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hutchison spool-o-wire fastener sm wmMiller Reese Hutchison was a successful man of business, a well-regarded engineer, and a prolific inventor.  In 1906/1907 he was dissatisfied with the various types of paper fasteners then available.  What’s such a man to do?  Well, if you’re a genius engineer and inventor you design and build your own fastening machine.

The prototype Spool-O-Wire was first conceived and built by Hutchison around 1906.  He applied for a patent in 1908 but it was not granted at that time.  Over the years he continued to tinker, modify, and improve the design until in March 1917 he re-applied for a patent and was granted patent 1235140 on July 31, 1917.

The Spool-O-Wire weighs 10 pounds with a full spool and measures 6.625″ W x 10″ L x 4.25″ H (lever when fully extended adds 5″ of height).  This was designed to bind from 2 to 40 sheets of paper at a time.  The wire used was a spool of special grade stitching wire measuring 1250 feet and would make upwards of 15,000 staples.  The operating parts of the Spool-O-Wire were made of tool steel.  The handle was nickel-plated.  According to a 1916 article “each machine is caused to make and clinch at least one thousand staples, as a test, before shipment.”

The Spool-O-Wire was a product of Hutchison Office Specialties.  This company was incorporated August  21, 1916.  The organizers and officers of the new corporation were:  M. Mayne, president; Miller Reese Hutchison, first vice-president; Robert A. Brown, second vice-president; and John Hobbs, secretary and treasurer.

Office Appliances The Magazine of Office Equipment 1917 January-June (ocr) 490 sm wm

ad from 1917

Hutchison Office Specialties was located at the following addresses:

  • 1916-1917 – 327 Fifth Ave, NY, NY
  • 1918-1926 – 501 Fifth Ave, NY, NY

While Hutchison Office Specialties owned and distributed this fastener it was manufactured for them by Remington (of Remington Typewriter fame) during its entire run.

On April 1, 1926 Remington Typewriter took over the manufacture and exclusive sale of the Spool-O-Wire.  In 1927 Remington merged with Rand Kardex and formed Remington-Rand.  That year Remington-Rand took over the manufacturing of the Spool-O-Wire.  That same year Remington-Rand acquired Victor Lock & Safe Co and this was subsequently renamed the Victor Safe & Equipment Co.  Possibly shortly after this, in 1927 or 1928, the Spool-O-Wire came under the direction of Victor (note 7).  It’s unknown exactly how long the Spool-O-Wire was available, but I have seen reference to it in 1937 and in 1941 I have found reference to a labor/union issue involving the Spool-O-Wire department of Remington-Rand.

The Spool-O-Wire enjoyed much success here in the US but was also exported to the UK, India, China, Philippines, Hawaii, Dutch East Indies, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Brazil, Greece and Siberia (Russia).

hutchison stamp v1 sm

label used from approximately March 26, 1917 to July 31, 1917

hutchison stamp v2 sm wm

label used from approximately March 1919 to January 1921

hutchison stamp v3 sm

label used from approximately April 1926 onwards. Photo used with the kind permission of the Early Office Museum

The early models of the Spool-O-Wire from 1916 and 1917 did not come with an attached wood board.  This feature wasn’t added until 1918.

hutchison pic sm wm

Miller Reese Hutchison, Ph.D. ca. 1918

Miller Reese Hutchison was born on August 6, 1876 in Montrose, Alabama.   He was married on May 31, 1901 and had four children.

Hutchison was the Engineering Advisor to Thomas Edison.  He was a member of the Naval Consulting Board of the United States; President, Treasurer and Director of Miller Reese Hutchison Incorporated of New Jersey; and Vice President and Director of Hutchison Office Specialties Company of New York.

Besides the Spool-O-Wire, Hutchison is best known for two of his other inventions, the auto klaxon horn and the Acousticon.  The Acousticon was the first electrical hearing aid and was introduced in 1895 as the Akoulathon.  By 1902 he had made many improvements and began marketing the aid as the Acousticon.  The Acousticon was so successful that the company is still in business today making various hearing aids and related devices.

In 1911 Hutchison became associated with Edison in the development of the Edison Storage Battery for submarines.  In 1912 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Edison Laboratory, Edison Storage Battery Co., and Thomas A. Edison (Inc.) and Chief Engineer to and Personal Representative of Mr. Edison.  In 1916 he was made Engineering Advisor to Mr. Edison. Of course, as noted above Hutchison Office Specialties was incorporated in August 1916.  On January 1, 1917, Miller Reese Hutchison, Inc. was organized by Dr. Hutchison and took over the exclusive sales-rights of the Edison Storage Battery for all military and naval sales.

Hutchison died February 16, 1944 in New York.

An interesting side note, it appears that Hutchison had broad-ranging interests which included his attendance at one very special seance.  While not particularly pertinent in discussions regarding the Spool-O-Wire I found this very interesting nevertheless;

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Jan 20 1933 Hutchison Seance Story sm wm

Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1933

Filing A Magazine on Indexing and Filing 1918 July-December (ocr) 88 sm wm

ad from 1918

Typewriter Topics The International Office Equipment Magazine 1919 (ocr) 580 sm wm

ad from 1919

Modern Stationer and Book-Seller 1921 September-March 1922 (ocr) 851 sm wm

ad from 1921

American Stationer and Office Outfitter, The 1922 January-June (ocr) 101 sm wm

ad from 1922

Patent Information:

Notes:

  1. Editors (1916, September). A New Stapling Machine. American Stationer and Office Outfitter, page 30
  2. Editors (1916, August). New Incorporations. New York Times, page 16
  3. Editors (1917, November). Hutchinson [sic] Spool o’ Wire. American Stationer and Office Outfitter, page 24
  4. Sackett, William E. New Jersey’s First Citizens Volume I, Paterson, NJ, J.J. Scannell (1918). Print
  5. Editors (1920, March). Wire Fastener Attracts Many. Oakland Tribune, page 4
  6. Editors (1926, June). Remington Typewriter Co. “Spool-O-Wire” Fastener.  American Stationer and Office Manager, page 122
  7. Curator, (©2014), Spool O Wire Fastener. Retrieved January 10, 2015, from http://www.officemuseum.com
  8. Editors (1944, February). Hutchison Dies. Bakersfield Californian, page 3

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