Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Automatic Clamp Kit for Sock Pairs

A set of quick and easy-to-use, little clamps that keep your socks matched through the laundry cycles.
  [vote for,

Problem 1:
You like to buy your socks in multi-packs and you end up having a plethora of socks that look a lot alike. Unless you wear your pairs in order without exception, the socks, that once may have started out identical, wear out at different rates, depending on how you match them up after doing the laundry. You might end up having unenvenly worn or faded socks to match up while folding/putting your freshly cleaned and dried socks. You find the task to be time-consuming and tedious.

Problem 2:
You like to keep your socks matched up by left/right foot. (Yes, I know someone who does this.) Matching up the socks, again, is found to be time-consuming and tedious.

Problem 3:
You tend to lose single socks amidst your other laundry items (like inside your pant leg) and don't want to take the time for extensive searching after each laundry load.

Tiny clamps to attach to pairs of dirty socks before dropping them into your hamper. Clamps would serve as a device to keep matched pairs of socks together until putting away, or even until they are ready to wear, eliminating the missing sock search, or the time spent matching up pairs, however you do it.

The clamps would be small and smooth enough not to snag on any laundry items, or keep any part of the socks from getting properly washed. Two protruding "teeth" would be at the attachment point, sort of "stapling" the pair together near the toe. The "teeth" points and their matching pair of teeth with divets at the points (on the other side of the clamp jaws) would be the only contact points to the socks, allowing the socks to be cleaned thoroughly without any covered spots. The jaws would hover away from the socks on either side.

The clamps would be made of metal (for durability and tension strength) but coated with a smooth material (to prevent snagging and rusting), perhaps similar in style to those ventilated shelves found in many closets, but using a heat-resistant coating. The clamps would have to be made of materials that are able to withstand a washing and drying cycle without rusting, melting, or major deteriorating.

The tension would be strong but yet be easy to release by hand. There might be a locking lever, such as those found on the lids of old-fashioned glass jars. The size of the clamps would be very small - perhaps the size of a safety pin, but easier and quicker to fasten and remove.

For added convenience, a device holding plenty of clamps would be attachable to any hamper, and would administer instant attachment to pairs of socks using a mechanism similar to that of an electric stapler. A user would simply "feed" the toe or other area of the matched pair of dirty socks into the clamping device, and a clamp would instantly attach the pair using one of the above-mentioned clamps.

I imagine the household version of the clamping device would easily be able to accommodate approximately 100 or more clamps, to ensure consumers don't run out (with normal use). Refills in amounts of 10 or 25 would also be available to replace the occasional lost clamps.

With regular use, mismatched or lost socks would become a thing of the past. Putting socks away could become faster and easier, and could allow users to organize their sock drawers more easily. When it's time to wear a clean pair of socks, reach for a clamped pair in the sock drawer and release the clamp from the socks to put them on.

There would be a clamp return slot at the opposite side of the feeder on the clamping device. This side could also serve as a manual dispenser, for manual clamping of socks or for when clamps take on other practical household uses.

XSarenkaX, Jun 10 2002

Sock Locks http://www.sock-locks.com/info.htm
<pissing on chips> [stupop, Oct 04 2004]

Lakeland Plastics http://www.lakelandlimited.com
a world of storage solutions. They even do clingfilm that only clings when you need it to; I can recommend it. [sappho, Oct 04 2004]

Yet another way it's baked. http://www.bend.k12...ytogether_socks.htm
What's with all the same 'Lets hold socks together' ideas? [StarChaser, Oct 04 2004]

Clips again. http://www.sock-star.com/
[jutta, Aug 28 2006]

And another kind of clip. http://soklok.com
[jutta, Aug 28 2006]


       Baked. My girlfriend has these. Hang on while I have a quick google.
stupop, Jun 10 2002

       I have always bought my socks with these already fitted. I have had to return some pairs as the length of plastic linking the two socks was not long enough making it difficult to walk. SO be careful when buying with them fitted !!
English Pete, Jun 10 2002

       Hm, I'd heard of pinning socks together with safety pins, but now you've shown me there are cheap little plastic dealies already out there. They're actually nothing like what I described, except for their function being the same.   

       I still like my dispenser and clamp design better. And the clamp design I described keeps the socks flat, rather than bunching them the way the "sock locks" do.
XSarenkaX, Jun 10 2002

       Hey, I didn't make those. Of course mine would be much better.
XSarenkaX, Jun 10 2002

       To clarify, I know you never said the idea was crap - I was replying to your opinion of the crappy product you had used.   

       The reason I said mine would be better is that (and I may be wrong, but) I assume your existing product lacked many of the useful features and problem-solving details I specified. If there are specific similarities in detail, and especially with regard to the handy automatic clamping device, I'd be interested in finding that out.
XSarenkaX, Jun 10 2002

       Could you not fit a button on one sock and a slot on the other that way when taking them off you could attach them together. This means you do not need any sock clamps that could get lost going to that sock heaven where all the odd pairs of my socks go to. Added benefit if each sock had a slot and a button you could attach them all in a long line say 10 pairs or more which would make it easier to hang out on the washing line and return to their owner. My girlfriends always stealing my socks !
English Pete, Jun 10 2002

       Thought that my idea was so good I have entered it for myself.
English Pete, Jun 10 2002

       [ sctld ], you misquoted me. What I said was:   

       //There might be a locking lever, such as those found on the lids of old-fashioned glass jars. The size of the clamps would be very small - perhaps the size of a safety pin, but easier and quicker to fasten and remove.//   

       Please be sure to read carefully before you annotate.   

       P.S. Please be sure to proof what you've written before hitting the OK button. I notice your spelling tends toward the careless side.
XSarenkaX, Jun 10 2002

       //laundry cyle//   

       Glass houses, stones mid-air...
drew, Jun 10 2002

       Thanks, drew. Nobody's perfect. I was just offering some (unwanted) advice to my dear friend [ sctld ]. ;)
XSarenkaX, Jun 10 2002

       [ sctld ] I wanted to clarify that I was likening my clamp mechanism to jar clamps, but comparing quickness and ease of use with that of safety pin - not jar clamps. In that respect, your paraphrasing seems to indicate that you misinterpreted what I stated.   

       The reason I did not answer your question, which I believe to be:   

       How can my tiny clamps be easier to use that regular jar clamps?   

       ...is because I did not make that claim. However, if you'd like to know why I believe my device would be easier and quicker than using safety pins to fasten pairs of socks together, I can answer that.   

       First of all, remember that my idea includes an automatic clamping device which administers the clamp-on action. All a user needs to do to attach a clamp is match up a pair of socks flat against each other and feed the pair of socks into the clamping slot of the device. A trigger inside the slot would cause a single clamp to attach both socks together in a flash. The device is designed to attach to the hamper, so there is no hunting down clips or fiddling with clips before tossing socks into the hamper for washing.   

       Removal of the clips would be done on an individual basis, most likely, when each pair is about to be worn. The tension of the fastened clips would easily be released by hand when needed. Clips should then be returned to the back of the clamping device for their next use, preventing loss of clips.   

       I'm surprised that not one HalfBaker has commented yet on the innovative time-saving device described in my idea. It is my understanding that a device like this has not yet been implemented. (At least I haven't found proof of its existence yet.)   

       Regarding your free-thinking philosophy. I can't tell you how to be, but be warned that choosing a path where your rules aren't the same as the rest of the world's can cause you extra grief in the long run. I'm not saying you're wrong to be different, in fact, I encourage originality. All I'm saying is that there are spelling and grammar standards in the English language, and in a public forum, such as the Internet, it will be clearer to readers if you follow the same standards most of the English-speaking readers use.   

       As for giving unwanted advice, well, I think it's okay to put it out there. I don't see the harm in sharing what I think is good advice. Anyone who reads it (including yourself) can choose whether or not to heed it.   

       I'm really a nice person. Like many HalfBakers, I have some ideas. Mostly I just want to share what I think are good ideas that can contribute some benefit, even if only in small ways.   

       My wish is not to stir things up by replying to your annotations, but to defend myself against any unfair accusations. I'd felt you'd misunderstood my idea and written a comment before realizing what I actually meant. I think it's only fair to ask people here to write concisely and read carefully. Carelessness tends only to lead to negative consequences.   

       P.S. Sorry for writing "a novel" here.
XSarenkaX, Jun 11 2002

       I hope you mean "ladylike". ;) Thanks.
XSarenkaX, Jun 11 2002

       StarChaser, if you think my idea here is baked (per your link above) I can't believe you actually read my idea. Snaps on socks. That sounds more like English Pete's button idea than mine.   

       My idea involves removable clamps which are attached using an ultracool machine which clamps them onto your socks quickly and conveniently. The clamps hold on tight enough to withstand washing and tumble drying and can be left on until the socks are ready to be worn, keeping pairs of socks matched indefinitely.   

       There's a whole time-saving and super-efficient system here. How come nobody's commending my genius?
XSarenkaX, Jun 12 2002

       // How come nobody's commending my genius? //   

       Or possibly because no one can be bothered to read an idea description with more than 2 or 3 short paragraphs.   

       Anyway, the problems I see with this are (1) that the clamps will cause damage to the socks. Any form of staple, clip, etc, is liable to damage the fabric. (2) You will have to either clamp the socks when you remove them, which will be inconvenient (XSX seems to assume everyone brings their socks to a central hamper, which is untrue) and most people want as little to do with dirty socks as possible, or else someone will have to sort them into pairs before washing them, which will also be time-consuming and far less pleasant than sorting after washing.
pottedstu, Jun 12 2002

       With regard to damaging the socks, I carefully designed the clips to bite down with two teeth as the point of contact, but the teeth, as the rest of the clamp, are covered with a smooth material, so it is not pointed enough to puncture the socks - the clamps merely hold them together. Two teeth, rather than one, are required to prevent the pivoting that can occur with only one point.   

       I know people probably don't want to handle dirty socks more than they have to, but if this product proves convenient for a segment of the population (perhaps those of us who have a hamper in the room where they tend to remove our socks), I would be happy. Almost no idea is all-encompassing enough to help EVERYONE.
XSarenkaX, Jun 12 2002

       You really like this idea don't you?
stupop, Jun 12 2002

       well...yeah. My bf and I were putting away an unusually big stack of laundry one night and we noticed almost every sock in his drawer was strewn across the bed for matching and putting away. We came up with this idea and marveled at the convenience it would allow us.   

       But, (sigh) if there's no one else out there who considers this idea to be worthy of a measly half-croissant...
XSarenkaX, Jun 12 2002

       //How come nobody's commending my genius?//   

       Alas, the HB is certainly *not* a place to go to get one's ego stroked.. Kicked around, perhaps..   

       Personally, I didn't find it worth commenting or voting because this solution is very very baked - not quite the exact way described here, but nonetheless; at boarding school they had blue plastic ones for the boys, and pink ones for the girls.
yamahito, Jun 12 2002

       I did read the idea. The idea is exactly the same as at least two others already on the Halfbakery and the same as at least two different ways of being already baked in the real world. The -only- difference is that you've described them slightly differently, and added a completely undescribed 'device' to apply them automatically. The link I posted is only one of the two ways it's been baked for years that I could think of off the top of my head. If I spent 30 seconds searching, I'm sure I could find several more.   

       This is one of those ideas that everybody has and everybody thinks that they're the first and only one ever to have thought of.   

       'How come nobody's commending my genius?' Because you have yet to display any, other than trying to pass off an old idea with slight modifications as your own.
StarChaser, Jun 12 2002

       Sarenka, quite aside from other opinions, I think you are a singular voice of reason on the subject of socks and a delight to read. You take ribbing well and defend yourself superlatively. I like your logic and hope you stick around. You've made me a fan.
jurist, Jun 13 2002

       Thanks, jurist. I'm blushing.   

       Welcome to the HalfBakery...and beware of some of the HalfBakers around here (I won't name any names) who never seem to smile...at least not at my ideas. But don't worry. As you just proved to me, there are definitely some HalfBakers around here who are open-minded and aren't as curmudgeon-y as some others. These are the ones who keep me from giving up.   

       (Ha-ha! Hear THAT? I'm stickin' around!)
XSarenkaX, Jun 13 2002

       and a bonus point for inventing 'curmudgeon-y'
yamahito, Jun 13 2002

       OK, I’m coming late to this whole sock-matching debate, but, guys, guys, the answer is soooo simple. When you remove your (previously matched) socks at night, hold the open ends together and simply fold the top inch or so down over the pair. They will stay together throughout the wash and only need to be unfolded when they are pegged – together – onto the line. Pull the same trick when you take them off the line and hey presto - you have a matched pair for life! No need for clamps, sorting machines or unimaginative black-sock uniformity. XSX, sorry to render such an eloquently defended idea redundant, but this method has served three generations of our family now. It only breaks down when my teenage stepson pinches my socks…
egbert, Oct 01 2002

       <echo> Hello?   


       Anybody there??<echo>   


       Oh, they've all gone. Oh well, back to the laundry.
egbert, Oct 03 2002

       [egbert], you beautiful genius, you! I am going to start using your brilliant method of marrying my socks to each other immediately.   

       P.S. If any of them get divorced or run off on their own, I'm coming over to your house and mixing your socks up with your kids' socks.
XSarenkaX, Oct 03 2002

       Aw shucks.   

       I believe that socks are actually the larval stage of a higher form of life, and that given half a chance the Alpha Sock of the pair will metamorphose into a coat hanger.   

       XSarenkaX, you'd be welcome to come round anytime, but if you mess with my socks, you mess with me. And my coat hangers.   

       PS What jurist said.
egbert, Oct 04 2002

       Alright, [egbert], the verdict is in. I just finished washing and drying a load of whites which included 5 or 6 pairs of my socks which I "married" together per your suggestion. <game show buzzer> They all came back divorced, so I'll need to know where you live so I can mix your socks up with your son's. I don't suppose you've ever tested your theory with an actualy clothes dryer, rather than the line-drying method. Thus, the problem continues...
XSarenkaX, Oct 11 2002

       Now you shouldn't be makin' suppositions about a man and his socks, young lady ;{ >. There are six people in our house, two under four yrs old, so from September to July (the UK rainy season) our dryer is going almost continuously. Socks do get divorced occasionally, but not all the time. I've found that on some pairs you need to fold down two or three inches for the required degree of bonding, they may not be entirely dry when they come out, but if not I just put them back in to go around with the next load.
egbert, Nov 22 2002

       Double drying? Wouldn't some nice sock clamps be more efficient? ;)
XSarenkaX, Nov 22 2002

       I found this idea while looking to buy it. Except I thought I'd thought of it first, and was looking for something generic that would give similar results like a clothespin. Many posters say that this idea is baked. StarChaser says that everyone thinks of this idea. But if everyone thinks of this idea, it suggests that there is a demand for it. But I don't like any of the bakes I've seen yet.   

       The Sock Locks would have to be modified or accompanied to achieve the convenient storage solution I want. They are just made for washing. The Lakeland Plastic Hook Pegs are just the opposite--made for storage, not holding socks together while washing. They might work that way, but they aren't advertised as such. I would like to not be limited to fabrics, and colors like I would with "Stay-Together Socks." (...even if they weren't just a class project by sixth-grader "Sam".) Several people have suggested buttons or snaps. They would also have to be modified to achieve the convenient storage solution I want, they would require a bit of work each time I bought socks, and I would feel a little dorky wearing them. One person suggested a set of zipping mesh bags. The potential for keeping socks together while allowing them to be fully washed, and dried without damage is really good with this idea. So good that I would consider it despite there being no obvious complimentary storage technique. But the proposer didn't provide a link!   

       As to the "Automatic Clamps for Sock Pairs," I like it. I do think it needs to be more simple. As you've described, it sounds very expensive. You've almost sold me on the automatic clamping action. Again, the problem is one of complexity and cost. I wouldn't refrain from buying it because of complexity or cost if it had a simple automatic clamping device, but I'd rather just squeeze a handle. As far as the storage contraption, I'd be more than happy if it just had a clothes-hangar sized hook, and I threw it on the rack with my shirts (like the Lakeland Plastic Hook Pegs). So to summarize, I really like it; it has the neat-freak-fantasy-world quality that I love. But I would prefer something as simple and elegant as possible that achieves the same results.
mjonck, Jan 14 2003


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