Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Safety Pin Day



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By Diane Forrest, RN

Years ago when I was a baby, they didn’t have those newfangled disposable diapers, diaper genies, and baby wipes.  Mom's used cloth diapers, diaper pails, and diaper pins. Diapers were folded in a triangle shape then placed on the baby and pinned with a safety pin. While I don't actually remember being in diapers, I do remember seeing the diaper pins in my mother's dresser drawers.   I think the invention of the new disposable diapers caused the decline of the safety pin, but the mothers who used them way back then, love the new disposable diapers.

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In the 1840's, Walter Hunt had borrowed 15 dollars from a friend.  He decided the best way to come up with the money to pay him was to invent something.  His invention was the safety pin.  It was developed to hold pieces of cloth together, with the added benefit of a rounded top to prevent getting stuck by the sharp end.  On April 10, 1849, Hunt sold the patent to W. R. Grace and Company for $400 (roughly $10,000 in 2008 dollars). Using that money, Hunt then paid the $15 owed to a friend and kept the remaining amount of $385 for him. What Hunt failed to realize is that in the years to follow, W.R. Grace and Company would make millions of dollars in profits from his invention.

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Today safety pins are mainly used for crafts in making jewelry and even for body piercings, but today, on Safety Pin Day, you know how they got their start.

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