photo on left). A second thumbscrew is tightened to secure the embroidery hoop to the top half of the device. Its design permits the use of any size hoop, frame or what-have-you. The ball-and-socket design of the V-joint fitting, where the top and bottom halves connect together, is loosened and tightened using a third thumbscrew. This makes the device infinitely adjustable, rotating and revolving in all directions, to allow the hoop to be turned to any angle or position the seamstress desires.

The Priscilla Embroidery Hoop Holder

A simple idea, yet no one previously had come up with it. Perhaps Post looked to any number of special use vises on his workbench for design inspiration. Or perhaps he modeled it after earlier Victorian-era sewing birds ('third-hands', as they were known); devices similar in concept but redesigned by Post to hold the hoop rather than the fabric itself. In any case, the information printed on the original box that my internet pen pal's clamp came in shows that it was marketed as 'The Priscilla Embroidery Hoop Holder' by Rocky Hill Hardware Co. in Rocky Hill (South Hartford), CT.

Thanks Mr. Post---Now maybe I can get that rug done!

Antiques of a Mechanical Nature are PAST members, Carole and Larry Meeker's collecting interests as well as a business. Carole collects small early sewing machines and unusual ironing devices. Larry collects all kinds of tools and is currently obsessed with calculating devices. For more info, call 530-620-7019, or email, clm@inforum.net or check their eBay auctions & eBay web site.