Found in a Newfoundland field, these well-mended “tumgluttons” were used for hunting and fishing. Notice how three fingers are kept together for warmth, while the index finger and thumb are allowed to move freely. These mittens maintain heat better when wet, so fishermen dipped them in warm salt water with their hands still inside.

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Why did the donor of these mittens refer to them as “tumgluttons” – what is the origin of this name?

responded: Apr 16, 2012

Posted by Tessa Andriopoulos

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For my UofT Material Culture class: These tumgluttons found in Newfoundland and Labrador are made of wool and were hand-knit sometime before the 1960’s. These remarkable hand garments are an interesting cross between gloves and mittens giving the owner the best of both worlds. Used in hunting and/or fishing excursions, the gloves served the owner much use as they allowed for ultimate warmth in the mitten section and when needed there was a slot for the index finger to allow for incredible dexterity. Without knowing who these belonged to, would you guess the owner to be: a male or a female? Take notice of the colour, wear, shape, size, and design. In the 1960s, a changing time of gender responsibility, it is possible that the tumgluttons could have belonged to either or. What is it that would allow you to assume one way or another? Consider what gender stereotypes bring you to this conclusion and how gender roles form preconceived notions we don’t not even realize we are making. I have attached a collage that demonstrates recent blurring lines between masculinity and femininity.

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