Chadwick-Miller Speedee Add-A-Matic Adding Machine

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chadwick speedee add a matic wm sm

Chadwick-Miller Inc (CMI) was a Boston based importer of  low-cost gift items and stationery products sourced mostly from Japan.  These products were branded as Chadwick-Miller although CMI was not a manufacturer.  It is known that Chadwick-Miller was in business in 1960, although its founding year is unknown.  The company dissolved in 2007.

Amongst the stationery items that Chadwick-Miller was known for over the years are three different models of a stapleless stapler, a mini paper cutter, Magic Brain calculator, and of course the Speedee Add-A-Matic adding machine.

The Speedee was a manual adding machine that could not perform subtraction.  It consisted of eight columns and five rows of keys in both maroon and ivory.  It had a nine digit display that could add up to 9⋅Ÿ999Ÿ⋅999Ÿ⋅99.  It could perform multiplication by using repeat action.  In other words, if you wanted multiply 3 x 5 you would simply hit the number 3 five times or the number 5 three times.  The large maroon button on the left is the reset button.

If you examine the keyboard you’ll note that it only shows numbers 1 through 5.  If you want to use numbers 6 through 9 then what you do is hit two keys that add up to that number.  For example if you wanted to add 8 you would hit the 5 and 3 keys or the 4 key twice.  While this may seem odd to modern eyes there was a rational reason for this.  It was shown that professional operators could move very quickly on the bottom five numbers but would have to slow down to reposition their hands for higher numbers.  It was found (and yes, there were actual studies) that it was faster to simply hit two buttons and not have to reposition your hands.    Of course, it helped that this also made the mechanics less complicated and lowered manufacturing costs.

1964 Hartford Courant Ad wm sm

1964 newspaper ad

The first known advertisement for the Speedee is in 1964 and the last known one was in 1973.  For a product of this type that is actually quite a good run.  When introduced the price averaged $40 but by the 1970s had dropped to an average of $20 with sales offering it for $15 fairly often.

1966 Wichita Eagle Ad wm sm

1966 newspaper ad

The Speedee measures 10.8125 inches long by 8.6875 inches wide by 3.75 inches high.  It weighs 3 pounds 1.4 ounces and is made from plastic, steel, and composite board.  The mechanics are mostly steel with the number dials made from plastic and the number levers being made of composite board.

Accessing the internal mechanism is straightforward.  Simply flip the unit upside down and remove the four screws holding in the protective plate.

chadwick speedee add a matic bottom with plate wm sm

bottom view

With the protective plate removed you can simply slide the mechanism out of the case.

chadwick speedee add a matic bottom without plate wm sm

bottom view with protective plate removed

chadwick speedee add a matic mechanics wm sm

internal mechanics removed from the shell

This form factor had been in use since the early 20th century with machines such as the comptometer.  On the whole they were much easier to use than dial, chain, or slide adders especially for those trained in their use.  Unlike other key-driven machines though the plastic case and small size meant that this unit was a fraction of the weight of others of the period, although it was limited in that it was strictly an adder.

The Speedee Add-A-Matic is a good quality machine and many are still perfectly usable 50 plus years after their manufacture.  There’s no reason you couldn’t pick one up on the secondary market and use it for its intended purpose today.

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1968 newspaper ad

1970 Commercial Appeal Ad wm sm

1970 newspaper ad

Speedee Add A Matic box illustration wm sm

box cover illustration

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Chadwick-Miller Inc. (1960, March 28), Help Wanted, The Boston Globe, page 20
  2. Sage-Allen, (1964, October 28), advertisement, The Hartford Courant, page 6
  3. Gimbels, (1965, February 19), advertisement, The Philadelphia Inquirer, page 12
  4. Innes, (1966, April 8), advertisement, The Wichita Eagle, page 3B
  5. Spencer Gifts, (1967, November 26), advertisement, Chicago Tribune, page 109
  6. Elder-Beerman, (1968, April 28), advertisement, Dayton Daily News, page 11
  7. Elder-Beerman, (1969, January 6), advertisement, Journal Herald, page 3
  8. Lowenstein’s, (1970, July 25), advertisement, The Commercial Appeal, page 5
  9. Eaton’s, (1973, July 4), advertisement, The Vancouver Sun, page 25

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If you enjoy the American Stationer consider purchasing one of my books at Amazon.

  1. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES
  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
  3. NEVA-CLOG STAPLING MACHINES PRICE GUIDE: 2019 EDITION
  4. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 3 – ACE FASTENER

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Parrot Speed Fastener Babe Stapler

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Babe Stapler comparison wm

The early history of the modern office supply era, and especially paper fastening machines, was founded by such people as George McGill, Eli Hotchkiss, and Morris Abrams.  These, and others like them, have laid the foundations for much of the office equipment in use even today.  While many of these businessmen may no longer be remembered they were giants in their day.  However, even amongst these giants there is one man who stands out.

Jack Linsky was a World War I veteran who had previously served in Europe.  Prior to his stint in the military he worked his way up in the stationery field.  After his discharge he decided to go back to Germany to find a firm that produced a superior stapler that he could then distribute in the U.S.  He eventually contracted with Skrebba Werks to produce what would be known in the U.S. as the “Babe”.

1928 St Louis Globe Democrat Ad wm sm

1928 newspaper ad

In 1925, and only 28 years old, Linsky founded Parrot Speed Fastener and in 1928 introduced the Babe to the U.S. and Canada.  The Babe had some clear advantages to other staplers available at the time but it didn’t take long for competitors to start copying it.  He tried to get Skrebba to improve on the Babe but couldn’t convince them to do so.  Not being one to give up so easily he decided to do it himself and in 1934 Parrot Speed Fastener released an updated version of the stapler.  After only a few years you no longer see the Babe being sold, but that wasn’t the end of the line.  In 1937 Speed Fastener released the revolutionary Swingline models 3, 4, and the Tot.  And thus began Swingline’s future dominance of the stapler industry.

1933 Sioux City Journal Ad wm sm

1933 newspaper ad

The Babe stapler had two distinct versions:

Babe Stapler v1 wm sm

Version 1

  • weighs 10.7 ounces empty
  • measures 4.06″ inches long by 4.25″ inches high by 2.4″ inches wide
  • capable of permanent and pin stapling
  • made of steel and zinc alloy with chrome plate
  • available 1928-1933
  • manufactured by Skrebba Werks in Germany

Babe Stapler v2 wm sm

Version 2

  • weighs 11 ounces empty
  • measures 4.375 inches long by 3.625 inches high by 1.75 inches wide
  • capable of permanent clinch only
  • made of steel and zinc alloy with chrome plate
  • available 1934-1936
  • manufactured by Parrot Speed Fastener in the U.S.
1935 Akron Beacon Journal Ad wm sm

1935 newspaper ad

The Babe uses a proprietary size staple that is slightly smaller than standard.  The crown size for a standard staple is 0.50 inches while Babe staples have a crown of 0.46 inches.  The staples came in rows of 100 and were rated to fasten up to 40 pieces of paper at a time, although that seems a bit optimistic considering the size of the staple and stapler.

babe staples wm sm

staples

Made entirely of steel and zinc this stapler is well-made and very tough.  If you find one in the wild it is almost guaranteed to work – if you can find staples.  Fixing a jam in the first version is usually as simple as unscrewing the front plate while conversely it is extremely difficult to clear a jam in the second version as there is no way to access the stapling mechanism.

The Babe stapler isn’t particularly well-known but is nevertheless important as it marks the birth of the company eventually called Swingline.  It is an uncommon fastener to find in either version but with some diligent searching and patience you’ll be able to get one.

babe stapler box v2 wm sm

Patent and Other Information:

  • Patent 2096573 Stapling Machine (filed 01/27/1934, granted 10/19/1937)

Notes:

  1. Buxton & Skinner, (1928, October 2), advertisement. St Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, page 6
  2. Perkins Bros Co, (1930, January 10), advertisement. Sioux City Journal, page 12
  3. Buxton & Skinner, (1932, July 20), advertisement. St Louis Post-Dispatch, page 8A
  4. Perkins Bros Co, (1933, April 2), advertisement, Sioux City Journal, page 4-A
  5. The M. O’Neil Co, (1935, January 9), advertisement, Akron Beacon Journal, page 12
  6. McClurg’s Catalog, (1936), Chicago, IL, page 180
  7. Arelo Sederburg, (1965, September 18), Swingline Boss Fastens Onto Money Formula, Los Angeles Times, page 8
  8. Editors, (1966, February 27), Stapler’s Success May Spell Doom of Paste Pots, Bridgeport Post, page C-6
  9. Joe Baker, (1966, March 10), Ingenuity Made Stapler Business, Daily Sun, page D-8

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

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Bates 88P Hand-Grip Stapler

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Bates 88P Handi-Grip Stapler wm sm

If I looked up the definition of “practicality” I wouldn’t be surprised to see a picture of this fastener next to the definition.  It is perfectly designed for its purpose and the ergonomics make this workhorse easy and pleasant to use.  There are no unnecessary extras or unneeded design.  This 88P is all work and no play but that doesn’t make it dull.

The rounded handle along with the curved base make this easy to grip even in environments where your hands may be slippery.  It’s small size means this will fit in one hand without issue.  While it will only hold 105 staples at time, increasing that would mean that you would likely lose its other positive attributes.  There is also a metal tab with a hole that would allow you to hang up the stapler or attach it to a string or chain.  This tab wasn’t there for security reasons, what it did was allow you to attach this to a chain and mount it to a work area so that it wouldn’t be misplaced.

1969 Asheville Citizen Times Ad wm sm

1969 newspaper ad

Bates released this stapler in 1963 and it was last known to be available in 1990, although it is likely it was around longer.  By all accounts this was one of Bates’ most popular stapler offerings.  It was popular enough that in 1968 Swingline released the model 99P which is an almost identical clone of this model.  The icing on this copycat cake was that while Bates never patented the design of the 88P, Swingline did get a design patent in 1969 for the 99P.

The Bates model 88P is made of pressed steel and a hand grip consisting of a type of plastic known as tenite.  It weighs 6.4 ounces empty and measures 4.625 inches long by 4.75 inches high by 1 inch wide.  While the magazine and base were always in chrome, the body and handle were colored.  The 88P was available in beige, black, brown, grey, red, and yellow.

Bates 88P instructions wm sm

box insert

To load, you simply slide the side button forward and lift the handle.  Load your stapler and close the handle.  That’s all it takes!  It uses standard size staples so finding supplies is not a problem.  The Hand-Grip can also tack by swinging the base backwards by 180 degrees.

The 88P is a fantastic little stapler and are quite easy to find.  If you do procure one it is likely to still work just fine even after several decades of neglect.

1981 Abbeville Meridional Ad wm sm

1981 newspaper ad

 

1990 Reno Gazette Journal Ad wm sm

1990 newspaper ad

Bates 88P box image 2 wm sm

Bates 88P box image 3 wm sm

Bates 88P box image wm sm

Notes:

  1. Perry Office Supply Catalog (1963), Syracuse, NY, page 52
  2. Wosco, Inc Catalog (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 163
  3. McDonald, Stingel and Bush Office Supply Catalog, (1964), Saginaw, MI, page 357
  4. Arrow Office Supply Co Catalog (1969), Chicago, IL, page 189
  5. Hoyle Office Supply, (1969, September 30), advertisement. The Asheville Citizen-Times, page 21
  6. Reliable Stationery Co Catalog (1971), Chicago, IL, page 12
  7. Shirley Office Supply Co Catalog (1975), Pennsauken, NJ, page 201
  8. Piazza Office Supply, (1981, July 17), advertisement. Abbeville Meridional, page 2
  9. Fisher Hawaii, (1986, May 7), advertisement. The Honolulu Advertiser, page A-7
  10. Discount Office Supply, (1990, March 13), advertisement. Reno Gazette-Journal, page 5A

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

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Jones Star Paper Fastener

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Jones Star Fastener v1 wm sm

A long time ago in an office far, far away…

When our office hero needed to fasten a number of papers together in the 19th century they would use one of the then available options: pins, mucilage (paste/glue), an eyelet fastener, or maybe a staple driver that could load one staple at a time, amongst others.  But in 1895 Jones Manufacturing released what is arguably the first modern stapler, the Star.   

The Star is a “strip stapler”.  It uses a strip of staples formed from a single piece of metal as opposed to the modern strip made up of about 100 individual staples glued together.  While it necessitated a greater amount of force to staple as it had to cut it from the strip, it was a major improvement on other methods available at the time.  At the back end of the stapler is a spiral coil.  This coil served to hold additional staples.  All Star fasteners had this spiral coil unlike the Hotchkiss no 1 which came in versions both with and without the coil.

The eponymous Eli H. Hotchkiss acquired Jones Manufacturing around 1901 and renamed the company after himself, the E.H. Hotchkiss Co.  Hotchkiss released the Hotchkiss Star Fastener which became the Hotchkiss No 1 about 1903.  It’s interesting to note that the Hotchkiss Star is nearly identical to the Jones Star with only the casting of the name on the base changed.  Before the release of the Star, Jones Manufacturing was known for making typewriter supplies.

1895 American Stationer Ad wm sm

1895 magazine ad

The Star came out in two versions.  The earlier version, version 1, was made entirely from iron and steel and was nickel plated.  It measures 2.15 inches wide by 5.25 inches long by 4.25 inches high and weighs 1 pound 4 ounces empty.  Version 1 was available 1895 to approximately 1897.

The second version was also made from iron and steel and was nickel plated.  It measures 2.15 inches wide by 5.25 inches long by 4.25 inches high and weighs 1 pound empty.  It was available approximately 1897 to 1901.

Jones Star Fastener side by side wm sm

1897 Anaconda Standard Ad wm sm

1897 newspaper ad


1899 The Times Ad wm sm

1899 newspaper ad

There are a number of small differences between the two versions.  The following chart and figures highlight them.

AREAVERSION 1VERSION 2
frontopen from bottom to halfway uptotally open
anviltaller than version 2, 10mm in heightshorter than version 1, 8mm in height
sidesmooth with visual staple indicator holetwo rivets on bottom of plate with visual staple indicator hole
body bottompart of body, three screwssmooth, no screws, middle portion made of separate plate
base markingsrectangular plaque with infoinfo cast directly into base
base bottomfront third solid to bottom of basehollow with round hole towards rear and PATENT APPL’D FOR cast in
Star Version Comparison wm sm

version comparison with differences highlighted

 

Star Base Comparison wm sm

base bottom comparison with differences highlighted

The Jones Star Paper Fastener is a rare antique fastener.  But not as rare as the short time it was manufactured would lead you to think.  With some diligent searching, and a little time, you find these turning up on the internet.

Notes:

  1. A.A. Weeks, (1895, March), advertisement. The American Stationer, page 429
  2. Hoskins, (1895, November 17), advertisement. The Philadelphia Times, page 2
  3. Editors, (1896, January), Trade Items. The American Stationer, page 64
  4. Standard Publishing Co, (1897, November 22), advertisement. The Anaconda Standard, page 10
  5. Hoskins, (1898, March 7), advertisement, The Philadelphia Inquirer, page 2
  6. Hoskins, (1899, July 20), advertisement, The Philadelphia Times, page 2
  7. Hoskins, (1900, July 10), advertisement, The Philadelphia Inquirer, page 5
  8. Wm. H. Hoskins, (1901, April 12), advertisement, The Philadelphia Inquirer, page 15

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  1. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES
  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
  3. NEVA-CLOG STAPLING MACHINES PRICE GUIDE: 2019 EDITION
  4. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 3 – ACE FASTENER

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Lever Press Type Stapleless Paper Fastener

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Stapleless Stapler group wm sm

from left to right: Chadwick (Japan), Alco (Japan), Eska (West Germany)

By the 1950’s the stapleless stapler largely fell out of favor as an office item.  There were a number of reasons but the main one was the limitation this type of item had on the number of papers it could attach together.  Generally, these could fasten from two to eight pieces of paper.  To fasten more papers you would need a regular stapler.  Why spend money on an additional piece of office equipment when you could just purchase a stapler, which you needed to have anyway?

Fast forward to the mid-1960’s.  World War 2 has now been over for twenty years and the economies of Japan and West Germany are getting on their feet.  These countries had a reputation at the time for manufacturing low quality consumer goods that were very inexpensive.  However, much like China does today, many of these items were manufactured for other companies and sold under the importing company’s name.

1968 Des Moines Register ad wm

1968 newspaper ad

This brings us to 1966.  Suddenly, there is an explosion of hand-held plier type stapleless staplers being advertised in U.S. newspapers.  These were successful enough that in 1968 you start to see a new form factor in stapleless staplers, the desktop lever-type.

Theoretically, having a lever meant more leverage and that meant more fastening power.  However, the reality is that due to the inexpensive nature of these machines they were still limited to being able to fasten about eight sheets of paper.  These fasteners were made from pressed steel that was very thin.  The side panels covering the mechanism were so thin they were almost translucent.  When you find these you’ll notice that the lever is often bent.  Again, that is a reflection of the thinness of the metal used.

Fastening Sample

sample of fastening

These were made from 100% steel.  Measuring 5.75 inches long by 2.188 inches wide by 4.25 inches high and weighing 10.5 ounces.  Most of these came with a rubber base cover to protect the surface it was placed on from being scratched.  The cutting mechanism was more durable than the rest of the fastener and used a modified Bump-type method.

lever press internal bw wm

internal mechanism

These stapleless staplers were heavily advertised from 1968 to 1974.  They were likely available for a short time both before and after this time period but not much.  Import companies such as Chadwick and Alco sold these under their name.  Department stores, such as Grant’s, sold them under their name (see Grant Miracle Paper Fastener).   These were also available via mail order.

By the mid-1970’s their popularity waned and while still sold, were no longer advertised.  But the legacy lives on today in newer offerings, again mainly from Japan, of stapleless staplers.  While now made with plastic bodies they are a good quality item and especially useful for home and school purposes.

1972 Morning Call ad wm sm

1972 newspaper ad

1974 Press Democrat ad wm sm

1974 newspaper ad

The lever press stapleless staplers from this time period are easy to find and often in good condition.  Watch for bent or missing levers.  If the lever is only slightly bent then usually a small “adjustment” with a pair of pliers is all it takes to bring this back to original condition.  If the lever is missing pass it by.

Notes:

  1. Younkers, (1968, September), advertisement. Des Moines Register, page 8
  2. The Crescent, (1969, July), advertisement. Spokane Daily Chronicle, page 8
  3. People’s Drug Stores, (1970, June), advertisement. The News, page A-9
  4. Tower’s Department Store, (1971, December), advertisement. The Ottawa Journal, page 43
  5. Jay Norris Mail Order, (1972, August), advertisement, Hartford Courant, page F1
  6. Dillard’s, (1973, December), advertisement, The Austin American-Statesman, page B4
  7. RAS Mail Order House, (1974, January), advertisement, Press Democrat, page 13

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

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E.L. Sibley Mfg Co Challenge Eyelet Press No 1

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Nowadays if you think of a device for fastening two or more pieces of paper together you are probably picturing a stapler.  But before the stapler came on the scene what did people use?  If you were a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or a government worker you would likely use an eyelet press.

Consumer level eyelet presses were introduced in the 1850’s.  The reason for their popularity in the professions was that an eyelet was much more difficult to remove without also damaging the papers they held.  This provided a layer of security (important even then) ensuring that papers that were fastened together hadn’t been tampered with.

Edward L. Sibley was both a lawyer and a probate judge.  However, his true calling was as an inventor.  After about eight years as a judge in 1886 Mr. Sibley left the law profession to pursue his dream and he opened a tiny manufacturing concern that he named E.L. Sibley Manufacturing Company.  And his first, and longest lived, product was his passion the Challenge Eyelet Press. 

The Challenge Eyelet Press was manufactured using iron and tool steel.  It was designed to be fast, desk-sized, easy to use, and durable.  In all four areas the Challenge was a tremendous success.  The following is from a review of the Challenge and gives instructions on its use:

instructions from 1928 digest entry

It should be noted that the removal process was for the use of the special Challenge eyelets and may not work with other types of eyelets.

 

1912 office supply catalog illustration

As you can see from the above the Challenge enjoyed several advanced features that other presses didn’t have such as punching its own hole and being able to remove the eyelet after it had been fastened.  Another feature this had was its simple and elegant design with a minimum of moving parts.  It meant that coupled with the build quality and materials it almost never needed repair.

While Sibley starting making this eyelet press in 1886/7 the first known advertisement is from 1891.  The Challenge was still being made in 1971 although by that time it was not being advertised.  The trademark expired in 1987 showing that by this time the Challenge was no longer being made.  This is a manufacturing run of over one hundred years with little change being made to the design over that period – a true testament to Sibley’s genius.

1895 newspaper ad

The Challenge is known to have been released in two versions.  The first version, pictured above, weighs 4 pounds 13 ounces and measures 2.5 inches wide by 6 inches long by 12.5 inches in height.  It features gold painted designs on the sides, a gold painted shield on the front, and gold painted “plaques” on each side of the base.  You can date a first version by looking at the front shield.  If it states that it was registered in 1907 then you know it was made after that year.

The second version, pictured below, weighs 4 pounds 4.7 ounces and measures 2.5 inches wide by 5.75 inches long by 12.25 inches in height, making it slightly smaller and lighter than the first version.  It is japanned and features gold painted designs on the sides and a brass plaque on its right side.  This version was introduced on or around 1916.

Challenge Eyelet Press v2

1952 newspaper picture

1918 newspaper ad

1925 newspaper ad

Edward Sibley not only held the patent for the Challenge Eyelet press, but for the eyelets.  He also held at least five other patents for various other items including a stapler similar to the Eveready that was never produced.

E.L. Sibley Mfg Co not only produced the Challenge but also the KO Punch.  They also had other enterprises such as ochre mining and automobile engine remanufacturing amongst others.  During World War 2 they stopped making the Challenge but picked it up again after the war.  During the war they made parts for the war effort.  After the war E.L. Sibley Mfg Co also did subcontract work for jet engine parts.

E.L. Sibley remained a family concern through most of its history.  When Edward Sibley died his son Tarrant became President and when he died his son, Tarrant Sibley II, took over.

Patent and Other Information:

  • Patent 358224 Riveting Machine (filed 03/16/1886, granted 02/22/1887)
  • Patent 358225 Rivet (filed 10/29/1886, granted 02/22/1887)
  • Patent 691012 Eyeleting Machine (filed 04/08/1901, granted 01/14/1902)

Notes:

  1. S. Trademark No. 71499861. (1887/1907/1947). Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  2. S. Trademark No. 71213324. (1887/1925/1945). Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  3. Clarke & Courts, (1891, May), For Sale. The Galveston Daily News, page 5
  4. F. Purnell, (1895, March), advertisement. The Daily Bee, page 3
  5. Cameron, Amberg & Co Stationery Catalogue, (1908), Chicago, Illinois, page 62
  6. Crane & Company Catalogue, (1912), Topeka, Kansas, page 44
  7. Tribune Printing & Supply Co, (1918, September), advertisement. Great Falls Daily Tribune, page 4
  8. Horder’s Inc, (1925, October), advertisement, Chicago Daily Tribune, page 14
  9. Business Machines & Equipment Digest. Chicago, Illinois, Equipment Research Corporation, 1927
  10. McClurg’s Catalog, (1935-1936), Chicago, Illinois, page 182
  11. Editors, (1944, January), Sibley Plant Taken Over By Brandon Firm. The Bennington Evening Banner, pp 1, 5
  12. William J. Burton, (1952, December), Dissatisfied Lawyer Was Founder of Machinery Plant Which Plans Programs of Growth, Expansion. The Evening Banner, page 7
  13. Editors, (1971, June), North Bennington. Bennington Banner, page 8

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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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A.H. Irvin Co New Irvin Model 2L Stapling Machine

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If E.H. Hotchkiss can be considered the father of the modern stapler, then A.H. Irvin is the “uncle”.  The reason that the Star Automatic Fastener and later the Hotchkiss No 1 became so popular is directly due to the hard work of this formidable salesman.  He was involved with Jones Manufacturing by 1897 and afterwards the E.H. Hotchkiss company, the very beginnings of the strip stapler.  Not only was he instrumental in the success of E.H. Hotchkiss but he is also part of the success of the Compo stapler.  He was successful enough that Hotchkiss ended up acquiring Compo.  Many of the improvements to these various staplers was at his recommendation which made him instrumental in their overall development.

photo from 1902

Alex H. Irvin managed the distribution of these items through his company, the Alex H. Irvin Co.  But one of his lesser known endeavors is the release of his own line of branded stapling machines which included the New Irvin model 2L.

The model 2L was Irvin’s heavy-duty lever operated fastener and rated to staple up to 50 sheets of paper.  It uses strip staples (see below) which are formed from a single piece of metal.  This machine was made of nickel-plated pressed steel which made it both stronger and lighter than its main competition, the Hotchkiss No 2.  Another feature that differentiated the Irvin staplers was that they were put together using screws.  This may seem minor but most staplers were held together with rivets or pins.  This made them impossible to repair without specialized tools.  With the screws, anyone with a screwdriver could take their fastener apart and fix most minor issues themselves.  The 2L measures 10.44 inches long by 2.25 inches wide by 9.25 in height.  It weighs 2 pounds 7.5 ounces empty.

This was manufactured for A.H. Irvin Co by the B. Jahn Manufacturing Co.  Berthold Jahn is one of the inventors listed on the patents for this device and the patents were assigned to his company.  He is actually listed on all of the patents used for the stapling machines released by A.H. Irvin Co.

1921 magazine ad

The New Irvin 2L was released in early 1921 and is known to have been available at least until 1924.  While it is possible it was available after this time it likely wasn’t available much longer than 1924.  It’s a quality machine but it wasn’t heavily advertised and didn’t seem to gain much traction with stationers of the time.

1923 magazine ad

Irvin staple strip

 

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Editors, (1903, October), The Story of the Man Who Made the Star Stapler Famous. The Book-Keeper, pp 178-180
  2. Alex H. Irvin Co, (1921, November), advertisement. Walden’s Stationer and Printer, page 45
  3. Alex H. Irvin Co, (1923, May), advertisement, Office Appliances the News and Technical Trade Journal of Office Equipment, page 251
  4. Editors, (1924, March 7), Appliances for Business Office. The Hollywood Daily Citizen, page 5

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  1. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES
  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
  3. NEVA-CLOG STAPLING MACHINES PRICE GUIDE: 2019 EDITION

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Hamilton No 16 Postal Scale

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Tucked away in a small town directly south of Boston, Hamilton Specialties Inc. of Randolph, Massachusetts was the base for a company that specialized in small office and home use postal scales.  This company made a number of different models but one of the most commonly found is the Hamilton  No 16.

The model 16 is a pendulum-type scale that uses a set weight as a counterbalance to the item being weighed.  Simply place your mail on the weighing platform and the dial indicator will give you the weight in ounces up to one pound.

As the surface the scale was placed on could affect the accuracy of any measurements, there is an adjusting screw (see diagram) that will allow you to zero the scale.  Once properly adjusted the scale is quite accurate and works well as a first class letter postal scale.

diagram

The No 16 is a smaller scale measuring 5.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches in height.  It weighs 9.6 ounces and is made from pressed steel and aluminum.  The label on the front is made from “vinylite” and was made to be replaceable so that when postal rates changed you could easily update it.

1958 newspaper ad

As noted, this scale is fine for weighing envelopes and small flats, but it was not designed with packages in mind, even small ones.  You could certainly use this to weigh small, light items but if you regularly sent out packages of any size you’d want to purchase a more robust scale for your needs.

The Hamilton No 16 was advertised in the U.S. from 1953 to 1963 but might have been available for a longer time.  With a simple and elegant design coupled with quality materials it’s not unusual to find this scale out in the wild and in good shape.  This can also be considered a “working antique” in that you can pick this up at a vintage store, clean it a bit, adjust it, then place it on your desk and start using it for its intended purpose.  Just make sure to look up current postal rates…

1962 newspaper ad

Notes:

  1. Goldsmith Bros. Stationery Catalogue (1953), New York, NY, page 89
  2. McCloy’s, (1958, March 17), advertisement. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, page 5
  3. PK Smith and Company, (1958, February), advertisement. Petersburg Independent
  4. Dieckhaus Stationers, (1962, March 27), advertisement. The Philadelphia Inquirer, page 5
  5. WOSCO Inc Catalog, (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 248

 

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  1. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES
  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
  3. NEVA-CLOG STAPLING MACHINES PRICE GUIDE: 2019 EDITION

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Bates Staple Remover & Punch

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bates staple remover and punch wm sm

Many folks who collect antique and vintage office equipment tend to specialize.  There are people who only collect typewriters, or fountain pens, or mechanical calculating machines and so on.  And there are also those who collect staplers and paper fastening machines.  But one of the items I’ve mentioned time and again as getting little interest or respect is the lowly staple remover.

As for me, I love ’em!  If I see something unique or unknown I’ll always pick it up.  I find it absolutely fascinating (and sometimes hilarious) the amount of engineering that has been invested into a task like removing a staple.  There isn’t the same amount of variety amongst staple removers as there are for other items but enough that I’ve devoted 5% of my website to them.  And I have to admit that I could easily double that using just some of the removal tools in my collection.

That brings me to this month’s item, the Bates Staple Remover & Punch.  Not only will it remove staples but it is also a 0.25 inch diameter single hole punch.  Multi-tools are often impressively designed but tend to suffer in usability.  A single tool can do a number of different things but generally it won’t do well on any particular task.  There are exceptions though and the Bates Staple Remover & Punch is one of them.  Well, it mostly does ok…

It punches a solitary hole in your papers like a champ.  Perfectly round and with a distinct lack of paper where the hole is.  Exactly what it is supposed to do.  The staple remover also works, but it tends to be a bit rougher on the paper than a claw-type remover would be.  However, on a thick stack of papers it works much better at removing unwanted staples with little damage to said papers.

This tool is made from 100% pressed steel and will be making holes and removing staples for your great-great grandchildren.  It is really a tough little beast with a minimum of moving parts that could ever cause problems.  If you find one in tough shape a little bit of cleaning and a drop or two of oil is likely all it will take to make it serviceable again.

1952 Baltimore Sun Ad wm sm

1952 newspaper ad

The Bates Staple Remover & Punch was advertised from 1952 to 1959.   While it was likely available separately after that year it is known to have been available as part of small stationery sets released by “Valiant” and “Majestic” at least until 1970.  These sets usually consisted of a mini stapler, the Staple Remover & Punch, and a small box of staples in a plastic pouch.

bates staple remover and punch bottom wm sm

The Bates measures 3.4 inches by 0.65 inches by 2 inches and weighs 1.3 ounces.  It will easily fit into a desk drawer, a pouch, school bag, pocket, or brief case.  And if you have a collection of staplers then you really need to have a collection of staple removers too!

 

Patent and Other Information:

  • Patent 2685929 Combined Staple Remover and Punch (filed 01/27/51, granted 08/10/54)

Notes:

  1. Lucas Bros, (1952, February 18), advertisement. The Baltimore Sun, page 13
  2. Stationer Corporation Catalog (1953), Chicago, IL, page 238
  3. Meier & Frank Co, (1959, February 26), advertisement. Capital Journal, page 12
  4. Eaton’s, (1965, November 2), advertisement. The Leader-Post, page 36
  5. Hamlin’s Red Cross Drug Stores, (1970, September 23), advertisement. Press and Sun Bulletin, page 16A

 

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  1. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES
  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
  3. NEVA-CLOG STAPLING MACHINES PRICE GUIDE: 2019 EDITION

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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

Help support the American Stationer.  The site really needs your help in order to stay alive.  Please become a supporting  patron by subscribing to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/americanstationer


Visit me at http://www.facebook.com/americanstationer and let’s get all geeky about office supplies  🙂

If you enjoy the American Stationer consider purchasing one of my books at Amazon.

  1. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES
  2. STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG
  3. NEVA-CLOG STAPLING MACHINES PRICE GUIDE: 2019 EDITION

You’ll get one-of-a-kind references and information you won’t find anywhere else and you’ll help me keep American Stationer going.