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Display set of six safety pins, England, 1910-1937

The modern safety pin was invented in the United States in 1849. Over time, safety pins became a standard, everyday tool for hospital nurses – for example to secure bandages and nappies. The display set of six steel safety pins may have been used to advertise the products of the maker, Down Bros Ltd, a surgical instrument manufacturer based in London and in business from 1874 until the 1940s.

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Glossary: safety pin

Pins for fastening separate articles, as garments, bent back on itself so as to form a spring, and with a guard or sheath to cover the point and prevent accidental unfastening.