Straight Pin

There are so many versions of pins! So… which pin is the straight pin?

  • Straight pins are a form of pin, typically used to temporarily keep two or more pieces of material together, and they usually have a head on one end and a sharp point at the other.
  • Today, fabric or other textiles are what straight pins most commonly pin together, however, throughout most of history, most of the time these pins were only used for holding papers or clothing together.
  • ‘Straight pins’ are also known as ‘common pins’ or simply ‘pins’; as well as ‘sewing pins’, when intended for use in the making of textile objects.
  • Straight pins were originally purposed to keep clothes together, known to be in use as far back as Ancient Egypt, and they have since been prominent throughout Medieval Europe and the Renaissance.
  • Originally, bone, iron or thorns were used to make straight pins, however modern varieties are typically made of steel or brass, often with a plastic or glass head.

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  • Straight pins were originally quite expensive and of high demand, as each pin required handcrafting and most women required one to pin their clothes and accessories together.
  • In the Middle Ages, straight pins could be used to distinguish a person of a specific social class, with nobles affording more intricate and valuable pins.
  • Modern straight pins with metal heads are made by pressing cut pieces of wire into a die or against a hard surface to form the head, and the other end is sharpened, while plastic or glass headed pins are made in a similar way, though the wire is either forced or fused into the head.
  • Straight pins utilised for pinning paper have generally been replaced with staples, while safety pins are now commonly used for pinning clothing items.
  • Many later versions of straight pins were notorious for rusting as its nickel coating flaked off, which led to the introduction of pin cushions containing emery grit to remove said rust.
Bibliography:
Henson B, Sewing Pins – Knowing the Different Types, 2016, Create For Less, http://www.createforless.com/buying-guides/sewing-and-quilting/sewing-pins-types-and-sizes.aspx
Pin, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pin
Regency Pins, 2011, The Regency Redingote, https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/regency-pins/
Straight Pin, 2016, How Products Are Made, http://www.madehow.com/Volume-7/Straight-Pin.html

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Plate Armour

Plate armour has saved the lives of millions.

  • Plate armour is an invention designed as a body covering, that was worn to defend against attacks, and was most commonly used for humans, but it was also used on horses.
  • The stereotypical image of plate armour is often known as a ‘suit of armour’.
  • The Ancient Greeks and Romans were major innovators in using plate armour, with the torso most protected, although full body coverings were relatively non-existent during this time.
  • Plate armour was reinvented in Medieval Europe around the 1200s, and reached a full suit by the 1400s, capable of protecting the entire body.
  •  A full suit of plate armour, including the helmet, generally weighed around 15 to 29 kilograms (33 to 64 pounds) and only minimally restricted movement.

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  • The development of plate armour led to the redevelopment of weaponry, with such weapons aimed at penetrating the weakest points of the armour.
  • Plate armour declined in viability by the late 1600s due to the introduction of practical and portable fire-powered weapons, which most armour was useless in defending against.
  • A suit of plate amour typically consisted of a helmet, a torso covering, leg and arm coverings, and a pair of gauntlets to cover the hands.
  • Plate armour ranged in quality and price, from those available to commoners, to those commissioned by royalty, and they are still available for sale today, mainly as collector’s item or used for medieval festivities.
  • Either steel or iron was normally used to craft plate amour, and higher quality armour was generally well-tempered.
Bibliography:
Armour, 2013, Medieval Warfare, http://www.medievalwarfare.info/armour.htm
Arms and Armor—Common Misconceptions and Frequently Asked Questions, 2015, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/aams/hd_aams.htm
Plate Amour, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_armour

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Buttonhole

Buttonholes are relatively new in comparison to its button partner.

  • Buttonholes are a slit or hole in fabric that can hold a button, and normally as a result, hold two pieces of fabric together.
  • The edges of the hole designed for buttons are generally stitched over to prevent unravelling of the fabric and to limit wear on the hole edge, and this is done by sewing machine or hand, and the latter method typically uses a stitch called ‘buttonhole stitch’.
  • Many traditional garments for men have buttonholes located on the left hand side, while women have them on the right, and there are a number of speculations as to why, with one being that it was due to the slits needing to face the right way on women’s clothes, so that their maids could do up their buttons more easily, while men did their own buttons themselves.
  • A button is secured in a buttonhole by sliding the side of the button into the back of the hole and pulling through to the front on one side, and then sliding the other side of the fabric edge behind the button so that the button sits in front of the hole.
  • The French word ’boutonnière’ means ‘buttonhole’, and both terms are used for flower/s that are typically inserted into a slit that usually looks the same as those used for buttons, located on the lapel of a jacket or coat.

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  • Buttonholes are most often found on clothing items like jackets, shirts and coats, but they are also used on pants, and they are usually just long enough to comfortably fit the appropriate button through the slit.
  • Button loops were originally used before buttonholes, though they serve a similar purpose, but holes, rather than loops are now more commonly used on clothing.
  • In the 1200s in Germany, Europe, practical buttonholes were first recorded, although Persians may have invented the idea, and the 1400s saw much more widespread use of them across Europe, primarily due to the increased use of buttons themselves.
  • Buttonholes generally sit horizontally, especially on jackets, as vertical slits allow for the button to slip and unbutton more easily, while the horizontal ones allow for more flexibility in fitting, but on the fronts of shirts they are mostly vertical, as they take up less room on a narrow placket and they will allow the button to sit more centrally on it.
  • Keyhole buttonholes are a slit with a hole at one end, and this allows buttons with shanks to sit in the hole without puckering the fabric.
Bibliography:
Buttonhole, 2014, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttonhole
The History of the Button, 2013, h2g2, http://h2g2.com/approved_entry/A23623616
Parthasarathi V, Who Invented Buttons and Buttonholes on Shirts?, 2013, Quora, https://www.quora.com/Who-invented-buttons-and-buttonholes-on-shirts

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Sock

Instead of putting socks in someone’s mouth, put some in their brain.

  • A sock is a popular article of clothing designed to fit on a human foot, and it is usually sold in a pair, that match in colour and style, so that both feet can be covered by them.
  • People wear socks for a number of reasons, including keeping feet warm; absorbing sweat; increasing foot comfort in shoes; and as a fashion accessory; and they are used in sport and hiking to protect the leg area from abrasions.
  • The English term ‘sock’ comes from ‘socc’, an Old English term, meaning ‘light shoe’ or ‘slipper’, which originates from ‘soccus’, a Latin word that has an almost identical meaning.
  • Socks are found in a wide range of lengths, including foot, ankle, shin and knee lengths, with some reaching the thigh, although these items are generally named ‘stockings’.
  • Synthetic and natural fibres are generally used to make socks, including nylon, silk, wool, linen, polyester and cotton, while thousands of years ago, leather or cloth fabric wrapped around one’s feet, or felted animal hair, were used.

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  • Socks come in a wide variety of colours, and they can be plain, patterned or feature an image, while some are host to protruding ornaments like bows and pompoms, or trimmed with items like decorative lace.
  • The use of socks made from felt in Ancient Greece around the 700s BC is evident, and a knitted pair of Egyptian ones have been found that date back to 200 to 500 AD.
  • A knitting machine was invented in 1589 by William Lee, an English clergyman, that quickened the production of socks, although the process was not widely adopted until the late 1700s and early 1800s, and eventually machines completely replaced hand knitting.
  • A sock is generally a flexible enclosed item with a small opening at the upper end where the foot is inserted, although some versions of the clothing are flat cloth wrapped around the foot, while others have separated toe pockets.
  • Between 400 and 1300 AD, socks became a popular accessory and were adopted by many Europeans, especially the wealthy; and in modern times, socks, which are generally machine knitted, have become readily available and inexpensive in the Western world.
Bibliography:
F Nancy, A Brief History of Socks and Hand-knitted Footwear, 1997, Crofters, http://www.crofters.org/personal%20essays/history%20socks.htm
Sock, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sock
Sock History, n.d, Lonely Sock, http://www.lonelysock.com/SockHistory.html

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Suitcase

Do suitcases suit your travelling well?

  • Suitcases are a specific type of luggage that is, like all luggage, used to transport possessions and other items while travelling.
  • ‘Suitcases’ may also be referred to as ‘luggage’ or ‘baggage’, and when they were first used on a wide basis in the late 1800s, they were used primarily to carry actual suits.
  • Suitcases come in a variety of sizes, and those that are smaller in size and suitable for airplane cabin compartments are often known as ‘cabin’ or ‘carry-on’ baggage or luggage.
  • Sturdy materials are usually the common substances utilised to make suitcases, that can include plastic, wood, leather, and metal, although fabric may be used.
  • Generally suitcases are a rectangular shape that open in half, or open to reveal a main compartment and a lid, and sometimes they feature extra compartments or pockets.

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  • Suitcases ended up replacing trunks, which were quite rigid, heavy and bulky, making them quite difficult to transport; and they began being made from durable cardboard in the early 1900s, and plastic also became a popular material.
  • Suitcases usually feature a handle so that the item can be carried, and they typically have zips or latches to enable closing, though to prevent unwanted opening or tampering, a locking mechanism is often included.
  • Suitcases often have wheels attached at the base for greater ease in transporting, of which variants are sometimes called ‘trolley cases’ or ‘roll alongs’, and they frequently have an extendable handle that allows for easier movement.
  • Despite various ideas for wheeling luggage in the early 1900s, it wasn’t until Bernard Sadow attached four rollers to the base of a suitcase and patented the idea in 1970 as ‘rolling luggage’, that the world embraced the idea of a wheeled version, although initial uptake of the invention was slow.
  • Suitcases are sometimes personalised to highlight the piece among other baggage, particularly when bulk luggage is transported, and an identification tag with the owner’s name and other details is commonly attached to the handle.
Bibliography:
Gross D, The History of the Humble Suitcase, 2014, Smithsonian, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/history-humble-suitcase-180951376/?no-ist
Suitcase, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suitcase

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Buckle

Do you take the invention of the buckle for granted?

  • Buckles are inventions with the primary purpose of linking the ends of two objects, usually strips.
  • Buckles are commonly used in fashion either to decorate and/or fasten an item, like belts, sandals or other shoes, and bags, although they can be used to hold strings, strips or other items together, and are used on straps for safety purposes when restraining children in car seats, prams, shopping trolleys, and high chairs.
  • ‘Buckles’ are also known as ‘clasps’ and they are available in numerous designs, sizes and colours.
  • The term ‘buckle’ comes from the Latin word ‘buccula’, which translates as ‘cheek strap’, referring to helmet straps.
  • Buckles were used in Ancient Rome where soldiers utilised the item to fasten together armour, and knights from the Middle Ages also used this invention for a similar purpose.

Buckle, Invention, Trivia, Random Facts, Fashion, Belt, Metal, Traditional

  • Originally buckles were reserved for soldiers or those with lots of money due to the expensive manufacturing process, until the 1400s when methods were created to make the process less expensive.
  • Traditional buckles are made of a chape to hold the invention in place on an object, a prong used to secure the opposite end of an object, and a frame and a bar used to support the said parts.
  • Buckles were originally made of a metal, normally bronze, while today they can also be made of shell, wood, plastic, and leather.
  • Before the invention of the zipper, buckles were one of the main ways to clasp an item together.
  • Many modern buckles typically made of plastic, have two ends that snap securely and snugly together, and are perhaps more common than the traditional version, and they are often known as ‘snap fit’ or ‘side release’.
Bibliography:
Buckle, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckle
History of belt buckles, 2013, Fort Tumbleweed, http://www.forttumbleweed.net/beltbucklehistory.html

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