The humble clothes hanger has been a part of people’s closets for as long as can be remembered. Whether it was to dry wet shirts or keep pressed clothes from wrinkling, the hanger has been integral in easing home life.
With its disputed origins, the invention of the hanger and the men behind it makes for an intriguing read.
Albert J. Parkhouse
Albert J. Parkhouse, born in the city of Jackson, Michigan happens to be the man behind the making of the clothes hanger. His design was inspired by clothes hook from Britain.
To be clear, he designed the hanger that is actually most popular today and has been popular since its inception.
Story Behind Invention
According to the story, Parkhouse went in to work one fateful day in 1903. Finding no coat hooks to hang his coat, a frustrated Parkhouse looked around to find a wire. He proceeded to bend the wire into the famous shoulder-shape that we know today and hung his coat.
The Original Inspiration
The coat hook that inspired the modern hanger was invented in 1869 by a man named O. A. North who was from New Britain, Connecticut.
1906 was the year that the hanger was first put up in a public display. It was in a men’s clothing store in Michigan owned by one Meyer May. His wishbone-shaped hangers can still be seen today, albeit in a museum-like memorial house.
Schuyler C. Hulett
In 1932, a man named Schuyler C. Hulett patented a modified hanger that had tubes of cardboard around the shoulder and bottom parts of the hanger. This modification helped further in avoiding wrinkles.
Elmer D. Rogers
Not long after in 1935, Elmer D. Rogers came up with a hanger design that included a tube on the bottom. This particular design can still be seen today.
Thomas Jefferson is another man credited with the invention of the hanger. Or rather, he invented the wooden variation of the hanger. Apparently Jefferson created it in order to save space in his closet.
Another individual claimed as an inventor was a certain engineering student from Boston University named Christopher Cann.
With all these inventors discussed, the real reason the idea for the hanger came up is not very complex at all. Inventions come from necessity and there was a need for clothes to be dry and wrinkle-free, especially for the upper classes in Victorian England. And thus arrived the simple yet effective hanger to make home life just a tad bit easier.