What are Pinking Shears and History of Pinking Shears: What are pinking shears and when and where were they invented?
At the end of every upcoming episode of Stitched we have a segment called “I’ve got a Notion” that explores how some of our favorite notions came into being.
This segment came from Episode 11 of Season 1 called “Forever in Blue Jeans” where we talk about jean quilts, indigo, and of course Neil Diamond.
You can listen to the full episode HERE.
And you can read all about pinking shears in the paragraphs below:
Pinking shears are simply a pair of scissors that have sawtooth shaped blades rather than straight ones and, when used for cutting, leave a neat and tidy zig zag edge. This zig zag edge is useful when cutting woven cloth which tends to fray. While the use of pinking shears does not stop the cloth from fraying it does minimize the damage by shortening the lengths of the fraying thread.
Pinking shears were designed in 1931 by Samuel Briskman from Brooklyn…however it is unclear how they were given their name. Some historians claim they were given the name “pinking” due to the historical meaning of the word pink which meant to pierce, stab, or make holes in. Others claim the name comes from pink carnations that have a similar scalloped edge to their petals. And finally one last theory believes that the term pinking was coined on Savile Row, a street in Mayfair London that was famous for their men’s tailoring and that used the term pinking to refer to precision and care when referring to their scissors.
And it is this later theory that may be the most correct because while Briskman patented the pinking shears that we know today it was Louise Austin from Whatcom, Washington who procured the first patent on a pair of scissors called “Pinking Scissors” nearly 35 years prior to Briskman and during rise of Savile Rows popularity.
Pinking shears came on the market during the great depression here in the United States and their popularity helped give jobs to those who worked in the various factories to create them. But that isn’t the end of their story.
Later in 1952 a Benjamin Luscalzo from Chicago, Illinois was granted a patent that would revolutionize pinking shears…he had found a way to adjust the tension on the shears, which would keep the teeth of the blades carefully aligned and thus make the cuts neater, cleaner, and more efficient. Plus that slick alignment made the shears much easier to use!
Since 1952 not much has changed in Pinking Shear technology and with the rise of synthetic fibers that don’t fray and the accessibility of sergers one would think that pinking shears would have fallen out of common use….but not so! Pinking Shears still remain staple in sewing boxes across America!
Pinking Shears can be purchased in almost any quilting shop and can also be found HERE on Amazon.
We use Pinking Shears for a variety of different tasks but a favorite it when clipping curves.
For a full how-to walking you through how this works click HERE.
Now that you know What are Pinking Shears and History of Pinking Shears…as well as a handy tip…happy Clipping!
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