Saturday, May 21, 2005

On affixing clothes to lines

Just as my grandmother used to say "looking glass" instead of "mirror," she used "clothes pegs," not "clothes pins." When we went to Breed (can't help thinking of it as Everett) for clothesline, we didn't find exactly what we wanted, which was entirely cotton line of a certain thickness, settling for a thinner cotton-and-polyester blend. We hadn't checked our stock of pins, so bought some there, both spring-clips and the old kind from which kids used to make butterflies and dolls, described on the package as "round slotted clothespins." I knew right away that the latter were probably not American-made, because the heads were entirely rounded, not flattened on top. And they're from China. I haven't checked them against the ones we have, but they appear to be from a different wood, also. The wood has been polished or sanded, which is unusual. The spring-clip items are also from China and are an inferior product. The wood is thinner, the clips are smaller, and the springs have no strength. I think I remember that clothespins of both types used to be made mostly in Maine and Michigan, sometimes by the same outfits making matches. The identity of such companies wasn't located in a quick Google search, but there was a reference to attempts by the Reagan administration to impose import quotas on foreign-made clothespins, perhaps something to follow up. A vendor of "antique laundry accessories" identifies as chamber pots (we used to call them "thundermugs") what are really diaper pails. The stock is enamelware, both white and granite in assorted colors.


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