Until recently, you couldn’t find an American-made wooden clothespin (the last manufacturer in the country ceased production in 2002). But several small producers are now making sturdy, handsome hardwood clothespins designed to last a lifetime. Patented in 1853 by David M. Smith, an inventor from Springfield, Vermont, the spring-hinged wooden clothespin was a staple of American clotheslines until December 2002, when the Penley Corporation in Maine stopped making them. In response, Greg and Julie Baka, the owners of Best Drying Rack, launched a Clothespin Challenge, inviting craftspeople to make a sturdy clothespin they could sell on their site. Here are five to buy.
Above: Based in the Pacific Northwest, Kevin’s Quality Clothespins offers a Set of 10 Clothespins for $17.25 (the pins are made of maple with American-made springs; each pin is 3.5 inches long). Kevin’s clothespins are also available at Best Drying Rack and on Etsy via The Lady and the Carpenter.
Above: Vermont native Herrick Kimball (author of The Deliberate Agrarian blog) recently got into the clothespin game; he sells his Classic American Clothespins, which are treated with tung oil, for $2 each. When he decided to start his business, Kimball found an American spring manufacturer to supply him with heavy-guage, tight-coil, custom stainless steel springs (“the heart of a great clothespin is a quality spring,” he says). He chose ash “for its strength and excellent weathering qualities, and also because it darkens to a lovely patina.” Kimball has sold 12,000 of his clothespins and is working on a new batch that will be ready for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.
Above: Made by LA woodworker Lee Build, a set of four Hand-Carved Clothespins is $30 from Otherwild.
Above: Finally, there’s always the vintage route: A set of 36 Vintage Clothespins is $18 from Etsy seller Anything Goes Here. Photograph by Colleen Doyle of the No Trash Project.
Want more laundry-related finds? Our own Christine discovered the Best Drying Rack from Columbia, Missouri. I have my eye on a Canadian-Made Laundry Pulley, and Megan pointed us to the Sheila Maid Clothes Airer. Our own Christine discovered the Best Drying Rack from Columbia, Missouri. I have my eye on a Canadian-Made Laundry Pulley, and Megan pointed us to the Sheila Maid Clothes Airer.