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Locking Pin Backs: How to Keep Your Pins Secure

Locking Pin Backs: How to Keep Your Pins Secure

I think there are a few of us who keep our pin collections on the wall. But usually you want to wear your pins on bags, jackets, and really anything. What typically happens after some time is that pins get lost. Locking pin backs solve all our problems but not many people know about them. This article will take you through available pin locks and how they compare to each other.

If you go back in time, you'll notice that lapel pins and tie tacks have a lot in common: they all had sold build and secure locking pin backs. Sheriffs used to have personal pins on their forms as well, it was important not to lose those. Motorcycle riders had their club pins on hats and jackets, an essential piece of moto racing. And back then a pin was not a fun trendy promo piece. It was a badge of honor, a recognition of sorts, a sense of belonging and identity.

Back then pins used to have different pin backs than now. When you browse eBay, all the old (actual vintage pins) will have secure locks. Price of the pin was not really a concern. They didn't have so many independent pin makers as we have now. It was all about the quality and security. 

In those days there were deluxe locking pin backs and threaded locks. In our days we have butterfly clutches and rubber backings. So if you want to keep pins in place, you need to upgrade the locks. Let's take a look at all five options.

Butterfly Clutches

This must be the most commonly known type of pin locks. Usually the majority of pins come with these. They can be silver or gold and you need to press on the "butterfly wings" to open and remove the lock. These don't add any extra cost to the pin and are the standard option.

The problem is that it's very easy to accidentally press on the lock and lose the pin. If you have at least a handful of pins, chances are you lost one of those because of the butterfly locks.

My pins used to have these, here is one of the first pins I made. After some time I decided to switch to a more secure option, rubber backing.

Rubber Backings

Rubber locks are usually tighter than butterfly clutches. If you put your pin on the jacket or bag just once, most likely this will be a great lock.

The main issues with these is that if you're putting pins on activewear or something that gets lot of movement, or if you keep removing the lock multiple times, the rubber will loosen to a point where your pin can get lost.

Rubber is great when you want to lock pins that'll stay close to your body. Rubber is nice and soft and doesn't scratch your skin or press too hard on you. Rubber is great for jackets or sweaters. Keep in mind that all these locks will be close to your body and this back side of the pin needs to be comfortable. 

To me this lock is kind of a sweet spot between security and comfort, so all of Asilda Store pins at the moment have black rubber backings.

They also can vary in color, length, and the size of the hole for the pin post (the part of the pin that you lock). You'll see on the photos that these locks also vary in quality, or maybe it's just me who can notice it.

Pin locks with tools

If you have ever been in a moto shop, you've probably seen these pin locks that have a little key in the pack with them. They require you to use the tool and it's the only way to lock a pin.

Pin locks like these were what I started with for my personal collection of pins. They were good, but I wasn't always adjusting them to be tight enough, and quite often the pin post was too long and the sharp edge of it would hurt my skin and scratch me.

So after some time I decided these are not the best option and move on to deluxe locking pin backs.

Deluxe Locking Pin Backs/Tie Tacks

Deluxe locking pin backs are the metal ones that can have a few different shapes (like tie tacks) and use probably the most secure pin locking mechanism on the market. It's very difficult to remove them by accident.

At Asilda Store I sell these in packs of 10. I went with a more modern and flat design because it means you'll have fewer chances of something poking your skin when you wear a jacket.

These can also add more weight to your bag or apparel, all this metal eventually starts adding up. On most of the pins that mean a lot to me I have this kind of lock.

Deluxe locking pin backs definitely add to the price of the pin and normally are not a standard option when you buy pins from stores. You can buy them separately, but I plan to upgrade all my pins in store to have these clutches by default over the next few months.

Threaded locks

I wanted to include these locks as an example of a cool lock option from the old days. I've got a few vintage pins that came in with these and they look really neat.

The problem is that you need to make a hole with something else then. And I don't have those extra tools. So I never even put these on, they are just on my pin collection wall.

The swivel is definitely a very secure way to keep your pins in place. You'd want to make sure the post is long enough. Most leather jackets are pretty thick and these pins would not even lock in. Looks like these locks are more meant for denim or cotton shirts.

Comparison of Options

To sum everything up, here are a few takeaways for you:

  • Butterfly is a standard option, but falls off
  • Rubber is a standard option; is nice to the skin, but falls off with extensive on/off use
  • Locks with keys - pokes skin and can fall off
  • Deluxe locking pin backs - most secure but you need to buy them separately
  • Threaded locks - were used in the old days and are not really an option for most of us anymore

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