Ace Model 600 Staple Remover

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There can’t be many things as thrilling as a staple remover.  They’re right up there on the list of exciting stuff next to watching paint dry and drinking warm tap water.  At least that’s what some people think about them.  But I disagree.  If they don’t seem particularly exciting it’s because of their ubiquitousness and nearly perfect functional design.  They do exactly what they were designed to do and do it perfectly time after time without issue.

While stapling machines were available since the late 1870’s it wasn’t until around 1916 that you see the first patents for purpose designed staple removing tools.  None of the few patents that came out in the earliest parts of the 20th century made any kind of an impact and this was likely due to the size and toughness of the then standard strip staples.  It wasn’t until the 1930’s that staple removers really started to be an accepted office tool.  It isn’t a coincidence that you begin to see modern-type cohered staples starting in the mid-1920’s and a short few years afterwards staple removers for them.

1937 office supply catalog

And it was during this golden age of staple removal designs that we first see the jaw-type (or claw-type if you prefer) staple remover introduced.  And while everyone seems to make this style of remover today it was originally introduced by Ace Fastener Corp as their Model No 600 Staple Remover.

The first known advertisement for the No 600 was in 1937, although it is known to have been available in 1935.  While nearly impossible to find in the U.S. currently the No 600 remover is actually still being manufactured to this very day.

side-by-side comparison of versions 1, 2, and 3

There are three different versions of the No 600 which are all easily identifiable.

version 1

  • measures 1.5 inches wide by 1.4 inches in height by 2.25 inches long
  • weighs 1 ounce
  • made from 100% steel
  • available starting about 1935 to 1948

version 2

  • measures 1.5 inches wide by 1.6 inches in height by 2.25 inches long
  • weighs 1.75 ounces
  • made from 100% steel, including handles
  • available approximately 1948 to 1950

version 3

  • measures 1.5 inches wide by 1.7 inches in height by 2.25 inches long
  • weighs 1.5 ounces
  • made from steel with plastic handles
  • available 1950 to present

1946 newspaper ad for the Ace Stapler [sic] Remover

1958 newspaper ad

1963 office supply catalog

1978 newspaper ad

1984 newspaper ad

Along with the obvious design differences between the three versions, if you have the original box you can further focus the time when your staple remover was manufactured.  However, the version 3 No 600 did not change from 1950 at least through the 1990’s.  The size, markings, and materials stayed the same throughout this time so without the original box you will not be able to determine an accurate age.

circa 1930’s box (I’m curious as to what a shooting wire staple remover is)

circa 1940’s box

circa 1950’s box

circa 1960’s box

circa 1970’s box

circa 1980’s box

circa 1990’s -present box

In the early 1990’s Ace Fastener Co was acquired by a large Korean company.  From that time forward many of Ace’s historic fasteners were replaced by more modern, plastic designs made in Taiwan, South Korea, and other places.  By the time you get to the early 2000’s almost all Ace staplers are no longer available in the U.S.

Patent and Other Information:

  • Patent 2033050 Tool for Removing Staples (filed 12/12/32, granted 03/03/36)
  • Patent 2596719 Staple Remover (filed 09/02/49, granted 05/13/52)

Notes:

  1. Horder’s Office Supply Catalog (1937), Chicago, IL, page 206
  2. S. Trademark 363,964, (1939, January 17), “ACE”
  3. Standard Printing & Office Supply Store, (1946, April 2), advertisement. The Alexandria Daily Town Talk, page 4
  4. Stationer Corporation Catalog (1953), Chicago, IL, page 234
  5. Perry Office Supply Catalog (1963), Syracuse, NY, page 46
  6. Mid-Carolina Office Equipment, (1978, October 16), advertisement. The Times and Democrat, page 9A
  7. New Office Supply, (1984, April 22), advertisement. Green Bay Press-Gazette, page B-9

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Wilson-Jones Tatum T-100 Aluminum Stapler

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Tatum T-100 Stapler wm sm

Part 1

1952 Apr 6 Morning Star Sun Ad wm sm

1952 newspaper ad

Part 2

T-100 box wm sm

T-100 box

HOW TO LOAD STAPLES IN THE T-100

1) Pivot the body 180 degrees rearward as shown in figure 1 below.

Reload Step 1A wm sm

figure 1

2) Locate the feed plate as shown in figure 2.

Reload Step 1B & 6 wm sm

figure 2

3) Open the feed plate (note, on some fasteners the feed plate can be very tight)

Reload Step 2 wm sm

figure 3

4)  With the feed plate open slide out the entire feed assembly.

Reload Step 3 wm sm

figure 4

5) With the feed assembly removed insert staples (with legs pointing upwards) into the magazine.

Reload Step 4 wm sm

figure 5

6) With the staples fully inserted, replace the feed assembly

Reload Step 5 wm sm

figure 6

7)  Close the feed plate (figure 7) and pivot the body 180 degrees forward (figure 8)

Reload Step 1B & 6 wm sm

figure 7

Tatum T-100 Stapler wm sm

figure 8

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Wallace Office Equipment, (1950, July 25), advertisement. The Blizzard, page 14
  2. E. Magnell, (1950, October 2), New Products and New Methods. The Hartford Courant, page 7
  3. Delta Office Supply Co, (1952, April 6), advertisement. Valley Morning Star, page 8A
  4. Eggleston Office Equipment Co, (1959, September 6), advertisement. Poughkeepsie Journal, page 10B
  5. Ace Hardware, (1962, October 15), advertisement. Racine Journal-Times, page 8B
  6. American Stationer is 7 years old this month and to celebrate I busted out my SMC Coronet Automatic 12 electric typewriter. It’s dirty, a bit loud, and smells funny, but types like a dream.  I’d fix the first three items but am afraid I’d lose the fourth 🙂

SCM Coronet Automatic 12 typewriter sm

Ace Aceliner Model No 502 Stapler

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Aceliner Stapler v2 green wm sm

One of the criteria you can use to measure success is if something stands the test of time. The Ace Aceliner model 502 was made for over 50 years with almost no changes. I think that qualifies as being very, very successful.

If you have one of these fasteners the reasons for its longevity become readily apparent. Solidly built, surprisingly heavy-duty, and dependable as death and taxes. If that’s all the Aceliner [note 1] had going for it you wouldn’t be surprised by its success. However, add in the unique styling and thoughtful ergonomics and what you end up with is one of the best looking, best built staplers ever made.

1941 Geyer's Topics 1941 June page 41 wm sm

1941 magazine ad

There were a total of four versions of the Aceliner manufactured. The first three versions all have the same specifics. Each weighs 1 pound 4 ounces and measures 7.75 inches long by 1.7 inches wide by 2.7 inches in height. They are made with all steel parts which according to literature was “triple-chromed”. There are also two rubber feet and a plastic handle. The handle was made of a plastic known as catalin as was the decorative plastic disc inside the push-rod head [note 2].

The 502 was advertised, and the bottom of the stapler states this as well, as needing Ace no 2025 staples. However, the no 2025 staple is exactly the same size as a standard-size staple so standard staples will work just fine. The magazine will hold a full strip of 210 staples. There is also a sliding anvil that will allow you to change between permanent and pin clinches. And of course you can use the Aceliner as a tacker by rotating the base 180 degrees.

1958 Lancaster_Eagle_Gazette_ad wm sm

1958 newspaper ad

1968 Latrobe Bulletin ad wm sm

1968 newspaper ad

One of the questions that often comes up in regards to the Aceliner is how to load it. The Aceliner is a rear-loading machine. To load, simply pull very slightly up and then out on the rear push-rod head. The head is the part on the rear that is a chrome round ring surrounding a colored plastic disc. Pull the rod all the way to the end and then swing it upwards. You can then insert your staples. Very easy once you do it once or twice. There is a button on each side of the body that when depressed allows you to lift the handle as you would with a standard stapler. However, you cannot load staples this way. It just won’t work. The purpose of this feature is to allow access to the inside in order to clear jams or fix any issues that come up with the internal mechanism.

1975 Stevens_Point_Journal_ad wm sm

1975 newspaper ad

1981 The_Palm_Beach_Post_ad wm sm

1981 newspaper ad

The Aceliner was advertised starting in 1941 through at least 1992. It seems that these were being manufactured in the 2000’s but there is very little information about this. All that is really known is that these later models were made in Taiwan, not the US. In total there were four known versions of the Aceliner. You can determine which version you have by using the following information:

  • Version 1 (1941 – 1961) rounded smooth top, front of body is blank, has three patents listed on bottom of base plus “OTHERS PEND”

Aceliner v1 comparison wm sm

  • Version 2 (1962 – 1971) rounded smooth top, “ACE” etched into front body, has four patents listed on bottom of base plus “OTHERS PEND”

Aceliner v2 comparrison wm sm

  • Version 3 (1971 – 1992) scalloped top with rectangular inset with aceliner logo wm in script molded into it. “ACE” etched into front body.  Along with this, later models of this version will state “USE ONLY ACE NO. 20253 STAPLES”.

Aceliner v3 comparison wm sm

  • Version 4 (approximately 2000’s) same styling as v3 but made in Taiwan, weighs slightly less at about 1 pound

Aceliner v4 comparison illustration sm

I’ve also composed the following chart showing which handle colors are known to have been available in which years [note 3].

color chart

Chart Notes:

a) the color names used in 1941 were how they were originally listed by Ace. By 1945 all colors were identified by one word descriptions.

b) year gaps simply signify that I could find no advertisements, catalog listings, official Ace literature, etc. that mentioned available colors.

c) color gaps signify only that no reference could be found to that color in any literature, etc. for that year. In other words, it’s not only possible, but likely, that in 1949 you could purchase an Aceliner with a mahogany, green, or black handle. But nothing official has yet been seen to corroborate this. However, you probably wouldn’t have seen a grey handled Aceliner until 1961.

1992 Telegraph_Forum_ad wm sm

1992 newspaper ad

Aceliner Box v1 wm sm

circa 1941 box

Aceliner Box 1970s wm sm

box from 1974-1981

Aceliner Box of Staples 1940s wm sm

box of Aceliner 2025 staples from 1940’s

Aceliner Box of Staples 1960s noprice wm sm

box of Aceliner 2025 staples from 1960’s

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. The correct spelling for the no 502 is “Aceliner” not “Ace Liner”. This two-word version probably came about due to the inscription on the bottom of the staplers. ACE was placed above LINER but that was simply due to space limitations.
  2. Even back in the earlier 20th century there were different types of plastic. It’s something of a pet peeve of mine when someone says that old plastic is “bakelite” simply because its old. It seldom is. You especially see this on online auction sites.  It has pretty much the same standing meaning-wise as words such as “rare”, “antique”, “vintage”, and “art deco”.  All these terms along with “bakelite” are essentially meaningless on auction sites.
  3. This chart was compiled using advertisements from periodicals, newspapers, office supply catalog listings, government records, and from official Ace Fastener Corp. marketing materials.
  4. Ace Fastener Corp., (1941, June), advertisement. Geyer’s Topics, page 41
  5. Utility Supply Co Catalog (1945), Chicago, IL, page 383
  6. Paulin’s Inc., (1958, March 28), advertisement. The Latrobe Bulletin, page 9
  7. Ace Fastener Corp. (1962), Ace Staple Selector [brochure], Chicago, IL, Ace Fastener Corp.
  8. Ace Fastener Corp. (1963), Ace World’s Finest Stapling Machines and Staples… [brochure], Chicago, IL, Ace Fastener Corp.
  9. Turner Office Equipment, (1968, February 29), advertisement. The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, page 17
  10. Shirley Office Supply Catalog (1975), Pennsauken, NJ, page 199
  11. Emmons, (1975, July 16), advertisement. Stevens Point Daily Journal, page 18
  12. Halsey & Griffith, (1981, January 27), advertisement. The Palm Beach Post, page A5
  13. Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, (1982, October 12), Appendix A Price List ACE. The Federal Register, page 1067 (45994)
  14. Beaver Office Products, (1992, December 3), advertisement. The Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, page 8

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Bostitch Model B8HC Heavy Duty Vintage-Style Stapler

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bostitch b8hc right side wm sm

Bostitch has recently introduced a stapler form factor that went extinct in the 1980’s.  And this thing looks fantastic!  This style of fastener was first seen in the 1930’s as a reflection of the art deco styled automobiles that took hold of the popular imagination of the time.  Suddenly everything was streamlined, including your stapler.  And now you have a new opportunity to add something stylish and retro-modern to your desk.

This is actually quite refreshing to see as there is nothing else quite like it on the market.  Sure, I’ve seen others release vintage style staplers but they are usually just offering the same product in different colors.  There are some novelty staplers out there but there is a limited market for staplers that look like shoes or skulls.  This stapler is the literal embodiment of the saying “everything old is new again”.

bostitch b8hc left side wm sm

left side

The B8HC weighs one pound empty and measures 7.25 inches long by 2.128 inches wide by 4.25 inches high.  It uses Bostitch B8 PowerCrown staples and holds 210 in the magazine.  As a heavy-duty stapler it is rated to fasten up to 50 sheets of paper.  The B8HC is made almost entirely of steel except for the plastic magazine latch and the rubber base and plunger handle cover.  You can get this stapler in any color you want so long as its black.

This is a front-loading fastener which may be a bit confusing if you haven’t seen it before.  But all you need to do is push the magazine release and the magazine will pop right out.  Place your staples inside and push the magazine back in.  That’s it!

The PowerCrown staples come in two different leg lengths, 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch.  The 1/4 inch staples will allow you to fasten about 30 pages but you’ll need the 3/8 for larger stacks of paper.

Bostitch PowerCrown B8 Staples wm sm

Bostitch B8 PowerCrown staples

I performed some testing loaded with the 1/4 inch PowerCrown staples.  The stapling mechanism works smoothly and with authority.  The ears (the chromed part on the rear connecting the base to the body) might get in the way when tacking as they don’t allow you to place the fastener flat against the wall.  That being said the angle is only 10 degrees so for the vast majority of your tacking needs it will likely be fine.  I was able to fasten 30 sheets of paper with the 1/4 inch staples, but just barely.  That is not a negative criticism as most desk staplers will max out at 20.  I’m confident it will easily fasten 50 pages with the longer leg staples.

staple comparison wm sm

staple comparison

I do have one or two concerns.  For one, while the plunger handle is steel it is attached to a comparatively thin plunger column and I fear that over time it might not stand up to regular use as a heavy-duty stapler.  I can see the possibility of hitting the handle off center (maybe the extreme front or extreme rear) and bending or even snapping the handle off.  If you use it more as a standard desktop stapler I think it will stand up fine.  But I’ve managed offices for a number of decades and can tell you that heavy-duty staplers are generally not treated gently at all.

The second isn’t a concern so much as being a bit picky.  But the plunger handle is flat.  I would have expected this to have some contour or roundness to it much like the fasteners in this style had back in the day.  It would have been both more ergonomic and more in keeping with the art deco styling.

If Bostitch keeps this model in its stable of fasteners (and they should as it’s a winner) I hope that they will consider adding an all-chrome model and maybe some colored-body models on the idea of the 1960’s era Ace Scouts.  A copper colored/plated version of this stapler would be sharp!  And for crying out loud raise the price a buck or two and correct the plunger!

bostitch b8hc diagram wm sm

diagram

You can find the B8HC Heavy Duty Vintage Style fastener for sale on the Bostitch website at https://bostitchoffice.com/vintage-style-stapler-black.html.  It is really a great price and a great stapler which will fill all your standard and heavy duty stapling needs.  You can find all of their other great offerings by going to https://bostitchoffice.com/products/office-supplies.html.

bostitch b8hc in package wm sm

Bostitch B8HC Stapler in packaging

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  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
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Bostitch Model B5 Stapler

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To modern eyes, the Bostitch B5 stapler doesn’t seem all that special.  The black crackle enamel, the geometric design with the closest thing to a curve being some 45 degree angles; it’s almost Brutalist in its design aesthetic (although technically Modernist). It looks the part of a strictly industrial tool, like an evolutionary forebear to more modern staplers.  But what it really represented when introduced was the future of staplers.

And that is exactly what the B5 is, the design and mechanical antecedent to which all modern staplers are ultimately based on.  But while the design is one thing, there is another aspect that sets the B5 above all previously manufactured staplers.  Do you see it?  No?  The B5 staple carrier, push assembly, push spring, and the staples themselves are all 100% internal to the stapler.

The internalizing of the mechanics may not seem important, but previous fasteners such as your Acme No 2, your Parrot Speed Fastener Babe, your Hotchkiss 1A, your Arrow A44, your Markwell RX-45, and yes, even your Boston Wire Stitcher model B1 (see note 1) were all open to the elements and all the issues that comes with that.  Oops!  Spilled a little coffee on your stapler?  You may have ruined it and when you try to clean it out the parts will likely rust and become forever sticky.  Leave your stapler on your desktop?  Well, it won’t be long until dust and other pollutants collect on the mechanisms and start affecting the operation of your stapler.  And if there are smokers around (remember, this is the early 20th century) you can be sure that the nicotine will act as a glue for dust and other detritus that will gum up your stapler.  There is a reason why most every ribbon spring you see today on these older staplers have spots of rust, even if they’ve been well taken care of for their entire existence.

model B5B

Many staplers of the era were well-built but the Bostitch B5 fastener took it up a notch.  Cast iron has a tendency to get brittle and is heavy but the B5 is made from steel.  There were other staplers on the market made with steel parts also, but the B5 was made from 100% steel (note 2) and it was a high-quality, thicker than usual steel.  It measures 2.2 inches wide by 7 inches long by 3.25 inches high and weighs 1.5 pounds.   That puts it at about the size and weight of a modern all-metal stapler.  It has a 4.25 inch throat which is actually deeper than most modern staplers.

The B5 is a front-loading stapler which can hold 210 standard-size staples.  You simply open the “gate” on the front by pulling it upwards and outwards then it will swing open.  Push in the staples and close the “gate” and you are ready to staple.  The anvil on the B5 only allowed for permanent clinching although a variant was available very early on that had an adjustable anvil with two settings.  There is a button on the bottom of the body that when pushed unlocks the body and allows you to rotate the base 180 degrees so that it can be used as a tacker.

The Bostitch B5 fastener only ever came in two colors:  black crackle and grey crackle.  While the black crackle finish was available during the entire manufacturing run of this stapler the earliest reference I can find to the grey crackle finish is 1963.  However, it is entirely possible that this finish was available in the 1950’s but not any earlier.

newspaper advertisement from 1935

The first known advertisement was in 1935 and the latest mention was from a Bostitch pamphlet released in 1986.  It is possible that the B5 was available two to three years after this time period but is unlikely to have been available much before 1935.  Towards the 1980’s Bostitch wasn’t making much effort marketing this stapler and it was no longer widely available from office suppliers so it is difficult to determine when production of the B5 ceased.

newspaper advertisement from 1939

Bostitch was first established in 1896 as the Boston Wire Stitcher Company just outside of Boston, Massachusetts and is still in business today in nearby Rhode Island.  The word Bostitch is a portmanteau of “Boston” and “Stitcher” and was used so extensively and was so well-known that in 1948 the company decided to rename itself.

A brief history of some important dates in the Bostitch story:

  • 1896 – Boston Wire Stitcher Company formed in Arlington, Massachusetts
  • 1904 – production moved to East Greenwich, Rhode Island
  • 1920 – October 26 “BOSTITCH” trademark registered – first use of the term listed as November 1919
  • 1930 – Bostitch Sales Company formed and located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island
  • 1948 – Boston Wire Stitcher Company officially changes name to Bostitch
  • 1957 – Bostitch headquarters moved to East Greenwich, Rhode Island
  • 1966 – Textron acquires Bostitch
  • 1986 – Stanley acquires Bostitch from Textron

newspaper advertisement from 1969

As the style of the B5 stapler did not change over the years, it can be difficult to date one.  Look for the following tells:

  • The earliest B5’s had an anvil that was as wide as the base (see figure 1), by 1940 it was reduced to the smaller size seen in the pictures here.
  • Look on the bottom of the base, if it has “Boston Wire Stitcher Co” inscribed it will have been manufactured between 1935 and 1948 (see figure 2). If it states “Bostitch” then it will have been 1948 or later (see figure 3).
  • Towards the end of production Bostitch stopped inscribing patent numbers on the bottom of the base.
  • Earlier produced models through at least the 1950’s had two screws in the rear of the base holding on the two rubber feet on the bottom. Later models did not have these screws attached from the top to the rubber feet.
  • Earlier produced models used crackle paint on all surfaces except for the bottom of the base. The base bottom was painted in a smooth enamel.  Later manufactured models used crackle paint on all surfaces including the base bottom.
  • Around the 1940’s on the top of the base the words TRADE MARK BOSTITCH REG U.S. PAT. OFF. were painted in high-contrast yellow paint.

figure 1: the anvil for the initial version of the B5 highlighted in yellow

figure 2

figure 3

There were a number of variant models of the B5 available that were released over the years:

  • B5
  • B5B
  • B5D
  • B5J
  • B5T (tacker)
  • B5P (plier type)
  • B5-12 (long reach with 12 inch throat)
  • B5-18 (long reach with 18 inch throat)

The B5 was also used in the Model 4 electromagnetic stapler and in the Model B5E3J Bostomatic electric stapler.

page from 1955 office supply catalog illustrating different model B5’s

The Bostitch B5 is an excellent stapler and were made for so long that they tend to be easy to find.  As they also use standard size modern staples if you can find one in good condition they will make an excellent addition to your vintage office setup.

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. I’ll qualify this statement by saying that most pre 1930 magazine stapling machines were not fully enclosed. I’d say all pre 1930 magazine stapling machines but despite an exhaustive review of models it is possible there is one that had a fully enclosed mechanism and staple guide that I missed.  Unlikely, but possible.
  2. Again, to be pedantic the Bostitch B5 fastener had a plastic strike cap and rubber feet. These parts of course aren’t steel – but they’re also not necessary for the operation of the stapler.
  3. “A Legacy Brand History”, Bostitch, Stanley Black & Decker Inc., https://bostitchoffice.com/history/
  4. Bostitch Sales Co, (1935, October 6), advertisement. The San Francisco Examiner, page 22
  5. The Weatherford News, (1939, July 27), advertisement. The Weatherford News, page 5
  6. Utility Supply Co Catalog (1940), Chicago, IL, page 328
  7. Utility Supply Co Catalog (1945), Chicago, IL, page 389
  8. Utility Supply Co Catalog (1950), Chicago, IL, page 373
  9. Standard Stationery Supply Co Catalog (1955), Chicago, IL, page 311
  10. L. Moylan Co, (1960, March 22), advertisement. Guam Daily News, page 3
  11. McDonald, Stingel & Bush Office Supply Co Catalog (1964), Saginaw, MI, page 360
  12. Associated Press (1966, August 3), $64 Million Set In Stock Trade, Newport Daily News, page 24
  13. Whitehorse Star, (1969, January 20), advertisement. The Whitehorse Star, page 14
  14. Shirley Office Supply Co Catalog (1975), Pennsauken, NJ, page 202
  15. Brogan, Jan (1985, August 30), Textron Plans to Sell Bostitch, 2 Other Units in Debt-Cutting Move, The Providence Journal, page A-11
  16. Bostitch Sales Co (1986 circa), advertising brochure, Fasten It Better and Faster with Bostitch Staplers and Staples

 

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  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
  3. NEVA-CLOG STAPLING MACHINES PRICE GUIDE: 2019 EDITION

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Parrot Speed Fastener Corp. No. 3 Speed Fastener

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Starting in the late 1930’s a new design aesthetic in stapling machines begins to be seen in the U.S.  Influenced by the then decades old art deco movement you begin to find fasteners featuring a convex sweeping body design.  By 1941 there were a number of staplers sharing this style including:

But one of the first to feature this new style was the Swingline No 3 Speed Fastener.  First available in 1937 the No 3 (and its larger sibling the No 4) was an instant success.  But its success wasn’t simply based on looks.  The No 3 introduced a revolutionary new mechanism.  When you opened the top of the stapler the block was automatically moved to the rear by a spring so that you simply laid in the staples and then closed the top.  Sound familiar?  This is how every desktop stapler made today works.  But it was first introduced with the No 3.

The No 3 Swingline Speed Fastener measures 6 inches long by 2 inches wide by 4 inches high, has a 2.25 inch throat and weighs 1 pound empty.  It is comprised of a steel body, plastic plunger handle mounted on a steel platform, and a zinc alloy base.  It holds 105 standard size staples and is an easy to find stapler so this is a good choice for those looking for a practical vintage stapler to use for your vintage desk setup.

1938 Office Supply Catalog

The No 3 was first available in 1937 and they were sold in office supply catalogs at least until 1969.  The now ubiquitous model 747 was introduced by Swingline in 1970 and quickly became its flagship offering.  It is unlikely the No 3 was available after 1969.  However, it should be noted that its sibling, the No 4, was available as late as 1982.

DATING CLUES:

There are two main ways to determine the timeframe of manufacture of your No 3.  The first is color:

  • 1930’s chrome and black crackle
  • 1940’s black crackle
  • 1950’s grey crackle
  • 1960’s jade, topaz, and grey all in smooth enamel

It should be noted that using color for dating isn’t exact but it does get you “in the ballpark”.

The second way to determine age is to look on the bottom of the base and see which company manufactured it:

  • The Parrot Speed Fastener Corp begins in 1925 (but the No 3 wasn’t introduced until 1937)
  • In 1939 the Parrot Speed Fastener Co changes names to Speed Fastener
  • In 1956 Speed Fastener changes names once again to Swingline

The No 3 was produced prior to the patents being granted so you can find fasteners that show “PAT PENDG” on the bottom of the base which dates it to between 1937 and 1938.  Otherwise, the patent numbers on the bottom mean it was manufactured after 1938.

There was also a model 3C introduced during the war and available during the early to mid 1940’s.  This model was all steel and had a wood base that was usually painted black.  This model was only around during this time.

Use of the above should allow you to get within a 10 year period of manufacture of your stapler.

1942 Montgomery Ward catalog

Note the lack of any brand markings in the Montgomery Ward catalog illustration above.  This is indeed a No 3 but sold by Montgomery Ward as Ward’s Stapling Machine.  It is unknown if Montgomery Ward used Swingline packaging or if they used Ward-specific packaging for this stapler.

1945 newspaper ad

1961 magazine ad

1963 newspaper ad

the earliest version of a Swingline 3 box

To load the model 3 with staples, simply push the butterfly locking latch forward and the body will pop open.  Place your staples in the magazine and close the body.  That’s it!

swingline no 3 open wm sm

swingline no 3 latch wm sm

close up of the butterfly locking latch and wing

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Grand & Toy Catalog, Inc. (1938), Toronto, Ont, Canada, page 76
  2. Montgomery Ward Catalog (1942), Chicago, IL page 725
  3. Commercial Printers Ltd, (1945, March 31), advertisement. The Leader-Post, page 10
  4. Goldsmith Bros Stationery Catalog (1953), New York, NY, page 86
  5. Swingline Inc (1961, June). advertisement. Modern Stationer & Office Equipment Dealer, page 33
  6. McCloy’s, (1963, January 2), advertisement. The Pittsburgh Press, page 13
  7. Perry Office Supply Catalog (1963), Syracuse, NY, page 47
  8. Arrow Office Supply Co Catalog (1969), Chicago, IL page 187

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Bostitch Model B12 Stapler

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If I were to give my opinion on what the three best looking American made modern staplers were I’d say the Swingline model 333, Arrow model 210, and the Bostitch model B12.  All three of these models were introduced within a few years of each other but it was the Bostitch B12 that was the first of these stylish fasteners to be introduced to the public.

The utility patent for the model B12 was filed on September 11, 1958 and by November of that year it was being heavily advertised.  By the time September 1959 rolled around there was granted to Bostitch two patents for this stapler, a utility patent and a design patent (see below).

1958 newspaper ad

The Bostitch B12 is made from 100% steel with two rubber feet (or to be pedantic approximately 98% steel and 2% rubber) .  Even the chromed ornamental hand-rest is made from steel and not plastic.  This is a high-quality, well-made stapler that was designed to give the owner many years of service.  The B12 uses standard size staples and holds 210 in its magazine.  To load the magazine you simply slide the magazine latch (the rectangular chromed slide directly to the rear of the hand-rest and on the left side of the stapler) to the rear and lift.

1965 newspaper ad

This fastener measures 7 inches long by 2 inches wide by 2.25 inches in height.  It weighs one pound empty.  It  has a sliding anvil that allows both permanent clinches and pinning.  The base swivels 180 degrees so that it can also be used as a tacker.

The earliest advertisement that could be found is from November 1958 and the latest is from September 1972.  It’s unlikely that the B12 was available much before November 1958 but it is possible that it was available at least for a couple of years beyond 1972.  The Bostitch B12 was available in four colors:  black, beige, green, and grey.  These colors were available during the entire production run and therefore aren’t useful for dating your fastener.

The Bostitch B12 stapler is a perennial favorite for people looking to put together a vintage desk or office.  It’s a stylish fastener that uses easy to find standard staples which makes it practical as well.

1972 newspaper ad

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Fayette County Times (1958, November 6), advertisement, Fayette County Times, page 4
  2. Luverne Journal (1958, December 24), advertisement, Luverne Journal, page 5
  3. Gazette Commercial Department (1959, October 25), advertisement, the Billings Gazette, page 14
  4. Iron County Miner (1960, January 8), advertisement, Iron County Miner, page 2
  5. Fox Lake Publishing Co (1961, November 30), advertisement, Fox Lake Representative, page 8
  6. Monongahela Publishing Co (1962, April 19), advertisement, Daily Republican Herald American, page 14
  7. Perry Office Supply Catalog (1963), Syracuse, NY, page 48
  8. McDonald, Stingel and Bush Office Supply Catalog (1964), Saginaw, MI, page 360
  9. Gregory, Mayer & Thom (1965, March 14), advertisement, Detroit Free Press, page 8-B
  10. Bostitch Staplers (1967, April 7), advertisement, Life Magazine, page 108
  11. Whitehorse Star (1968, October 31), advertisement, The Whitehorse Star, page 18
  12. Whitehorse Star (1969, January 20), advertisement, The Whitehorse Star, page 14
  13. Reliable Stationery Company Catalog (1971), Chicago, IL, page 12
  14. Scott County Times (1972, September 27), advertisement, Scott County Times, page 20

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Sengbusch No 3 Ideal “Major” Moistener

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Gum is a substance that is applied to the back of a sheet of paper.  When that gum is then moistened it enables the paper to be adhered to another piece of paper or object.  First used in the late 1830’s for postage stamps, eventually many office supplies used gum as a medium for sticking one thing to another.

The general idea is that a person would lick the gum, activating it, and then stick the item onto something.  This could be unsanitary but more than that it was inefficient when needing to moisten a lot of items at one time.  For instance, if you sent out a mass mailing you might need to lick hundreds of envelopes – not a pleasant thought. With this in mind there was a number of solutions manufactured that allowed you to moisten gum with just a swipe, a brush, or a squeeze onto a sponge.  However, one of the most successful items made for this purpose was the Ideal Moistener.

The Ideal Moistener could be used to moisten postage stamps, envelopes, labels, packing tape, and any other items that utilized water-based glue.  This type of moistener worked because of the cohesive properties of water.  You’d spin the cylinder and a thin veil of water would cling to its surface for a short time.  To use the number 3 model you first remove the cylinder, then place at least two, but preferably three, ounces of water in the rectangular trough.  Place the cylinder back in, spin it a few times and you were all set.  Take your stamp, envelope, etc. and simply move it across the cylinder and it would magically moisten it just enough to activate the glue.  By using this kind of moistener you didn’t have to lick anything to get it to stick.  It was due to this that the early versions of the Ideal were called the Ideal Sanitary Moistener.  While the manufacturer eventually dropped the “Sanitary” portion of the name, all through the many decades that the different models of the Ideal were sold the benefit of this being sanitary was always touted.

Postage stamps and most types of tape now use a pressure sensitive adhesive that you simply peel and stick.  While many types of envelopes also use this type of adhesive many still use the tried and true water-based glues that need to be moistened.  Obviously, the Ideal Moistener wouldn’t be used with pressure sensitive adhesive but it can certainly still be used on items, such as envelopes, using water-based glue.  It is literally only two parts and due to its being made of porcelain it can last forever. This last bit can’t be proved of course, but archaeologists have found porcelain items that are over 2,000 years old and for our purposes that is effectively forever.

gummed items wm sm

several samples of the types of items that the Ideal would be useful with

Ideal Moisteners eventually came in three sizes; Junior, Senior (aka standard) and Major.  The Major was the longest version.  It was available in white glazed porcelain and weighs 2 pounds 14 ounces.  The base with roller measures 7.125 inches long x 2.75 inches wide x 2.5 inches in height.  The roller itself measures 6 inches long x 1.5 inches in diameter.  The wide roller on the Major would be particularly useful for wide packaging tape and would probably have seen more use in mail and shipping rooms.

1963 office supply catalog

The Sengbusch Self-Closing Inkstand Company started in 1905.  On June 12, 1916 Sengbusch acquired the Ideal Moistener new stock, machinery, trademarks, patterns, and trade from the Ideal Moistener Company of Findlay, Ohio.  After that date, and until Sengbusch went out of business, all models of the Ideal Moistener were manufactured by them.

original box

The model 3 Ideal “Major” Moistener was the last version released of this product.  The first mention of this model was in 1955 and the latest found was in 1969, although it is reasonable to assume Sengbusch produced this model throughout the 1970’s until it went out-of-business.  It was never really advertised but was available through office supply catalogs and better stationers.

box label

SURPRISE REVIEW

Using the picture above of the box label, can you date the Ideal “Major” Moistener seen in this post?  There is one clue and that is the last line on the bottom of the label where it shows “Milwaukee 3, Wis”.  The “3” denotes a city postal zone code which stopped being used in 1963 when the United States moved to the modern zip code system.  This system is still used today.  Since the model 3 was available starting in 1955 that means this item was made between 1955 and 1963 – an eight year period which is much tighter than the 14-24 year period of time this model was available.

Notes:

  1. Commercial Stationers and Office Outfitters Catalog (1955), Chicago, IL, page 305
  2. Grand and Toy’s Office Supply Catalog (1962), Toronto, Ontario, Canada, page 5
  3. Wosco Catalog (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 39
  4. McDonald, Stingel & Bush Office Supply Catalog (1964) Saginaw, MI, page 322
  5. Arrow Office Supply Co Catalog (1969), Chicago, IL, page 81

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Ace Model 701 Glider Stapling Machine

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There are as of last count (but still counting) 42 different Ace model staplers. However, these fall into five distinct categories:

  1. Pilot type
  2. Scout type
  3. Clipper type
  4. Aceliner type
  5. modern (i.e. Dart v2) type

For the Scout type staplers there are three models: the Scout, the Dart (v1), and the Glider.

The model 701 Glider was introduced in 1940 about the same time as the second version Scout. The design is the same as the Scout except elongated. This additional length allowed it to hold 210 staples in its magazine – twice the capacity of a Scout. The materials are also similar except that the Glider is 100% steel (and two rubber feet). There are no aluminum parts on this model as there is on the Scout.

1940 newspaper ad

The Glider uses the same undulated staples as the Scout and the Clipper. This means you can still find them today. As with the Scout, standard size staples will fit perfectly in this but they will jam. Not maybe. Not perhaps. Not possibly. They will. And it is very difficult to remove a jammed staple from one of these machines without damaging it.

clipper glider staple box wm sm

For all of the Ace staplers an easy way to identify if it uses standard versus undulated staples is to look at the front of the body (see figure 1 below). If it has one raised canal line and a smaller indented canal line running vertically from the bottom; then it uses undulated staples. These raised and indented areas are necessary for the undulated staples to be fed from the magazine without jamming and is the reason standard staples will jam. Note that these “lines” are not as obvious on the Clipper due to the design of that fastener but they’re there.

figure 1

Introduced in 1940, the Glider was available at least until 1950 and perhaps as late as 1954 – but no longer. However, in 1958 a nearly identical Ace stapler, the model 450 Dart was introduced. The main difference between the Glider and the Dart is that the Dart used standard staples and not undulated staples.

1941 magazine ad

The Glider weighs 1 pound and measures 6.5″ L x 3.188″ H x 1.88″ W. It is chrome-plated except for an indented area in the middle of the backplate which is in black enamel.

The Glider was a quality stapler but it doesn’t seem to have had the same success as the Scout.

Ace Glider beside an Ace Scout

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Waterloo Office Supply (1940, January 29), advertisement, Waterloo Daily Courier, page 3
  2. Ace Fastener Co (1941, April). advertisement. The Rotarian, page 68
  3. Patten’s (1941, June 22), advertisement, The Honolulu Advertiser, page two
  4. Utility Supply Catalog (1945), Chicago, IL, page 381
  5. Utility Supply Catalog (1948), Chicago, IL, page 381
  6. Utility Supply Catalog (1950), Chicago, IL, page 365

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Twirlit Junior Paper Drill

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The Twirlit Paper Drill is a hollow steel drill with a sharp cutting edge operated by a simple thumb screw type bar under tremendous leverage and mounted on a solid cast iron base.

The average paper hole punch uses a lever mechanism to move one or more solid punches through paper.  While fast and efficient it is limited to generally 20 to 50 sheets of paper at a time.  And the more pieces of paper to be punched the more effort is required to punch it.

The beauty of the Twirlit is the hollow drill at the end of a screw operated by “twirling” the chrome plated bar.  This design means you don’t have to apply constant pressure, the screw mechanism does that.  The hollow drill mechanism means that the pressure from compressing the papers while drilling is released making the drilling easier than with a solid punch.  The Twirlit has a half inch mouth and you can fill that to capacity with paper and you will be able to punch a hole through every single piece.  To put that in perspective, a half inch of paper would convert to roughly 100 pieces of glossy 20 lb copier paper.

For any of you out there who regularly work with paper files, you can immediately see the downside of the thumb screw mechanism which is it must be twirled.  If you have a small job or many small jobs throughout a day then this mechanism will be both tiring and inefficient.  It’s strength is for really tough jobs of punching a hole in very difficult, tough materials or in a large stack of papers.

In 1930 Mitchell Binder Co (later Mitchell Corp.) of Hagerstown, Maryland releases the Twirlit Paper Drill.  The Twirlit was manufactured by four different companies over its lifetime but always it was made in Hagerstown.  The four companies were:

  • Mitchell Corp.
  • Duvinage Corp.
  • Saber Sales Co.
  • Reisner Inc.

The history of ownership, as best I can determine, is as follows:

  • 1930 Mitchell introduces the Twirlit
  • 1953 Duvinage purchased Twirlit division from Mitchell
  • 1971 Duvinage still producing the Twirlit
  • Sometime between late 1972 and 1974 W.H. Reisner Mfg Co changes names to Reisner, Inc.
  • 1975 Twirlit made by Saber Sales available in office supply catalogs
  • Sometime after 1975 it is believed that Reisner Inc began producing the Twirlit
  • 1996 Reisner closed its Hagerstown, Maryland plant and moved operations to Erie, Pennsylvania, meaning this was the last possible year of manufacture for the Twirlit

All-in-all, we know that the Twirlit was manufactured for at least 45 years and very likely longer.  It’s interesting to note that there is no evidence that the Twirlit was ever patented or that a patent was applied for.

The Twirlit Junior measures 4.188″ W x 3.125″ L x 2.5″ H and weighs 22 ounces.  It is made from iron, steel, and probably zinc and has rubber feet.

Series 100 Twirlit

The earliest iteration of the single hole punch Twirlit made was the Model 100 series.  This model was sold at least through 1937.  As you can see in the picture above it is essentially the same as the junior but with some minor style differences and an olive green color.  The materials used and the general measurements are almost the same.  There were four models of the Series 100 and they differed by hole punch size.

Series 100

  • 108  – 1/4 inch hole
  • 109  – 9/32 inch hole
  • 111  – 11/32 inch hole
  • 113  – 13/32 inch hole

The bottom of the base on the Series 100 will not have the exact model number embossed or printed but will simply have a “100” as shown in the picture below.

Bottom of series 100 Twirlit

The Twirlit Junior also came in four models and like the Series 100 were differentiated by punch size:

Junior Models

  • 401 – 1/4 inch hole
  • 402 – 9/32 inch hole
  • 403 – 11/32 inch hole
  • 404 – 13/32 inch hole

Unlike the Series 100, the Junior will have the model number either inscribed or painted on the bottom of the base.

Notes:

  1. Horder’s Inc. (1930 circa), advertising brochure, Twirlit
  2. Editors (1953, September 14), Mitchell Corp. Doing Contract Machine Work, The Daily Mail, page 7
  3. Editors (1957, January 19), Duvinage Leads Field In Spiral Stairs Production, The Morning Herald, page 13
  4. Perry Office Supply Catalog (1963), Syracuse, NY, page 58
  5. Wosco Catalog (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 12
  6. Arrow Office Supply Catalog (1969), Chicago, IL, page 196
  7. Peggy Costion and Sandra McKee (1971, January 20), Economic Slowdown Hits Local Business, The Daily Mail, page 12
  8. Duvinage Corp. (1971, October 28), advertisement, The Herald-Mail, page 20
  9. Editors (1974, February 18), Reisner, Inc Expands to Two Divisions, The Daily Mail, page 2
  10. Shirley Office Supply Catalog (1975), Pennsauken, NJ, page 206
  11. Dave Cottingham (1976, December 11), Main Street, The Daily Mail, Second Section
  12. Editors (1996, May 30), Organ-making Plant in Hagerstown will Close Tomorrow, The Sun, page 2c

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