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Fascinating facts about the invention
of the Safety Pin by Walter Hunt in 1849.
Walter Hunt had no trouble thinking up new ideas. First he invented a machine to spin flax. Then he invented a fire engine gong, a forest saw, a stove that burned hard coal. His inventions worked, but he just did not have the knack for making money from them. One day in 1849 Walter Hunt wanted to pay a fifteen-dollar debt to a friend. So he decided to invent something new.
From a piece of brass wire about eight inches long, coiled at the center and shielded at one end, he made the first safety pin. He took out a patent on his invention, sold the rights to it for four hundred dollars, paid his friend back and had three hundred eighty-five dollars to spare.  
Then he watched his latest brainstorm go on to become a million dollar money earner for someone else.


History of Apparel    from The Great Idea Finder

Why Didn't I Think of That?: Bizarre Origins of Ingenious Inventions We Couldn't Live Without
by Allyn Freeman, Bob Golden / Paperback - 260 pages / John Wiley & Sons; (September 1997)
Filled with wacky and fascinating facts, awe-inspiring success statistics, and rags-to-riches stories, Chronicles the odd origins behind 50 famous inventions and reveals the business side of each product's actual production, marketing, and distribution.

Necessity's Child: The Story of Walter Hunt, America's Forgotten Inventor
by Joseph Nathan Kane / Hardcover: 330 pages / McFarland & Company (August 1997)

A narrative account of the life of the less-known inventor who gave us the safety pin, sewing machine, and fountain pen, among other devices.
Why Didn't I Think of That ( This title is out of print. )
by Webb Garrison / Hardcover - 120 pages (1977) / Prentice Hall / ISBN: 0139586032

Safety Pins
On April 10, 1849 Walter Hunt was awarded a patent for what he called a "dress pin," a simple device made of wire.
1849: Walter Hunt Invents the Safety Pin
While agonizing over how to pay off a fifteen-dollar debt, New York City mechanic and inventor Walter Hunt distractedly twisted a piece of wire for three hours.

The Magnificent Safety Pin
The safety pin was invention and an improvement of a pin.

Patent Search at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Use the patent number search feature at the USPTO. The patent number for the safety pin is 6,281.
Patent for Safety Pin Issued April 10, 1849
A New Yorker invents a handy device

Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised January, 2005.

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