Even in the dawn of history, the instinct of self-preservation urged man to make tools, weapons, build dwellings, unveil the secret of fire and last but not least make clothes. It is quite conceivable that, even in those days, the clothes were joined together or closed with bone awls. These awls may have also been used for pre-stitching when sinews, bast fibres or leather strips were pulled through the “sewing material”. Thus, awls (fig. 001) can be regarded as the origin of brooches, pins, safety pins and finally of sewing machine needles.
28000 BC A development of the awl is made in Aurignacia. This results in the oldest known sewing needle. This does not have an eye but a split head instead. The thread (sinew, bast, intestine etc.) was squeezed into this slot and then used for “sewing” (fig. 002).
17500 BC The first needles with eyes emerge (fig. 003), the eyes are drilled into the bone, horn or ivory splinters with fine fragments of flint. Some of the needles have been kund in tubular holders which served as needle holders.
The shape of these needles will prove to remain unchanged throughout the ages.
Read more about the history of needles here.