Most authentic hatpin holders were made during the years from 1860 to 1920. There are almost as many varieties of hatpin holders as there are hatpins: silver, gold, and other metals plus all the glass and porcelain – pottery of the period. But the most commonly reproduced holders are made of porcelain and glass.
As the fashion changed from bonnets to bigger and fancier hats then came so did the need to secure them in place and that called for long and ornate hat pins –
The height of the hatpin era was from about 1890 to 1925.
If you have more than a couple of old hatpins, you have probably started looking around for the right sort of object to put them in. Edwardian hatpins could be very long (8 to 12 inches or even more) and top-heavy, as well as rather fearsome weapons, so some kind of tall container is needed to allow them to stand up.
Victorian and Edwardian ladies used an enormous number of pins. At a minimum, they had corsage pins, jewelled hairpins, and lace pins as well as hatpins. Holders for these pins, as well as rings and earrings, were usually parts of a dresser set. A tray might also include powder boxes, perfume bottles and holders for face or hand creams, plus combs and mirrors. One receptacle was for combed-out hair (saved for stuffing pin cushions). An item easily confused with a hatpin holder is the hairpin holder: It is shorter and has a wide opening (about quarter-sized).
Hatpin holders can sometimes be confused with Muffineers / Sugar Sifters – because some have a hole in the base which would have taken probably a cork some think this indicates a Sugar Sifter/ Muffineer – but the cork was so that the long pins did not scratch your polished furniture and would make the pins stand upright, the corks are often missing –
The following information came from the Sam Waller Museum
Women soon found a secondary function to the trusty hat pin- as a weapon for self-defence. Thus, began a public menace that lasted until the 1920’s!
By the 1910’s hat pins were declared a national and international threat. Numerous countries including the USA and England imposed laws restricting hatpins over 9 inches in length. This was met with considerable resistance, especially from the suffragists and working-class women. They decried the measures citing a worry for women’s safety if they were unable to defend themselves. Despite the public outcry, the reign of the hatpin was to end soon. During WWI, hatpins became viewed as an extravagance and the materials used to make hatpins were redirected to the war effort. By the end of the war, fashion had changed again to favour shorter hair and smaller hats, thus rendering hatpins obsolete.