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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Clubs & Associations
- American Hatpin Society
- Hat Pin Society of Great Britain
- American Society of Jewelry Historians
- Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts
- Society of Jewellery Historians
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Recent News: Hatpins and Hatpin Holders
Source: Google News
Gotham: Selina Kyle (Recap and Review)Guardian Liberty Voice, September 30th
As each child goes to collect, the woman sticks them in the back of the neck with an oversized hat pin and they collapse immediately except for one boy who runs and Selina Kyle, who does not go near the man and woman. Across town, Bruce Wayne is ...Read more
Second Annual Nashville Comic Con Kicks off to Slow, Weird StartSidelines Online (subscription), September 27th
According to Harris, Tootsie Bess, the legendary owner of the Lower Broad fixture Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, had been given a hatpin to protect herself–or enforce order–from the honky-tonk's rowdy clientele. Typical of spirits that haunt by “repeating...Read more
John Sewell: This Old ThingWindsor Star (blog), September 26th
After she died, her family invited my father to choose a memento from her estate, and he chose this pair of hat pins. They measure 26 cm (10.5 inches) in length, with the stickpin part measuring 11 cm (4.5 inches). They seem to be pleated tortoiseshell...Read more
4 Ways Mila Kunis' Pregnancy Could Be Elaborately Punking UsMTV.com, September 25th
After colluding with Mila to implant a balloon in her belly and surreptitiously inflate it bit by bit over the course of nine months, Ashton Kutcher will punk the entire American citizenry when he pops it with a hatpin on live national TV...Read more
Get ready for Oktoberfest in BrushBrush News-Tribune, September 23rd
The Brush Chamber Oktoberfest will be held on Sept 26 & 27 this year. Friday evening, Sept 26 from 6:30-8:30 there will be a free Cruise In at the Brush Grocery Kart. A meal will be provided free to those who have registered for the car show or are...Read more
Helen McCrory on stripping for action at 46 and giving husband Damian Lewis a ...Daily Mail, September 20th
She plays the matriarchal Aunt Polly in a Twenties Birmingham gangster family and wields a long hatpin with lethal consequences. It seems only fair after all the fun her actor husband Damian Lewis had playing a war hero-turned-terrorist in Homeland...Read more
Music Walk in Carlsbad and a 'Parade' at the HammerLos Angeles Times, September 18th
The war-weary audience, which attacked the artists with hat pins or anything else handy, found the ballet “Teutonic” and “Bolshevik.” Cubism was still considered crazy. Satie's kitchen-sink score sunk to the level of music hall for some, to insane...Read more
Top 5 things to do in Muskegon area this week: 9/11 exhibit, corn maze and moreThe Muskegon Chronicle, September 8th
After injuries and attacks with them, hat pins began to receive news coverage in the 1910s and laws and ordinances were passed in many states limiting the length of hatpins and requiring that they have covered tips. For more information on this unique ...Read more