Images of needle samples from Dosco needle catalog. Published by DOSCO (The Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation), circa 1930. Smithsonian Libraries. q 048754.

On Pins and Needles

This catalog and sample book, circa 1930, contains needle and sewing items manufactured by The Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation (DOSCO), a Canadian coal mining and steel manufacturing company. Included are more than 50 steel sewing, crocheting, and knitting needles and safety pins. Some are even in their original packaging. Brief captions, images, illustrations, and item numbers accompany each item—most captions are in English, with some in German. 


The salesman’s sample book, like this DOSCO catalog, was a common means through which manufacturers could promote their product lines to local retailers worldwide with onsite visits. This DOSCO catalog, with its spacious layout, informative labels, colorful illustrations, straightforward organization of product types, and easy-to-access samples, is a consummate example of a trade catalog designed to promote and sell products.  

Trade catalogs and sample books historically document not only the ways in which items were marketed, but also the types of products available. These publications and the items they describe reflect contemporary manufacturing technology, consumer demands, and public tastes. 

The DOSCO catalog, for example, includes high quality, durable, and practical sewing equipment geared to the domestic middle-class market. Travel sewing needle kits, complete with a variety of sized needles and threaders encased in colorfully illustrated cardboard cases, are also featured in the catalog. The images on the covers of the cases depict women riding bicycles, driving automobiles, and riding on horseback in a resort settings; these kits were marketed to the modern female traveler and, no doubt, to the gender responsible for household sewing.

Prize Medal Needle Assortment traveling sewing kit from the DOSCO catalog. 

Museum Number: 
q 048754.