Many folks who collect antique and vintage office equipment tend to specialize. There are people who only collect typewriters, or fountain pens, or mechanical calculating machines and so on. And there are also those who collect staplers and paper fastening machines. But one of the items I’ve mentioned time and again as getting little interest or respect is the lowly staple remover.
As for me, I love ’em! If I see something unique or unknown I’ll always pick it up. I find it absolutely fascinating (and sometimes hilarious) the amount of engineering that has been invested into a task like removing a staple. There isn’t the same amount of variety amongst staple removers as there are for other items but enough that I’ve devoted 5% of my website to them. And I have to admit that I could easily double that using just some of the removal tools in my collection.
That brings me to this month’s item, the Bates Staple Remover & Punch. Not only will it remove staples but it is also a 0.25 inch diameter single hole punch. Multi-tools are often impressively designed but tend to suffer in usability. A single tool can do a number of different things but generally it won’t do well on any particular task. There are exceptions though and the Bates Staple Remover & Punch is one of them. Well, it mostly does ok…
It punches a solitary hole in your papers like a champ. Perfectly round and with a distinct lack of paper where the hole is. Exactly what it is supposed to do. The staple remover also works, but it tends to be a bit rougher on the paper than a claw-type remover would be. However, on a thick stack of papers it works much better at removing unwanted staples with little damage to said papers.
This tool is made from 100% pressed steel and will be making holes and removing staples for your great-great grandchildren. It is really a tough little beast with a minimum of moving parts that could ever cause problems. If you find one in tough shape a little bit of cleaning and a drop or two of oil is likely all it will take to make it serviceable again.
The Bates Staple Remover & Punch was advertised from 1952 to 1959. While it was likely available separately after that year it is known to have been available as part of small stationery sets released by “Valiant” and “Majestic” at least until 1970. These sets usually consisted of a mini stapler, the Staple Remover & Punch, and a small box of staples in a plastic pouch.
The Bates measures 3.4 inches by 0.65 inches by 2 inches and weighs 1.3 ounces. It will easily fit into a desk drawer, a pouch, school bag, pocket, or brief case. And if you have a collection of staplers then you really need to have a collection of staple removers too!
Patent and Other Information:
- Patent 2685929 Combined Staple Remover and Punch (filed 01/27/51, granted 08/10/54)
- Lucas Bros, (1952, February 18), advertisement. The Baltimore Sun, page 13
- Stationer Corporation Catalog (1953), Chicago, IL, page 238
- Meier & Frank Co, (1959, February 26), advertisement. Capital Journal, page 12
- Eaton’s, (1965, November 2), advertisement. The Leader-Post, page 36
- Hamlin’s Red Cross Drug Stores, (1970, September 23), advertisement. Press and Sun Bulletin, page 16A
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