76. The Humble Bobby Pin

Oh the bobby pin. These little guys are the back-bone to the art and craft of "dressing of the hair". The above photos come from Christian Dior Fall 2009 Ready-To-Wear. But first let's have a quick history lesson.

The "bobby pin" came into wide use as the hairstyle known as the Bob Cut or took hold. This trend gained popularity in the 1920s, and the bobby pins kept the bobbed hair in place. A trademark on the term "bobby pin" was held for some decades by Bob Lépine Corporation of Buffalo, New York. A trademark infringement claim made by Bob Lépine against Procter & Gamble regarding their naming their home permanent product Bobbi was settled in the 1950s by a payment to Bob Lépine by P&G. The term is now in common usage and therefore is no longer a valid trademark. Similarly, the British "kirby grip" is derived from the trademark Kirbigrip, used by a Birmingham manufacturer of such pins, Kirby, Beard & Co. Ltd.


But have you ever woken up in a strange house, handcuffed to a bed post? Me neither, but if you have, perhaps you should think about this alternative use for the humble bobby pin.

1. The first step in picking handcuffs is to prep a bobby pin. This is done by bending the bobby pin into a 90˚ angle.

2. Remove the plastic tip at the end of the straight section.

3. Next, bend the bobby pin to the left, creating a 90˚ bend about 1cm from the end of the bobby pin. Then bend bobby pin at 90˚ to the right from about .5cm from the end of the bobby pin. This will create a modified “S” shape (see photo).

4. Insert the pick (bobby pin) into the upper cutout of the lock pointed towards the cuff’s direction of travel.

Once the pick has been inserted and is resting under the handcuff housing, add tension and press the pick towards the cuff’s direction of travel.

This motion will recreate the key’s raised area pressing against the locking mechanism and release the cuff. Now quickly exit building and change your phone number and Facebook profile.

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