The original inventor of the humble, but much loved, clothes hanger has been disputed for decades.
Many people believe the first wooden hanger was put together by prolific inventor and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson who also named a wooden plough, a portable copying press and a revolving Windsor chair amongst his ingenious creations. The original wire hanger, on the other hand, has been attributed to a little known OA North of Connecticut in the USA in 1869.
What is clear, however, is that the fashion conscious Victorians were the first generation who began to use rudimentary hangers and hooks to hang garments in wardrobes.Victorian women’s bustles and skirts needed careful storage and hanger inventors came to their aid with all kinds of adjustable components and spring systems to allow the skirts to retain their pleats and hold the waistbands.
Hanger improvement did not stop there. A variety of new designs began to appear such as travel hangers which collapsed and folded and hangers with extra hooks for belts. Tailors and clothing merchants were quick to see that these specialty hangers could be used to advertise their businesses.
The rise of the wire hanger
By the early 1900s the humble hanger had become indispensable and hundreds of patented designs were registered with the US patent office.
Albert J Parkhouse, an employee of the Timberlake Wire and Novelty Company in Michigan, was responsible for one of these patents. In 1903, to appease fellow workers who constantly complained about lack of hanging space for coats, he bent a piece of wire into two ovals with the ends twisted together to form a hook. Although Parkhouse patented his invention it is unlikely that he profited from it, despite the popularity his invention has subsequently enjoyed.
In 1932, fellow American Schuyler Hulett, used cardboard tubes mounted on the upper and lower parts of the wire to prevent unsightly wrinkles. This adaptation was added to by Elmer D Rogers who created a hanger with a tube on the lower bar which is still used today.
Wooden hangers for luxury
Despite the success of the simple wire hanger, the more luxurious wooden hanger also saw its developments. In 1906, a tailor from Grand Rapids in Michigan became the first retailer to display his wares on his wishbone-inspired hangers.
The modern clothes hanger
The humble clothes hanger has seen a few changes since the early 20th century. Now, thanks to modern designs, new manufacturing processes and a broader range of materials, the variety of this essential item on the market today is extensive. Here at Hangerworld, one of the UK’s leading online suppliers of coat hangers, we’re proud to offer an unbeatable range of wooden, metal, plastic, satin and velvet flocked hangers on the internet – for adults and children.