No one really knows what the first hanger was like or what it looked like. We know that around 1850 people began to use hangers to hang their clothes in their wardrobes. In the Victorian age women needed to carefully store their bustles and skirts. Hanger inventors and manufacturers provided them different kinds of adjustable devices designed to prevent skirts and fluffy dresses from creasing. Hangers improved quickly and comfortable travel hangers were soon invented. Tailors and clothing merchants realized that invention could be used to advertise their business. At the beginning of the 20th century the hanger became an essential item and hundreds of designs and models were patented and registered with the US patent office.
There are three main types of clothes hangers.
- The first is a wire hanger available in different thickness in the shape of a triangle that ends up into a hook at the top.
- The second is the wooden hanger, which consists in a piece of wood cut into a rectangular shape like a boomerang with the edges sanded down to prevent damage to the clothing and a hook at the top usually in metal. They can have a flat or ruled rounded bar used to hang the trousers together with the jacket.
- The third and the most used type is the plastic hanger. It is available in several colors and is used also in small sizes for children’s clothes.
Some historians believe the wooden coat hanger was invented by the third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson. He was also the inventor of the wooden plough, the portable typewriter, the swivel chair and other different devices.
The most popular and probably the real first prototype is the wire hanger that has its origin in a “coat hook” invented in 1869 by O.A. in the north of New Britain,Connecticut. However, this invention was attributed to Mr Albert J.Parkhouse of Jackson who was an employee of the TIMBERLAKE WIRE & NOVELTY COMPANY . His fellow workers used to complain about the huge quantity of coats they had to hang and they used often to run out of coat hooks. Mr Albert brilliantly overcame the problem bending a piece of wire into two ovals and twisting the ends together to form a hook.