Friday, August 16, 2013

Such a Simple Tool - The Safety Pin

Such a Simple Tool- The Safety Pin

Have you ever faced a missing button, a drooping hemline or gaping closure?
Textiles often need additional “hardware” for them to function as articles of clothing: buttons, zippers and pins.   Far back into history, as early as the Bronze Age, metal skewer-like objects served as clasps to hold lengths of whole cloth together, forming a semi-fitting article of apparel to function as a loose body cover and protection from the elements.

In Roman times these closures, known as “Fibulae”, served as brooches to fasten tunics and togas .  Wealthy folk in Medieval Europe used elaborate pins made of precious metals and ivory, and by the 1400’s pins were made from drawn wire and much more affordable to the common population.

However these early fasteners had a slight disadvantage in that they were quite sharp, there are many references to their use through the ages as weapons.

It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s that a mechanic cum inventor, Walter Hunt, developed a   u-shaped pin whose point is forced into a safety clasp by a spring.  This invention became invaluable as a closure for cloth diapers (baby protection).  A sample of the Hunt pin is part of the NY Museum of Modern Art.  It really is a functional piece of sculpture, when you consider it

Got a Baby?  Then you have these!

Today, pins are made of steel, brass and stainless steel. Every household has many of these fasteners in many sizes for a wide variety of uses , they really are invaluable!

From small to huge

Remember when price tags were easy to remove?

Safety pins used as fasteners on the backs of jewelry pins

My favorite bracelet made of beads and safety pins

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