Clothespins

  Sometimes the most ordinary household items have a fascinating history. Clothespins1 have been used for many years to pin laundry to clotheslines2 so they can dry in the sun. Most clothespins today are two pieces of wood or plastic that are joined together by a spring3. The inventor of this design was an American named David M. Smith. He was from Vermont and patented4 the first clothespin in 1853.

  The original style of clothespins, however, was created by a religious society called the Shakers. Their clothespin is made of a single piece of wood. The two legs of the pin are pushed apart and then the tension5 between them grasps the clothes.

  Clothespins are not only used for hanging laundry. During World War II, people did not have a lot of money, so a box of clothespins was a popular children's toy. In the film industry, special wooden clothespins are used for working with movie lights. They clip colored filters6 to the lights and keep messy cords7 out of the way. Though they are small, clothespins have proven to be extremely convenient and helpful throughout history.

Clothespins

  有時連最不起眼的家用物品都有著引人入勝的歷史。曬衣夾多年來被用在將衣物固定在曬衣繩上,好讓陽光曬乾衣物。如今大多數的衣夾是利用彈簧將兩片木頭或塑膠連接在一起。這項設計的發明者是一位名叫大衛‧史密斯的美國人。來自佛蒙特州的他於1859年為第一個曬衣夾申請了專利。

  然而曬衣夾最原先的設計是由一個叫作Shakers的宗教組織所創造的(編按:Shakers是十八世紀時美國基督教的支派之一,他們主張共有財產並強調獨身,昔日祭神時會跳震動之舞,因此得名)。他們的曬衣夾是用單塊木頭製成。衣夾的兩腳被撐開後,兩者之間的拉力會抓牢衣物。

  曬衣夾並不是只能拿來晾衣服而已。第二次世界大戰時的人們並不富有,因此一盒衣夾就是熱門的童玩。在電影業中,操作電影燈光時,特製的木頭衣夾也會派上用場。它們能將濾光片固定在燈光上,並且可以讓雜亂的電線不至於礙事。曬衣夾雖小,但是長久的歷史下來在在證明了它們是便利有用的小幫手。

《Building Your Vocabulary》
1. household a. 家用的
The store mainly sells household supplies.
這家店主要賣的是家庭用品。
2. fascinating a. 迷人的
This city has a fascinating nightlife.
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