Skip to main content

When it comes to iconic pins, safety pins are at the top of the heap. Safety pins contain a simple spring mechanism and clasp, which allows the pin to be fastened to a variety of materials and prevents the user from being poked by the sharp point. The modern safety pin was invented by American mechanic Walter Hunt in 1849 and he created the safety pin to pay off a $15 debt to a friend. After obtaining a patent for the safety pin, Hunt sold that patent to the W.R. Grace and Company for $400 dollars, which would come out to approximately $13,000 in today's dollar. W.R. Grace and Company would go on to make millions to profits from the safety pin over the coming decades.

Not only do safety pins have an important function, they also have a great deal of cultural significance. During the 1970s, safety pins became a staple of punk rock fashion. Many associate the origin of this association with American musician Richard Hell, who was a member of several notable early punk rock bands. Safety pins as a fashion statement soon spread throughout the punk scene, whether they were used practically to hold together ripped clothing together or worn as jewelry. To this day, the safety pin remains a distinctive symbol of punk rock music and culture.

Take a look at 50 of our favorite safety pin tattoos from talented artists around the world in the gallery below. Then let us know if you'd rock one of these tattoos in the comments section on social media.