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.  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.


  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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Arrow Model 300 Stapling Machine


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A reader contacted me here at the American Stationer asking me questions about his Arrow 300 stapler recently. Having never heard of an Arrow model 300 I did some research and discovered – nothing. The reader sent a couple pictures of his fastener and lo and behold he had himself what looked like an Arrow 210. When I told him of his “mistake” he sent along further pictures which now clearly showed the stapler marked as an Arrow 300.

Well, now I had a mystery on my hands. Here is a heretofore unknown model stapler from a major manufacturer for which I can find no advertisements, no catalog listings, no brochures – nothing. About the only bit of information I could find is that it was definitely not available in 1986. Not exactly helpful…

There are some clues though that can be used to determine a rough outline. To begin with, the dimensions of the base, rubber feet, handle, anvil, and the carrying cap (the chromed plastic cover piece on top of the stapler) are identical in size to the first version Arrow 210. It is obviously an identical style to the 210. The two models came in the exact same colors. The patents inscribed on the bottom of the base are also the same between the two staplers. As there are interchangeable parts it is therefore reasonable to assume that the Arrow 300 came out during the time period the first version Arrow 210 was available, which was from 1960 to approximately the mid 1970’s. However, the rarity of this piece would indicate it wasn’t made in great numbers and that it was likely available for a shorter time. I would estimate that this was available only in the early-to-mid 1960’s.

The differences between the 210 and 300 are interesting. In the figure above note the two differences indicated by arrows:

  1. the first version Arrow 210 can be used as a tacker by pressing that lever on the bottom of the base and removing the stapler portion. The Arrow 300 cannot be used as a tacker at all and this lever is missing.
  2. the first version Arrow 210 has an anvil that can be adjusted by means of the button indicated in the figure above to one of three settings. The Arrow 300 anvil cannot be adjusted and will only make permanent clinches.

  1. the magazine on the Arrow 300 is almost twice the height of the Arrow 210.
  2. the mouth of the Arrow 300 is .5 inches while on the Arrow 200 it is only .25 inches
  3. the staple pusher on the push rod is clearly much larger on the Arrow 300
  4. the anvil on the Arrow 300 only will make permanent clinches while you have 3 clinch choices on the anvil of the Arrow 210

The Arrow model 300 does not use standard staples. Instead, it uses Arrow P22 staples which are still made to this day. These are the same staples used on some of their commercial tacker models. That means that the Arrow 300 can be used as a heavy-duty stapler, although it’s design wouldn’t really lend itself to it. Most heavy-duty staplers use a lever design which gives the individual much greater power and leverage to insert staples through a large stack of papers. Using a standard design means that in order to use this for a thick stack of papers you need to stand above it and push down with all your might. You will need to use much greater force and will have far more times when the staple does not go through your stack of papers.

Where a stapler like this might see success is in businesses where the Arrow tacker is a standard tool (like in construction). Having “desktop” staplers that used the same type staples would mean not having to stock multiples sizes of staples.

The Arrow model 300 weighs 1.5 pounds empty and measures 8″ L x 2.25″ W x 3.313″ H.

Patent and Other Information:


Special thanks to all my awesome readers out there who constantly challenge me, share their finds with me, and share their knowledge with me. You are what makes doing all this work worth it!

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Presto 51-S Personal Punch


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Presto Personal Punches all wm sm

Over the past century there have been a number of single hole punch designs that have been marketed to the public, but few enjoyed the success that the Presto 51-S Personal Paper Punch had.

Perhaps the main reason for this is its compact design.  At .75″ W x  .75″ L x 1″ H it was perhaps the most compact single hole punch ever made.  And it only weighed half an ounce.  Combine that with its all-steel construction and you have a tiny, indestructible, easily carried and stored hole-making machine!  Also, while these were sold individually they were also a part of different sets.  One of these sets included a Presto model 30 mini-stapler and another, a special Presto Desk Kit, came with a Presto DeLuxe stapler.

1936 Globe Gazette Presto Punch Ad wm sm

1936 newspaper advertisement

Over its lifetime there were three distinct versions of the Presto Personal Punch.  Each weighed half an ounce but the measurements for versions 1 and 2 were .75″ W x .875″ L x .875″ H.  So they were ever so slightly longer and taller than the final version.

Presto Personal Punch v1 wm sm

version 1

This is the earliest version of the Personal Punch.  Introduced in 1936 this sold for an average of 10 cents until about 1946. Note the flat punch cap design.

Presto Personal Punch v2 wm sm

version 2

It isn’t known when this version was introduced, but likely in the mid-to-late 1940’s.  However, the only real change between versions 1 and 2 is the punch cap design.  There was a price spike across the board starting in 1947 where the average cost shot up 50% and these sold for 15 cents apiece.  It is possible that this design change coincides with the cost hike.

Presto Personal Punch v3 wm sm

version 3

The earliest known advertisement of this version is from 1952.  At the same time this version was introduced there was another price increase and the average cost per unit climbs to 20 cents.

1942 Chain Store Age Presto Ad wm sm

1942 industry magazine advertisement

1947 Emporia Gazette Presto Ad wm sm

1947 newspaper advertisement

In 1958 the patent for this hole punch was filed and in 1963 it was granted.  This then brings up the odd occurrence of the dating of this punch when inscribed with “PAT PEND”.  In one of the only times this has happened, when you see a punch inscribed with “PAT PEND” it means you have one of the newest manufactured punches, not oldest, since for the first 27 years it was sold without a patent having been granted.

Presto Personal Punch v3 back2 wm sm

version 3A

This version would have been available from approximately 1952 until 1958.

Presto Personal Punch v3 back1 wm sm

version 3B

This version would have been available from approximately 1958, after the patent had been filed, until about 1965, after which no advertisements of any kind could be found for it.  It is likely that while sold in 1964 and 1965 these were inventory closeouts.  During this time the Personal Punch average cost was 25 cents.

1952 Missouri Herald Presto Ad wm sm

1952 newspaper advertisement

All of these punches were chrome-plated.  However, it isn’t unusual to find these with the plating worn off.  It also isn’t unusual to find them with some rust. Don’t let that stop you from picking one of these up though if you come across one.  The all steel construction coupled with a very strong design means that you can clean these up no matter how rusty, maybe add a drop or two of oil, and they will still work.

1964 Ogden Standard Examiner Presto Ad wm sm

1964 newspaper advertisement

Patent and Other Information:


  1. The Merkel Co. (1936, August 20), advertisement, Mason City Globe-Gazette, page 12
  2. Gibbs Peoples Service Stores (1937, September 3), advertisement, Wilkes-Barre Record, page 8
  3. Grand and Toy Catalog (1938), Toronto, Canada, page 124
  4. Utility Supply Co. Catalog (1940), Chicago, IL, page 316
  5. Metal Specialties Manufacturing Co. (1941, August), advertisement, Chain Store Age, page 28
  6. Utility Supply Co. Catalog (1945), Chicago, IL, page 375
  7. Eckdall & McCarty (1947, March 17), advertisement, Emporia Daily Gazette, page 8
  8. Herald Printing Co. (1952, October 31), advertisement, The Missouri Herald, page 22
  9. Thrifty Cut Rate Stores (1960, September 7), advertisement, Long Beach CA Independent, page A-4
  10. Wosco Inc. Catalog (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 9
  11. Wangsgard’s Green Spot Drug Center (1964, August 27), advertisement, Ogden Standard-Examiner, page 7D

Visit at and come talk about vintage office supplies and equipment with me.

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


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.

American Stationer Has Published New Books!


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It’s official!  There is now a second volume in the Staplers, Stapling Machines, and Paper Fasteners series.  No matter how hard you look, you won’t find another reference like this one on Neva-Clog staplers.  Every model and known variant is described with photos and illustrations.

The book is available at Amazon both as a softcover and as an e-book.  Remember, all proceeds go to support the American Stationer website.

But wait!  There’s more!  Not only is there a new book about Neva-Clog and their staplers, but there is now a price guide available for Neva-Clog staplers available as an e-book.

If you ever wondered what the value is of your Neva-Clog fastener then this book is for you.  Included are values for every model and variant that’s discussed in Volume 2 above.

McGill’s Single-Stroke Staple Press No. 1


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It’s fascinating to read articles on the internet about the invention of the stapler.  There aren’t that many of them.  Within a short space of time, if you do this, you’ll see that these articles are mostly copying from each other and simply reworded to make it seem like it’s new information being passed-on.  But it isn’t.  The worst part of it is that much of the information out there is flat-out wrong.  A French king using a stapler? Really?  That’s as believable as Steve Jobs refusing to work with anything but a typewriter.

Staplers have a long history, but their beginnings were in construction, not in paperwork management – royal or otherwise.  The patent that the Novelty Paper Fastener was based on was for use in constructing fences, not fastening papers, for example.  However, before long it became apparent that staples would be a good and inexpensive way to permanently fasten papers together.

But even this idea came about more as part of a greater “technology/business war” than years of research and development.  If we go back to just the 1860’s and 1870’s you’ll see paper pinning machines, the introduction of McGill’s brass paper fasteners, and office eyelet machines.  All of these made money, and they all had their strengths but they also had their weaknesses.

Enter the (in)famous George W. McGill.  McGill was already famous and well-off from his brass paper fasteners and his various paper fastener punches and presses.  And in 1878 he introduces his Single-Stroke Staple Press, later to be called the Staple Press No 1.

1879 magazine advertisement

This was a bold move timing-wise and one that he made quickly.  While his Staple Press was available in 1878 he didn’t file his patent until January 1879.  It was quickly granted and by February 1879 he could now advertise it as patented.  It turned out that this compressed timeframe was absolutely necessary because in very short order he would have lots of competition.  For example, the following single-stroke staplers (amongst other models) were soon available:

  • Novelty Paper Fastener first advertised in 1880, patented 1880.
  • Pet Office Binder advertised in 1880
  • Victor Paper Fastener advertised in 1882
  • Keystone Paper Fastener advertised in 1883

Now George McGill was not only an inventor, but he was a successful businessman.  And he was also an attorney by trade – a patent attorney to be exact.  And George McGill was quickly unhappy with all of the competition he suddenly had for his very successful Staple Press.

The earliest, and most successful, of his competitors was the Novelty Paper Fastener.  While this item held patents from 1880 and later, Philadelphia Novelty Company also held similar stapler patents from 1877 and earlier.  This detail ends up being very important.  Despite these details there then began an over two year bare-knuckle battle of the then major stapler manufacturers.

It began in early 1881.  It was reported on March 3 that “George W. McGill announces his intention to take legal proceedings to stop the manufacture and sale of the Novelty paper fastener as being an infringement of his “patent single stroke staple press” for which Holmes, Booth & Hayden are licensees and agents. Mr. McGill’s attorney has sent out a notice forbidding the sale of the “Novelty.”

That very same day there was published an answer, “The Philadelphia Novelty Company, manufacturer of the Novelty paper fastener, denies that it has infringed upon the patent of George W. McGill, and says that it will assume all liability for damages that may be claimed from persons selling its goods. Hasbrouck & Ivatson, the agents for the Novelty, say that they will guarantee to protect their customers.”

Now, McGill was no amateur and at the same time he was taking legal actions here in the U.S. he was also taking action in the U.K.  On March 10 it was reported in the U.S. that McGill had brought action to restrain the sale of the Novelty Paper Fastener in English Chancery Court.  But in the U.K. there were plenty of shenanigans to go along with the legal proceedings.  For example it was reported in the London Times in February how one newspaper was taken to court over the erroneous and false report that the Chancery Court had essentially pre-decided the case!  When the Master of the Rolls decided on this particular issue he was quite clear how this article was both morally and legally wrong.

In November of 1881 the Philadelphia Novelty Company started running full-page ads that essentially stated that all other staplers, including McGill’s Staple Press, was in fact an infringement on their patents!

magazine ad from 1881

During the first year that this was going on there was some scare tactics by McGill that targeted customers and sellers of the Novelty.  But by January 1882 things started getting especially ugly when a story was “planted” that an export agency for the Philadelphia Novelty Company had surrendered and cancelled their agency on account of the ongoing legal issues.  Very quickly afterwards Philadelphia Novelty Company answered stating that the export agency in question did not surrender their agency due to legal issues, and that it had been shown in court that the patents in question did not infringe.  After this decision the public seems to have lost interest as this issue is no longer reported on.

While these kinds of bully tactics were fairly common at this time it didn’t end up effecting sales of either the Novelty or of the Single Stroke Staple Press.  McGill’s Staple Press was first advertised in 1878 but was still for sale as late as 1913.  While it was likely for sale for a short time after that it was at that point an obsolete technology.  There were plenty of choices and most of them could load more than one staple at a time.

same Press, different decoration

The McGill Single Stroke Staple Press No 1 weighs 2 lb 10 oz and measures 6.25″ L x 2.625″ W x 4.75″ H.  It is made from cast iron and steel with a japanned finish.  Japanning is not the same as paint or enamel but is a special type of lacquering finish (click here for more information).  The Presses were then hand decorated with various flourishes that changed over time.

1882 magazine advertisement

1894 newspaper advertisement

box of McGill staple binders

Almost simultaneously with the release of the Single-Stroke Staple Press here in the U.S., McGill released the Eagle Staple Press No 1 in England.  Aside from the painted decoration there was no difference between the models.

McGill’s Eagle Staple Press

Patent and Other Information:


  1. Holmes, Booth & Haydens (1878, March), advertisement, The American Stationer, page 13
  2. Holmes, Booth & Haydens (1879, November), advertisement, The American Stationer, page 52
  3. W. Lotz & Co (1880, January), advertisement, The British Trade Journal, page 16
  4. Editors (1881, March 3), Trade Gossip, The American Stationer, page 264
  5. Editors (1881, March 3), Trade Gossip, The American Stationer, page 269
  6. Editors (1881, April 7), A Patent Suit, The American Stationer, page 457
  7. Philadelphia Novelty Mfg Co (1881, November 17), advertisement, The American Stationer, page 769
  8. Holmes, Booth & Haydens (1882, January 5), advertisement, The American Stationer, page 11
  9. Editors (1882, January 5), Trade Gossip, The American Stationer, page 13
  10. Philadelphia Novelty Mfg Co (1882, January 12), Communications, The American Stationer, page 49
  11. Perkins Bros. Co. (1894, July 27), advertisement, The Sioux City Journal, page 26
  12. Editors, General Price List, Whiteley William Ltd London ,1913

Visit me at and let’s talk about vintage office supplies and equipment.  You can also support the American Stationer by getting my new, updated, 3d edition Hotchkiss Stapler ebook here at Amazon.  For all of you old-skool collectors, get the new 3d edition softcover paperback of my book STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES here at Amazon.  You’ll receive an excellent reference book and some good karma.  And I’ll earn a buck or two (literally) which goes right back into supporting the research costs needed for the American Stationer.

Watch for my new book coming out soon, STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 2 – NEVA-CLOG

Indelible Check Perforator


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indelible check perforator wm sm

Most folks today have heard about, and perhaps even followed, the multitude of court cases surrounding many of our modern computing appliances over the years; Apple versus Microsoft, Xerox versus Apple, Apple versus Samsung, AMD versus Intel – the list goes on and on.

What few realize is that historically when there has been a technological revolution there then follows many legal battles over patents, licensing, etc.  Just as many of today’s tech giants battle it out in courts over such issues as patent infringements, this was also the case during the 19th century industrial/mechanical revolution.

By 1896, ten years after the U.S. Supreme Court weighed-in on the forging of checks, one of the more lucrative new areas of office technology was in the area of check protectors (see S&P Check Protector).  In late 1896, Wesley Manufacturing Company introduced a new protector, the Indelible Check Perforator.

Made from cast iron and steel, the Indelible Check Perforator was a mechanically simple machine.  To operate, you placed your check in between the two rollers by lifting the spring-loaded smaller upper roller.  You would then turn the knobbed head so that the figure you wanted was in place.  The last step was to simply press down firmly and that symbol would then be perforated onto your check.  Once the symbol was perforated onto your check, the device would automatically advance your check one character’s distance ready for the next number.  Where the “indelible” name comes in is that when you depress the head the perforating needles, after penetrating your check, would then press into an inked pad.  When the perforating needles came back through the paper the edges of each individual hole would then be covered in red ink.  This system would make it very difficult to then forge the check by any means.

1897 April New Education ad wm sm

1897 magazine advertisement

When introduced the Indelible cost just $5.  This was lower than many of the other check protectors on the market and in addition it was a high-quality piece.  The Indelible was an immediate success and with that notoriety it took almost no time at all for the first patent infringement lawsuit to be filed.

1897 Feb 25 American Stationer Going to Protect Its Patent wm sm

article from February 1897

The company accused of infringing Wesley Manufacturing’s patents was Rouss Manufacturing Company Inc.  Rouss Manufacturing marketed a check protector called the Royal Automatic Check Protector.  During the entirety of 1897 Wesley Manufacturing posted notices in all of the industry magazines, office suppliers, etc. giving everyone notice that they were going to take legal action against a manufacturer who was infringing on their patents.  The pressure must have been telling because in April 1897 W.J. Coulson of Rouss Manufacturing went so far as to go to the offices of the American Stationer magazine and claim to a reporter ” The Stationer recently had a notice stating that the Wesley Manufacturing Company had notified a Brooklyn manufacturer of the Indelible check protector, who was selling an infringing machine at a cut rate, to stop his operations, and that he had agreed to do so. I am that Brooklyn manufacturer, and I want to say that I am the inventor and originator of the Indelible check perforator: that I made the machine before there was a Wesley Company; that I made it for that company, and when that concern declined to carry out a contract I had with it I made and marketed the machines myself; the company has begun no suit against me; I have been served with no papers, and furthermore there is no patent on the machine; I sell my machine at the same retail price that the company charges for its machine. My machine is the original in every respect, and I am not only the original manufacturer of it, but am the one who originated it.”

Mr. Coulson was technically correct when he stated that there is no patent on the machine.  (side note:  of course, Wesley Manufacturing was at that time claiming six patents and had a seventh that would be granted shortly.  The Circuit Court made it a point however to effectively ignore the first six patents).  However, the patent was filed and was granted a short 2 months later.  It would appear that Mr. Coulson was incorrect on a number of other issues as well because later in 1897 a lawsuit was brought against Rouss Manufacturing Co Inc and on February 25, 1898, the case was heard in the Federal Circuit Court of Pennsylvania.  The Federal Court found that there was a patent infringement and a preliminary injunction was placed against Rouss Manufacturing.

1897 American Stationer Infringers Ad wm sm

1897 industry magazine advertisement

Skip forward about two years and in early 1900 it was being announced by Rouss Manufacturing in all of the industry magazines that the case (and supposed counterclaims) had been settled and that Rouss Manufacturing is now “enabled” to sell the Royal Automatic Check Protector under license from Wesley Manufacturing.

1900 American Stationer Settled ad wm sm

1900  industry magazine advertisement

The Indelible Check Perforator was available from 1896 through at least 1915.  It was made of cast iron and steel and measures 4.5″ L x 4.25″ W x 4.375″ H.  It weighs a hefty 3.5 pounds but was still lighter in weight than much of its competition.

1901 Geyer's Stationer Ad wm sm

1901 industry magazine advertisement

From 1896 to 1900 the Indelible was designed with 11 characters, the numbers 1 through 0 and a dollar sign.  In 1901, a new symbol, a star, was added to the revolving head.  Originally, the Indelible was only available in a japanned body with a nickel-plated head, but in 1902 a fully nickel-plated model began being advertised along with the japanned version.  These variations will help you determine the date of manufacture of an Indelible.

1906 American Stationer ad wm sm

1906 industry magazine ad

Here is a sample of the perforations made by the Indelible.

Perforation Sample wm sm

The red ink being a bit smudgy is my fault.  After 120 years the original ink pad in the Indelible had the consistency of a hard pencil eraser.  I performed a complete “tune-up” and clean out of the Indelible and that included replacing the pad.  However, I used what I had on hand which was not the correct type of felt necessary.  It works great now otherwise and I’ll order a replacement stamp pad which I’ll cut to size and that should fix that issue.  Only then will my checks finally be safe from all of the forgers and grifters still using 19th century technology in an attempt to steal my money.

Patent and Other Information:


  1. Editors (1896, October), The “Indelible” Check Perforator, The Book-Keeper, page 22
  2. Editors (1897, February 25), Going To Protect Its Patent, The American Stationer, page 32
  3. Wesley Mfg Co (1897, March 25), advertisement, The American Stationer, page 24
  4. Editors (1897, March 25), Roundabouts, The American Stationer, page 30
  5. Editors (1897, April 15), Chat By The Way, The American Stationer, page 17
  6. Medical Electric Co (1897, April), advertisement, The New Education, page 4
  7. Editors, The Federal Reporter Volume 87, West Publishing Company ,1897
  8. Editors (1900, February 3), Check Protector Suit Settled, The American Stationer, page 22
  9. Rouss Mfg Co Inc (1900, February 10), advertisement, The American Stationer, page 26
  10. Wesley Mfg Co (1901, February 21), advertisement, Geyer’s Stationer, page 27
  11. Editors (1902, August 16), Check Perforator, The American Stationer, page 48
  12. Wesley Mfg Co (1906, March 24), advertisement, The American Stationer, page 93
  13. FP Burnap Stationery & Printing Co Catalog (1915), Kansas City, MO, page 87


Visit me at and let’s talk about vintage office supplies and equipment.  You can also support the American Stationer by getting my new, updated, 2d edition Hotchkiss Stapler ebook here at Amazon.  For all of you old-skool collectors, get the new 2d edition softcover paperback of my book STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES here at Amazon.  You’ll receive an excellent reference book and some good karma.  And I’ll earn a buck or two (literally) which goes right back into supporting the research costs needed for the American Stationer.

Monarch Stapler


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monarch stapler green wm sm

Starting around the mid-1950’s, Vail Manufacturing started rebranding all of their wares under the Monarch brand name.  As they were known for making basic office supplies you soon had offerings such as Monarch staples, Monarch paper clips, Monarch pins, Monarch thumb tacks and as of 1958 – the Monarch Stapler.

1958 Monarch Stapler Ad Jun 11 wm sm

newspaper ad from June 1958

There are no noticeable differences between the Victor and the Monarch aside from the inscription on the top of the plunger handle.  The Monarch still weighs 1 pound 12 ounces empty and measures 8.25″ L x 2.25″ W x 2.75″ H.  The height of both the Victor and the Monarch are the same.  Any difference is due to how much elasticity remains in the base spring.

monarch box wm sm

Vail Mfg Monarch stapling machine box

When the Monarch was first introduced it came in a number of colors including green, tan, ivory, castle gray, aristocrat red, royal brown, viscount chrome, and 24 kt. gold-plate.  I don’t know for sure if green, ivory, gold or tan also had “monarchist” names for their colors but I’d be surprised if they didn’t.  Baronial tan maybe?  Countess green?

acco monarch plunger wm sm2

The Monarch Stapler was available from Vail Manufacturing from 1958 through the end of 1965.  In January 1966 ACCO acquired Vail Manufacturing and continued to sell the Monarch under the ACCO name until 1971.  Shortly after acquiring Vail Manufacturing, ACCO moved the manufacture of the Monarch to Japan and while it remained a good stapler, it was never quite the same quality.

monarch acco bottom wm sm

the bottom of the base of an ACCO Monarch stapler

Beginning around 1970 ACCO began redesigning their stapler line to a new modern squared design and by 1972 all of their staplers were of similar design and this meant the Monarch no longer fit their aesthetic.

monarch stapler red wm sm

an aristocrat red Monarch stapler

monarch stapler chrome wm sm

a viscount chrome Monarch stapler

vail monarch long-reach stapler wm sm

a viscount chrome long-reach Monarch stapler

Patent and Other Information:


  1. Pantagraph Printing & Stationery Co (1958, June 11), advertisement, The Pantagraph, page 6
  2. Scrantom’s (1960, September 25), advertisement, Democrat and Chronicle, page 46
  3. Horder’s Office Supply Catalog (1961), Chicago, IL
  4. Scrantom’s (1963, September 15), advertisement, Democrat and Chronicle, page 5
  5. Wosco, Inc. Catalog (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 7
  6. McDonald, Stingel and Bush Office Supply Catalog (1964), Saginaw, MI, page 355
  7. Pepp, Dominic (1966, January 4), Acco Plans Expansion, Watertown Daily Times, page 2
  8. Roger A. Podany Office Supplies (1971, October 7), advertisement, Minneapolis Tribune, page 22B

Visit me at and let’s talk about vintage office supplies and equipment.  You can also support the American Stationer by getting my new, updated, 2d edition Hotchkiss Stapler ebook here at Amazon.  For all of you old-skool collectors, get the new 2d edition softcover paperback of my book STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES here at Amazon.  You’ll receive an excellent reference book and some good karma.  And I’ll earn a buck or two (literally) which goes right back into supporting the research costs needed for the American Stationer.

Vail Victor Stapler


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In the early 20th century, no later than by 1919, there was a company called Midland Steel Products Company that manufactured basic office supplies.  They made items such as wire waste baskets, paper trays, thumb tacks, paper clips, pins, etc.  In May 1921 they changed their company name to the Vail Manufacturing Company which was named after their company president, Richard B. Vail Sr.  Vail Sr. died in April 1925 and afterwards his son, Richard B. Vail Jr. took over the company as chairman.  Vail Jr. died in July of 1955 but not before leaving a legacy that would last long after he was gone.

Vail Richard Bernard (Jr) Photo wm

Richard B. Vail Jr.

ad from January 1921 industry magazine

Fast forward almost 30 years from 1921 to 1949 and Vail Manufacturing has filed its first of three patent applications for a stapler.  And they didn’t get just any old engineer to design this stapler for them.  They hired Curt Nyberg who only several years earlier had designed the very successful Presto Staple Remover for Metal Specialties Manufacturing amongst various other items for a  number of different companies.  The first of his three patents for this stapler was granted in May 1951 and by the beginning of 1953 the Victor Stapler is available in office supply catalogs.

ad from June 1921 industry magazine

The Victor Stapler was larger than most desk staplers measuring 8.25″ L x 2.25″ W x 3″ H and weighing 1 pound 12 ounces empty.  The body, plunger, and anvil are made of steel while the base is made from zinc. When introduced it came in several colors including: grey hammerloid, red hammerloid, brown hammerloid, ivory smooth, 18K gold-plated and “chromemaster” (yes, that was the actual color name).  Later on you’d also see them in grey, brown, and green enamel.

1954 newspaper advertisement

The Victor is a very high-quality stapler capable of holding approximately 210 standard-size staples.  But there really are two features that make the Victor stand-out from the crowd and these are the large circular plunger handle and the visible load indicator (part of the pusher assembly) button on each side of the staple guide.  The plunger handle may seem like a design affectation but in actuality it makes it much easier to use the stapler, especially when dealing with a large stack of paper.  The visible load indicator served two purposes.  The first is that it showed you at a glance how many staples remained in your stapler.  The closer the button was to the front of the stapler the fewer staples remained (see figure 1).  The second is that it was the way you opened the stapler so that you could refill it (see figure 1).  Pull the button all the way to the rear and the body would pop open from the staple guide so that you could insert staples or fix jams.  It is a very elegant design and one you would think would be copied more in modern staplers.

figure 1(the staple pusher button is shown above in gold for illustrative purposes only. It’s really chrome just like everything else)

The first known mention of the Victor Stapler is in a 1953 office supply catalog.  However, it is possible that it was introduced up to a year earlier.  The Victor was phased-out by Vail Manufacturing in 1958.  After mid-1958 the only mention of the Victor is in clearance sales.  That wasn’t really the end for this stapler though as by June 1958 Vail Manufacturing was heavily advertising the Monarch Stapler which was a clone of the Victor.

Vail Manufacturing becomes important for essentially two reasons.  One is for its stand-out product the Victor/Monarch Stapler and the second is for the acquisition of the E.H. Hotchkiss Company.

Following is a bit of history and shows how interconnected companies become over time.

  • Vail Manufacturing acquires E.H. Hotchkiss between 1952-1954
  • Swingline acquires Ace Fastener in 1957
  • Swingline merged with Wilson-Jones in 1963
  • ACCO acquires Vail Manufacturing in 1966
  • In 1987 ACCO merged with Swingline

By 1987 Vail, Hotchkiss, Ace, Wilson-Jones, and ACCO are all one with Swingline.

As was noted years ago by Alan Seaver over at Machines of Loving Grace, to paraphrase, since Vail merged with Hotchkiss, then ACCO merged with Vail, and ACCO merged with Swingline, “So in a way, Hotchkiss lives on!”.  Amen Brother.

1958 newspaper advertisement

Patent and Other Information:


  1. Midland Steel Products Co (1919, March), advertisement, American Stationer and Office Outfitter, page 28
  2. Midland Steel Products Co (1921, January), advertisement, Office Appliances the News and Technical Trade Journal of Office Equipment, page 203
  3. editors (1921, May), Chicago Firm Changes Title, American Stationer and Office Outfitter, page 9
  4. Vail Manufacturing Co (1921, June), advertisement, Office Appliances the News and Technical Trade Journal of Office Equipment, page 269
  5. editors (1921, June), “Salmagundi”, Office Appliances the News and Technical Trade Journal of Office Equipment, page 83
  6. Stationers Corporation Catalog (ca1953), Los Angeles, CA page 228
  7. Decker’s (1954, January 6), advertisement, The Philadelphia Inquirer, page 44
  8. Scrantom’s (1958, September 14), advertisement, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, page 9C
  9. Pepp, Dominic (1966, January 4), Acco Plans Expansion, Watertown Daily Times, page 2

Visit me at and let’s talk about vintage office supplies and equipment.  You can also support the American Stationer by getting my new, updated, 2d edition Hotchkiss Stapler ebook here at Amazon.  For all of you old-skool collectors, get the new 2d edition softcover paperback of my book STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES here at Amazon.  You’ll receive an excellent reference book and some good karma.  And I’ll earn a buck or two (literally) which goes right back into supporting the research costs needed for the American Stationer.

S&P Check Protector


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On March 1, 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court decided on the case of Leather Manufacturers’ Bank v. Morgan, 117 U.S. 96.  Essentially, this case stated, amongst other things, that the loss from a forged, or “raised”, check must be paid by the maker of the check and not the bank when in the absence of any suspicious conditions.  When this decision was made it was simply the latest such outcome which reaffirmed previous decisions from lower courts.

Shortly after these court decisions the market for check protectors took-off.  There were other protectors on the market, of course, but many were expensive.  And while many were introduced in the late 1880’s and 1890’s few were as successful as the model designed by Sittmann & Pitt.

Gustav Sittmann and Walter H. Pitt (S. & P.) designed a small and ingenious check protector and promptly submitted an application for patent in September 1893.  In February 1895 they were granted patent 534404.  This check protector was manufactured and sold for approximately 30 years by a number of different companies.

January 1895 industry magazine advertisement

In January 1895 the Nafew-Lovell Co introduced the “Nafew-Lovell Check Protector” to the stationer trade.  By May 1895 this same item was being advertised in newspapers across the United States.  This model was available in japanned black with gold pinstriping and some other minor gold enamel ornamentation.  The front of the protector was marked “The Nafew Lovell Check Protector Havemeyer Building New York”.  It’s initial price was $7.50 which is equal to over $212 in 2018 dollars.

July 1895 industry magazine advertisement

Nafew-Lovell Company was organized in 1894 and incorporated April 1895 to deal in patents, copyrights, etc.  This is the first company to produce what would later come to be known as “The S. & P.”.  By July 1895 the company changed names to the Samuel Nafew Company and at the same time increased the price to $8.50.

There was one other known S&P type check protector that was sold for a short time in 1895.  In August 1895 the Samuel Nafew Company sent out a circular to the trade stating that they own the patent, are producing this check protector, and that others are not genuine and infringements will be followed-up for prosecution.  By the end of the year you saw no more mention of this knock-off machine.

August 1895 trade notice

In early 1896 Samuel Nafew Company reduced the price to $8.00.  In mid-1897 they reduced it again to just $5.00.  This was a time when many other companies were reducing the prices on their check protectors (see Chicago Check Perforator) forcing the Samuel Nafew Company to do the same in order to stay competitive.

Note also that by February 1896 the front of the check protector is labeled “The Nafew Check Protector”.

February 1896 industry magazine advertisement

July 1897 industry magazine advertisement

1899 turned out to be a terrible year for the Samuel Nafew Company.

  • In April 1899 there was a bankruptcy judgment against the Samuel Nafew Company in the state of New York.
  • There was a fire at 390-392 Broadway in Chicago on October 26, 1899 where they had offices and a warehouse and they sustained several thousands of dollars in loss of stock and other items.
  • The sales over the holidays that they were depending on never materialized.
  • In December 1899 Sittmann & Pitt informed Samuel Nafew that if they did not make a reasonable payment on the debt owed to them they would file against them for involuntary bankruptcy. Sittmann & Pitt did just that in January 1900 and by July 1900 they started producing the S.& P. Check Protector under their name.

January 1900 New York Times article

1901 industry magazine advertisement

Sittmann & Pitt manufactured and marketed the S.& P. Check Protector until December 1908.  In January 1909 the “patents and business of the S&P Check Protector” were taken over by the Cushman & Denison Manufacturing Company.  One of the changes that Cushman & Denison made was to now make the S.&P. available in a nickel-plated model.  When they took over manufacture they never changed the label on the front and it always read “The S.& P.”.

1909 industry magazine advertisement

While the price you see in the industry magazines is the suggested retail price, in stationery stores the prices varied.  The following ad from a 1911 newspaper from Arkansas shows a price of $4.50.

1911 newspaper advertisement

By 1921 Cushman & Denison were offering the S. & P. for $10.00.

1921 industry magazine advertisement

The S.& P. Check Protector was available at least until 1924, but likely for a number of years after.  Aside from some cosmetic changes such as with the gold pin striping or the name painted on the front there was very little change over the 30 plus years it was sold.

The S. & P. Check Protector was everything it was advertised to be.  It was a small and very well-built check protector and even if you find one that has been abused over the years it is likely to still work.  It was made of 100% cast iron and steel, weighs 4 pounds, and measures 4.5″ W x 5.844″ L x 5.5″ H.  The S. & P. is a perforator type machine.  A perforator punches a series of pin-sized holes that were in the shape of numbers and symbols.

Patent and Other Information:


  1. editors (1895, January), A New Check Protector, American Stationer, page 118
  2. editors (1895, January 8), New Corporations in Which Brooklyn-ites Have Invested Capital, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, page 2
  3. Schwaab Stamp & Seal Co (1895, January), advertisement, The American Lawyer, page 2
  4. editors (1895, April), The Nafew-Lovell Check Protector, Scientific American, page 262
  5. Dury & Finney (1895, May 30), advertisement, The Nashville American, page 3
  6. Samuel Nafew Co (1895, July), advertisement, American Stationer, page 163
  7. editors (1895, August), Trade Items, American Stationer, page 326
  8. Samuel Nafew Co (1896, February), advertisement, American Stationer, page 339
  9. Samuel Nafew Co (1897, July), advertisement, American Stationer, page 116
  10. editors (1899, April 12), Judgments, New York Times, page 11
  11. editors (1900, January 7), Petitions In Bankruptcy, New York Times, page 9
  12. Sittmann & Pitt (1901, January), advertisement, American Stationer, page 17
  13. editors (1909, May), Office Appliances, American Exporter, page 94
  14. Cushman & Denison Mfg Co (1909, June), advertisement, American Exporter, page 152
  15. Democrat Printing & Litho Co (1911, June 29), advertisement, The Arkansas Gazette, page 2
  16. Cushman & Denison Mfg Co (1921, January), advertisement, American Stationer and Office Outfitter, page 33
  17. Cushman & Denison Mfg Co (1924, March), advertisement, Office Appliances The Magazine of Office Equipment, page 75

Visit me at and let’s talk about vintage office equipment.  You can also support the American Stationer by getting my new, updated, 2d edition Hotchkiss Stapler ebook here at Amazon.  For all of you old-skool collectors, get the new softcover edition of my book STAPLERS, STAPLING MACHINES, & PAPER FASTENERS VOL 1 – E.H. HOTCHKISS COMPANY OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL STAPLING MACHINES here at Amazon.


Presto Model 40 Stapler


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newspaper ad from 1948. That $1.89 stapler would cost $19.53 in 2018 dollars.



figure 1



bottom of rubber base, note the patent numbers



chrome Presto 40


newspaper ad from 1956


a rather dilapidated Presto 40 Stapler box




This month’s post is courtesy of my trusty Underwood No 5 s/n 2392412-5.  If you go to the Antique Typewriter’s Collectors page on Facebook or on the American Stationer’s Facebook page, then back a month or so you can see a picture of her.  She is my mechanical pride and joy, has a wonderful feel, and types like a charm.  I had her professionally serviced at Cambridge Typewriter about 7 weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier.