Praise to the Paper Clip!

As you know here at Stock in Trade we’re just mad about stationery, and one of the most useful and under-rated bits of kit is the humble paper clip. Did you know the paper clip – or “paperclip” as some prefer – was first introduced into the office supplies arsenal in the 1890s. Yep, this little twist of metal has been around for over 120 years!

Invented by the Norwegian John Vaaler, and coincidentally worn by Norwegians on their clothes during World War II in support of the Jews. In 2004 a Tennessee school project about the holocaust had the children collecting 6 million paper clips to symbolize those that died. And that wasn’t even what they were invented for.

Apparently, the secret to a good paper clip is its’ elasticity and the torsion it provides to hold your sheets together. The size of the wad determines the size of the paper clip. Originally they were produced as loops of steel but nowadays they come in all sorts of designs: elongated oval, triangular and some very obscure shapes.

Unlike its sister product, the staple, paper clips can be used again and again making them one of the greenest of office supplies. Another rival to the paper clip is the Bulldog Clip – another piece of kit that can be re-used again and again – but unfortunately not as aesthetically pleasing as the paper clip. Especially when you have a pile of them huddled in your desk organiser.

Fortunately our little paper holding friends notoriety and usefulness has not gone unnoticed – it has been immortalised in film. No, not a Hollywood blockbuster like Iron Man 3, but a documentary about the story and history of the paper clip called “The Paper Clip Project”. So if you have a spare evening and really want to learn more you could try it out.

The usefulness of the paper clip just doesn’t stop at holding wads of paper, showing support or sitting pretty in your desk organiser. For years it was useful for prodding the little hole in your computer drive so you could get a CD out when it stopped working. And now that little hole is on your phone or PDA, so a bent out paper clip is the perfect reset tool for when you get that dreaded smartphone crash.

So next time you’re “clipping” some papers together, take 2 seconds to have a think about this amazing little device and appreciate the technological wonder of the humble paper clip.

On July 23, 2013, posted in: Banners and Information, Front Page, Our Blog by
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