Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Clothes Pegs

On rainy days I have to spend more time with my laundry like any other housewife. Even though I have a washing machine and a dryer I still have to handwash some items and hang them properly with clothes pegs.

It is nice to think about clothes pegs.

Who invented the clothes peg?

The credit should go to the fishermen who hanged their washing in rigging while out at sea. They had used a primitive stick with a slit in the end which was pushed over the washing to fix it to the line.

The first patented clothes peg issued in March 1832, described a bent strip of hickory held together with a wooden screw which proved to be totally impractical. Rain or even dampness would cause the screw to swell, rendering the pin inoperable. It took 21 more years for an improvement to emerge that would be deemed worthy of manufacture (if briefly): the “spring-clamp for clotheslines,” invented by David M. Smith of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853 was made of two wooden “legs” hinged together by a metal spring and was the forebare of everything we have on our washing lines today.

Smith’s invention, has been tweaked and modified endlessly: 146 new patents were granted in the mid-nineteenth century alone and the quest for the perfect peg has continued to this day.
(ref :

Clothes pegs can be really messy. And they need to be organised. This is my clothes pegs basket bought from the tamu a long time ago. Every hardworking housewife would have a basket to hold her clothes pegs together.

Once I had too many school socks to wash and I complained . Today if I have one pair of socks to wash I treasure that moment of using my hands and warm soapy water. I will linger for a few more moments before I hang them up and peg them lovingly. The children are older and they are doing their own laundry - far from home.

When there is too much laundry to do one has to hang clothes every where possible. Apart from the drying area I still have to have imaginative places for hand wash laundry or some special places for clothes to drip dry. So rainy days call for desperate measures. This is a small area and a nylon string helps.

Many of us still write letters to each other. When the envelopes get wet this is the way to dry them slowly without using up precious energy.

I do remember one special use of clothes pegs. Many students were punished by their primary school teachers in this way. Were you ever a victim of a clothes peg? I suppose some teachers were just too creative in their punishment. (Good thing that many parents did not know about this little classroom secret!) Clothes pegs are still very much available in the classroom. They are used to hang up word cards and pictures and other visual aids. So sometimes a teacher is just too tempted to use the clothes pegs ......

Did your children ever complain that the nose they were born with was too small and snubby or too flat. Mine did abd they tried to use the clothes peg to do a few tricks!!

I am missing the sun. My laundry has not seen much of the hot germ exterminating tropical sun for more than a month now!!

But let us keep our chin up and our smiles on. A cheerful heart will work wonders on all the dampened souls around us!!

Cheers! Give some tender loving careful thoughts even to our clothes pegs which have served us well.

2 memories:

Yan said...

Hi, Sarawakian,

Did you do that to your students in those days? I saw mothers doing that to their children, eer.. I mean putting pegs on their children's noses, hopefully to make perfect God's already perfect creation!

I have seen a lot of the "sunny skies" with my sunny girl in Adelaide. And back home, the heart is as gloomy as the weather without the sunny girl around!

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Hehe I taught big clever students who did not need to have their ears pegged (for not listening) and my children did try to be humourous to "sharpen" their noses.
I actually witnessed ear pegging in primary schools to my dismay several times.

I can empathise with you..missing your sunny girl. I miss my children too and it has been too long!!

It takes time to get used to it.

Think of funny things and laugh....or make cakes or do cross stitch.

When are you coming to Miri?


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