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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dirty Laundry

Here's everything you never wanted to know about wooden clothespins, and how it relates to a Vermont gravestone.

Can you believe?  From 1852 to 1887, the U.S. patent office issued 146 separate patents for clothespins! The first design that resembles today's clothespin was patented in 1853 by David M. Smith, a prolific inventor from Vermont. 

Smith’s design was later improved by another patent in 1887 by Vermont inventor, Solon E. Moore.  Moore designed the  “coiled fulcrum,” made from a single wire, which joined two grooved pieces of wood in the middle of the clothespin. Moore’s version kept clothes and linens securely on the wash line; and it was cheap and easy to manufacture. 


Established in 1906 and operated until 2009, The National Clothespin Company Factory is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was the very last manufacturer of wooden clothespins in the United States.  Today, wooden clothespins are now mainly manufactured and imported from China.  

The original site of the National Clothespin Factory, Montpelier, Vermont

*W. Jack Crowell oversaw the company for decades.  As a lasting tribute to his life's work, he erected this very unique grave marker. I understand that he originally wanted a real spring in the clothespin so that children could teeter-totter and play on it.  His interesting headstone can be found in the Middlesex Center Cemetery.

August 26, 1924  - October 20, 1996

"Here lies old Jack Crow
It was too bad he had to go
While on this Earth he was Hell bent
And we knew some day he would up and went"

*Old Jack Crow would have been 89 years old, today.