This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Hair-Pin. A wire pin used to support braids and plaits of hair, or maintain the head-dress, of whatever description, in its proper position. The simplest kind is made of wire bent in the form of a letter U, but hairpins are made also of ivory, bone, tortoise-shell, wood and metal, and of various shapes, often with ornamented heads or tops. It is a feminine assertion that a women can do more with a hair-pin than a man man can do with any one instrument in existence. She takes it to button her shoes, to crimp her hair, to fasten her hat on. To button her gloves, to pin her veil, to manicure her nails; and, sometimes, to pick her teeth. To clean her comb, and to cut the pasted label on her powder-box. She can use it as a paper-knife, or a book-mark; to open a letter, or draw a device upon a seal. If she twists the ends, it becomes a tape-needle, or a safety-pin, or a key-ring. With it she supplies many of the missing intricacies of buckles, suspenders and supporters, and repairs any damaged domestic article requiring a few inches of wire and a little feminine ingenuity. Ever ready to her hand, whether she uses it to pick her trunk-lock, or to trim the lamp-wick, to mend her bracelet or her bustle, she handles it with a dexterous grace and a confident skill, born of inherited knowledge and educated by long practiced use.