The Safety Pin

April 10th Celebrates The Safety Pin

Today on Days to remember we celebrate how on April 10th 1849, Walter Hunt patented the safety pin.

The modern safety pin was the invention of Walter Hunt. For those of you who hardly use the safety pin, it is an object commonly used to fasten clothing (i.e. cloth diapers) together. The very first pins used for clothing date back to the Mycenaean’s during the 14th century BCE and were called fibulae.

Nowadays crafters make bracelets out of safety pins. Today’s YouTube presentation by user name, (Makeful) gives you a little demonstration how crafters are making beautiful bracelets out of safety pins.

So how did Walter Hunt come up with the idea to make a safety pin?

While Walter Hunt was twisting a piece of wire, trying to think of something that would help him pay off a fifteen dollar debt. He later sold his patent rights to the safety pin for four hundred dollars to the man that he owed the money to.

On April 10, 1849, Walter Hunt was granted US patent #6,281 for his safety pin. Hunt’s pin was made from one piece of wire, which was coiled into a spring at one end and a separate clasp and point at the other end, allowing the point of the wire to be forced by the spring into the clasp.

It was the first pin to have a clasp and spring action and Hunt claimed that it was designed to keep fingers safe from injury – hence the name.

In 1834, Walter Hunt built America’s first sewing machine, which was also the first eye pointed needle sewing machine. He later lost interest in patenting his sewing machine, because he believed the invention would cause unemployment among seamstresses.

Who was Walter Hunt?

Walter Hunter was an American mechanic. He was born in Martinsburg, New York.

Through the course of his work he became renowned for being a prolific inventor, notably of the lockstitch sewing machine (1833), safety pin (1849), a forerunner of the Winchester repeating rifle, a successful flax spinner, knife sharpener, streetcar bell, hard-coal-burning stove, artificial stone, street sweeping machinery, and the ice plough.

In seeking patents for his inventions, Hunt used the services of Charles Grafton Page, a patent solicitor who had previously worked at the US Patent Office.

The design of the safety pin has remained virtually the same ever since. As we celebrate on April 10th, the birthday of the safety pin.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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