Made by the Simons Bros. Co. for the Columbian Exposition in 1893, this very desirable thimble is unmarked, but documented in Gay Ann Rogers' book “American Silver Thimbles.” Simons actually made two versions of this historic thimble – a patented version, and an unpatented version. This is the unpatented version. The lettering reads “1492 World's Columbian Exposition 1892”. It is marked as a size 8.
The Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893. Although originally planned for 1892, it's opening was delayed almost a year. More than 27 million people attended in just six months, making it an astronomical success.
Simons Bro. & Co. set up an exhibit that included a beautiful mahogany shop front, where thimbles were displayed for purchase by the public. Simons also created a display showing how they actually made these Columbian Exposition thimbles. Workmen at the Exposition applied the band design, added knurling, and burnished them. Spectators were able to purchase thimbles such as this one, actually made on site, in one of the two Columbian Exposition designs. None of these on-site made thimbles were marked with the Simons name.
Looking at this thimble, it's condition is thus explained: it is in good condition, but clearly shows some quality issues that would come with being a non-factory-made thimble. The knurling is uneven, and there are minor striations on the band that came during the manufacturing process. Still, it's a historic thimble. Making it even more charming is that it was actually crafted at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition, and purchased by someone wanting a remembrance of their time there.
This thimble has no holes, no creases and no repairs. It is just a touch out of round, but nothing to be concerned about, given it's age and rarity.