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Fascinating facts about the invention
of the Safety Pin by Walter Hunt in 1849.
SAFETY PIN
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.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
History of Apparel    from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
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

ON THE WEB:
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.
(URL: www.enc.org/features/calendar/unit/0,1819,49,00.shtm)
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.
(URL: www.newsday.com/other/special/ny-ihny0326story.htmlstory)

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

(URL: www.sjmv.org/Campus/Class/scinventors/safetypin/SafetyPin.html)
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.
(URL: patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/srchnum.htm)
Patent for Safety Pin Issued April 10, 1849
A New Yorker invents a handy device
(URL: www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/02-25.htm
)

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