Anyone interested in vintage staplers eventually comes across the Arrow Model 210 heavy-duty deluxe stapling machine. With its style, colors, and chrome it is instantly obvious how the design was influenced by the American automobile industry of the time. This is a stapler that everyone seems to love from the first time they lay eyes on one.
And it’s no wonder why it inspires such strong feelings. The 210 is made completely out of steel with the only exceptions being the plastic handle insert (where it says “Arrow 210.”) and the rubber feet. This steel isn’t some cheap, thin, low-quality steel either but a very heavy-duty steel that gives it a feeling of solidity not found in today’s staplers.
Note that along with being “heavy-duty” that this is also “deluxe”. What makes this stapler deluxe are the same things that would make an auto deluxe – options. It has easy loading from the rear, an easy to get at mechanism accessible by a latch on the side, a visual refill indicator, a three-way anvil for three types of stitches (not counting tacking), a detachable mechanism that allows this to be used as a tacker (for the first version, the second version simply flips open), a capacity of 230 standard staples, and it is rated to staple up to 40 sheets of paper at a time. All it seems to be missing are leather seats.
Most folks when they see one of these for the first time instantly think “1950’s”. That’s understandable. However, the Arrow 210 wasn’t actually available until 1960. It was sold at least until 1986 and likely for several years beyond.
As I’ve noted above several times, there are in actuality two different versions of the Arrow model 210. While superficially they look almost identical their stats show the differences:
- measures 8″ L x 2.25″ W x 2.75″ H
- weighs 1 lb 7 oz
- 4.25″ throat
- measures 7.5″ L x 2″ W x 2.75″ H
- weighs 1 lb 4 oz
- 4.5″ throat
It’s unknown exactly when Arrow changed over to the second version but circumstantial evidence points to the mid-to-late 1970’s. The following photo shows the striking size difference between the two versions.
Other differences include:
- for tacking, version 1 disconnects from the base while on version 2 the base flips 180 degrees
- note that version 1 has a locking mechanism on the bottom of the base to keep the stapler from disconnecting accidentally
- looking from the top, you’ll see that version 2 has rubber feet that wrap around the base at the rear
- on version 1, the plate connecting the stapler to the base is larger than on version 2. Also note that version 1 has a hollow bump-out near the rear of this plate. Finally, note that on version 1 there is a double pinstripe indent on the perimeter of the plate.
- because the stapling mechanism on version 2 is slightly smaller, note that the chrome plunger plate “sideburns” go all the way to the bottom edge of the painted stapler top while on version 1 there is an approximate .219″ gap between the bottom edge of the chrome and the bottom edge of the stapler mechanism.
The model 210’s were originally introduced in three colors: beige, green, and grey. In 1966 black was added. Because all of these colors were used throughout its lifetime you cannot really use color as a way to determine age. With black you can determine that it was manufactured no earlier than 1966 but that’s really all that can be done.
I have several Arrow model 210’s in their original boxes and have seen a small number of others. It appears that Arrow never changed the box design throughout the life of this product even when they made a number of design changes in introducing the version 2. I would have to say that the jury is still out on this though as it is entirely possible that Arrow did eventually restyle the boxes to accommodate the newly styled model 210 and I just haven’t come across one.
I have to admit I have a soft spot for all of these older Arrow staplers. They were well-made and all of them were well-designed and managed to be different from the crowd. And I’m not just talking about the model 210, but all of the others also. While I’m glad that Arrow is still around I find it just a little sad that they no longer make desktop staplers anymore.
Patent and Other Information:
- Wallace (1960, May), advertisement, The Derrick, page 28
- Perry Office Supply Catalog (1963), Syracuse, NY, page 49
- WOSCO, Inc. Catalog (1963), Greensburg, PA, page 2
- McDonald, Stingel and Bush Office Supply Catalog (1964), Saginaw, MI, page 358
- George Stuart (1966, August), advertisement, Orlando Sentinel, page 7-B
- Wilson’s Jewelers Distributors (1978, August), advertisement, Longview Morning Journal, page 13-A
- Marathon Office Supply, Inc Catalog (1986), Los Angeles, CA, page 18
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