The clothespin for hanging up wet laundry only appears in the early 19th century patented by Jérémie Victor Opdebec. This design does not use springs, but is fashioned in one piece, with the two prongs part of the peg chassis with only a small distance between them—this form of peg creates the gripping action due to the two prongs being wedged apart and thus squeezing together in that the prongs want to return to their initial, resting state. This form of peg is often fashioned from plastic, or originally, wood. In England, clothes-peg making used to be a craft associated with gypsies, who made clothes-pegs from small, split lengths of willow or ash wood.
Today, many clothes-pegs (also clothespins) are manufactured very cheaply by creating two interlocking plastic or wooden prongs, in between which is often wedged a small spring. This design was invented by David M. Smith (inventor) of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853. By a lever action, when the two prongs are pinched at the top of the peg, the prongs open up, and when released, the spring draws the two prongs shut, creating the action necessary for gripping.
The design by Smith was improved by Solon E. Moore in 1887. He added what he called a "coiled fulcrum" made from a single wire, this was the spring that both held the wooden pieces together and forced them to snap shut
Clothespins were further enhanced by the invention of stainless steel clothespins that do not rust or decay with outdoor use. Rather than using a torsion spring that often twists, causing the clothespin to fall apart, they rely on a strong, trapped, compression spring that results in a stronger grip.
Uploaded: May 11, 2015