I feel a need to honour the single reliable safety pin which has loyally served me for years by now. I use it to secure my pedometer to my slacks since the widget that came with it broke down within a year. I’ve never had to replace the safety pin. Think about that….
Well, I thunk on it and was moved to find
out more about this humble servant. It was invented in 1849 by American Walter Hunt, (1796-1859) who, because he owed some guy $15, sold the rights to it for $400. (now worth about $13,000.) Others went on to earn a fortune for what seems like a simple pin.
This was a pattern with Hunt, who also invented a rifle that
same year, (later used in the Civil War). It also made oodles of dough for someone else. He invented an improved oil lamp, a portable knife sharpener, the sewing machine, better bullets and goodness knows how many other inventions.
The man was a prolific, talented inventor, however without much education or perhaps an ability to garner support for his ideas, he continued selling them for a pittance.
He did, however, finally win an out-of-court settlement in 1858 with the Singer Sewing Machine Co. for $50,000 (well over a million today) for copying his original sewing machine design. Unfortunately, he died of pneumonia soon afterwards and before he was paid. (At least his family did profit this time.)
Unlike many other inventions, the
safety pin maintains it original design to this day. I used to use them to secure the cloth diapers we had for our babies when I was a young mother. I don’t recall ever sticking one of my treasured little ones with one. Disposable diapers came later.
Think about that too…..