History of hatpins

on Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hatpins. If you wear hats, you most likely have to wear a hatpin. You may see varied lengths at antique shops, which correspond to the era/type of hat. In the 1900s when hats were large and elaborate, so were the hatpins. They could be simple, something to go with all the hats you have, or something ornate, sometimes matching one hat in particular, or being made of fine metals and jewels. At this time pins could reach up to thirteen inches, and were thought of as a weapon for Victorian women, as you can see in the illustration below.


They were so threatening that one judge ordered suffragettes to remove their hats and hatpins, just in case they used them as weapons in his court.

 Even Arkansas and Illinois passed bills limiting the length of a ladies hatpin to 9 inches, or if you must have a more lengthy pin, you would need a permit for it.

 "Excuse me ma'am, do you have a permit for that?" 

 The 1920s saw tight cloches as the height of fashion, so hatpins, if ever used, were generally decorative. Usually more like stick pins (you can tell the difference between the two by length). However after the 1920s, they were needed again, only this time on a much smaller scale. 


Some hatpins you may come across are rusted, bent out of shape, or just plain dirty. For stubborn rust, gently scrape some steel wool along metal areas. For general dirt and grime, wash in mild soap and water, using a clean toothbrush to get to nooks and crannies. Though I would recommend taking fine metal and jeweled pins to a jeweler for cleaning, just to be safe. To keep your pins from becoming dull and rusted, stick them in a traditional tomato pin cushion, and sharpen them a bit using the emery sharpener (the little attached bit). For bent pins, take them to a professional, they can fit them right up for you! 

Stay tuned for how to wear hat pins, and any questions you would like answered are most welcome! 

 Information sources: American Hatpin Society, (and 1st photo source) Bartitsu Society