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April 09, 2002
#02-25

Contact:
Kim Byars
703-305-8341
kim.byars@uspto.gov

Press Release, 02-25

Patent for Safety Pin Issued April 10, 1849 A New Yorker invents a handy device

Washington - Walter Hunt, of New York, NY, received patent #6,281 for the safety pin on April 10, 1849. Hunt's pin was made from one piece of wire, which was coiled into a spring at one end and a separate clasp and point at the other end, allowing the point of the wire to be forced by the spring into the clasp. Walter Hunt was extremely creative, and in 1834 he built America's first sewing machine, which also used the first eye-pointed needle. Hunt did not patent his invention because he thought it would put hand sewers out of work. Nearly 20 years later, Elias Howe reinvented and patented an eye-pointed needle sewing machine.

Hunt's patent, as well as the more than six million patents issued since the first in 1790 and the 2.3 million trademarks registered since 1870, can be seen on the Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site at www.uspto.gov .

Last year USPTO issued 187,824 patents and registered 102,314 trademarks.

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