Pins similar to those now in use were not known in ancient times, when thorns, and bone, wooden, gold or silver skewers were used to fasten the clothing. In the sixteenth century, when first manufactured, they were so expensive that only the rich could afford to buy them; when first made in the United States, a paper of pins cost one dollar.

Pins are now manufactured by machines and are made in many sizes. The wire, after being reduced to the proper size and condition, is run through a machine, which cuts it into the required length, forms the head, and also sharpens the point and tempers it. The pins are next cleaned, and the imperfect ones' thrown out by machinery. The third machine rolls them until they are bright and smooth. Another machine sticks them into the paper, and, after being inspected under a magnifying glass, they are ready for market. A machine has been invented which does the entire work. Black pins are prepared by japanning the common pins.