Sunday, June 3, 2012

“I think I've discovered the secret of life -

- you just hang around until you get used to it.”
                      ~Charles Schulz



And...speaking of hanging around, you can now come and hang out at the shop 6 days of the week...we are open for the season.  And..you know I have to segue...transition...into a new vintage find...it is the hanger!

For once, it seems the ancient Romans or Greeks did not corner the market on the idea...appears that Thomas Jefferson was the inventor!  He was a master mind of engineering.  Among the long list, he improved the wooden plow, designed a portable copying press, a revolving Windsor chair, the "dumb waiter",  and automatic double doors. A guest reported: "In a recess at the foot of the bed was a horse with forty-eight projecting hands on which hung his coats and which he could turn round with a long stick; a knick-knack that Jefferson was fond of showing with many other little mechanical inventions."

According to my research, it appears that throughout most of the 18th century clothing either hung on hooks or  laid flat for storage. It was not until around 1850 that people began using hangers to hang clothes in wardrobes. Victorian women's bustles and skirts needed careful storage and hanger inventors and manufacturers came to their aid with all kinds of adjustable components and spring systems to allow the skirts to retain their pleats and hold the waistbands.

Today's most used hanger, the shoulder-shaped wire hanger, was inspired by an employeee of the Timberlake Wire and Novelty Company, Albert Parkhouse; they produced novelty items made of wire and lampshades. The frustrated Parkhouse could find no hooks to hang his coat upon and so he took a piece of wire and twisted it into a shape that could support his coat. He included a hook in the wire so it could be hung up. He was so happy with his new hanger that he worked on the design until he had perfected it.
And in the true American capitalist corporate world,  the company took out a patent because companies could patent their employees' inventions.  The company made a fortune, but Parkhouse never got a penny~he did get his name under "inventor".

A total of 89 patents have been issued for the coat hanger, but our modern day coat hanger is based on Parkhouse’s invention. After 1903, the coat hanger has been improved in many ways. In 1932, for example, Schuyler Hulett added an anti-wrinkle function to the item; he screwed cardboard tubes onto the upper and lower parts of the wire, and this way one could avoid wrinkled clothes. Elmer D. Rogers three years later created a coat hanger with a lower cardboard tube, so that the coat hanger could also be used to hang up pants.

I love the old hangers from hotels or cruise lines...this one is from The Biltmore in NYC.  This is fun and useful!!!

Another thing you can do with the old pants hangers is to turn them into unique display pieces...here is one with some old post cards...I do appreciate the new buyer in the vintage/antique world...it is not enough for something to be old...what can you do with it...and that is why neat old clothes hangers make a fun collectible...we all use hangers...and we all need clothes because as Mark Twain said, "...clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."


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