How We Came to Have the Safety Pin

There are many things in life that the average person takes for granted, and that includes mundane things like the safety pin. It just so happens that the safety pin, like many other inventions, came to be discovered purely by accident. Sitting at his desk one day in April 1949, mechanic Walter Hunt was trying to figure out a way to pay off some of his debts. He was casually playing around with some wire, when he discovered that when coiled the wire could clasp to itself and unclasp again. The basic purpose of Hunt’s invention was to fasten pieces of fabric and clothing together. The clasp at the end would keep people from getting poked — that’s the “safety” part — and the coiled wire design gave enough spring to keep the pin locked in place……the “pin” part. The beauty of Hunt’s invention was that it was incredibly easy and cheap to manufacture. Unfortunately for Hunt, he needed money so badly to pay off his debts that he accepted a mere $400 from W. R. Grace and Company, who would go on to make millions of dollars in profits from Hunt’s invention.