Riveted: People Who Love Staplers
What’s so interesting about a stapler? Well, as it turns out, staplers have a certain irresistible allure to some. The stapler with all its humble utility is actually a superstar among office artifacts, boasting a deep pedigree of more than 130 years of styling advancements and innovations. Stapler collecting is catching on.
Muriel Fahrion is an artist from southwest Oklahoma who collects vintage staplers. She got started collecting two years ago when she became fascinated with an EM230 Paris agrafeuse on Ebay that she managed to snare for only $8 (an identical one was posted at $99). Since then her hobby has grown and she now owns more than 50 unique staplers. She has recently parlayed her fascination with staplers into a book, Stapler Fasten Nation featuring 36 pages of color photographs of staplers.
Jason McCarley collects vintage staplers and showcases them on his blog. He points out that staplers are one of the few office tools that require finely tuned design and engineering. And he’s right about that. Staplers are not unlike automobiles in the sense that the design is captive to the engineering, but once the engineering is built in, the designers get to flex their muscles, and sometimes the results are impressive.
No one knows that better than Chad Lemke. On his blog Stapler of the Week, Chad gives a whole new meaning to the words “pin-up”. His site features a unique and memorable stapler each week. Staplers have been around since the 1850’s and a wide range of designers have had a crack at them. To give you a sense of how deep the roster is Chad has been posting pictures and descriptions of different staplers for five years and he’s not done yet.
All of these stapler enthusiasts are admirers of the Early Office Museum, a website devoted to the history and evolution of office equipment. Among its galleries consisting of exhibits on everything from copying machines to pencil sharpeners is a gallery on staplers featuring more than 50 early stapling tools. The museum places each stapler within its historical context and traces the evolution of the stapler over time, culminating in the invention of the open channel magazine loaded stapler in 1938 in the form of Speed Products Co.’s Swingline Speed Fasteners.
As artifacts, staplers are more interesting than they first appear. The simple combination of spring, plunger and anvil has elicited a wide range of manifestations over the course of years. The apparently simple engineering involved turns out to be surprisingly detailed and precise. The body styling runs the gamut from functional to sexy with a few quirky designs thrown in. There’s no denying it, the humble stapler has a proud pedigree. All things considered, staplers can be fascinating. It’s no wonder some people are riveted.