Today, many pegs are manufactured very cheaply by creating two interlocking plastic or wooden prongs, which in between is often wedged a small spring. This design was invented by David M. Smith of Springfield, Vermont, in 1853. By a lever action, when the two prongs are pinched at the top of the peg, the prongs open up, and when released, the spring draws the two prongs shut, creating the action necessary for gripping.
The first clothespin was invented by the Shakers, who did not patent their many inventions.
This older design does not use springs, but is fashioned in one piece, with the two prongs part of the peg chassis with only a small distance between them - this form of peg creates the gripping action due to the two prongs being wedged apart and thus squeezing together in that the prongs want to return to their initial, resting state. This form of peg is often fashioned from plastic, or originally, wood.
One famous clothespin is this sculpture by Claes Oldenburg, entitled Clothespin. It is in Philadelphia across the street from the City Hall, and can be seen in the movie Trading Places.
Clothespins are also used for straws. When a talent is in full makeup they some times can not drink from a cup so they drink from a straw. When the bottle or cup is too deep for the straw a C47 is clipped an inch from the top of the straw to keep the straw from falling into the drink.
The name "C47" may have come from an attempt to make it sound less mundane than a clothespin, or it may have come from the label on the bin used to store them in an early studio. More commonly believed is that the name "C47" came to be the designation that the clothespins were given when printed on studio budgets to trick budget managers into approving the request for them. A "C74", "74C" or "A47" is a clothespin that has been taken apart, reversed, and put back together so that the small end comes together. This gives a tweezer-like tool.
Surprise Your Christmas Tree; These Cheerful Ornaments Are Easy to Make from Wood Veneer, Clothespins, Form Balls
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