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Jumbo safety pins and large decorative safety pins can be found in almost every home. But what’s the history behind safety pins and more importantly, why do punks wear them?

History of the safety pin

The modern safety pin came about as a sort of accident (well, not really), but it came about in the time of great need for an American mechanic named Walter Hunt.

You see, good old Walter had to pay off a debt, and the one thing he knew was to put his mind and hands together to invent things. He took a piece of brass wire and folded it, creating a coil in the middle. He added a clasp at one end and voila – he had invented a safety pin.


Of course, the safety pin that he patented in the late 1800s didn’t have the bells and whistles that we are familiar with now. Instead, he created what we can say was a crude rendition of the more streamlined-looking silver safety pin that we all know and love.

The patent for his invention was eventually sold to a company that also eventually manufactured millions of safety pins. And as for good old Walter? Well, he was able to pay off what he owed his friend, and he got a handsome sum for himself, too (about $12,000 in today’s money). Not bad for a piece of wire that’s been coiled at the side, right?

Why the punks wear safety pins?

Safety pins are almost synonymous with punks and the punk rock music genre. In the 1970s, it was common for counter-culture to present themselves to the public in the most unique ways possible. The safety pin symbolized a lot of things from rebellion to “finding new ways” to live.

However, some artists believed that there was actually a more practical reason why some punks had safety pins on their vests, shirts, or pants. It was believed that they were there in case the wearer needs a pin, like when they got torn pants.


While this particular explanation of why safety pins were being used is not as glamorous as symbolizing counterculture, it does make a lot of sense. Think about it: these folks were attending concerts left and right and they were out on the road most of the time. Of course, they needed safety pins for their clothes, right?

Unique uses for safety pins

Whatever your beliefs or music genre may be, it is undeniable that safety pins have a ton of possible uses. Let’s take a look at some of the least known ones – they’re unique and nothing short of cool!

1. Static shield

This may come as a surprise to some – but you can actually do something about that pesky static shock that you get when holding or touch other statically charged objects.

The key is to route the static electricity away from the body – and a safety pin can easily do that for you. Just attach the safety pin to the leg of your pants or shirt and voila – you have an earth wire that will take care of the static.

The important thing here is that the earth wire (safety pin) is touching your skin, so it can take care of any loose static charge when you happen to come into contact with such a charge in your environment.

2. Keep small clothes together

Socks are notoriously hard to keep together, no matter how conscientious you are with them. The solution is not to bundle them tightly, as this might make the fabric looser. Use small safety pins to pair your socks properly, and they will stay that way after laundry day. Love it? start doing it today and you’ll be glad that you experimented with a new way of keeping pairs of socks together

3. Instant upholstering

Feeling fatigued? Don’t have enough energy to use a gun tacking machine to bind new upholstery to tired-looking tables, chairs, and headboards? You can actually use larger safety pins to hold together new upholstery.

If you need to spruce up your living room or bedroom quickly but have zero energy for the usual work, use safety pins. They’re going to look tight and right, and no one is going to know that you are holding everything together with a couple of safety pins.

4. Keep your sofas nice

Armchair covers are notoriously hard to keep on especially if a sofa or armchair is used constantly. Why continue hurting your back by bending over and replacing them on the sofa?

Use a couple of big safety pins to discretely tack the covers to the upholstery and voila – they’re going to stay on no matter what.  Again, who’s going to tell that you have only used safety pins? And why not?

5. Plate hangers


Blank spaces on the wall can be depressing, which is why a lot of people hang stuff on them, like plates. How can you hang plates on a wall without breaking the bank? The answer is super easy: safety pins.

You just need to pair the safety pins with the toughest crafting glue that you can find and you can safely hang decorative plates on your wall. Simply glue the safety pins behind the plates, let dry, and hang them. The adhesion of a top-quality crafting glue should be enough to hold a few hundred grams.

6. Keep those curtains tightly closed

We all know how annoying it is when you are trying to get some sleep at night, but a crack of light peeping from your curtains is bugging you. Due to the gap between the two curtains, eventually, there’s going to be some light leaking. Fix this problem by putting one curtain over the other (an inch or so) and attach the two with a large safety pin. Use three or four if you want to be sure, but a large one placed strategically should do just fine.