Drawing pin

Drawing pin
Brass drawing pin, or thumbtack

A drawing pin (British English), thumbtack (American English) , or push pin is a short nail or pin with a circular, sometimes domed, head, used to fasten items such as documents to a wall or board for display. Various designs and names are used. They are inserted and removed by hand, hence the terms "thumbtack" and "push pin". The term drawing pin comes from them being used to hold drawings on drawing boards.[1]

Thumbtacks made from brass are sometimes called brass tacks or brass pins. Some are made by attaching a metal stem to a flat metal head. Others are made from thin steel by stamping and bending a small narrow V-shape out of the head to form the pin (see "Stamped thumbtacks" image on right).

Map pins (also referred to as "thumbtacks" or "push pins") have a plastic head, often spherical, or handle, allowing easy removal, and often colorful, allowing different pins to be identified, such as points on a map, hence the term. Similar pins used in sewing are referred to as marking pins, and are used for marking points in fabric when sewing, or for holding fabric temporarily together.

Map pins are safer than flat-head thumbtacks when dropped or discarded, since they fall flat on surfaces, rather than pointing straight up, as can easily happen with simple metal thumbtacks.

Paper Crickets are new push pins with a flexible wing design that allows paper to be slipped in and hung without puncturing or damaging the paper. It is very strong and can hold multiple sheets or heavy and light paper without giving into the weight.


Pins have been used on maps at least since the time of Napoleon.[2] But the "map pin" was not patented until the early 1900's, when Edwin Moore founded his Moore Push-Pin Company.[3]

The thumbtack was invented either by clockmaker Johann Kirsten[citation needed] (between 1902 - 1903) in the city of Lychen, Germany, or by Mick Clay[citation needed] in 1903 in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England.

The idea was sold to Otto Lindstedt, a businessman, who received a patent for the thumbtack on 8 January 1904. The patent made Lindstedt a millionaire. Other sources ascribe the thumbtack invention to Austrian factory owner Heinrich Sachs[citation needed] in 1888.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • drawing pin — drawing pins also drawing pin N COUNT A drawing pin is a short pin with a broad, flat top which is used for fastening papers or pictures to a board, wall, or other surface. [BRIT] (in AM, use thumbtack) …   English dictionary

  • drawing pin — n BrE a short metal pin with a round flat head, used especially for putting notices on boards or walls American Equivalent: thumbtack …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • drawing pin — ► NOUN Brit. ▪ a short flat headed pin for fastening paper to a surface …   English terms dictionary

  • drawing pin — drawing ,pin noun count BRITISH a THUMBTACK …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • drawing pin — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms drawing pin : singular drawing pin plural drawing pins British a short pin with a flat top, used for fastening paper to a wall …   English dictionary

  • drawing-pin — see drawing pin …   English dictionary

  • drawing pin — noun A tack for attaching paper to a drawing board etc Syn: thumbtack …   Wiktionary

  • drawing-pin — thumbtack, small pin with a large head used for tacking papers on a surface …   English contemporary dictionary

  • drawing pin — noun Brit. a short, flat headed pin for fastening paper to a surface …   English new terms dictionary

  • drawing pin — noun (C) BrE a short pin with a round flat head, used especially for putting notices on boards or walls; thumbtack AmE …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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