In earlier times, pins and needles and hair combs all came in bronze or brass, and were hand forged. Women of status purchased them from travelling merchants to attach to things they carried called chatellaine’s — the Matron’s keys.
It was customary for women to wear aprons and have their pockets full of wool or something from their need to occupy time in order to basically apologize for their existence in some cases, and in others it was simply the nature of the life. This is best illustrated in the model of Pip’s sister in Great Expectations.
Because roving gangs of brigands were not uncommon, it was also not uncommon for a woman to have several long pins in her hat for the purpose of stabbing men who attempted to molest them as they went about their daily lives. The same thing with certain hair combs from Asia, particularly those make from teak.