In 1949, when my grandfather was 78 years old, his wife, my grandmother, died. After that, Grandpa came to visit us every year for three months. He'd get bored just sitting around, and that first year, he decided to reupholster my mother's wingback chair. He had never attempted to work with any material before, but he was sure that he could figure it out.
My mom bought the material, and Grandpa went to work on the chair in the basement. After breaking several needles, he decided that he needed some special items. He used this needle and safety pin, along with heavy duty "carpet" scissors and an ordinary hammer.
The needle is 4" long and bent so that he could work it through the fabric.
The safety pin is 3" long, and I've been told that he crafted it by hand. It looks too good to be handmade, but I've never seen another one like it. Have you?
Take a close look.
Here's another angle.
Here's the opposite end close up. *Added later: Some bloggers have suggested that it might be a kilt pin. Grandpa was Scot-Irish, so that may be correct.
The chair turned out beautifully, and Mama used it for years. I used it in my living room when I first married. It's long gone now, and I'm sorry to say that have no pictures of it.