The Great Debacle
One hundred and fifty years ago, a man in Connecticut in America decided to bend a piece of long wire and fashion it into a shape, now known as the clothes hanger.
With a simple production procedure and mass distribution, the basic hanger entered into our modern world, ready to be critiqued, improved and utilized, for years since and years to come.
Over time as the generations progressed and the world developed, so too did its needs and requirements, and the humble wire hanger was changed and swapped out for different purposes, different designs and different materials.
With our need to perfect things, add, edit and invent, there are a lot of factors to consider when making, choosing and using a hanger.
The purpose of a clothes hanger is not simply just to hold our clothes, but also to do so in a neat and organized way.
Hangers enable us to conveniently and quickly store and stock our outfits.
Gone are the days of troublesome folding techniques, and matching corners and lines.
Hangers mimic the shape of our shoulders so that the clothes can hang freely and easily off of them, as if someone was wearing the clothes, thereby prevent creasing and crinkling, saving us quite a bit of time ironing.
There is also quite a bit of space-saving involved, as we can hang together numerous pieces of clothing, with only single fabric layers, stacking up, taking space.
We can easily look at outfits and go through our closets without making a mess.
The raw material that the hanger is made from plays an important role in the particulars of its usage here.
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Good Old Plastic
Plastic clothes hangers have a fairly simple producing procedure.
Created using a method known as injection moulding, plastic hanger manufacturing is entirely automated.
Plastic granules of either polystyrene, polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride, are fed into a heated chamber that melts the granules.
Heat is generated through friction as a rotating rod compresses and grinds the plastic together.
The melted plastic is then pressurized into a steel mould through the injection moulding machine.
These moulds are what cast the hangers into their characteristic shape.
Post procedures, the hanger is then finished off by washing, cooling and trimming before being brought to the public.
Plastic hangers are among the most commonly and cheaply available hangers that are there.
Simultaneously versatile in both style and application, most people prefer the simple comforts of plastic.
Managing with Metal
In comparison, metal hangers are even easier to manufacture.
This process too is completely automated.
Coils of wire are fed into the hanger making machine, and wrap around a hanger shaped structure.
Heated rods pull the wire and press it into place quickly, while another coiled rod moulds the hanger hook.
And voila, a metal hanger is made within mere seconds.
Most metal hangers are made from steel, while some can be galvanized or coated with polyethene terephthalate or polyvinyl chloride.
Such procedures make the wire hanger more durable and resistant to rust, damage, and ruin.
Battling it out
Our era is obsessed with looks first; maintaining our aesthetic.
While plastic hangers can be manipulated into numerous variations of size and design, metal wire hangers retain their originality, from the time of conception.
They are as they always were.
Metal hangers are merely a slim, flimsy piece of wiring, wearing a new face.
They cannot bear many burdens and so are limited in the kind of clothes that they can hold.
Easily machine moulded, these hangers can be misshapen by our hands, so there is very little stopping them from becoming deformed under a reasonably weighted garment.
Due to their thin built, metal hangers are also damaging to clothing, easily leaving dents, providing little support with less surface area, our clothes are also in danger of slipping off.
Quite dissimilar to this are plastic hangers which can be thickened and moulded into different shapes that will then last the duration of the plastic hanger’s lifetime.
Plastic hangers can have thicker shoulders for coats, slimmer necks more delicate dresses, and grooves and ribbing for an additional secure grip.
While metal hangers too can be built with clamp style clips to hold onto garments, like skirts, the clips themselves as made of metal.
Many times, metal hangers also have sharp edges, which can catch fabrics, ripping and ruining them.
If we are not careful, we can also get scratched by the pointy ends.
Rusting too poses a major threat to the integrity of our clothes, leaving us defenceless, forced to go on a shopping spree to counteract our losses.
Wire hangers have a weight themselves as well.
Plastics are relatively less dense and easy to handle, especially when transporting.
Metal hangers may be more compact, offering up more space for storage, but that comes at a high cost.
Some people might still prefer the metal hanger, due to its upscale and contemporary vibe.
It brings about a sense of industrialism to our modernity, a stark contrasting theme that has gained popularity rapidly.
Plastics are rapidly gaining notoriety; however, as mass pollutants, damaging the environment and dooming the planet.
From factory emissions contributing to greenhouse gas production to ineffective disposal systems and waste accumulation, plastics do not paint a pretty picture.
Plastic pollution not only contributes to the destruction of habitats and killing of wildlife, but also human health, as plastics can prove poisonously fatal for people; adults and children.
The Great Debate
Mostly associated with salesmen and compact convenience, metal hangers do not seem to possess much potential.
With a gruesome past and upgraded materials, metal hangers seem to have some bleak prospects ahead.
As a hanger, it has great worth, not having changed since the 1800s, but perhaps it is best to leave metal wire hangers as relics of the past, and instead celebrate the new technology and developments that have been made in hanger production.
Choosing between plastic and metal is a matter of compromising either way.
Whatever you decide, depends upon the requirements you prioritize, with consideration to your clothing and organization.
And maybe just wait a bit, there could be something else around the corner before you know it.