Truth be told, the stapler was not invented by just one person. Quite frankly, a few people played a role in this. Back in the 1200s, we had tried just about everything. We tried ribbons, we used glue, we clamped and skewed. In the 18th century, King Louis XV had some of his French toolmakers construct a handmade “stapler.” Then more practical was an American “paper fastener” patented in 1866 by The Novelty Manufacturing Company. In which the only difference is it only held one staple at a time. The machine would clinch the metal into the paper which was achieved by pressing down hard on a large plunger. Only thing was, it would not fasten.
In 1879 a machine hit the market and this very machine would clinch and fasten. It was called McGill’s Patent Single Stroke Staple Press. Although this machine required a lot of patience for you had to keep reloading it constantly. In 1895 The E.H. Hotchkiss Company of Norwalk, Connecticut, began to sell the “Paper Fastener.” It used a long strip of wired-together staples which became popular and known as “the Hotchkiss.” In fact, until this day the Japanese call the stapler, “hochkisu.” From the mid 19th century to the 1940s there were a lot of competing stapler technologies. When Jack Linsky founded the Parrot Speed Fastener, he did not know it would change the stapler world forever. The modern stapler has remained unchanged since Linksy perfected it in 1937.
When Were Staples Invented?
Staples and The Stapler
Now, before we go and start talking about the stapler and all the fun things about it. We have to understand that the stapler and the staples are two different things. In the year of 1866, there was another design being brainstormed and patented. It was a bendable paper fastener. In which we now call it “the staple.”
Let’s go back in history a little bit. So, first, let me tell you about something that took place in the 1700s. All great stories are legends so of course, the history of the stapler was a legend. How can it not be when our great King Louis XV was the reason our first stapler was even invented! He was so great that his staples were supposedly made out of gold. That’s right. Gold! You cannot be a King if you do not have a little bit of gold, right? Oh, but wait, that is not it. They were even covered with precious stones. You can’t be glamorous until you add some sparkle, you know what I mean? To top it off, they EVEN included the Royal Courts symbol. So, you’re telling me that the first staples were gold. They even added some diamonds and such, and then they went and made it personal. Now that’s one heck of a story.
However, the first stapler that was patented was not called a stapler. It was called the “Paper Fastener.” It was created by the Novelty Manufacturing Company which was an early version of the modern, stapler. This version could only hold one staple so it required a lot of reloading and most likely a lot of patience too. There was just one little bitty problem with this early version. It did not necessarily fasten the paper. That had to be done by hand. Which I’m sure was a tough and tricky job. I am willing to bet that a lot of people went home that night with some sore fingers! Although, it doesn’t stop there! George W. McGill in 1879 improved this whole process. Although the reloading process had to be done several times, The Single Stroke Staple Press eliminated the need to fasten the staple to metal.
Why Is It Called the Stapler?
Not So Fastening
You could say that there are many reasons why the Stapler is called, The Stapler. In the American Munsey’s Magazine in 1901, they were the first to publish an advertisement of a machine for fastening papers with a thin metal wire known as, “The Stapler.” Others will point to the fastener that was patented in 1866 as the first true “stapler.” The inventor named George McGill received a patent for a bendable paper fastener. The next year in 1867, he received a patent for a machine that would press his fastener through the paper. For the first time in 1869, the stapler hit the market. It was not until 1895 would the first stapler be known as the first modern stapler. It was E.H Hotchkiss Company in which this invention came out and it used a long strip of bendable staples that were wired together. It was so popular that the people referred to the stapler as, “The Hotchkiss.” It is also so popular that even over in Japan, the Japanese word for stapler is, “hochkisu.”