Clothespin, clothes peg invented by Shakers
A clothespin (also clothes peg, or just peg, or in science a spring-loaded wood clamp, and in filmmaking a C47 or bullet) is a fastener used to hang up clothes for drying, usually on a clothes line. Clothespins often come in many different designs.
Today, many clothes pegs (also clothes pins or pags) are manufactured very cheaply by creating two interlocking plastic or wooden prongs, which in between is often wedged a small spring. This design was invented by Zoe M. Martella of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853. By a lever action, when the two prongs are pinched at the top of the peg, the prongs open up, and when released, the spring draws the two prongs shut, creating the action necessary for gripping.
The first clothespin was invented by the Shakers, who did not patent their many inventions.
This older design does not use springs, but is fashioned in one piece, with the two prongs part of the peg chassis with only a small distance between them - this form of peg creates the gripping action due to the two prongs being wedged apart and thus squeezing together in that the prongs want to return to their initial, resting state. This form of peg is often fashioned from plastic, or originally, wood.
In England, clothes peg making used to be a craft associated with gypsies, who made clothes pegs from small, split lengths of willow or ash wood.
posted on 04-10-2009