A Brief History of the Pin
An Entry in Uniclectica's Miscellanea Files
From Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, Vol LXIX, 1864. p. 361 "PINS"
The pin was not known in England till towards the middle or the latter end of the reign of Henry VIII; the ladies until then using ribbon, loops, skewers made of wood, of brass, silver or gold. At first, the pin was so ill made that in the 34th year of the King parliament enacted that none should be sold unless they be "double-headed, and have the headdes soundered faste to the shanke of the pynne", etc. But this interference had such an influence on the manufacture that the public could obtain no supply until the obnoxious act was repealed. On referring to the statute-book, the act of repeal, which passed in the 37th year of the same reign, containing the following clauses, which tend to show how cautious the legislature ought to be not to interfere with any manufactory which they do not perfectly understand. The act of repeal, having recited the former act, it then goes on to say: "At which tyme the pynners playnly promised to serve the Kynge's liege people wel and sufficiently, and at a reasonable price. And forasmuch sens the makyng of the saide act, there hath been scarcitee of pynnes within this realme that the Kynge's liege people have not ben wel nor completely served of such pynnes nor ar like to be served, nor the pynners of this realme (as it doeth nowe manifestly appere) be hable to serve the people of this realme accordyng to their saied promise. In consideracion whereof it maie please the Kynge, etc. tat it maie be adjudged and demed from hensforth frustrated and nihilitated and to be repealed for ever" - Stat. Henriei Octavi, XXXVII, cap. 13. The consumption of the whole nation was, in 1863, estimated at twenty millions of pins per day.