Today, we use staplers and staple guns for all sorts of things. We use them to make quick work of things like carpeting and insulation, and of course, we also use them to keep important documents together. Therefore, we must learn about the brief history and development of staplers.
Even before staplers were invented, humanity seems to have always needed to fasten documents together. For instance, in the Middle Ages, when someone needed to tie several pieces of parchment together, they would use wax or ribbon. Or, if the pages of a book needed to be bound, sewing them together would do the trick.
While these are the earliest ancestors of staplers, the devices that might be most recognizable to us didn’t come around until the late 18th Century. It’s now well known that Louis XV of France was one of the first people in history to own a handcrafted device that fastened his documents together using staples inscribed with his court’s insignia.
The 19th Century Welcomes the Stapler
As time passed, these fastening devices became more commonplace and less a luxury reserved only for royalty. In 1841, Sam Slocum received the very first patent for his own method of paper fastening, which consisted of threading small pins through paper. Soon after, another patent was issued to Joan Barbour for creating the first-ever bendable metal fastener and is now known as the first iterations of the metal staples we so frequently use today.
Of course, around the same time, a much larger entity, the Patent Novelty Manufacturing Co., released a paper fastening tool. This device could only hold one staple at a time but was a revelation due to its ability to penetrate materials like upholstery and cardboard. Shortly after that, Charles H. Gould released the McGill Single-Stroke Staple Press. This fastening device weighed three pounds and was able to puncture several sheets of paper at a time.
Staplers Enter the Mainstream
Despite humankind’s consistent need to fasten documents together, the word “stapler” wasn’t even a commonplace term until 1901, when a famous American magazine released its first advertisement for a quick-fastening tool. However, it would still be years before the stapler became mainstream and easily accessed by all who wanted one.
This rise in accessibility came with B. Jahn Manufacturing’s release of the very first stapler that could hold an entire strip of staples and fit on your desk. As the popularity of these tools grew through the 1920s and 30s, the companies we know and love started developing their own unique devices. This evolution eventually sparked the invention of electric staple guns in the 1950s.
Staplers in the Modern Era
Because staplers have such a long and illustrious history, they’ve had centuries to be perfected. Stapler guns and staplers have evolved so effectively that we can now use them for just about anything these days. From carpentry and upholstery projects to simply stapling essential documents together, we’ve come a long way from using wax and ribbon as fasteners.
Hopefully, our guide on a brief history and development of staplers has provided more insight on the prevalence of these tools throughout the ages.