You may be thinking to yourself right now as you look at the picture and then the title of the post that I’ve gotten something wrong. It might appear that I should have named this post the Ace Scout Model 202 Stapler, but you’d be (at least partially) mistaken.
Today’s vintage item is the Great Wall Factory Model 81 Stapler. Manufactured in Shanghai, China this is an almost exact copy of the Ace Scout Model 202. However, whereas the Ace Scout was designed to use special undulated staples the Model 81 was designed to use standard straight-leg staples. Honestly, in my mind this is an improvement over the 202.
The Model 81 weighs 12 ounces and measures 4.875″ L x 1.9375 W x 3.25″ H. It is chrome plated. While everything about this stapler is a copy it is still surprisingly a very high quality item.
Information is a bit sparse on this item, but it appears that this stapler was made as early as 1941 or so. Since the Ace Scout Model 202 U.S. patents were granted between 1936 and 1938 and since this is a clone of the second version model 202 it would have to have been manufactured 1941 or later. The Model 81 was manufactured until about 1970 with the majority produced after 1961.
I’ve seen this same stapler for sale on Taiwanese sites, which is perfectly understandable. However, a large number of these staplers seems to have made their way over the years to eastern Europe, in particular Bulgaria, which is where my stapler was procured from and where I’ve seen a number of them available in recent times.
As you can see from the picture above there is Chinese writing on both the side of the stapler and on the plunger. The translation is:
- line 1. Great Wall Triple Function Stapler
- line 2. 81 model
- line 3. China Shanghai Manufacturing
- line 1. Great Wall
- line 2. Stapler
- line 3. 81 model
The other side of the stapler is actually written in English and states, Best Stapling Machines Made By Great Wall Factory. As this design was already patented in the United States and likely similarly protected in the UK and other English speaking countries, I’m confused as to why they felt it necessary to stamp this side in English if they weren’t even allowed to sell it in those places.
The first stapler made in China was in 1928 and was very expensive. The price was the same as 150 kg of rice. In the beginning, only several hundred staplers were made per month in all of China. After 1936 that increased to approximately 3,000 per month. The Model 81 is one of the earliest models manufactured in China.
- Desktop Staplers/Staples, 7788.com, 2012, retrieved December 2013 from www.997788.com
- Translation and Chinese research about the model 81 stapler was done by my friend and colleague Yi-Chun (Amy) Ou, December 2013.
To Amy for her enthusiastic help in finding information about the model 81 stapler and also for doing some general research on Chinese manufactured staplers. She was enormously helpful and really went above and beyond when all I asked for is a translation of the writing on the stapler. She really got into it and found a lot of information in places that would have been inaccessible to me. Thanks Amy!