How to Make Clothes Pins
Today, many clothes-pegs (also clothespins) are manufactured very cheaply by creating two interlocking plastic or wooden prongs, in between which is often wedged a small spring. This design was invented by David M. Smith (inventor) of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853. By a lever action, when the two prongs are pinched at the top of the peg, the prongs open up, and when released, the spring draws the two prongs shut, creating the action necessary for gripping.
The design by Smith was improved by Solon E. Moore in 1887. He added what he called a “coiled fulcrum” made from a single wire, this was the spring that both held the wooden pieces together and forced them to snap shut.
Clothespins were further enhanced by the invention of stainless steel clothespins that do not rust or decay with outdoor use. Rather than using a torsion spring that often twists, causing the clothespin to fall apart, they rely on a strong, trapped, compression spring that results in a stronger grip.