Happy Paper Clip Day! This quirky holiday honors that little piece of wire that keeps papers tidy and organized. According to the Early Office Museum, the first patent for a bent wire paper clip was awarded in the United States to Samuel B. Fay in 1867. The most common type of wire paper clip still in use, the Gem paper clip, was never patented, but it was most likely in production in Britain in the early 1890s by “The Gem Manufacturing Company.” In 1899, a Norwegian inventor named Johan Vaaler was also granted a paper clip patent. His was a wire with only one turn, unlike the more common one which has two turns. To learn more about the history of paperclips and view more than 40 early paperclip designs, visit the Early Office Museum.
Did You Know…? During World War II, Norwegians wore paperclips (originally called “binders”) on their clothes to demonstrate their opposition to Nazism and anti-Semitism. Various sources report Norwegians wearing paperclips on collars, cuffs, and lapels. In his book The Evolution of Useful Things, Henry Petroski wrote: “Norwegians are said to have remembered proudly the humble item’s origins in their country, when during World War II, they ‘fastened paper clips to their jacket lapels to show patriotism and irritate the Germans.'” The seemingly innocuous little paperclip took on a strongly symbolic meaning of solidarity and unity (binding together) against the forces of occupation. Thus, the wearing of paperclips were outlawed and many Norwegians were arrested for the simple act of wearing a paperclip! (Source: The Paperclip Campaign)
Besides holding paper together, there are many other uses for paper clips such as:
For more ideas, see: 101 Uses for Paperclips
What is one red paper clip worth? Kyle MacDonald, a 26-year-old blogger from Montreal, set out to trade one red paper clip for something and that thing for something else, over and over again until he had a house! Read One Red Paperclip and visit Redpaperclip.com.