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Stapleless Stapler group wm sm

from left to right: Chadwick (Japan), Alco (Japan), Eska (West Germany)

By the 1950’s the stapleless stapler largely fell out of favor as an office item.  There were a number of reasons but the main one was the limitation this type of item had on the number of papers it could attach together.  Generally, these could fasten from two to eight pieces of paper.  To fasten more papers you would need a regular stapler.  Why spend money on an additional piece of office equipment when you could just purchase a stapler, which you needed to have anyway?

Fast forward to the mid-1960’s.  World War 2 has now been over for twenty years and the economies of Japan and West Germany are getting on their feet.  These countries had a reputation at the time for manufacturing low quality consumer goods that were very inexpensive.  However, much like China does today, many of these items were manufactured for other companies and sold under the importing company’s name.

1968 Des Moines Register ad wm

1968 newspaper ad

This brings us to 1966.  Suddenly, there is an explosion of hand-held plier type stapleless staplers being advertised in U.S. newspapers.  These were successful enough that in 1968 you start to see a new form factor in stapleless staplers, the desktop lever-type.

Theoretically, having a lever meant more leverage and that meant more fastening power.  However, the reality is that due to the inexpensive nature of these machines they were still limited to being able to fasten about eight sheets of paper.  These fasteners were made from pressed steel that was very thin.  The side panels covering the mechanism were so thin they were almost translucent.  When you find these you’ll notice that the lever is often bent.  Again, that is a reflection of the thinness of the metal used.

Fastening Sample

sample of fastening

These were made from 100% steel.  Measuring 5.75 inches long by 2.188 inches wide by 4.25 inches high and weighing 10.5 ounces.  Most of these came with a rubber base cover to protect the surface it was placed on from being scratched.  The cutting mechanism was more durable than the rest of the fastener and used a modified Bump-type method.

lever press internal bw wm

internal mechanism

These stapleless staplers were heavily advertised from 1968 to 1974.  They were likely available for a short time both before and after this time period but not much.  Import companies such as Chadwick and Alco sold these under their name.  Department stores, such as Grant’s, sold them under their name (see Grant Miracle Paper Fastener).   These were also available via mail order.

By the mid-1970’s their popularity waned and while still sold, were no longer advertised.  But the legacy lives on today in newer offerings, again mainly from Japan, of stapleless staplers.  While now made with plastic bodies they are a good quality item and especially useful for home and school purposes.

1972 Morning Call ad wm sm

1972 newspaper ad

1974 Press Democrat ad wm sm

1974 newspaper ad

The lever press stapleless staplers from this time period are easy to find and often in good condition.  Watch for bent or missing levers.  If the lever is only slightly bent then usually a small “adjustment” with a pair of pliers is all it takes to bring this back to original condition.  If the lever is missing pass it by.

Notes:

  1. Younkers, (1968, September), advertisement. Des Moines Register, page 8
  2. The Crescent, (1969, July), advertisement. Spokane Daily Chronicle, page 8
  3. People’s Drug Stores, (1970, June), advertisement. The News, page A-9
  4. Tower’s Department Store, (1971, December), advertisement. The Ottawa Journal, page 43
  5. Jay Norris Mail Order, (1972, August), advertisement, Hartford Courant, page F1
  6. Dillard’s, (1973, December), advertisement, The Austin American-Statesman, page B4
  7. RAS Mail Order House, (1974, January), advertisement, Press Democrat, page 13

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