I found this explanation online in an article about women's work in South Yorkshire, "Bobbins are the core onto which thread is wound so that it can be woven into cloth. Many women worked in bobbin production at Beever Mill, Barnsley, which had a mixed workforce of 6-700. Women worked the machines shaping the bobbins and in the glue and press shop where metal ends were fitted to the bobbins."
|From wood to bobbin (from the BBC)|
|Steel banded bobbin (from Harbour Farm.com)|
The completed bobbins, with metal capping at both ends are now apparently desirable articles for "candlesticks and silk flower holders". The picture of the left is from an American website, the bobbin was selling for $14.50.
Barnsley has been home to many other industries besides the coal mines that everyone associates with the area.
|1906 map snip of the Beevor area of Barnsley (from Old Maps)|
|1852 map snip of the Beever Hall Bleachworks (from Old Maps)|
Barnsley once had a thriving linen weaving industry and bobbins would have been used in that. Beever (or possibly Beevor) Mill is long gone, along with all the textile mills in Barnsley, if you follow the link there is a map of their locations and you can click to find out more details.
I started this post intending to write about an ancestor who made bobbins, but got side tracked. It doesn't matter, it was interesting anyway. I am now wondering what happened to all of Barnsley's thousands of bobbins though, if they are worth over £9 each to the Americans!