Origin of Hangers
Who invented this very clever and simple clothes hanging device we (uncreatively) call “The Hanger”? Let’s dive into the history of the invention of hangers... Don’t worry – I’ve included pictures to keep you entertained.
The initial intention of the hanger’s invention was as an accessory to the already invented ‘hook’
No, not that hook…
This J shaped hook offered a designated area in a home where people could hoist their clothes to keep it clean, dry and wrinkle free for a quick and hassle-free ware. A useful and well received invention by O. A North in 1869. This man is only described to have been from New Britain, Connecticut. However little his description, his invention paved the way for the predecessor to our beautifully sleek velvet DECASSA hangers.
According to various internet sources, the earliest recorded manifestation of the hanger came in 1903 by an employee of the Timberlake Wire and Novelty Company named Albert J. Parkhouse of Jackson, Michigan, USA.
It is told that this ingenious employee came to work one day and in frustration of the lack of available coat hooks for staff to hang their coats, – he sought a quick and effective solution. In his quest, he experimented with twisting two pieces of wires together and fashioned a hook at the top; and there struck his light bulb moment! EURIKA! The hanger was born!
The usefulness of this simple yet effective invention was quickly put to use; within 3 years a clothing company called Meyer May found that the hanger’s structural resemblance of the human shoulder was a perfect solution to display their designs of tailored men’s clothes.
Their use of the hanger aided in the sales increase of the fashion industry as more people took to their stores after seeing how well their products were displayed. It was not long after that other clothes company took on the trend.
This made the demand for hanger to spread like wildfire and in no time other inventors like Schuyler C. Hulett quickly saw the financial potential of the production of hangers, so found ways to create and patent their advancements to the wire hanger.
In 1932 Schuyler C. Hulett mounted cardboard tubes on the upper and lower part of the wire hanger to reduce the creases caused in clothes, he patented his improvements and within 2 years a man named Elmer D Rodgers trumped Hueltt’s design and made his own alterations by added an additional tube to the lower bar of the hanger which we still use today.
In an attempt to further reduce the wrinkles in clothes whilst maintaining the robustness of the hanger, further accreditation goes to G. Wieckmann, who moulded his design of hangers with wood but kept the wire hook in. As you know, his design is still very popular to date.
As the decades pass, newer forms of the hanger were being created. Some of the most noted designs like the one patented by J.M Batts is said to (amusingly) be compared to the shape of a bird wishbone. …like the ones we pull apart after a succulent Sunday roast feast. Here’s an image of the patented design:
I’ve added some images of wishbones in different angels below, and looking at it, you can understand why It is believed that this was likely where he got the structural inspiration.
Batts’ design paved the way for a much more cost effective, sturdy, and strong rendition of our hangers.
Nowadays hangers are made with various materials like ours, made from strong steel and covered in soft velvet. Further structural improvements are forever being developed, but we can all agree that notches on the hangers like ours definitely is a meaningful evolution to the designs of the past.
Now hangers hook even swivel and are getting thinner and sturdier to create additional wardrobe spaces and non-slip features. We’re so proud that our hangers are part of that evolution of one of the most useful human evolutions.
What’s your favourite modern feature of the hanger? Let us know in the comments below.
…One a side note…
Various online sources proclaim one of the American founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson as inventing a "space-saving" device for a closet in his home in Monticell.” Many have attributed this invention as the first construction of the hanger.
Pictured below is a replica of what sources say Jefferson’s “hanger” looked like based on descriptions. Since the one-of-a-kind design was not salvaged through time, we have to rely on the imaginations and descriptions of historians.
Looking at the image though, I think it’s safe to say this is a different invention entirely – it bears no liking to the tool we call a “hanger”. However, this innovation cannot go unrecognised. It may not be our hanger, but this turning gadget is reported have stored quite a significant amount of clothes in an easily accessible fashion. I actually wouldn’t mind having one of these hoisted up in my room…although at 5’5 it might be difficult to reach the top spiral.