There is an error on this page. Iron needles are known from at least the 9th Century. Anglo-Scandanavian Ironwork from 16-22 Coppergate by Patrick Ottaway from The Archeology of York Volume 17: The Small Finds lists 150 needles and 70 possible needle shanks from (40 of which were identified as being iron).
Thanks for the sharp eyes, I'd never noticed this preposterous claim here before. I've removed iron needles from the list. Anyone got any knowledge of other inventions that actually are 14th C to fill in the gap? Tiff 07:02, 11 Jan 2006 (CST)