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  1. #1
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    Default When a housewife was somewhere to keep money!

    I came across this in a newspaper from 1828 when I was looking for something on transportation!



  2. #2
    Super Moderator christanel's Avatar
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    Just had to look this one up Megan
    So not a woman who manages her own household as her main occupation but possibly a small container for needles, thread, and other sewing equipment. One on display at HMS Belfast and there was one sold on e-bay in the WW11 militaria section so the name carried on
    Christina
    Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts.
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  3. #3
    Knowledgeable and helpful thewideeyedowl's Avatar
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    It's pronounced 'hussif', and when I am not quite so tired I'll take a photograph of mine and post it. As Christina has found out, it is for needles/threaded needles, a few pins, a small pair of scissors, the odd button, bits of elastic - that sort of thing, which you use but have a little bit over. Suffice to say that it was made for me by my Victorian grandmother in the late 1950s, and I still use it.

    Off to roost

    Owl
    Families don't make sense - they make history.

  4. #4
    Knowledgeable and helpful thewideeyedowl's Avatar
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    Default My Hussif

    Here are photographs of my hussif, which is loaded with family history - as I will explain:

    Here it is open:


    You can see the needles and threads that I have been using (but not very recently!).

    And here it is closed - my initials were embroidered by my grandmother on an old piece of my father's army uniform:



    And another 'outside' view - I've finished for the day and the little scissors are there for safekeeping:




    The hussif connects me to my grandmother, to my father, to World War 2, and to my first home in an old farmhouse:
    1. My grandmother (1885-1976) was an excellent needlewoman. She taught me to sew and embroider before I started school. She made this hussif for me for Christmas 1958 (if I remember aright), when I would have been nine.
    2. My father (1922-2009) was a gunner in the RA during WW2, seeing service in North Africa and Italy [Eighth Army]. When he travelled back to England by train from Italy (Milan?) in summer 1945, he had all his possessions in his kitbag. His kitbag was stolen, so he arrived back at home in the clothes he was wearing - his khaki army uniform. The outside of the hussif, was made from a piece of this old uniform. It is history.
    3. Granny used some of an old vest of my father's for the 'needle leaves' (as you can see).
    4. The hussif is lined with a scrap of the material that was used as curtains for the front farmhouse bedrooms that looked on to the village road. This takes me back to my first home.
    5. Though later additions, notice the small pointed scissors kept in a wine cork for safety. My mother gave me the scissors years ago; and my late husband loved wine.

    So, you see, this little artefact is loaded with history for me - a trifling piece that can spark so much talk, and so many memories.

    Owl
    Families don't make sense - they make history.

  5. #5
    Knowledgeable and helpful thewideeyedowl's Avatar
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    A further thought - if the owner of the hussif noted in the 1828 paper was a seamstress, she might well have used it for the money she earned as well as for the small tools of her trade. IF that was so, then stealing a hussif would be a serious offence, I think, and the case would be mentioned in the newspapers.

    Must swoop off now.

    Owl
    Families don't make sense - they make history.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by christanel View Post
    So not a woman who manages her own household as her main occupation but possibly a small container for needles, thread, and other sewing equipment.
    Christina
    Christina, the normal definition of a housewife has been in use since medieval times, and the "joke" adoption of the name for the pocket sewing case is a later derivation from the original use.

    I have several hussifs, which have been well used for the 60 years or so I have had them. Made for me by a Victorian great aunt. I also have a couple where the needles etc are packed into a small tube with either tiny scissors down the middle, or a thimble for a lid, and the cottons wound round the outside, then cased in a second plastic tube. They have souvenir pictures on them and date from around the 1920s.

    My grandfather, like most sailors, had a hussif which he took to sea with him, for doing running repairs. This may even be where the term originated, as used by men without a wife to do the sewing repairs.

    If you DuckDuckGo "hussif chatelaine" you will see the crossover between the two.

  7. #7
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    was there a standard army-issue hussif ?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peo...a5168441.shtml

  8. #8
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    Default Hussif or House wife

    When I joined the RAF in 1957 I was issued with a "House wife" - as stated above it had all the items for repairs to your uniform. All my RAF were issued one. Sadly, mine is long gone but I did trade it in for a real house wife who will celebrate with me our 60th wedding anniversary next March.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill King View Post
    When I joined the RAF in 1957 I was issued with a "House wife" - as stated above it had all the items for repairs to your uniform. All my RAF were issued one. Sadly, mine is long gone but I did trade it in for a real house wife who will celebrate with me our 60th wedding anniversary next March.
    Now THAT made me smile.
    Thank you Bill, for starting my day on a happy note.

    Jane

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