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
- Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts
- Society of Jewellery Historians
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Hatpins and Hatpin Holders
Source: Google News
Hat pin lost in Harrogate town centreHarrogate Advertiser, March 6th
A hat pin of great sentimental value was lost in Harrogate town centre last Friday, February 28. The pin, which is no more than four inches long and has a black feature stone surrounded by diamonds, was being worn as a brooch by the owner Eileen ...Read more
Stop using this ad, pleaseMinneapolis Star Tribune (blog), March 5th
ADVERTISING BuzzFeed has another one of those “Sexist Ads from the Past” that remind you men were brutes and women were supposed to stay home and make food and perhaps pith themselves with a hatpin in case they felt they were getting “too smart” ...Read more
Fashion tips for the races from Cheshire OaksCheshire Today, March 5th
Bring extra hat pins and an umbrella with you in case of showers, and keep a pair of sunglasses in your bag in the hopes that the British weather is your side. McArthurGlen's Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet houses the finest in race-wear brands including ...Read more
Auction Systems Auctioneers & Appraisers Inc. to Host Clifton-Middleton ...PR Newswire (press release), March 5th
This auction will feature antique furniture, kitchen and dining items, design and decor, culture items, machines, collectibles and fashion items, including antique hat pins. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140305/MN76474). Auction Systems ...Read more
Personal Effects - Fate of hatpin collection is in hands of the collectorCentral Kentucky News, March 3rd
The fate collection of hatpins is in the hands of the collector and her heirs. Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 8:01 am. Personal Effects - Fate of hatpin collection is in hands of the collector By JERRY SAMPSON, Contributing Writer Central Kentucky News...Read more
Click here for storyCentral Kentucky News, March 3rd
You know I've collected hatpins ever since I was a little girl. Thats been some years ago. I have a collection of more than 400 hat and stick pins and many holders. Some I've bought from you over the years. I've asked both of my daughters and my...Read more
Edwin Huntingdon Parker, costume designer for theater and ballet groups.Philly.com, March 3rd
"He had to put on flowers with hat pins," said Sylvia Waters, archivist and former director of the troupe's Ailey II offshoot for 38 years. "I can't remember what else was missing, but he had to go out shopping for everything, and we used those hats...Read more
'A welcome hatpin to the balloon of literary pomposity'Times LIVE, February 18th
The Guardian's Alex Clark argued that, while the competition took a "welcome hatpin to the balloon of literary pomposity", there was a fair amount of lazy snarkiness to it all; the competition could well be renamed the Shooting Fish in a Barrel award...Read more