This is your peg

By diversification and shrewd management Peggy’s Pegs limited have taken a firm hold in the cut-throat world of clothes peg production. One peg has led to another and they now have a strong portfolio of pegs based merchandise.

I’ve always had a fascination with pegs since I was small as my gran and her cronies would talk about washing lines for hours. Behind the sofa pretending to play with my wooden rail track I’d listen in to the stimulating conversation. The subject had a broad spectrum ranging from the quality of washing being hanged to the positioning of the pegs on the garments.

There were unwritten rules regarding tenement washing line etiquette. The varied families had a designated day to display their wares. It was in the lap of the gods if it rained on your parade day. Newcomers to the close had to quickly change their usual way of washing and succumb to the new environment. Disputes over washing line rope were commonplace. Certain neighbours would roll in their line and not let any one else use it. As I said, fascinating stuff.

Peggy’s Pegs (PP) have branched out from the wooden peg of old into new industries. You’d think, only if there were an outbreak of skunk pestilence would you pin a peg on your nose. Not so. PP is the proud sponsor of the Synchronized Swimming world championships. If you’ve a magnifying glass handy you’ll see the PP logo on the swim dancers nose clips.

Designer earrings in the form of a peg are another bold venture. Initial sales reports are promising added to the fact that QVC (the home shopping channel) have given PP an upcoming slot in their schedule to sell their branded spring-loaded plastic/wood jewellery. All that glisters is not gold, apparently.

Through all this innovation they haven’t forgotten where they came from. The humble, two-pronged, stake you in the heart, ball-headed wooden peg is still available from their stores. The equine fragility of this artefact that made it into A History of the World in 100 Objects has been given a shot in the arm. A special repair centre will fix any broken legs in your pegs.

Pegs in popular culture

● The National Clothespin Defence League in 1978 introduced a slogan advocating pegs as gifts: a peg is for life, and a great Christmas present.

● in one of the first drafts of Shakespeare’s Richard III, the Plantagenet King was writ the almost immortal words. “A peg! A peg! My kingdom for a peg!”

● ZZ Top recorded a song called “Pegs”

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13 Comments on “This is your peg”

  1. Expat Says:

    Oh, JW, you are so good at taking me back to my childhood and, indeed, being a new mum in the UK and pegging out the nappies in January. They froze solid and had to be vigourously rubbed back to softness.

    I an reminded of the first baby shower I ever attended as a newly arrived immigrant in the USA. One of the games laid on (for a prize!) was to unpeg as many pegs from the clothes line as you could with one hand, keeping all the pegs in the hand. In this land of tumble dryers, I won “hands down.” Painful experience will out!


  2. Brilliant post JW! And one close to my heart at the moment, as our washing machine exploded a fortnight ago. We're waiting Still for the promised replacement to land.

    So thank god for pegs, line and lack of rain at the moment. And my wringing-out muscles are A Wonder…

  3. JW10 Says:

    Glad to have brought back some memories, Expat, and thanks for sharing.

    Forgot to mention in the blog how much I loved the clothes pole. As you’ll know this was used to keep sheets etc. from trailing on the grass. As children my sisters and I would run through the washing, clipping the bottom of the clothes after mum put the pole up. Mum didn’t bother as long as we didn’t knock anything down. A simple way to have lots of fun.

  4. JW10 Says:

    Sorry to hear that, Dolores. I maintain that the world is full of broken washing machines. At least your newly developed wringing muscles will impress the delivery men as single-handedly you lift the new machine into place.

    Glad you like the post. I could have continued the blog in the same vein as paragraphs 2 and 3 as I have thousands of stories from my eavesdropping of gran and chums. As usual though, I got carried away.


  5. I like the peg basket in your first illustration, JW. All the pegs in the peg basket look as if they've pegged it, except the red peg at the back of the basket, which looks as if it is pegging away at trying to be a square peg in a round hole in the peg basket. My favourite fictional Peg is Clara Peggotty.
    🙂

  6. JW10 Says:

    Hope you noticed the scarcity of green pegs in the basket, CI. Surreptitiously, I have been throwing them out one by one. Don't tell Mrs W.

  7. Expat Says:

    Vital to Washday Monday, after boiling the sheets in the copper and before hanging them on the line, was The Mangle. We had a big old mangle just outside the kitchen door. I would help Mum pull and fold the sheets so that they could be processed (with great hand-cranking effort)through the rollers to get all the excess water out before they were pegged out.

    And the pole! It had a notch in the top to catch the clothes line and God forbid the child who knocked it out of plumb causing the sheets to drag in the dirt.

    So many memories. I was a just-post-war baby and we were very poor in monetary terms. I think the most exotic kitchen gadet my mother had was a wooden spoon. And the chip pan, of course. I marvel these days at how hard she had to work. And I thank God that she made sure that, through a good education, I would never have to do the same.

    But, the sweet smell of air-dried sheets is still in my nostrils after all these years.


  8. Hi Expat…
    As a male war baby, I wish to announce my eternal love and affection for approximately half of all just-post-war babies.
    🙂


  9. Hell's teeth, Expat – boiling in a copper? What an arduous process & fascinating images. (please send mangle).

    Yes, JW, I shall impress the delivery man with my new Left Hook if he doesn't bloody hurry up & deliver. Off down the bar for an arm wrestle.

  10. Expat Says:

    Dolores, when I was young we only had a cold water tap in the kitchen. Then we got a geyser which supplied modest quantities of hot water at a time for washing dishes etc. But for baths and the Monday Wash, the huge copper was filled(laborously, using a big saucepan, from the cold tap) and the gas lit to heat the water up. No wonder my parents' generation, and those of similar ecomonic background, were tough!

    The mangle was a thing of wonder…free-standing, with rubber rollers, it was the first labour-saving device we ever owned. Now, you can buy them on e-bay as collectors' items.

    As I said, we were monetarily poor, but we had a lot to be thankful for. One day I will tell you about my dad, King of the Allotments and the Alan Titchmarsh of his day!


  11. Shall scour Ebay, Expat – I Want One!
    In fact I do remember a mangle-thing attached to the twin tub of my youth, then fighting with brothers & clothes-horse for a gap in front of the fire.

    And you Tell That to the Youth of Today…

  12. JW10 Says:

    Thanks again Expat. I can relate to your evocative comments.

    We lived in a tenement scheme before our name topped the housing list and we moved to a four-in-a-block. Those tenement days seem like a different world. Nobody was any better off than anybody else and nobody had any airs or graces.

    Still fresh in my mind is the images of women hanging their washing while other women hang out their windows and converse with one another. This was completely normal. The kids would play in the “backs” or street.

    DD- “Off down the bar for an arm wrestle.” Brilliant!

  13. Expat Says:

    Whoopie, JW. You pegged the Lost Blog straight away. We three did this a while back and it was hilarious. Even better now with four devious and fertile imaginations in the mix!


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