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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
American Hatpin Society
The Scrap Album
All About Jewels Dictionary
Stevengraphs Bookmarks and Postcards
Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry
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
Other Great Reference Sites
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Recent News: Hatpins and Hatpin Holders
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Robrt Pela: Review Of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeKJZZ, October 16th
Isabell Monk O'Connor whips up a gleeful storm as a voodoo-enthused housekeeper, but her quieter moments — when she walks quickly through a scene, waggling a hat pin, or when she's watching Charles Janasz's marvelous, nearly eight-minute-long ...Read more
Three-dimensional Printers Taking the Stage in Theater DesignFreestonecountytimesonline, October 15th
As the price has come down, it allows us to create items that are no longer being produced — like brooches or hatpins — for period plays. Otherwise, because those things are antiques, the cost is prohibitive,” Denman said. “This also can be helpful...Read more
10 Top Ways to Green Your Visit to IsraelThe Jewish Voice, October 15th
If ecology is your thing, consider including some friendly “green” stops in your itinerary wherever and whenever you're planning travels in Israel. You'll be surprised at the innovative programs happening here, from wastewater recycling to wetland...Read more
Grand Awards 2014: 'Spamalot' at Circle Theatre, 'The Hatpin' at GRCC lead ...The Grand Rapids Press - MLive.com, October 12th
In the battle for most awards, it was a duel between swords and hatpins as Circle Theatre's production of “Spamalot” and the Grand Rapids Community College production of “The Hatpin” each garnered five awards. Civic Theatre's “Les Miserables” and ...Read more
Ramona Carroll Holbrook-WallsNapa Valley Register, October 11th
She was an avid collector of antiques and loved garage sales, collecting mooses, pelicans, nurse memorabilia, eyeglasses and hat pins. She loved the company of her precious Bassett, Abby and her cockatoos and African grey parrot and the many animals ...Read more
Sculpting Costumes with 3D Printers is 'the Way Theater Is Headed,' Theatre ...Baylor University, October 8th
This allows us to create items that are no longer being produced — like brooches or hatpins — for period plays. Otherwise, because those things are antiques, the cost is prohibitive,” Denman said. “This also can be helpful if you have an item that...Read more
Exhibit showcases personal travels of Milton, Kitty HersheyThe Slate Online, October 8th
Throughout the gallery a host of objects is presented, including photographs, an account detailing Milton's last-moment decision to not board the R.M.S. Titanic, monogrammed toiletry cases made by Tiffany & Co., a jewelry case; hat pins, traveling...Read more
BR jewelry designer creates pin for Poverty Point World Heritage Site designationThe Times-Picayune - NOLA.com, October 2nd
King worked with jeweler Robert Brown to transform the pendant, which usually comes in silver or gold, into a pewter lapel and hat pin. "We were able to tweak the design, bring it down in scale," King said. The official ceremony will take place Oct. 11...Read more