If caves had windows, I’d guess some ancestor would have hung a curtain to block the view. As a child, our family home had kitchen windows that faced a neighbor’s home not more then twelve feet from our house. Curtains were hung on the windows and a pull-down shade covered the view. The curtains were held back with a tie made from the curtain material and fastened to the window frame with a pushpin tie back.
In the living room and dining room, drapery covered the windows, and were opened during the day by looping a braided cord with tassel ends over a decorative post at the windows edge. I can just imagine the number of holes in the woodwork that remain today in the window frame.
It was probably the memory of those pushpins in my boyhood kitchen of the early fifties that triggered my first purchase, which quickly sold at one of our antique mall booths. More were found and sold and replaced with even more. While the ones I remember were floral designs in pressed metal and painted with gold and muted colors, our current “collection” contains a variety of materials. They’re still popular, and from conversations at flea markets and antique shows, they are still useful in retro mid-century kitchen settings and as collectibles.
A glance at my photo shows a retro pair in red and white glass, on a card that shows aging. Five different styles of formed, thin metal in floral shapes with pins on the back are shown. Each has a plastic center. These were the styles I remember and the ones that I have sold very well. Made in a vast selection of colors, and found easily in searches at flea markets, they are essential for a retro kitchen. Four of the pushpin styles are plastic. The yellow flower pushpin looks new, while the example with the clear star and one with a white flower have screw backs and show their age. I’m especially fond of the teapot in blue; figural tiebacks are very collectible.
In white and gold, two tiebacks, one at each end, have thick nail backs and were pushed or pounded into the plaster walls. Some, like the yellow-faced pin, have a removable top to avoid damage while pounding. Last is an old tassel. It was in the box with my collection and it asked to be photographed with its curtain brethren.