Historical manufacturing

Aglet making appears to have been a standalone craft, but one that relied on other supporting craftspeople to supply the materials used (e.g. hides, woven cords, brass). The pictures available generally show one of two workshop setups; either an aglet maker sitting alone with his tools making bundles of points, or two to four people in a workshop where one or two are making the points up (similarly to the single-person operation) and the other(s) are preparing the leather hides, presumably for cutting into thonging for the points.

It does not appear, from the evidence I have seen, that type 1 or type 2 aglets were ever manufactured separately from the cords to which they're attached (type 3 aglets on the other hand, may have been, and were probably made by jewellers). Furthermore, I believe that aglets were made and attached to their cords in a single step, rather than being made, and then having the cord inserted into and crimped, glued, pinned or stiched on.

Why do I think this? Because of the shape of the aglets. For type 2 aglets, which fold back in on themselves to crimp onto the cord, it does not seem possible to insert the cord after the aglet has been finished. Even for type 1 aglets, the practicalities of inserting a cord after the aglet is shaped make it extremely unlikely that they were rolled first and attached afterwards.

The extant aglets that I have seen are for the most part very narrow, and quite long relative to their diameter. e.g. 22-40mm long, but only 3-4mm diameter, and not particularly tapered. Inserting a cord 15-30mm down a 3mm hole is not always a simple matter; instead the aglet should be made around the cord, and could then crimp it tightly along the full length.

Modern aglets as often used for costuming are quite conical, which allows a cord to be inserted through the open (wide) end, which is then crimped or sewn down onto the cord. This results in a point which has a larger diameter aglet than the cord, which means that the holes through which the point or lace is to be fed must be correspondingly larger, to allow the aglet to pass through. And when unlacing, the aglet is more likely to snag on the hole, which could damage the garment or pull the aglet off the cord.


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 - Quite thin pins (at least on the ones I have)


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- Sewing them on is impractical

 - Firstly you have to somehow insert the cord

 - Can't get a needle and thread (esp with older style needles) through the holes

 - The thread will wear out when laced and unlaced

 - The thread will be cut by the edge of the punched hole

 - It takes too long; aglet manufacture was about mass manufacture, not carefully polished works