I have a few stitch holders in my collection that consist of a pin with a cap on the end, sadly unused as I always use a scrap of doubled yarn instead. It never really occurred to me when they might have first been manufactured until I saw this excerpt from the Launceston Examiner,Thursday 23rd February 1950.
From Knitting News To Bags And Nylons From Italy
Window Shopping with PENELOPE
MOST of the big stores are showing their new season’s stocks of wool, including five brand new shades-a soft mauve, a deep purple, and a green, blue and teal mixture.
A handy new aid for knitters is a stitch-holder, selling for 1/
Instead of the old safety-pin type of holder, this has one side formed by an expanding spring, which makes it suitable for holding even the heaviest and thickest of garments.
I can’t say that I’ve ever found them terribly useful for anything other than holding the stitches for button bands that are knit after the body of a cardigan. The ones I have are either too short for anything else or too stiff for holding longer sections of knitting. I’ll stick to my doubled piece of yarn. It doesn’t matter if you lose that down the side of the couch!