How did Pins Originate?

When we think of the millions of thing that are held together by pins, we might wonder how man ever got along without them them. It is quite likely that he never did; that pins made out of one materials or another were in use from the very earliest times.

The earliest form of a pin was probably a thorn. In fact, the word “pin” resembles the Latin word for “thron” which is spina. Later on, man learned how to make pins out of the bones of fish or animals.

Later on, man learned how to make pins out of the bones of fish or animals. In prehistoric times, Neolithic man was already making pins out of bronze. Surprisingly enough, a safety pin, or a pin very much like it, seems to have been in use in Europe at the close of the Bronze Age, about 1000 B.C.


It was made of bronze, very slender, and bent in such a way that the point was caught against the head. Pins were used in Europe in very early times as a form of decoration, rather than for fastening clothes. It wasn’t until the end of the fifteenth century that pins as we know them began to be manufactured.

They were then considered so precious and valuable that a collection of pins was thought to be a wonderful New Year’s gift. Sometimes, instead of giving the actual pins, an equivalent amount of money was given.

And this is where we get our phrase “pin money”! The first people to make modern-type pins were the French, who exported them to England. Soon we began making fine pins, too. In 1775, the Continental Congress in the American colonies offered a prize for the first 300 domestic pins, equal in quality to those imported from England!

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