Tool of the Week #4

….or In Praise of the Humble Coat Hanger

I recently had to empty some closets. Clothing is much easier to stuff into bags without the hangers and so there grew quite a pile of them on the floor. More of a snarl than a pile. Really, is there nothing more of a convoluted complexity than a tangle of coat hangers? And why do we call them coat hangers when they are just as relevant to shirts and pants? This got me making a mental list of all the non-clothing uses for a hanger. For wire hangers anyway. Here are a few uses that immediately come to mind: stretch into a circle for a wreath frame or a giant bubble blower, straighten out and make a small hook on the end and it can be used to break into a car, to clean a clogged drain, to fish a wire through a wall, to pick a lock, to toast a marshmallow (although it is my opinion that it is one of the more inferior marshmallow toasting tools.) Various other configurations can give you a TV antenna, a stitch holder for your knitting, the frame for a head-dress or mickey mouse ears. They make great S hooks, especially if you glue beads onto the sharp ends.

Super duper home-made cup hooks

I’m sure if you google it you can find thousands of more uses and I just found a Pinterest page dedicated to them. And if your creativity fails you, you can always use them to hang clothing!

By the end of my task I was thinking that I could write a dissertation on the evolution of the lowly hanger but why bother when there is already a perfectly good Wikipedia page. So many varieties in one household was astonishing. That is all except the plain bare-naked wire hanger which was conspicuously absent because it is inclined to leave rust marks if it gets damp. Here is a selection:

Wooden hangers with two varieties of hook.

Fancy wooden hanger with bottom rail that unhitches.

Pants hangers.

Skirt hangers.

Felted hangers.

A variety of plastic hangers.

Hangers that came home with purchased garments.

Fancified store bought hangers.

Home-made fancified hangers.

What to do with all of these random hangers? When we delivered the bags of clothing to the local Salvation Army we asked “Do you want any hangers?” The store clerk just smiled and waved her hands towards a rack. “I guess that means no” I said.

They already had an infinite quantity of hangers.

There were even more in the back room; just about every variety known to mankind.

Sigh. However did we get this far from a plain old nail in the wall on which to hang our coats?

© Judy Parsons 2017

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