The Humble Hanger
Simple and straight forward, the old, clothes hanger has been hanging around in everyone’s closets; since centuries, whether rich or poor, king or tailor, all people have a need and usage for this ingenious invention.
The humble hanger came into being almost one hundred and fifty years ago, in a small city in the United States of America.
Since then it has only gained fame and notoriety, as a clothes hanger could.
Stretching across the corners of the globe, hangers are among the most commonly used objects.
With a well-known silhouette and structure, hangers are fairly easy to manufacture.
The basics of the hanger have stayed the same, since its conception- which only adds to the greatness- but over time with modern-day developments and technologies, hangers have also developed and progressed.
From the production procedure to designing and detailing the product, our generation is obsessed with the particulars in things, improving and adding, editing and complicating; we have a lot of considerations and put a lot of thought into the finished product.
The story, however, all starts with the kind of hanger we are making, and the material we will, therefore, be using.
It all starts with the production procedure.
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Plastic clothes hangers are fairly simple to make.
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.
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.
What about Wood?
Besides this, wood hangers follow an entirely different method.
Flat dried planks of sliced wood are fed into a sawing machine that levels the plank to an even thickness.
The planks undergo multiple series of smoothing and sanding, to eliminate rough edges and kinks, including an abrasion that renders the silky surface smooth.
The wood hanger gets its characteristic shape by careful tracing and cutting.
Wood hangers are made in halves, and then the two pieces joined together by glue.
A tongue and groove carving are also made into the ends of the hangers, so that the pieces can easily fit- like a puzzle- thereby making the glueing process, even more effortless.
Wooden hangers are also coated in a layer of varnish before their metal hooks are inserted.
The manufacturing method, itself provides certain benefits in using wood hangers.
The drying of the wood takes place over seven months, with an additional 3-4 weeks in a kiln.
This slow and steady drying accustoms the wood so that it does not yield to shape changes with changing temperature and weather conditions.
Solids are sensitive and known to contract and expand with temperature.
This pre-treatment of the wood prevents cracking later on in the hanger’s life.
The varnishing also helps to preserve the hanger, from damage, rot and decay.
Although extensive, and time consuming, the fabrication of the wooden hanger has essential measures implemented to guarantee a great, long-lasting hanger.
Head to Head
Although plastic hangers are more common and inexpensive, they have a shorter life span, as plastic is under the mercy of the environment, and does over time become deformed and misshapen.
Wood hangers are some of the strongest, most durable hangers, able to support the weight of even the heaviest of coats and garments.
They do not yield under pressure, and their solid shape remains, despite the years.
On the other hand, the hook of a wood hanger is inserted an inch deep into its groove, and secured with a screw mechanism.
Under greater weights, the screw can give away, and the hook can come apart, leaving the wood hanger devoid of its purpose.
Wooden hangers for trousers also have the bar screwed on.
It is however rare, to have the screws compromised.
Wood hangers can be stained and designed prior to varnishing, to add more appeal, but manipulating the shape of the wood proves more difficult.
Although groves can be cut into the shoulders, for extra security with straps and dresses, plastic hangers have a greater variety in design, both in form and function.
With plastic hangers, all you need to do is change the mould, and you end up with a different kind of hanger.
You can easily change sizes, add features for holding your belts and jewellery, and pretty much do anything you can think up of.
Still, if you are aiming for an elegant looking wardrobe, you might prefer a tasteful walnut or mahogany hanger, after all, it is only built to hang clothes.
Plastic hangers can leave a lasting effect on your clothes, as they are either dense and thin or thick and hollow.
Clothes, especially lighter, more delicate fabrics can have hanger impression made into the fabric.
Looser t-shirts can get saggy if they spend too much time hanging around, and your wardrobe will then need updating.
Wood, by comparison, manages to maintain the integrity of your clothing, as it is a more natural and sturdy option.
Wood hangers can come in a variety of contours, specifically for certain garments.
Locking bars and grooved edges can be added, as well as clamp style clips, to both types of hanger: wood and plastic.
On a more thoughtful, note, the use of wood hangers is also environmentally friendly, eliminating the use of plastic and atmospherically damaging factory emissions.
Plastic pollution contributes to not only the destruction of habitats and killing of wildlife but also human health, as plastics can prove toxic and fatal for people, adults and children.
Making a Decision
Not all hangers are created equal, some have come about as an improvement on an older, but no less loved model; and hangers come in quite a variety.
Choosing the right hanger, preferable for you, depends on your exact needs.
Wood hangers never compromise on quality, but they are more expensive and difficult to make, whereas your average plastic hanger can be easily and quickly swapped out whenever.
Since it is our clothes at stake, it does well to ponder over the matter.
Making the right investment in our clothes is important.
Wood hangers are an excellent choice for higher-end closets, and definitely worth the wait.
They’ll maximize the lifespan of your clothes, and add a classy touch, but all that depends on the type of wood too.