Amish pins are hair physics in action. *grin
Traditional hairpins are bent tightly in half, and they rely on pressing down on hair to hold it in place. They are like clamps. This means that a very few hairs end up bearing most of the stress, and it's a recipe for hair breakage and slipping of the pins.
In contrast, Amish pins rely on pushing out against the hair, distributing the stress over a much greater area. They look like "V"s -- bent pieces of very smooth metal, but with more of a "U" shape at the tip of the bend. You pinch them shut before putting them in the hair, then let them "spring open" once inserted in the hair. Much, much more secure and hair-friendly.
So, instead of prying them open and clamping them down on little sections of the hair (as traditional hairpins do), you press them shut and then let them open back up in the bun, distributing the stress throughout the wrapped hair.
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