Question from Mary B.:
When was the safety pin invented? Was it patented?
Great question, Mary!
Walter Hunt received US patent #6,281 on April 10, 1849 for a Dress-Pin.
Interestingly enough, Hunt only invented the safety pin to pay off a debt. He had be fiddling with some wire trying to think of a new idea when he made the safety pin. The first pin was an eight-inch piece of brass wire, coiled at the center.
He sold the patent rights for four hundred dollars to pay off his debt, then spent the rest of his life watching others profit from his idea.
The safety pin was one of a few useful objects Hunt patented. His other inventions included a flax spinner, a street car bell, a knife sharpener and a sewing machine. Unfortunately, as well as any of them worked, Hunt never turned much of a profit for himself.
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