When we think of the millions of things that are held together by pins, we might wonder how maa ever got along without them. It is quiz likely that he never did; that pins made out of one material or another were in use from the very earliest times.
The earliest form of a pin was probably a thorn. In fact, the word “pin” resembles the Latin word for “thorn” which is spirit. Later on, man learned how to make pins out of fish or animals. In prehistoric times, the Neolithic man was already making pins out of bronze.
Surprisingly enough, a safety pin, or a pin very much like it, seems to have been in use in Europe at the close of the Bronze Age, about l0fi0 B.C. It was made of bronze, very slender, and bent in such a way that the point was caught against the head.
Pins were used in Europe very early as a form of decoration, rather than for fastening clothes. It wasn’t until the end of the fifteenth century that pins as we know them began to manufactured. They were then considered so precious and valuable than a collection of pins was thought to be a wonderful New Year’s gift. Sometimes, instead of giving the actual pins, an equivalent amount of money was given. And this is where we get our phrase “pin money”!
The first people to make modem-type pins were the French, who exported them to England. Soon we began making line pins, too. In 1775, the Continental Congress in the American colonic offered a prize for the first 300 domestic pins equal in quality to those imported from England!
When Were Drawing Pins Invented?
In 1903, in the German town of Lychen, clockmaker Johann Kirsten invented flat-headed pins for use with drawings.