This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
Having occasion to repair a purse of the ordinary ball-clasp kind where one of the stems was broken off and lost, I first had some trouble in finding a way to repair it. I started to take off the remaining stem in an attempt to replace the locking device with another kind, and in bending it down toward the opposite side, I happened to close the purse and found that it locked just as well as if there had been two balls on it. I have since repaired two other purses in the same manner and found that they worked well.
The idea is to bend the remaining clasp over until it is low enough to come in contact with and to spring over the other side, thus giving the same snap and holding qualities as before. - Contributed by W. C. Loy, Rochester, Ind.