Today’s history lesson! 😉
It holds together TPS reports and keeps down the carpet. We can thank the analness of King Louis XIV of France for these “fastenating” devices. Apparently, he insisted that the insignia of the royal court be inscribed with what came to be known as staples. As the use of paper picked up steam in the 19th century, Samuel Slocum created a device that stuck pins through paper to keep it together. Since momma didn’t raise no fool, he was awarded U.S. Patent No. 56, 587. Thankfully, staplers are about 2.5 pounds lighter than their predecessors – but that doesn’t stop that last damn staple from jamming every time.
File this under ‘anyone could have thought of that.’ A thin wire bent into a looped shape that holds papers together via pressure. The kick in the nuts is that the paperclip’s inventor apparently WAS raised by a fool: he never got a patent. However, that didn’t stop the Gem Manufacturing Company from patenting a machine that made these clips in 1899. And if you think David Hasselhoff is big in Germany, paperclips are even bigger in Sweden where they are simply known as ‘Gems.’ And speaking of big, the largest paperclip in the world is on display in Florida, Massachusetts. The most annoying paperclip – on display in Microsoft Office.
Kleenex, Jello-O and Scotch Tape. All brand names that scammed the global public into thinking their names are synonymous with the generic items. So where did the “Scotch” come from? Legend has it that the original product produced by 3M failed to stick since they were cheap with the adhesive. So they blamed their bosses – all Scots. Enter Scotty McTape (I’m NOT kidding), the brand’s cartoon mascot, and the product’s success has stuck since the 1930’s.
Some of us use condoms. Others need Magnums. The binder clip is the big brother of the paperclip, available for all of those big jobs the little guy can’t handle. Most offices stock three sizes and supply endless hours of fun as you clip it to the end of your pointer finger. Note: In the U.K. these bad boys are known as bulldog clips.
Cork boards are gathering areas for people to leave public messages such as, ‘don’t let the lip of your water bottle hit the cooler spout,’ and other urgent messages. While Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland, Portugal produces the most. Of course, since half of the things posted are B.S., the cork would have been better used for its two other important uses – sealing wine and preventing space shuttles from exploding.
Circular razors allow you to turn any piece of paper into Swiss cheese. Available in one to eight hole versions, an industrial version can punch holes in up to 470 sheets of paper. And while most models have a chamber to accumulate the waste paper circles, I guarantee you’ll leave a trail from your desk to the garbage as you try to discard them. Where’s the patent for a shed-free hole puncher?
I would not have guessed that the French invented the manual pencil sharpener. In 1828, patent #2444 shaved off Bernard Lassimone’s place in history. And since it is soooooo much work and effort to sharpen that trusty #2, the gadget gurus at Hammacher Shlammer devised the world’s first electric pencil sharpener in the 1940s. Man those Sharper Image dudes must have been pissed!
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