Friday, December 19, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive-'BABE'

Parrot Speed Fastener Corp 'BABE' chrome finish with corrosion

This little 'BABE" has, as you can see, a lot of history. I'd been on the look out for an example since seeing examples featured by the Early Office Museum and by the Stapler Exchange. The 'Babe' was manufactured in Germany and distributed in the U.S.A. by Parrot Speed Fastener Corp, which later became Swingline. The 'Babe' features a sliding paper stop allowing the user get every staple the same distance from the edge of the paper. Another notable design aspect is the way the stapler shifts from stapling to pinning. Instead of the anvil plate moving, the entire top of the stapler moves at the hinge pin between two positions. The whole process seems just a bit difficult to me, but who am I to question the stapler that started an empire.

Excerpt from The Stapler of the Week, December 19, 2008.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Zenith 551 & 548E

Zenith 551 beige and gold finish

Zenith 548/E7 gray and blue-gray finish

The Zenith stapler has long been a favorite of mine. Zenith is actually a brand of Balma-Capoduri & C. which also manufactures the popular Italian glue and adhesive brands, Coccoina and Lakol. My love for European office supply design continues and it's actually a shame my enthusiasm developed after my studies abroad in Italy. I had previously compared the Zenith to the Matac 7, another Italian stapler but had not acquired a Zenith until recently. Fortunately I found two different models, the 551 and the 548/E7. There are a few differences between the two, the 551 uses 24/6 & 24/8 staples and the 548/E7 uses 6/6 & 6/8 staples. The 551 is a bit longer than the 548E which perhaps provides the leverage needed to staple 5+ sheets or even thin cards and cardboard.

Zenith keeps updating their plier staplers for the modern age and its markets. The US distribution ranges from design-conscious sellers such as Design Within Reach, boutiques such as LA's Plastica, internet mega-marts such as Amazon, and of course the collector's fix dealer eBay. All I know, is if I'm ever near Voghera, Italy, you can be sure I'll be bringing home an assortment of Zenith staplers.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, November 23, 2008.

detail Zenith 548/E gray and blue-gray finish

Zenith 548/E blue and blue-gray finish

Update May 25, 2009: I came across this 548/E and had to include it to represent a "vintage" version. Along with all it's corrosion and patina, this 548/E has a few interesting inscriptions. Like the 551 above it states it is "Importe d'Italie" but on the top it features the phrase blue box in Italian, French, English, and Spanish.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Apsco 2002

APSCO 2002 chrome and black finish

The APSCO 2002 is yet another interesting example of the international lines of stapler manufacture. APSCO, or the Automatic Pencil Sharpener Company, was known, as its name suggests, for its line of pencil sharpeners*. Staplers appeared to be a sideline. The brochure detail below mentions the 2002 's manufacture from "Swedish steel" and leads me to believe it was actually manufactured by Isaberg-Rapid. The Rapid Classic 2 is identical in design as I'm sure there are many others (including the Rexel No 560 Beaver, featured February 7, 2008). The 2002 also bears the inscription TORONTO, ONT, CAN. I haven't found any APSCO-Canada connection yet.

detail from 1953 "The APSCO Line" brochure
found at Leadholder, the online drafting pencil museum

* It's main sharpener competitor was the Boston Specialty Corporation. There were many manufacturers as shown in the Early Office Museum's mechanical pencil sharpener gallery, but APSCO and Boston seemed to come out on top. APSCO was first absorbed into the Berol Corporation in 1969 and Berol was in turn absorbed by the Sanford Corporation in 1995.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, September 14, 2008.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Elastic Juwel

Elastic Juwel chrome finish

The Elastic Juwel is yet another fine stapler of German origin. It's also a fine example of the blurred lines of stapler design. The Isaberg Rapid Juwel first caught my attention. I don't have a modern example but when I found this Juwel, I was excited to acquire my an early version. When I received it in the mail, I was puzzled because it so closely resembles the Hotchkiss No. 54, right down to the numeral 54 imprinted on its nose. I examined the No. 54 more closely and found it bears the imprint, "U.S.A. PAT MADE IN GERMANY." It was at this point I realized, "German, not Swedish." The Goethe-Institut lists the Elastic Juwel as a "Monument of German Design," and that the "Swedish staple company Isaberg Rapid liked it so much that it bought Mainz Elastic GmbH in February and shifted production to Sweden." The U.S.A. patent lists Fridolin Polzer, an Austrian-American, as the designer of the No. 54. I don't know if Polzer's No 54 preceded the Elastic Juwel but the Goethe-Institut got it right, these pliers really are Monuments of Stapler Design.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, September 6, 2008.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Swingline 3P

Swingline 3P grey finish

Swingline 3P grey finish

The Swingline 3P has always interested me. When I finally acquired one, I was surprised at its size, only about 4 by 3 inches. When one considers the necessity of it fitting in the palm of one's hand, the 3P's size isn't at all surprising. It's basic design is taken from the Swingline 3 with the plunger action being driven by a lever which contacts the palm. It can be opened for tacking with the lever at the back of the throat. The 3P uses the same staples as the No. 3. I'm going to hazard a guess that the "P" stands for plier but the difference in size makes me hesitate to say the 3P the plier version of the No.3. I'm sure I'll find the answer but couldn't wait to feature this great stapler.

Swingline 3P box

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, September 1, 2008.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Neva Clog D-30

Neva Clog D-30 brushed metal finish

It is with great pleasure that I share with you my Neva Clog D-30. I can't tell you how long I've wanted this stapler and the sold price listed at led me to believe it was somewhat out of my reach. Fortunately, I found a much less expensive, yet less pristine example.

Patents for this stapler (2087242 and 2041523) list the inventor as Earl C. Bunnell (born c.1895, died 1958). Bunnell was an industrial designer and held a variety of patents for items such as a safety razor, an eyelash applicator, a smoking pipe and one for a machine which manufactures Q-Tips. He also holds one patent for the J-30 (2088404). One will note a variation in the plunger knob between this example and the D-30 presented by the Office Museum.

detail from Earl C. Bunnell patent 2,041,523 Stapling Device

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, July 22, 2008.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Bostitch P-1

Bostitch P-1 black finish steel

The Bostitch P-1 fits neatly in the palm of my hand with my pinkie finger inserted in the finger grip. It took me a while to understand how to load the stapler. It turns out to be a front loading stapler as the rest of the stapler and its mechanism is concealed within the casing. The handles of the plier stapler have also been contained, making the P-1 remarkably compact tool.

Designed by John F. Cavanagh in 1933, the P-1 was described as a "pocket fastener-applying implement." Cavanagh had such an eye for compactness that the designs allowed the finger grip to be folded up into the casing when not in use. This example does not have that capability yet it loses no favor in my eyes.

detail of J.F. Cavanagh patent 1,994,567 Pocket Fastener Applying Implement

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, May 24, 2008.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Neva Clog Junior

Neva Clog Junior chrome finish, made in Germany

This was a Neva Clog model I didn't know existed. I was excited when I came across it grouped in an auction lot with a Sargent & Co wire cutter and a W Schollhorn Co eyelet setter. Of course, I was doubly excited when these items introduced me to an additional world of tools. But, don't worry, my stapler budget does not allow me to branch out into the cut-throat world of tool collectors.

The Junior only adds to the
mysterious German origin of some Neva Clog staplers. It's design is similar to the German B-100 featured in the Stapler of the Week on February 7, 2008. The Junior jaw opening places it in the same category as the S-100 series. I'm uncertain for what intended use such a model was designed. The shorter handles decrease it's stapling leverage and, as a result, sheet or stapled-material capacity. Once again, the Neva Clog saga continues.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Markwell MP4

Markwell MP4 plier stapler grey painted steel

Markwell P4C Staples box (containing approximately 4700 staples)

This particular example was found at the Bethesda Thrift Shop by my Mother. The stapler and the nearly full box of staples came to a grand total of $2. This was the price range I sought out when I first began collecting staplers. I originally gave myself a $15 price cap which would now make my stapler purchases few and far between. At any price, this plier stapler is a pristine example.

The box of staples provides a few items of interest. It lists the Markwell Manufacturing Company's address as 424 W 33rd Street, New York, N.Y.. A quick internet search shows Markwell's New York headquarters are now a "Premiere Boutique Office Building." There's no surprise the company's former Manhattan home has become prime real estate. The box also bears a price tag from the now defunct C.O.M.B. store. The acronym C.O.M.B. abbreviated Close-Out Merchandise Buyers. For some reason Minnesota has a rich history of direct-mail and television marketers such as Fingerhut and the CVN now absorbed by QVC.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, May 4, 2008.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Bates Models B & C

Bates Model B green painted steel

Bates Model C grey painted steel

The mechanism inside these Bates staplers create staples from spools of wire, hence their classification as Wire Spool Stapling Machines. The Robert E. De Barth company in Lansdale, PA, refills wire spool cartridges, repairs old staplers and offers a wealth of information. According to De Barth, the Bates wire spool staplers were in production from the 1920's until the late 1960's. Originally the wire was made from steel but was switched to brass, which do not rust. The De Barth company has even created a Hot Rod version of the Bates.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, April 27, 2008.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Heller Tacker

Heller Tacker chrome finish with areas of corrosion

detail of H.S. Heller patent 2,688,290 front cover means for stapling machines

Since moving to New York, I've been really interested by the concentration of stapler manufacturers on the east coast. It was this interest that led me to acquire the Heller Tacker. The Tacker is the first example of a tacker/staple-gun type stapler I've featured in the Stapler of the Week and I feel it warrants attention, seeing as it bears the name of the town I now call home, Brooklyn, N.Y.. My first realization that the five boroughs of New York held a wealth of stapler history came my first week of work. Each day on our way into Manhattan, we pass by an assortment of warehouses. At the intersection of Van Dam and Skillman Ave, one warehouse had the shadow of the words Swingline staplers left on the brick wall by a sign now ten years missing. It was that moment the initials, L.I.C., suddenly changed from what I had always assumed to be a business abbreviations like LTD to a bricks and mortar building in Long Island City.

Harold S. Heller's connection to Brooklyn is still a mystery to me, although I haven't done that much digging. All of Heller's patents I've found were filed in Cleveland, OH. I suspect there's a possibly a warehouse somewhere in Brooklyn that bears the shadow of the Heller name, I only have to find it. When I do find it, you'll be sure to hear about it.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, April 21, 2008.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Tatum Aluminum Stapler

Tatum Aluminum Stapler aluminum and plastic

I had mentioned the Tatum Aluminum Stapler in an earlier post and provided a link to The Antique Stapler Collector's Website's (A.S.C.W.) excellent information on it, including patent drawings assigning credit for its design to Herbert W. Marano of Brooklyn, NY in 1954. It turns out, Herbert Marano was also responsible for the T-155 "Little Buddy." As indicated in my post and that of the A.S.C.W., the Tatum Aluminum Stapler is highly sought after by collectors of design objects as well as stapler enthusiasts. I acquired this Tatum after missing out on several other examples which sold for prices far beyond my stapler budget. Needless to say, it has a prominent placement in my stapler hall of fame.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, April 2, 2008.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Rapid Supreme 51

Rapid Supreme 51 chrome finish

The Rapid Supreme 51 is a great little plier stapler. Like the Neva Clog J-series staplers, when loaded with stainless steel or Monel staples, it was used to splice film during processing. The Salco Staple Headquarters listing calls the Supreme 51 "the Splicer" and notes its virtues of a tight and flat clinched staple which "will not catch in squeegees, mar rollers, or wear shoulder of film spools" and also the plier itself is "highly resistant to chemicals and bleaches used in film processing. The stapler is guaranteed not to contaminate solutions or discolor film." But as film processing goes the way of mimeograph, the Supreme 51 is destined to live on as a light duty stapler.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, March 16, 2008.

Stapler of the Week Archive- Rapid Roadkill

Rapid Classic 1 abraded and corroded chrome finish

I happened upon the remains of a Rapid Classic 1 plier stapler on my walk home from work. The Rapid Classic 1 is identical to the Faber-Castell FC-1. Both were manufactured by what is now known as Isaberg-Rapid in Hestra, Sweden. At first glance, I was really excited to find a stapler but then excitement turned to sadness. I kept walking at first, but then turned back to pick it up and put it in my pocket. As I passed the scrap metal warehouse, I thought to leave it there but didn't. This sad stapler made its way home with me. I'm not certain what will become of it.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, March 16, 2008.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Markwell RX-45 & Neva Clog Stapler

Markwell RX-45 chrome finish

Neva Clog Stapler (unknown model) corroded chrome finish, made in Germany

After looking at a few hundred staplers, one begins to recognize stapler types of which each company manufactured a version. These two models are cut from thinner steel when compared to the similarly designed El Casco M-1CA. When compared to the luxury of El Casco, these staplers were most likely the economy models. Each stapler uses a narrow gauge staple, the RX-45 using RX staples and the Neva Clog using the standard DJ-340, suggesting they were meant for light-duty stapling needs.

I have not seen many examples of the featured Neva Clog stapler. It is yet another taste of the company's products
manufactured in Germany. Like the German B-100, this model features a removable front plate to facilitate removing jammed staples and we all know how frustrating a staple jam can be.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, March 1, 2008.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- El Casco M-1CA

El Casco M-1CA yellow and chrome finish

Upon leaving my last job, I half-jokingly hinted that my "gold watch" gift should be a gold-plated El Casco stapler. I realized the $200+ price tag was well beyond the non-profit budget I'd grown to know so well. It was only fitting that my stapler desires should go unfulfilled as my explorations into the world of staplers began when I was denied a new stapler as I started my employment there. A new stapler wasn't in the budget then either. My wife soothed my disappointment by giving me five vintage staplers, one for each day of the week, thus seeding the Stapler of the Week collection.

El Casco started out making fine revolvers in the 1920's in Spain. Their website states that the depression following the market crash of 1929 caused the company to diversify its products, "
adding well-crafted stationary articles to their arsenal." Each product comes with a life-time guarantee which accounts for the high price-tag. I haven't found another example of the M-1 in yellow and I'm unable to determine what it might have originally cost. I'm guessing it was in the $80 range, so this may be the most valuable stapler in the collection...and perhaps the most cute.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, February 18, 2008.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Neva Clog B-100

Neva-Clog B-100 chrome finish

Neva-Clog B-100 Box printed cardboard

Neva-Clog B-100 chrome finish, Made in Germany

I found a couple of examples of the B-100 stapling plier which I referenced in the Stapler of the Week on October 17, 2007. The top example is of US manufacture and the bottom made in Germany. This is a new area to explore. I also have an example of a desktop Neva-Clog manufactured in Germany which seems to be the earliest Neva-Clog in the collection.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week February 7, 2008.

Stapler of the Week Archive- Rexel No 560 Beaver

Rexel No 560 Beaver off-white, grey and chrome finish

When my wife and I first moved to New York, I came across this stapler while enjoying the hospitality of friends. I sheepishly asked if they would allow me to feature it in the Stapler of the Week and the next time I saw them, they donated it to the collection. Since then, I have been trying to find more information on this, the first English stapler featured.

Like Swingline, Rexel is the English stapler brand that falls under the ACCO corporate umbrella. I imagine that Rexel too was a company unto itself before becoming a subsidiary. Rexel staplers have numbers to identify them such as the No 560 above, but they also had nicknames like Beaver, Gazelle and Bambi. The newer Rexel model names seem to draw from astronomic or mythological sources. Perhaps these names help the English bond with their staplers as they possibly did in the states (Tatum T-155 "Little Buddy".) It's certainly enabled me to get to know the No 560 and perhaps in time I'll know it well enough to refer to it by it's nickname.

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, February 7, 2008.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Hotchkiss No. 52

Hotchkiss No.52 steel grey and metal finish

Another great Hotchkiss plier stapler, the No. 52 varies slightly from the No. 54 previously featured in the Stapler of the Week. The No. 52 seems to allow one to clear jammed staples by means of the "patented spring front plate", where as the No. 54 does not appear to have this feature. The box (pictured below) boasts "This Hotchkiss Model No. 52 may be carried in pocket or briefcase" and advises one to "Ask about Hotchkiss Model No. 53 for Heavy Duty Industrial Work" as the No. 52 is recommended for light duty work. Along with the stapler, the box also contains a operating instructions and a guarantee bond in both English and Spanish translation. The instructions are said to apply to the No. 51, 52, 53 and 57 pliers and do not mention the No. 54. I can only imagine what it was like to see a shelf stocked with boxes of these staplers and the virtues of each individual model.

Hotchkiss No. 52 box printed paper on cardboard

Excerpt from the Stapler of the Week, January 19, 2007.

Hotchkiss No. 52 steel and potmetal black and copper finish

Update to the Stapler of the Week, January 18, 2009.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stapler of the Week Archive- Neva Clog DT-30

Neva Clog DT-30 aluminum & steel

This Neva Clog has been on my wish-list since I found out it existed. Although, I could say that about every new stapler I learn about. The DT-30 design is very interesting in contrast to the other Neva Clog models. Its combination of aluminum & steel suggest a design toward a light yet strong stapler. If the 'Gator' were made of the same gauge steel as the other Neva Clog plier staplers, it might prove to be a bit heavy to use. I think about G. Halvarsen, using this stapler, and wonder what he might have been fastening. An internet search turned up a 1955 instructional document from the Philco Corporation that specifically called for the DT-30 in the assembly of their Apple receiver. I don't know if G. Halvarsen worked on early color television technology, but thanks to him, I have a great example of this stapling pliers.

Excerpt from The Stapler of the Week, January 17, 2008.