pins, needles, nails

Bone needles

Pin – a device used for fastening objects or material together. Pins often have two components: a long body and sharp tip made of steel, or occasionally copper or brass, and a larger head often made of plastic. The sharpened body penetrates the material, while the larger head provides a driving surface. It is formed by drawing out a thin wire, sharpening the tip, and adding a head.

  • Nails are related, but are typically larger.
  • In machines and engineering, pins are commonly used as pivots, hinges, shafts, jigs, and fixtures to locate or hold parts.

Curved sewing pins have been used for over four thousand years. Originally, they were fashioned out of iron and bone by the Sumerians and were used to hold clothes together.

  • Sewing needle – a long slender tool with a pointed tip. The first needles were made of bone or wood; modern ones are manufactured from high carbon steel wire, nickel- or 18K gold plated for corrosion resistance. A needle for hand-sewing has an eye, at the blunt end to carry thread or cord through the fabric after the pointed end pierces it.
  • Safety pin – a variation of the regular pin which includes a simple spring mechanism and a clasp. The clasp serves two purposes: to form a closed loop thereby properly fastening the pin to whatever it is applied to, and to cover the end of the pin to protect the user from the sharp point.
  • Brooch (or fibulae) – in ancient and early medieval world were not only decorative; they originally served a practical function: to fasten clothing, such as cloaks. Fibulae replaced straight pins that were used to fasten clothing in the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age. In turn, fibulae were replaced as clothing fasteners by buttons in the Middle Ages.
Mechanical pins

Mechanical and electrical pins] – In engineering and machine design, a pin is a machine element that secures the position of two or more parts of a machine relative to each other. A large variety of types has been known for a long time; the most commonly used are solid cylindrical pins, solid tapered pins, groove pins, slotted spring pins and spirally coiled spring pins.

  • Clevis pin
  • Cotter pin
  • Spring pin
  • Split pin

What’s the problem?
The first needles were made of bone or wood. Although these were better than nothing, they didn’t work very well.

  • Ask – How have sewing needles evolved over time as new materials became available? Needles work best if they are long, slim and smooth for pulling thread through the cloth or material being sewn.
  • Imagine – What materials can be used for a strong needle with a sharp point? What material will not rust or corrode?
  • Design, Build – modern ones are manufactured from high carbon steel wire, nickel- or 18K gold plated for corrosion resistance.
  • Improve – The highest quality embroidery needles are plated with two-thirds platinum and one-thirds titanium alloy.

Engineering ideas

  • pivots, hinges, shafts, jigs, steel, brass, sharpen, draw