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Fascinating facts about the invention of
Wire Coat Hanger
by Albert J. Parkhouse in 1903.
WIRE COAT HANGER
Wire Coat Hanger One morning in 1903, Albert J. Parkhouse arrived as usual at his workplace, the Timberlake Wire and Novelty Company in Jackson, Michigan, which specialized in making lampshade frames and other wire items. When he went to hang his hat and coat on the hooks provided for the workers, Parkhouse found all were in use.
Annoyed-and inspired-Parkhouse picked up a piece of wire, bent it into two large oblong hoops opposite each other, and twisted both ends at the center into a hook. Then he hung up his coat and went to work. The company apparently thought it was a good idea, because they took out a patent on it. In those days, companies were allowed to take out patents on any of their employees’ inventions. Attorney Charles l. Patterson applied for the patent on january 25, 1904, and U.S. patent # 822,981
was granted and assigned to John B. Timberlake. (Patterson put his own name on the line that asked for 'name of inventor.') Timberlake owned the company that Parkhouse worked for. The company made a fortune; Parkhouse never got a penny.

A second patent, 877,726, was granted to Timberlake's son in 1907, for a more elaborate hanger which he termed a 'shirt drier.'

TO LEARN MORE

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle : And Other Surprising Stories About Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson / Paperback - 128 pages (1999) / Puffin

Brief factual stories about how various familiar things were invented, many by accident, from animal crackers to the zipper.

ON THE WEB:
Origin of the the wire coat hanger
The invention of the wire coat hanger is attributed to Albert J Parkhouse in 1903.
(URL: www.designboom.com/history/wirehangers.html)
The True Story of How the Wire Coat Hanger Got Invented
Article by Gary Mussell, Great-grandson of the inventor
(URL: www.vcnet.com/garym/hanger/hanger.html)
KD Craft Exchange
Coat Hanger Christmab Tree. POP-UP ADS.
(URL: www.kidsdomain.com/craft/hangertree.html)
Build a Whirligig in a Box
We experimented with motion by building whirligig prototypes using shoeboxes and coat hangers. Collect materials from around your home or classroom and design your own. Shoebox - Science Museum of Minnesota
(URL: www.smm.org/sln/tf/s/shoebox/shoebox.html)
The Newest Hanger
Finally, almost a 100 years later, the hanger has been redesigned for the future with a precision 6-sided hook which allows for standard positioning of hanger and/or for 60 degree angle displays for frontal viewing of merchandise.
(URL: www.hangler.com/History.htm)

DID YOU KNOW?:

  • Between 1900 and 1906, over 189 different patents were granted on different versions of 'garment-hangers' worldwide.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised March, 2005.
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