Craftsman Brings Back Classic American Clothespins


When I was a child, before we could do something more fun, like barreling our Radio Flyer wagon full-speed down a steep hill into a ravine, we often had to first help hang clothes to dry. All of the mothers in our rural neighborhood kept us busy with that quilt on line

Next door at Coenen’s dairy farm, with nine children at home, laundry continually flapped on four incredibly long clotheslines. Filled with sheets, we had enough curtains to stage a play. At the DeGroot farm, we entertained ourselves jumping from the chicken coop rooftop to the clothesline poles. And, Mrs. Wilson had a snazzy clothesbasket like a tall shopping cart on wheels that made the job more exhilarating when she wasn’t looking.

Ah, but we had the only wringer-washer.

To get more water out of the big stuff, two of us wrestled from opposite ends, twisting and twisting until we could twist no more. We surely distorted our clothes, but what does a child care about crumpled pantsuits or rumpled pedal-pushers?

Even without a spin-cycle washing machine, I don’t recall our clothes landing in a heap beneath the clothesline (unless we had something to do with it). Blankets and coats too big for the wringer were still dripping when we hung them up, but they stayed on the line – held snugly in place with sturdy, wooden clothespins – even on the windiest of Wisconsin spring days.

I miss those years. Not just the carefree country life of a youngster, but the quality goods we took for granted – like clothespins that actually pin clothes to the line. We’ve accepted cheap, imported junk for so long, we hardly even grumble anymore or try to find the quality items we’d really rather have. Inferior goods have taken over our homesteads – from tinny garden hoes to pewter-like screwdrivers and clothespins with wire springs not much thicker than paperclips.

10/8/2015 5:10:58 PM

Herrick stated above about his desire "to see a network of craftspeople (something akin to an old-fashioned guild) all across the nation, supplying the market demand for high-quality clothespins in their area." He has helped to accomplish that as there are several people making clothespins based off his design. I am making them and you can see my high quality hardwood clothespins with stainless steel springs at

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