Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A History of the Divisive Paperclip


"The fastening of papers has been historical referenced to as early as the 13th century, when people put ribbon through parallel incisions in the upper left hand corner of pages. Later people started to wax the ribbons to make them stronger and easier to undo and redo. This was the way people clipped papers together for the next six hundred years...."

About.com left quite a bit out: like the Fay Paper Clip (1867). The article does a fast-forward through:
  • John Ireland (1835)
    • New York physician
    • Inventor of machine to make straight pins
    • Which held papers together until - - -
  • Johan Vaaler (1899)
    • Norwegian inventor - - -
    • Of a paperclip
All of which doesn't seem very "divisive." Johan Vaaler patented his invention in Germany: which wasn't particularly divisive, either. Norway didn't have patent laws in 1899, according to the About.com article.

The paperclip wasn't divisive in 1923, either, the year in which no paperclips were found in King Tutankhamen's tomb.

Somewhere between 1940 and 1945, though, the paperclip was downright divisive. In Norway:

"...During World War II, Norwegians were prohibited from wearing any buttons with the likeness or initials of their king on them. In protest they started wearing paperclips, because paperclips were a Norwegian invention whose original function was to bind together. This was a protest against the Nazi occupation and wearing a paperclip could have gotten you arrested."

There's more to the history of the paperclip. Like Cornelius J. Brosnan, an American, who filed a patent in 1900 for the sort of paperclip he called the Konaclip. Funny: It's really hard to find a Konaclip these days.

That may have something to do with with Gem Manufacturing Ltd., of the U.K. - the company that designed and marketed the 'trombone' paperclip that we're familiar with today.

If this account seems overly-simple: you're right. There's quite a lot that can be written about the history of paperclips. And has been:


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