Hatpins reached a peak of popularity between the 1890s and 1920s, as music hall actresses like Lillian Russell and Lillian Langtry fueled the popularity of large elaborate hats without bonnet strings. Having originated in the 1850s to secure straw hats, hatpins became longer and more ornate over time (1910 was the height of hatpin length, with the stems alone reaching 10 to 12 inches).
The mass produced white or black bead on a pin was the basic 'working girl' hatpin, but many high end hatpins were made by jewelers of brass, copper, sterling silver, gold, or gold or silver wash. Other materials included Carnival glass, rhinestones, hand blown molded glass, micro mosaic, or hand painted or transferred porcelain like the Japanese Satsuma. There were also hatpins made with ivory, emeralds, stone, amber, tortoise shell, jet, celluloid and other plastics, mother of pearl, and coral.
Key hatpin manufacturers included Unger Brothers, Lincoln, William Kerr, Alvin Manufacturing, R. Blackington and Company, Day and Clarke, and The Sterling Company. Notable hatpin designers included Charles Horner, Louis Tiffany, William Codman, James T. Wooley, Barton Jenks, and George Gebelein.
Hatpins spanned many styles including Baroque, Etruscan Revival, Greek Revival, Egyptian Revival, Oriental influence, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and even Art Deco, before waning around WW1 when metals became scarce and hats got smaller.
Collectors also seek specialized hatpins, including hallmarked hatpins, hatpins that serve vanities, opera hatpins, and compact hatpins that have a mirror and a powder puff. Amethyst and pearls are popular, as well as Plique-a-Jour enamel. Hatpin holders are also sought after.
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American Hatpin Society
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Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery
Clubs & Associations
- American Hatpin Society
- Hat Pin Society of Great Britain
- American Society of Jewelry Historians
- Society of Jewellery Historians
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Recent News: Hatpins and Hatpin Holders
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Even the funny Death Wish films are repugnantly fascistA.V. Club, May 20th
The one-man entrapment/killing spree inspires Kersey's fellow citizens, including a feisty black lady with a hatpin who fends off an attacker and a smirking crew of construction workers who say they “took care” of an assailant. Their presence is an...Read more
Hogs postpone Saturday for doubleheader SundayTHV 11, May 9th
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) – Due to heavy rain and storms in the Fayetteville area, Saturday's game against Tennessee has been postponed with two seven-inning games scheduled for Sunday beginning at 10:05 a.m. at Baum Stadium. Sunday's ...Read more
Bangor crime spree earns man up to 5 years in prisonAllentown Morning Call, May 8th
From late August through November, he swiped $4,850 worth of antiques — including hatpins, a clock, a fan and a hand-held fire extinguisher — from Gary and Sharon Amerman's home in Bangor, according to court records. The parents went to police after ...Read more
Loser Wins FistfightDaily Beast, May 3rd
Yes, it does require sticking a hatpin into the part of your cerebral cortex that rightly considers both Mayweather himself and the sport as a whole to be barbaric and awful. You also have to find a dusty, unused drawer in your mind to cram the...Read more
At The Heart Of A Watch, Tested By TimeWHQR, April 24th
If the Apple Watch takes off, and ultimately, it or some other smart watch is likely to take hold, heirloom watches could end up in the junk heap of history or left in a box like Great-Grandma's pearl hatpin, rarely seeing the light of day. A few die...Read more
Mother's Day 'Hat Pin' event reception slated for May 9 in LambertvilleNJ.com, April 15th
At the event, guests are invited to pick a pin (from hundreds of vintage hat pins, stick pins, and European advertising pins) and 'pin' one of ten original oil. At the end of the event, one lucky 'pinner' goes home with the original oil painting...Read more
Hat, Pins Stolen from Pocono Marine Veteranwnep.com, March 10th
STROUDSBURG — Someone in the Poconos stole a hat from a gas station in Stroudsburg last weekend, but it's not just a hat. On it were three invaluable pins that belonged to a retired Marine. Daniel Jeffreys of Delaware Water Gap works at the Weis Gas ...Read more
"The Hatpin Peril" Terrorized Men Who Couldn't Handle the 20th-Century WomanSmithsonian, April 24th
A St. Louis schoolteacher drove her would-be attacker away by slashing his face with her hatpin. Such stories were notable not only for their frequency but also for their laudatory tone; for the first time, women who fought back against harassers were...Read more