Profile America -- Sunday, April 10th. The need to pay a $15 debt sparked one of the most useful of inventions, patented this week in 1849. Walter Hunt, a mechanic in New York, owed the debt. While he thought about how to raise the money, he fiddled with a small piece of wire. Finally, he bent the wire with a twist in the middle, creating a spring, and formed a clasp at the other end to guard the point of the wire. He had invented the safety pin. Hunt called his device a "dress pin," and sold his rights to it for $400. The patent issued to Hunt for the safety pin was number 6,281. Now, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office grants nearly 167,000 patents a for inventions each year. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Chase's Calendar Events 2011, p. 215
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Statistical Abstract of the United States 2011, t. 772
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