Giftcraft Shop-N-Add           

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shop n add pic wm sm

The Giftcraft Shop-N-Add is the first of a small number of three digit dial-adders that were popular for a short time in the late 1950’s.  These were marketed almost exclusively towards women since, I assume, men never go shopping.  This is a “handbag accessory” adding machine that can help “her” track grocery items and its “purse size” makes it easy to carry.  Although, to be fair, it was also stated that this would be useful for students.

The Shop-N-Add is a basic three dial adder with automatic carry.  Subtraction can be done on this by simply turning the dials counter-clockwise but complements aren’t posted on the face.  When sold, this came as part of a set that included a Shopping Index that was cleverly designed with most common grocery items so that you could easily track what you needed.

shop n add grocery list pic wm sm

Shopping Index

The Shop-N-Add and the Shopping Index were both made from pressed steel.  They came in two colors, black and gold (see photos above).  The Shop-N-Add measures 2.7 inches in length by 1.9 inches wide by 0.3 inches in height and weighs 2 ounces with the stylus included.

The set of the adder and index was advertised from 1955 to 1957.  By 1957 you see it mostly being offered as a clearance item.  The Shopping Index was sold separately though from 1954.

1955 Oct Green Bay Press Gazette ad wm sm

1955 Newspaper Ad

This type of adder was popular for a short time.  By the 1960’s you start seeing plastic manual adding machines that can be used with one hand and these ended up dominating the market for some time.  However, if you’re a collector of mechanical calculators and adding machines this is really a must-have.

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Macy’s, (1954, November 22), advertisement, San Francisco Examiner, page 15
  2. Jones, (1954, December 8), advertisement, The Kansas City Times, page 7
  3. Pah-low’s, (1955, October 12), advertisement, The Green Bay Press Gazette, page 2
  4. S-Silver, (1955, November 30), advertisement, The Bridgeport Telegram, page 12
  5. Grozow’s, (1955, December 12), advertisement, The Kansas City Times, page 8
  6. Pah-low’s, (1956, July 12), advertisement, The Green Bay Press Gazette, page 2
  7. Dayton’s, (1956, November 25), advertisement, Star Tribune, page 5
  8. Pah-low’s, (1955, October 12), advertisement, The Green Bay Press Gazette, page 2
  9. Dayton’s, (1957, August 8), advertisement, The Minneapolis Star, page 2B

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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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Greenfield Automatic Fastener (Wire)

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Greenfield Automatic Fastener Wire wm sm

In 1894 The Greenfield Automatic Fastener Company released the Greenfield Automatic Fastener.  While seemingly a new and revolutionary idea, this could probably be best attributed as being evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  In the mid to late 19th century most stapling machines worked by only loading and using one pre-formed staple at a time.  What Greenfield has done is take technology used by the publishing industry and converted it to a small, usable form.  

Wire stitching was used by book binders, et al, and consisted of large, complicated machines, usually foot-driven.  Greenfield shrunk the mechanics and designed a desk sized machine that would fasten small stacks of paper with what is a modern staple.

Made of iron, steel, zinc, and with a wooden spool the Greenfield Fastener was both ingenious and simple, but most of all it was well-built and could stand up to the rigors of everyday use.  The one I have in my collection works fine after 128 years!  With the spool the fastener weighs 2 pounds and measures 5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 5 inches high.

Staple Size Samples

A full spool for the Greenfield Fastener could make 1,200 staples using 25 gauge steel wire and would have been an incredible bargain.  The staples it made were very close in size to a modern standard staple with a crown size of  0.42 inches compared to the 0.50 inches of a modern staple.  The one odd thing with this was that it made staples in a vertical position as opposed to the horizontal as most do and have historically done.

1894 Hartford Courant Ad wm sm
1894 newspaper ad

Edwin Greenfield applied for, and was granted, a patent for this device in 1894.  It was being marketed while the patent was being granted and was discussed in many various industry publications.  It was also well-advertised in this year.  However, 1894 is the only year that this was manufactured and distributed as in 1895 Jones Manufacturing Company became the successor to the Greenfield Automatic Fastener Company.  In 1895 Jones Manufacturing would release the Greenfield Automatic Pin-Fastener based on this same technology.

Edwin Greenfield wm
Edwin T. Greenfield

As this fastener didn’t use pre-formed staples, but instead formed them from strands of steel wire, the mechanics were a bit more involved than with your usual stapler.  If you look at figure 1, you can immediately see the difference. 

Greenfield Automatic Fastener Wire Up wm sm
figure 1

Figure 2 below shows the stapling mechanism up close.  The way it works is that when you depress the plunger handle several things happen simultaneously:

  1. The plungers (in red) move downward cutting the wire on both ends
  2. The plunger push the wire over the staple forming mandrel making a staple
  3. While the plunger is moving downward the mandrel is being moved into the enclosure so that the staple can then be pushed through the paper and onto the anvil
  4. the staple ends strike the anvil and are clinched inward – and your papers are stapled!
Greenfield Automatic Fastener Wire Up Closeup wm sm
figure 2:  stapling mechanism shown artificially colored for clarity

The wire is fed via a ratcheting system where you lift the body about 95 degrees.  This feeds another strip of wire.  There is a groove on the bottom of each piece of the plunger and on top of the mandrel to keep the wire straight.

Pages from Hardware Dealers Magazine 1894 October wm sm
1894 magazine article

It’s unfortunate that this fastener only had one year of availability as it could potentially have become the primary way to fasten documents as opposed to strip or magazine staplers.  It was well-built, could make upwards of 1,200 staples without reloading, used inexpensive wire spools, and was relatively easy to load.  If you’ve ever tried to load the wire on Bates Models A through D staplers you know how important that is.

Patent and Other Information:

  • Patent 520734 Book-Stapling Machine (filed 01/02/1894, granted 05/29/1894)

Notes:

  1. Editors, (1894, May), The Greenfield Automatic Fastener, The Electrical Age, Page 226
  2. Editors, (1894, June), Automatic Fastener, The American Stationer, Page 1222
  3. Plimpton Manufacturing Co, (1894, June 11), advertisement, The Hartford Daily Courant, page 10
  4. Editors, (1894, June), The Greenfield Automatic Fastener, The Iron Age, Page 1257
  5. Editors, (1894, June), The Greenfield Automatic Fastener, The Manufacturer and Builder, Page 138
  6. Editors, (1894, July), A New Automatic Fastener, The Inland Printer, Page 372
  7. Scrantom, Westmore & Co, (1894, October 23), advertisement, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, page 9
  8. Editors, (1894, October), Automatic Fastener or Binder, The Hardware Dealer, Page 229

 

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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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Swingline Model 333 Stapler

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Swingline 333 Deluxe Stapler Brown wm sm

In the late 1950s/early 1960s the big stapler companies each released deluxe staplers.  It started with the Bostitch model B12 in 1958, then the Arrow model 210 in 1960, and finally the Swingline model 333 in 1963.  While Swingline was a bit late to the party they seemed to have used that time well as they produced one of the best looking staplers ever made.

The model 333 was released in two versions, the Executive model and the Deluxe model.  The difference between the two was in the handle top.  The Executive model 333 had a handle in smooth enamel while the Deluxe model came in either woodgrain or Moroccan.  Moroccan was a very thin layer of leather-type material attached to the top of the handle while woodgrain was a process wherein Swingline made the top look like walnut.

Swingline 333 top comparison v2 wm sm

There was also another version of the Executive model numbered the model 333G.  This was the standard Executive model except that instead of having chrome plating was gold plated.

The Executive model was available in ebony (black), brown, grey, and topaz (beige).  The Deluxe model was only available in ebony (black) and brown.

The 333 is made of steel and plastic.  It measures 2 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 8 inches long.  It holds a full-strip of standard staples and is rated at 20 pages.  There is a sliding anvil that allows for both pin and permanent clinches.

1963 Macon Telegraph Ad wm sm

1963 newspaper ad

First advertised in 1963, the 333 was last advertised in 1989.  As a deluxe stapler it was more expensive than Swingline’s other offerings of the time.  During the 26 years it was available it underwent no noticeable changes, but there are some to look for if you’re trying to determine a timeframe for your stapler.

swingline 333 bottom v1 wm sm

For the earliest version, the bottom of the body is inscribed “Swingline Inc. Long Island City 1, NY”.  The “1” after Long Island City denotes a city postal zone.  This was the system in use before the current zip code system.  While zip codes were introduced in 1963 it likely took several years for Swingline to update the engraving.  On the bottom of the base is inscribed three patents.  This oldest version weighs in at 1 pound 4.8 ounces.

swingline 333 bottom v2 wm sm

The second version has nearly the same inscription as the earlier one, but now has the zip code instead of a city postal zone.  The bottom of the base is inscribed with three patents plus “& FOREIGN PATS.”  This version weighs in at 1 pound 3.3 ounces. 

swingline 333 bottom v3 wm sm

This third version has the same inscription as the second except for the addition of a six symbol alphanumeric code stamped beside it.  The bottom of the base is inscribed with three patents plus “& FOREIGN PATS.”  This version weighs in at 1 pound 2.7 ounces.

1967 Petoskey News Review wm sm

1967 newspaper ad

1977 Salt Lake Tribune wm sm

1977 newspaper ad

1989 Tyler Courier Times wm sm

1989 newspaper ad

The Swingline model 333 is a great example of mid-century modern design.  It is of better build quality than the average Swingline model and will give many years of service.  For those putting together a vintage MCM styled office this is a must have accessory.

Swingline 333 Executive Stapler Brown wm sm

Patent and Other Information:

  • Patent 2424649 Stapling Machine (filed 06/07/1937, granted 07/29/1947)
  • Patent 3144653 Stapling Machine (filed 09/19/1962, granted 08/18/1964)
  • Patent D192544 Stapling Machine or Similar Article (filed 04/10/1961, granted 04/03/1962)

Notes:

  1. Ivan Allen, (1963, September 23), advertisement, The Macon Telegraph, page 7
  2. Swingline, Inc., (1963), catalog, Swingline Staplers & Staples, Long Island City, NY
  3. Wosco Catalog, (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 5
  4. McDonald, Stingel and Bush Office Supply Catalog (1964), Saginaw, MI, page 350
  5. Northern Office Suppliers, (1967, March 2), advertisement, Petosky News-Review, page 9
  6. Arrow Office Supply Co Catalog, (1969), Chicago, IL, page 187
  7. Union Paper & Supply Co Catalog, (1974), Wilkes-Barre, PA, page 57
  8. Shirley Office Supply Catalog, (1975), Pennsauken, NJ, page 199
  9. Pembroke’s, (1977, May 31), advertisement, Salt Lake Tribune, page 5
  10. Hartford Office Supply Catalog, (1982), Hartford, CT, pages 144-145
  11. Sam’s Office Furniture, (1989, February 28), advertisement, Tyler Courier-Times, page 8

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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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Wilson-Jones T-155 Buddy Stapler

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Tatum Buddy T-155 v1 wm sm

In the 1950s the Wilson-Jones Company decided to go all-in on the stapler market by introducing a number of generally low cost fasteners.  And while they had some success in doing this probably their most successful stapler was the Tatum Buddy.

First advertised in 1953, the original Buddy stapler was a low cost, no frills, stapler that provided good value.  It was solid enough for regular office use yet inexpensive enough to purchase for home use.  The design, although patented, could best be described as basic.  But that’s ok as that is exactly what this is, a basic stapler.

1954 San Francisco Examiner Ad wm sm

1954 newspaper ad

The Buddy is an all steel half-strip stapler that uses standard size staples.  One of the ways it originally saved manufacturing costs was by not having an anvil.  The anvil is generally a chrome-plated or polished steel plate fastened to the front of a stapler and which has grooves to fold the staple legs when you press down on the handle.  What the Buddy has instead is simply two indents molded onto the base thereby using the base itself as the anvil.  When you look at one of these today you will notice that in every one there will be scratches and paint loss in this area of the base due to this.

This was first advertised in 1953 and available at least until 1964.  In 1969 the Buddy was again being advertised although now it was being sold by Ace Fastener.  Ace Fastener advertised the Buddy until 1976,  When introduced this was available in gold, green, grey, gunmetal (dark grey), red, yellow, and beige.  However, while the body was generally chrome-plated this was also available in gold-plate.  Gold plate was an odd choice for such a basic stapler.

1956 Press Democrat Ad wm sm

1956 newspaper ad

There were three total variants for the Buddy.  While the differences between v1 and v2 are readily noted, the difference between v2 and v3 is simply the inscription on the side.  The following shows what to look for.

Tatum Buddy T-155 v1 side wm sm

version 1

  • length: 5 inches
  • width: 1.4 inches
  • height: 1.9 inches
  • weight: 6 oz
  • anvil: no
  • side inscription: Tatum
  • patents listed: 1

Tatum Buddy T-155 v2 side wm sm

version 2

  • length: 3.8125 inches
  • width: 1.8 inches
  • height: 2 inches
  • weight: 7.5 oz
  • anvil: yes
  • side inscription: Tatum Buddy
  • patents listed: 2

Tatum Buddy T-155 v3 side wm sm

version 3

  • length: 3.8125 inches
  • width: 1.8 inches
  • height: 2 inches
  • weight: 7.5 oz
  • anvil: yes
  • side inscription: Buddy
  • patents listed: 2

The Buddy Stapler produced by Ace Fastener is identical to version 3 with the only difference being that “ACE FASTENER CO” is inscribed on the bottom of the base instead of Wilson-Jones and the model number was now No 155 instead of No T-155.

1958 Sheboygan Press Ad wm sm

1958 newspaper ad

1960 Sheboygan Press Ad wm sm

1960 newspaper ad

1964 Missouri Herald Ad wm sm

1964 newspaper ad

While Wilson-Jones officially became a company in October of 1913, it’s history starts long before that.  The Chicago Shipping & Receipt Book Co was founded in 1896 in Chicago, IL and in 1899 Ralph B. Wilson took over control of the company.

By all accounts Ralph Wilson was a formidable individual.  Oddly however, he began his adult life working for the circus hanging leaflets and other such work.  But by the age of 29 he had become a business owner.

Ralph B Wilson wm sm

IMPORTANT DATES IN WILSON-JONES HISTORY

  • Chicago Shipping & Receipt Book Co founded in 1896
  • Ralph Wilson took over the Chicago Shipping & Receipt Book Co in 1899
  • Jones Improved Loose Leaf Specialty Co founded by Harvey T. Jones in 1899
  • In October 1913 Chicago Shipping & Receipt Book Co purchased the Jones Loose Leaf Specialty Co and changed names to Wilson-Jones Loose Leaf Co with Ralph Wilson as President and Treasurer
  • Wilson-Jones accepts Swingline’s offer to purchase stock in the company in 1958
  • Swingline gained full ownership of Wilson-Jones in 1963
  • In 1986 American Brands acquires ACCO
  • In 1987 American Brands merged ACCO with Swingline
  • Wilson-Jones is currently part of ACCO Brands

Tatum Buddy T-155 v3 box wm sm

version 3 box

Tatum Staples T501 box wm sm

Patent and Other Information:

Notes:

  1. Editors, (1913, October), C.S. & R.B-Wilson Combine, The American Stationer, page 6
  2. Editors, (1913, October), Western Loose Leaf Firms Consolidate, Geyer’s Stationer, page 41
  3. Wilson-Jones Loose Leaf Co (1920, June), advertisement, Office Appliances, page 75
  4. Editors, (1920, October), Wilson-Jones Company Reorganize, Office Appliances, page 28
  5. Crown Drug Stores, (1953, August 27), advertisement, The Leavenworth Times, page 17
  6. Sears, Roebuck & Co, (1954, January 3), advertisement, San Francisco Examiner, page 26
  7. Corrick’s, (1956, June 17), advertisement. Press Democrat, page 5A
  8. Weaver’s, (1958, February 3), advertisement. The Sheboygan Press, page 13
  9. Weaver’s, (1960, July 25), advertisement, The Sheboygan Press, page 3
  10. The Missouri Herald, (1964, April 2), advertisement, The Missouri Herald, page 4
  11. McDonald, Stingel and Bush Office Supply Catalog, (1964), Saginaw, MI, page 355

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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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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.

aaa

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

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

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

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

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.

Parrot Speed Fastener Babe Stapler

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Babe Stapler comparison 2 wm sm

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 three distinct versions:

Babe Stapler new v1 wm smBabe Stapler new v1 back wm sm

Version 1

  • weighs 8.6 ounces empty
  • measures 4.12″ inches long by 4.5″ inches high by 2.4″ inches wide
  • capable of permanent stapling
  • made of steel with chrome plate and enamel
  • Skrebba Werks logo inscribed on front of body
  • inscribed „BABE” SPEED FASTENER on base rear
  • available 1928-1930
  • manufactured by Skrebba Werks in Germany

Babe Stapler v1 wm sm

Version 2

  • 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
  • inscribed „BABE” on base front
  • available 1930-1933
  • manufactured by Skrebba Werks in Germany

Babe Stapler v2 wm sm

Version 3

  • 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
  • inscribed BABE on plunger
  • 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 or second version is usually as simple as unscrewing the front plate while conversely it is extremely difficult to clear a jam in the third 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

third version box

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