These objects are straight pins. Saftey pins as we know them today did not come into common use until late in the 19th Century. Straight pins were used to hold aprons on mothers and nurses and to pin babies clothing together. Pin cushions with the "Welcome Little Stranger" printed out in straight pins was a popular baby gift throughout the 1800's.

By the middle of the 19th century mothers were demonstrating a growing concern with their babies happiness and comfort. They began to reject the use of the pin in favor of cloth ties as fasteners. (Calvert 1992:98)

In June of 1860, Caroline Richards, a girl of 11 wrote in her diary that she and her sisters had been invited to visit a neighbors infant. Before the young mother would let the girls handle the infant

asked us if we had any pins on us anywhere. She said she had the nurse sew the babies clothes on every morning so that if (the child) cried she would know whether it was pains or pins.