In the big scheme of things clothes pegs are one of those mundane items that anyone who likes to give their washing a bit of fresh air takes for granted.
I did, until we moved to a windy place. Today is at least a 4 peg day for larger items. The duvet cover harried by the wind is snapping in the strong breeze.
I had a selection of what now appear on Etsy as vintage clothes pegs (£15 for 12 plus postage thank you very much). I guess I’ve had mine for years, purchased at some long-gone ironmongers. They’re sturdy little terriers of pegs with a good strong snappy spring.
To augment my now inadequate collection, I bought some plastic pegs with flattened ends, they’re OK but don’t quite cut the mustard in a strong wind.
So I went on a trawl of the internet, Amazon purported to have just what I wanted, not dolly pegs but wooden pegs with a metal spring. They came in bulk, the price was cheap, reviews weren’t good – what can I say? Many fell apart on first use, the metal spring the equivalent of an unbent paper clip – useless.
A work colleague, Maria, took up the challenge and visited a local ironmongers in darkest Gloucestershire – her finds looked sturdier but turned out to be similar to the Amazon purchase in terms of robustness.
Off on a search again I came across Kevin’s Clothespins in the US – yes, there is a man in America making old fashioned pegs and the Lady & the Carpenter ship to the UK. OK, I admit this was extravagant but I wasn’t paying over £1 a peg via the vintage route.
Kevin’s pegs are nice, they have character, they’re made of hardwood, they have a sturdy spring, But they’re big – which is fine, the pinch of the spring is good, but they don’t always bite as hard as I’d like on the line with thinner fabric (today they held pretty firm).
Then the other half mentioned to his Mum the quest for decent pegs – he came home with a bag of terrier pegs of assorted dates and sizes. It was the legacy of someone else’s laundry, a lady who is no longer with us. Some pegs are better than others as they too must have been added to over the years. So for now I have a plethora of pegs. Bring on the 5 peg washing days I say!
NB: I also learned along the way that sprung pegs were patented in the US in 1853, in the UK we favoured the all wooden dolly pegs in the early 19th Century.
And yes, I’ve hung out all my clean washing for all to see on a lovely early spring day!