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)
- If you have the time to check out the claims, go to http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl1300s.htm and wikipedia:14th century. You never know, they might have been meaning knitting needles. - Cian Gillebhrath
- the phrasing was all wrong for that - knitting needles don't have to be of metal any more than sewing needles do, but taking the assumption.....
- There is probably 13th C knitting in europe (earlier - maybe 12thC - in egypt and the middle east). It's not common (in fact you'd struggle to get 5 european examples pre 1400, but the one I'm pretty confident on is in Estonia and only recently published), and mostly naalbinding was used (hence using 'undebated') so only very special-ist books (and fanatics like I'm on email lists with) would know about it. The topic of 13th C knitting is probably still open for debate, but I'm sufficiently concerned that i wouldn't be happy putting this as a fact in an article.
- wikipedia article about knitting is lovely, but note how it even says "The first references to true knitting in Europe were in the early 14th century, though the first knitted socks from Egypt might be slightly older." - If it weren't for the 13th C estonian knitting (which definately isn't naalbinding), I might allow "knitting was introduced to Europe" for 14thC. (with conditionals that new research may move this date back about 50 years)
- The other article looks like it's pretty well researched, but in nitpick mode I can find one fault in my area of specialty: "Circa 1200 - Clothing buttons invented." It depends greatly how you define a button, but i can show you a couple of c1150 garments with a button on them. Sure the buttons are constructed like frogs, but they still seem like buttons to me. And I'm assuming shoes don't count as clothing, because I can show plenty of 10th C toggles.
- I guess I have trouble with listing when things were invented. How can we truly know that? Just because Mr X says he did, doesn't mean he was telling the truth, or that Mr Y in the next town over didn't invent it 50 years earlier, and Mr X just never heard about it. I would prefer the phrasing that some of the better worded ones on the inventions site use: 'first mention of' 'oldest known object' and that kind of thing - it allows the possibilty that something earlier occurred, but we haven't read the right manuscript/dug up the right bog yet. We could also list when things became popular - eg buttons were very rare in teh 12th C, and the only examples I know of used to fasten necklines. So it would be fair to say they became popular sometime in the 13th (or maybe 14th) C. A fact that probably has more significance to the reenactor than the first object. And one that is unlikely to be disproved by earlier discoveries (popular items show up well in the records/digs unlike rare early ones)
- I know I'm being overly fussy (and grumpy because I should be asleep), but what do you think?
Eastern early knitting
As well as the Estonian knitting fragment, there is also an article by Irena Turnau about 13th c. knitting which may help. I don't know enough about knitting to really help with the discussion though.
"Knitting Craft in Europe from the Thirteenth to the Eighteenth Century", Turnau, Irena. The Bulletin of the Needle and Bobbin Club, Vol. 65 (1982) Online in PDF format at: http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/articles165.html