Darn it!

Sellar’s Rapid Darner

Does anything get darned in households any more? I know that back in the late 60s, when I left home, a darning mushroom was considered an essential of life. But actually, by then, it was already a bit of a white elephant. Woollen socks had been the thing that needed darning. Nylon ones were cheap and disposable.

Darning was really weaving a new piece of fabric where a hole had developed. First you produced warp threads and then wove the weft or cross threads onto them.

But back in those days, around 50 or 60 years ago, companies came up with devices to try to make the job easier. This one fascinated me and I bought it, complete and in its box for next to nothing at a jumble sale. It was a Sellar’s Rapid Darner.

It was clearly scheduled to be sold for five shillings which is 25p in present day money.


But a sticker on the other side of the box gives a price of 2/11 which is more like 15p. Presumably it had become a struggle to sell them.


Here is the darner.


The wooden part is the equivalent of the darning mushroom. You stretch your holey material over it and fasten it tightly with the rubber band.

The metal part is a bit like a heddle on a loom. It can pick up alternate fibres to pass a needle under and then, by moving the lever it picks up the other fibres and you pass the needle back.

The copious instructions explain.


If you feel a need to read it all then click on the picture to see an enlarged version.

The device probably dates from the 1950s. I think the company was struck off the register in 1958.

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2 Responses to “Darn it!”

  1. Janet Says:

    Speaking as a weaver – I like it.

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