A peg-straordinary story

The humble clothes peg – what would we do without it? Most of us don’t give it a second thought unless it’s laundry day, but there’s more to this clever little tool than many of us realise.

Evolution of the peg

Traditionally, a clothes peg, or clothespin, was a very basic wooden stick carved with a slit in the end, which was simply pushed over the washing to fix it to the line, and was called a ‘dolly peg’. The earliest wooden pegs were even simpler than this, consisting of a short piece of tree branch with a split at one end, often with a piece of metal wrapped around the other end to prevent it splitting any further.

Victorian dolly pegs tended to be a lot bigger than modern pegs due to the heavy nature of clothes and sheets at that time. This type of peg was also a cheap and popular toy for children to play with – being almost human-shaped with a round head and two ‘legs’, it would often be decorated and turned into a ‘peg dolly’!

The first patented design that resembles the modern spring-hinged peg we all recognise today was invented in 1853 – made with two wooden ‘levers’ attached together by a metal spring, this peg was designed to open and close so it would pinch the washing to the line, rather than wedging it.

The basic design hasn’t changed very much since then, but modern pegs tend to be made of plastic rather than wood these days, and consist of two interlocking plastic legs with a single metal coil spring wedged between them, which makes them stronger and easier to use. Though wooden pegs are more durable, they tend to go black and stain the washing if left to get wet, so plastic pegs are more common, although many of the first spring-loaded plastic ones were cheaply made and tended to become brittle after a while.

Enter the Soft Grip Peg

Hanging washing outside on a rotary airer or washing line is definitely a more economical and environmentally friendly way to dry clothes than tumble-drying, especially in fine weather, but the last thing you want is those unsightly, tell-tale peg marks on your laundry, especially when they often don’t even budge with ironing. This was the case with many of the earliest plastic pegs on the market, which left imprints and were also prone to breaking easily. We were fed up with this too, which is why, back in 2003, our Buyer Lisa was delighted to discover Soft Grip Pegs from French company LaGuelle to solve this perennial pegging-out problem.

What makes Soft Grip Pegs so special?

These strong and versatile pegs have been specially designed with revolutionary soft cushioned grips that hold tightly yet gently to your laundry and won’t leave marks, even on delicate fabrics. And if it starts to get a bit blustery, they’ll stay put on your washing line too as they won’t slide along it or spring off – that means no more chasing loose garments around the garden!

The strong springs can be flexed thousands of times without weakening, ensuring they’ll hold on to everything from jeans, duvets and towels to woolly jumpers and delicates. The raised non-slip ridges at the ends make it easier to get a grip on them when pegging out laundry, and they’re also waterproof and rustproof so can be left outside between loads without becoming brittle like other plastic pegs.

These practical pegs come in a variety of pretty colours and, if you need a bigger size, our Big Soft Grip Pegs are ideal for safely holding those larger and heavier wet items such as jeans, duvets, bath sheets, blankets – and teddies, of course!

Much like Lakeland, LaGuelle are a small family business handed down from father to son, and since they were established in 1946, they’ve strived to develop and improve their designs. Both our staff and customers love their colourful pegs because they are so kind to clothes – they’re a far cry from those simple wooden dolly pegs. Lisa, our Buyer, tells us: “LaGuelle have taken the humble little household peg, and turned it into something that functions so much better with its soft grip properties and comfortable ergonomic design… plus they look so pretty!”

Lisa calls herself ‘the original peg bore’ and must be the biggest fan of these pegs – she really does love them!

And, if you love them as much as Lisa does, don’t forget to keep these fantastic pegs safe when they’re not on the washing line – pop them in a lovely peg bag that’s perfect for brightening up laundry day.

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