Tools of the Trade:
That Time That Needles Made Headlines
Unfortunately the retailer would not listen to the wholesale merchant. Certain goods were exempt from the tariff--including sewing needles:
As it turns out, our needles were all imported from England and Germany because as many articles pointed out, it was not profitable to manufacture needles here. One of the few times I found the tools manufactured here was during the Civil War when it was reported that a North Carolina blacksmith was manufacturing needles. Apparently it didn't work out too well although I could never find out what was defective about the needles.
So sewing needles were included on the free list but despite the wholesale merchant telling the retailer this, the retailer didn't believe him. As most newspapers pointed out:
"Now that retail merchant will never believe in the party that deceived him. He won't sell a needle for thirteen years over his counter that he will not recall the demagogue who went about telling him that he must lay in a supply of everything in anticipation of high tariff under the new law. He has had the truth pricked into him." (Great pun!)
Two years later, another panic would hit the United States, caused partially by the recession and more so by the closing of the United States Reading Railroad. But at least the needles were saved by the free list and women could continue to sew.
I'm taking tomorrow off from blogging. I'll be back on Wednesday with another edition of Story Time Stiches.
Have a safe and happy day and stay cool!