The history of the clothespin from the primitive cave to the present day

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A clothespin is such a small household item, and in fact it accompanies people throughout almost their entire existence. It is generally older than all civilizations, because its history began in the cave of a primitive man, when it was necessary to dry the skins of dead animals over a fire.


The content of the article

  • How the name was born
  • History
  • Monuments

How the name was born

In general, in Russian there are two versions of the origin of this word.

The first of them - from the root of "chips", that is, it kind of hints to us that the clothespin is directly related to the chip - a chipped thin wood plate. However, this is more than logical. Especially when you consider that people in the distant past tied just two pieces of wood together in order to keep them on the clothesline. The second version leans more towards the verb "pinch". And also like a direct hit.

It is not clear what to believe, because both interpretations are fully justified and have the right to exist.


Archaeologists have repeatedly found objects that look very similar to a modern clothespin. As mentioned above, these were two wooden plates tied together with thread or strong grass. And some finds even indicate that they were generally used as buttons, holding the edges of clothing. Sometimes they were used instead of hair clips. Well, of course, with their help, the skins were hung to dry.

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With the development of civilization, household items also changed. The clothespin was no exception.

In ancient Egypt, these were also two pieces of wood connected with a rope - for drying papyrus and various materials. But in England during the Middle Ages, for some reason, a clothespin was associated with gypsies. If the camp stopped somewhere, the women washed their clothes and then hung them on a rope and fastened them with split willow branches.

Already at the end of the XVI century. in Europe, they simplified the design and came up with clothespins with a spiral spring. They turned out to be much more reliable in business and, of course, better hold the laundry.

In the XIX century. it was modernized again thanks to Jeremy Victor Kaldybek. Then there was a real clothespin boom! The product was a solid wooden structure without springs, but with a hollowed-out core.


The laundry was held by what fell into the slots. The clothespin instantly became megapopular with professional laundresses of that time and ordinary housewives.


Then, in 1832, the first patent for this item appeared - these were two planks connected by a screw. And already in 1853, the American inventor David Smith took a chance and again made significant changes to the design of the clothespin. Now they were two pieces of wood, connected by a spring.


In 1887, the product was again modernized by Solomon Moore. He created a kind of cylinder by winding a spring - so the state of Vermont (where Moore lived) became the birthplace of our clothespin.

Solomon Moore's design has remained largely unchanged to this day.


Then the tumultuous adventures of clothespins again move to European countries. Here, sales of this household item were in the thousands. After the Second World War, the crisis grew at a breakneck speed, so not everyone could afford drying machines - they hung clothes on a rope, and, of course, a clothespin served as an assistant.



Of course, one can doubt that the clothespin will ever lose its relevance, as it happened, for example, with iPods or manual meat grinders. Today her services are immortalized in monuments.

The most famous of them is located in Philadelphia (USA). This is a huge 14-meter structure - a steel monument in front of the city hall.


But the second one stands in an unusual place - this is a monument on the grave of J. Rovella. He was the manager of the last clothespin factory in the United States and always wanted to build a monument in her honor for children to play with. But, unfortunately, he didn't have time.


Here is, it would seem, such an inconspicuous helper, and what an interesting "life" and how much has happened to the clothespin during its entire existence.

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