History of the stapler
Staplers: easy to use, relatively cheap, and a great weapon against those looseleaf papers which can blow around the room and create a mess. We know what they're like today, but gather round old mella and she'll tell you a tale of what it was like before the modern stapler (gasp).
In the 1200s, papers were attached to each other by means of a ribbon passing through a hole at the top of each page. Then came the troublesome method of sealing each page to the next with a wax and ribbon combination. Not exactly reliable and easy to do, but this way of 'stapling' was obviously considered adequate (those wacky old guys) as there was no headway made on the battle against looseleaf until the 1700s.
According to members.spree.com/sip/scag/stapler01.htm( "The first web page dedicated to antique staplers"), the 1700s introduced the idea of a metal-based staple and stapler combination. Invented for King Louis XV of France, the individual staples were hand made and inscribed with the royal insignia. Fancy.
The stapler continued its slow technological evolution as it remained unchanged for another hundred years, when cast iron individual staples were introduced. Yet another hundred years later, the first connected row of staples appeared. This style is common today, and is called "the herringbone series" as a result of the appearance of the inter-connected metal staples.
In 1905, a stapler that looks vaguely like the modern form was invented by the B. Jahn Manufacturing Company, Connecticut. Except the staples were difficult to separate and the top of the tool had to be pounded with a mallet to dislodge the staples into the intended paper target. It wasn't until 1920 that Swingline invented the staple row connected by glue instead of metal, ultimately making the separation of the staples easier, rendering the mallet useless in the war against dislodging staples. And what a war it was!
Then, finally, in 1930, the modern stapler (albeit a bulkier, heavier item) was introduced. This type, circulated by Swingline, had the little "trapdoor" (officially the 'open channel system') kind of stapler loading system, and this revolutionary tool led to the 50s electric stapler, and ultimately the copy machine staple technology.
Random stapler facts:
- The most expensive domestic stapler ever sold is the 1919 Remington, which was bought for $760 on eBay recently. The type name was the "Spool' o' wire" (great name!).
- "Office Space", Mike Judge's 1999 movie, features a stapler which is the bane of the character Milton's existence. He continually yearns for it as it appears and reappears on his desk: perhaps the first time a stapler plays a starring role in a movie?
- There are few websites dedicated to the humble stapler, but those which exist brag about their love of staplers (eg, http://www.calcampus.com/stapler: "The biggest serious website totally about stapler information". This is where i got most of this information).