25 June 2012

About Aero shuttles


Before I start - progress on the web pages is going well.  I'm about to start on the heart section today or whenever I get some time.

I had a message asking me to clarify the differences between the Aero bobbin type shuttles so I'm going to try and see if I can explain it - as I have fathomed it.

Milwards and Aero were, the same company and were at one point part of Needle Industries in Redditch - a few miles away from where I live.  This is an interesting link.  This also makes sense from what I know too.  Another link here is interesting as I read somewhere that the molds for the shuttles were destroyed in a fire but here it would appear that it was the records which were destroyed.  As my ex husband worked there after this date and found shuttles still there then I feel that it was simply that the mold was taken over to Germany for manufacturing in that country.

The company started off making the Milward black shuttles with the 'dip' in them and the hook with a green ribbon on.  I started life with those at the age of 13.  Then I tried the 'new' grey Aero ones as they had the integral hook.  It wasn't until I bought one with instructions on on how to load the bobbin and which way to put it in the shuttle that I became comfortable with using them.

So from what I've gathered over the years I thought there was just a Made in England grey bobbin shuttle.  They were easily available and cheap so I suppose I never gave them much thought.  Then the making of the shuttles was re-located to Germany and some of them were a bit problematic.  They even tried using carbon hooks on them as I've mentioned in a previous post - a disaster.  I got round the odd problems with the German ones by swopping bobbins and they used to work fine for me.

Barb actually told me the following last week which goes to prove how little I thought about it.

"I do not know if you know this or not but there are 2 different old shuttles.
1.       “Made in England” – this is all it states on the shuttle and is the OLDEST original one-in my opinion is the BEST and those that have this one agree it is the BEST!
2.       “Aero Made in England” – this is what it says on the shuttle, this was made second and has a little different design in the middle where the bobbin is.
The “Aero Made in England” one – Pony and Susan bates tried to copied this one.
The “Made in England” – this one is the same as the original Made in Germany ones. – but the mold was used so many times and needs re-worked it finally lost its click click."

At the end of the day it's all down to the skill of the mold maker and the type of 'plastic' which is used, I think!!!!

8 comments:

  1. Very interesting post, Jane! I have one Made in England that I purchased from you years ago. I have no Aero Made in England, but I do have one Made in Germany. I recently purchased some of the new ones made in Mexico, which are unmarked. They are terrible! I rate them right down there with the one Susan Bates knock-off that I own. I really have high hopes for the new Aerlit shuttles!

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  2. Quick look at my shuttles and I have three Made in England, but on one the plastic has snapped, but I can't bring myself to thow it away! I just can't get on with the Germany ones, they are just too loose. So like Diane I have high hopes for the Aerlit shuttles.

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  3. Thank you (Milles fois!) for sharing this awesome info RE: the Made in England shuttles. It is so fortunate that you lived so close to the place of manufacture. For us "across the pond" it is like having insider info. And the three links are so interesting.

    My hopes are high for the Aerlit shuttles, and I do think they may just be the ticket. Time will reveal all...if I can just be patient.

    P.S. Thank you so much for investing so much of your time, effort and energy to change over all those pattern links! What a gargantuan task.

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  4. Thanks so much for taking the time to write more about the history of the Aero! I didn't know that the Milward and the Aero were made by the same company, and I'm fascinated by the story. (Thanks for your links and the history of Redditch.) And Barbara's information amazed me. I'm delighted to discover that I have two "Made in England" shuttles (no 'Aero' word).

    Not long after I joined our tatting group in 1990 (I was a 'newbie' among six experienced tatters, and I was using the Boye metal bobbin shuttle) the 'Made in England' shuttle (known simply to us as the "Aero") was introduced to our group by our leader, who owned a needlework shop; and they were all marveling at it, indicating to me they had never seen one before. So I'm assuming the company started production of it around that time - or it had just reached the US market. It quickly became a favorite and was available in all the craft stores. Little did we realize it would have a 'short life' in its original configuration. I am indebted to the designer of that shuttle! I agree that it's also the quality of the plastic that helps to distinguish it.

    I'm relieved to know your website project is going well (although I still can't get over the letter that BT sent). I still marvel at your knowledge of computers!

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  5. Hi Kathy. I'm trying to remember when I started using the Aero bobbin shuttles. It may have been as early as in my late 20's to early 30's. That would've been roughly 1970 ish. Perhaps a bit before or after. They were just always 'there'. Perhaps Barb would kow?

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  6. Now it is finally clear to me why there is such a difference between my grey plastic shuttles. I have one Aero England (my favorite) and two Made in Germany. The German ones don't make the clicking sound and one of the bobbins is made out of a very soft plastic and it just slips, so I cannot work with it.
    Thanks for your information.

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  7. Hi Jane
    Actually I don't think that is quite accurate as I have both Aero England & Made in England shuttles still in their packets - the Made in England are actually Milward shuttles! I'll put a photo on my blog tomorrow if I remember! By the style of the packaging - the Aero's are older than the Made in England Milwards but not absolutely certain of that last fact :)
    I was taught to tat at age 4 or 5 & my first shuttle was an Aero England that was 1969 or 1970 (even then we had them in Australia!!!!).

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  8. Thanks for your input too, Trayna. Milward and Aero are the same company and I think the parent company was probably Needle Industries. It's all very complicated as 'life' in that area started out as a lot of small businesses who amalgamated at some point or other!!!! There is a museum still over in Redditch which makes for a very interesting visit although it's 'all about needles' and nothing when I last visited about tatting shuttles. Your dates sound about right too. I 'resisted' the Aero types for years because the hook 'got in the way' and then one day I bought one with instructions printed on the back showing how to load the bobbin with the thread on. After that I never looked back.

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