A gimme sunny day [*uh oh, skies are very dark all of a sudden] to hang sheets and kitchen dish towels out on the line but alas, those darn cheap clothespins are a pain – they break, they rot, they don’t keep their spring.
My grandmother and mother used the classic wooden clothespin without a spring that they kept in a bag on the line.
That kind didn’t work for me – things kept falling off the line. Forget plastic ones – they are the worst. So I Googled Best Wooden Clothespin and found Herrick Kimball of Moravia, N.Y. He hand-makes what his website calls The Classic American Clothespin.
Mr. Kimball outlines the history of the clothespin – and it’s pretty fascinating – an American idea through and through. I didn’t know..
In 1887, Solon E. Moore, from the state of Vermont, was granted a patent for a new clothespin design (Click Here to see the patent drawing). It consisted of two “wooden levers” held together with a “coiled fulcrum” spring. Out of some 146 other clothespin patents granted between 1852 and 1887, Moore’s alone has stood the test of time.So it was that the quintessential clothespin was born in America. And for many generations, numerous American manufacturers produced many millions of hardwood clothespins with strong, dependable springs. However, 100+ years later (2002), with the closing of the Penly Clothespin Company in West Paris, Maine, only the National Clothespin Company, of Montpelier, Vermont, remained. Then, five years later, National shut their operation down. In the end, American clothespin manufacturers were driven out of business by a flood of cheap, Chinese-made clothespins.
In the spring of 2012, my wife complained to me about the poor quality of a package of imported clothespins she had recently purchased. It wasn’t the first time I had heard the complaint. But it was the first time I really paid attention. What got my attention was when she said that I should make a better clothespin.
I guess she figured that if I can invent a Whizbang chicken plucking machine, and a garden wheel hoe, and a cider press, and other down-to-earth tools, then I ought to be able to make a decent clothespin. I was intrigued with the idea.
After a little research, I came to the conclusion that there was universal dissatisfaction with cheap, imported clothespins. I figured somebody should bring the manufacture of quality clothespins back to America, and that somebody would be me. Why not?
I found an American spring manufacturer who would work with me on the project. I purchased 50,000 heavy-gauge, tight-coil, custom-made stainless steel clothespin springs. Then I spent the rest of 2012 working on a clothespin design—a new Classic American clothespin design.
In the fall of 2013, nearly a year and a half after deciding to bring quality wood-and-wire clothespins back to America, I made the very first Classic American clothespins. Those clothespins (approximately 12,000 of them) sold out remarkably fast, and the customer feedback was remarkably positive.
Alas, Kimball’s clothespins are in such demand, so popular, looks like the waitlist is pretty substantial. I’m impressed Kimball feels he can get through the wait list this year. he must have Santa’s elves helping.
As all good things, the clothespins aren’t cheap but from the reviews, they are well worth the price and who doesn’t love the fact Kimball is making these in America!! I’m going to become Waitlist #416!
These finished clothespins are treated with one coat of linseed oil finish. They are beautiful, and they are ready to usePrice Per Clothespin: $2.00 (plus a flat rate shipping charge of $7)