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$15 Debt Helped Create The Safety Pin

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Safety Pin Day

Celebrate simplicity and practicality this Safety Pin Day. Legend has it that, in 1849, Walter Hunt, the inventor of the safety pin, owed a friend $15 and decided to invent something new in order to earn the money to repay him. He invented the safety pin.

Strong and sharp, yet safe enough to be used on clothing, safety pins are a simple yet ingenious invention, which practically everyone has used at some point.

  • Safety pins are an invention consisting of a clasp and a pin, and is a variant of a pin.
  • While safety pins have many uses, they are frequently used to attach fabric items to each other, without the danger of accidentally stabbing one’s self with the pin.
  • Safety pins are generally made of a metal wire such as stainless steel or brass, and the length of wire is curled in the middle to form a basic spring.
  • The ancestor of the safety pin, called a ‘fibula’, is thought to have been an invention of the Ancient Greek Mycenaean community, and it was used as a brooch, as well as a pin to hold clothes together.
  • The safety pin was invented in 1849 by the American Walter Hunt, a mechanic, who created it while fiddling with a length of wire.
  • The safety pin patent was sold for $400 USD, which equates to roughly $10,000 USD in 2008 to W R Grace Company in 1849, while Hunt is said to have used some of the money to pay a small debt owed to a friend.
  • The clasp of a safety pin is used to secure the pin closed and prevent it from poking the user.
  • From the 1970s, safety pins were a common item worn by those who embraced punk fashion, both on clothes and as piercings.
  • In countries such as Turkey, where good luck charms are made with beads attached to safety pins, there is a high incidence of ingesting the pins by young children, who accidentally swallow them.
  • Numerous improvements to safety pins were made during the late 1800s and early 1900s, although it wasn’t until 1907, that pins had a clasps similar to the modern style clasp.


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