Used to thread ribbon through petticoats and skirts enabling the lady to change the color and give the garment a different look -- much cheaper than having two (or more) petticoats. Threading slots for different ribbons. There was, of course, another use: when Hamlet was wondering about ending his life, one of the means he considered was "with a bare bodkin." Your choice. Most bodkins are brass: silver ones are rare. Inscribed with owners' initials, AD. In a collection in Linclonshire, UK, since 1973.
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