Week of September 25, 2022

Sew Interesting


Pins and needles all start out as long spools of wire which are then cut to size and processed, largely by machine, into the finished product. The process can take several days.


Sewing needles are a very essential, and very old, human invention. A 50,000 year old needle made of bird bone was found in one Siberian cave, likely made by a now-extinct species of humans.


Tattoos, and the needles which produce them, also go pretty far back. Iceman Otzi, found under a melting European glacier in 1991, had 61 tattoos on his body and was carbon-14 dated at 5,300 years old.


The common pin has the distinction of being the item which Adam Smith uses as an example of the efficiency of division of labor in manufacture.


“Pins and needles” describes unrelated mental and physical sensations. It describes both nervous anticipation and the feeling of blood returning to a limb which had “fallen asleep.” The term has been in use since at least the 19th century.


The modern safety pin was invented by Walter Hunt as he toyed with some wire, pondering how he might pay off a debt of fifteen dollars to a friend. He sold the patent to that friend after receiving one in 1849.


A “needler” is both one who makes needles or deals in and also one who annoys and antagonizes.