I found an outsized wooden clothes peg this week in a charity shop, alongside various old linens marked with blue embroidery transfers. One of the latter also carried a World War II utility mark which is always exciting to see. Both of these methods of marking were designed to wash out so their survival is a time-capsule treat.
I’m collecting references to the humble clothes peg, and happening across this very big peg reminded me of one of my favourites. It’s a recollection about historian and political philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) taken from Conversations with Carlyle (1892) by Charles Gavan Duffy:
Speaking of his method of work, he said he found the little wooden pegs, which washerwomen employ to fasten their clothes to a line, highly convenient for keeping together bits of notes and agenda on the same special point.
The sprung clothes peg was invented in the US in 1853, so it’s possible that this was what was being referred to, but don’t quote me.