There can’t be many things as thrilling as a staple remover. They’re right up there on the list of exciting stuff next to watching paint dry and drinking warm tap water. At least that’s what some people think about them. But I disagree. If they don’t seem particularly exciting it’s because of their ubiquitousness and nearly perfect functional design. They do exactly what they were designed to do and do it perfectly time after time without issue.
While stapling machines were available since the late 1870’s it wasn’t until around 1916 that you see the first patents for purpose designed staple removing tools. None of the few patents that came out in the earliest parts of the 20th century made any kind of an impact and this was likely due to the size and toughness of the then standard strip staples. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that staple removers really started to be an accepted office tool. It isn’t a coincidence that you begin to see modern-type cohered staples starting in the mid-1920’s and a short few years afterwards staple removers for them.
And it was during this golden age of staple removal designs that we first see the jaw-type (or claw-type if you prefer) staple remover introduced. And while everyone seems to make this style of remover today it was originally introduced by Ace Fastener Corp as their Model No 600 Staple Remover.
The first known advertisement for the No 600 was in 1937, although it is known to have been available in 1935. While nearly impossible to find in the U.S. currently the No 600 remover is actually still being manufactured to this very day.
There are three different versions of the No 600 which are all easily identifiable.
- measures 1.5 inches wide by 1.4 inches in height by 2.25 inches long
- weighs 1 ounce
- made from 100% steel
- available starting about 1935 to 1948
- measures 1.5 inches wide by 1.6 inches in height by 2.25 inches long
- weighs 1.75 ounces
- made from 100% steel, including handles
- available approximately 1948 to 1950
- measures 1.5 inches wide by 1.7 inches in height by 2.25 inches long
- weighs 1.5 ounces
- made from steel with plastic handles
- available 1950 to present
Along with the obvious design differences between the three versions, if you have the original box you can further focus the time when your staple remover was manufactured. However, the version 3 No 600 did not change from 1950 at least through the 1990’s. The size, markings, and materials stayed the same throughout this time so without the original box you will not be able to determine an accurate age.
In the early 1990’s Ace Fastener Co was acquired by a large Korean company. From that time forward many of Ace’s historic fasteners were replaced by more modern, plastic designs made in Taiwan, South Korea, and other places. By the time you get to the early 2000’s almost all Ace staplers are no longer available in the U.S.
Patent and Other Information:
- Patent 2033050 Tool for Removing Staples (filed 12/12/32, granted 03/03/36)
- Patent 2596719 Staple Remover (filed 09/02/49, granted 05/13/52)
- Horder’s Office Supply Catalog (1937), Chicago, IL, page 206
- S. Trademark 363,964, (1939, January 17), “ACE”
- Standard Printing & Office Supply Store, (1946, April 2), advertisement. The Alexandria Daily Town Talk, page 4
- Stationer Corporation Catalog (1953), Chicago, IL, page 234
- Perry Office Supply Catalog (1963), Syracuse, NY, page 46
- Mid-Carolina Office Equipment, (1978, October 16), advertisement. The Times and Democrat, page 9A
- New Office Supply, (1984, April 22), advertisement. Green Bay Press-Gazette, page B-9
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