The Idea of Pinterest Began with Clothes Pins
When I first heard about Pinterest my immediate reaction was, “What a great tool for retailers.” It sounded like a prime place to promote products and refine the art of shopping.
But in thinking about it, the idea isn't so new. Actually, we've been "pinning" for ages — with similar motives: a need to be neighborly, a want to put things on display, and an eagerness to make connections.
Just imagine this conversation taking place in Post War America as two perfectly coiffed women talk over the fence while pinning their laundry to the line? Clothes pins, according to Merriam Webster, were first used in 1833.
“Millie, I just saw the cutest polka-dotted blouse down at the Five and Dime. I’m going to try to get a pattern and make something like it. I’ve been saving up my pin money…” (Pin money referred to petty cash allocated to women, trivializing their needs to matters of sewing.)
“How funny you say that, Tillie. My Sears catalog just arrived and I was looking for a new sewing machine," said Millie, tucking a bobby pin into a stray wisp of hair. (The word Bobby pin was first used in 1926 to describe a flat wire hairpin most likely used to control the Flapper-famous “bob.”)
Flash forward 50 years, and the dialogue wasn't too different. Picture two co-eds in a dorm room, putting celebrity photos on a cork board. Millie asks Tillie, “Where are the push pins?” and Tillie replies, “in the drawer with the safety pins.” Yup. People have been showing off their favorite things for years — with the assistance of pins. (Safety pins date back to 1847. Push pins came later, in 1907, and were used to describe pins with large cylindrical heads.)Continued on the next page