Rare Paint Decorated Figural Cast Iron Bird Sewing Hemming Clamp, 19th Century
This is a rare paint decorated cast iron sewing/hemming clamp (third hand) in the form of a bird in flight. Black enamel with polychrome floral decoration, depicting a smooth patterned bird with spring-construction to the tail and mouth for holding fabric, Third quarter 19th century
Sewing birds/clamps acted as a third hand for the seamstress, holding the piece of fabric taut, which allowed sewers to sit up straight rather than hunch over their work. They were advertised at the time as having "health preserving" properties as these clamps allowed for proper posture while working over a piece of sewing. When you press on the tail of the bird it's mouth opens to receive the fabric that is to be sewn.
Condition: As found, excellent condition. No damage or repairs evident. It is all original. Expected wear to paint. The original simple C form table clamp (key) to fasten it to the table.
Approximate Dimensions: Height of the total clamp 4.5", The bird itself is 3.5" long.