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The Bates Manufacturing Company was world-renowned for its numbering machines.  However, in its heyday Bates was also known for its list finders, eyelet machines, staple removers, hole punches, file supplies, and of course, staplers.  As a matter of fact, I would say that the Bates Model staplers were the second most popular office item, after their numbering machines, that Bates offered.

Bates manufactured four different model (or five, depending on how you count) staplers that were lettered Model A through Model D (with there being two different versions of the Model B).  Out of all of these models the one least known is the Model D.


newspaper ad from 1940

The Model D was introduced in 1940 as having the “popular features of its Big Brother Model B” but at a more advantageous price.  It worked the same as its siblings in that it used a roll of brass wire that was fed from the rear.  However, the Model D reel was smaller and was rated for only 2500 staples – half of what the other models were capable of.  The Model D was available at least until 1946 with the staple reels still being offered by office suppliers as late as 1952.

The Bates Model D stapler weighs 1 pound and measures 7.25″ L x 2″ W x 4.5″ H.  To place that in context it is about the same size as a modern Swingline model 747 but taller and lighter.  It was made entirely out of steel and was of a very high build quality.  The staples it made were about two-thirds the size of standard staples but still could fasten the same amount of paper.  The wire reel meant that you could go a very long time between refills, but in my experience I found that feeding the wire through the stapler is something of a chore.  Still, aside from the difficulty in loading you were unlikely to suffer any quality issues and if you needed to staple large volumes of documents then this stapler would have been at the top of your list.


bottom of Model D

The Bates Manufacturing Company had a long history that lasted for over a hundred years and included a number of illustrious names.  The following is a brief overview of their history.


  • September 5, 1890 Incorporated in New York by Samuel Insull (50% of stock), Edwin G. Bates (49.6% of stock), and Alfred O. Tate (.4% of stock)
  • July 30, 1892 Bates Mfg Co sold to Edison Phonograph Works. Both Samuel Insull and Edwin Bates continue to work for company
  • November 14, 1921 Bates Mfg Co sold to a group of prominent people based around Orange, NJ
  • In 1976 Bates moved from Orange, NJ to Hackettstown, NJ
  • General Binding Corporation (GBC) acquired Bates Manufacturing Company in 1993
  • In August 1994 all of the manufacturing equipment in the Bates facility in Hackettstown, New Jersey was auctioned off
  • By 1996 GBC had closed the New Jersey plant, outsourced some of the manufacturing to other companies, and moved the rest to the VeloBlind plant in Sparks, Nevada

Patent and Other Information:


  1. Memorandum of Agreement [Bates Manufacturing Co and Edison Phonograph Works]. (1892, July 30). New York, NY.
  2. Treasurer’s Report [Bates Manufacturing Co to the Comptroller State of New York]. (1898, October 1). New York, NY.
  3. Editors (1921, December 24). Reorganization of the Bates Mfg. Co. American Stationer and Office Outfitter, p. 23
  4. Zaiser’s Stationers and Office Outfitters (1940, October), advertisement, Des Moines Sunday Register, page 12
  5. Staple Catalog (1945), St. Louis, MO, page 60
  6. Utility Supply Co Catalog (1946), Chicago, IL, page 385
  7. Bardeen’s School and Office Catalog (1952), Syracuse, NY, page 15
  8. Editors (1986, February), Bates Manufacturing Cites Growth, Its People, Echoes Sentinel, page 24
  9. Stephen L. Winternitz, Inc. (1994, August), advertisement, Chicago Tribune, page 15
  10. David Young (1996, April), General Binding’s Reorganization an Awakening, Chicago Tribune, page 1-2 Business

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