Who Knew? Main Squeeze

Share

One of my earliest memories was arranging clothespins on a windowsill by a clothesline overlooking a courtyard in Boro Park, Brooklyn. It gave a 3-year-old a sense of productivity and a lesson in hand-eye coordination. It also gave me a lifelong love of spring-loaded wood, those uniform legions of easy-on, easy-off fasteners that are as all-purpose as Duct Tape but without the sticky residue. And they're reusable.

While it isn't likely that people without access to a gas drier will come to B&H for laundry accoutrements, anyone who sets up a photo shoot or works in a darkroom might appreciate the chance of throwing a bag of 50 real wooden General Brand Clothespins in their cart. You never know when one or more will come in handy. No batteries or tech support needed. Even a 3-year-old gets it.

Add new comment

 Clothespins are amazing!  In the film industry they are known as C47s.  Here's an explanation why from Wikipedia:

"...During the production of a movie, commercial, music video etc., a spring-type clothespin is called a "CP 47", "C47", "47", "peg", "ammo", or "bullet". It is most useful on the set since lights used on film sets quickly become far too hot to touch; a wooden C47 is used to attach a color correction gel or diffusion to the barn doors on a light. The wooden clothes-pins do not transmit heat very effectively, and therefore are safe to touch, even when attached to hot lights for a significant period of time. Plastic or metal clothes pins are not used as plastic would melt with the heat of the lights and metal would transfer the heat making the clothes-pin too hot to touch. People like gaffers, grips, electricians and production assistants may keep a collection of C47’s clipped to clothing or utility belt at all times. Hence the nickname "bullet", as so many crew members clip a number of C47s to their utility belts, much like an old west gunslinger would carry extra bullets on his gun belt.

When a talent is in full makeup they some times can not drink from a cup so they drink from a straw. When the bottle or cup is too deep for the straw a C47 is clipped an inch from the top of the straw to keep the straw from falling into the drink.

The name "C47" may have come from an attempt to make it sound less mundane than a clothespin, or it may have come from the label on the bin used to store them in an early studio. More commonly believed is that the name "C47" came to be the designation that the clothespins were given when printed on studio budgets to trick budget managers into approving the request for them. A "C74", "74C", or "A47" is a clothespin that has been taken apart, reversed, and put back together so that the small end comes together. This gives a tweezer-like tool, useful for a task such as pulling a scrim from a hot light."

On Set, grips use clothespins to fasten gels and diffusion to hot lights... but they don't call them "clothespins." They're called C-47's. It sounds way cooler.

::EDIT - what Danny Z said::

They're film clips....who hasn't processed a roll of film and then hung it to dry using a clothes pin on at wire at the top and one to weight the other end.  Still us them in our student lab.

I ALWAYS keep a half-dozen or so in my bag.  They have so many uses during a shoot (if only as a huge paper clip) and they don't take up too much space.  Plus, they're handy when I'm staying in a hotel where the curtains never seem to close all the way - two or three pins, and I sleep longer without the sun waking me up.

I love clothespins! I learned early on that they were the most affordable photo accessory that really worked.  I have heard them called "C-clips" by a Brooks institute grad but never C-47. Apparently an allusion to the old C-47 Dakota (aka the DC-3) that was the main military transport plane of WWII. As a man who loves his hot lights, the C-clip has saved me many a scorched finger.

C47s used to be listed in the Mole-Richardson catalog.  Years ago I had a few with the MR brand burned into the clips.  I believe C47 Wood Clip was the product description in the catalogs up until the 1980s.

I want them