If E.H. Hotchkiss can be considered the father of the modern stapler, then A.H. Irvin is the “uncle”. The reason that the Star Automatic Fastener and later the Hotchkiss No 1 became so popular is directly due to the hard work of this formidable salesman. He was involved with Jones Manufacturing by 1897 and afterwards the E.H. Hotchkiss company, the very beginnings of the strip stapler. Not only was he instrumental in the success of E.H. Hotchkiss but he is also part of the success of the Compo stapler. He was successful enough that Hotchkiss ended up acquiring Compo. Many of the improvements to these various staplers was at his recommendation which made him instrumental in their overall development.
Alex H. Irvin managed the distribution of these items through his company, the Alex H. Irvin Co. But one of his lesser known endeavors is the release of his own line of branded stapling machines which included the New Irvin model 2L.
The model 2L was Irvin’s heavy-duty lever operated fastener and rated to staple up to 50 sheets of paper. It uses strip staples (see below) which are formed from a single piece of metal. This machine was made of nickel-plated pressed steel which made it both stronger and lighter than its main competition, the Hotchkiss No 2. Another feature that differentiated the Irvin staplers was that they were put together using screws. This may seem minor but most staplers were held together with rivets or pins. This made them impossible to repair without specialized tools. With the screws, anyone with a screwdriver could take their fastener apart and fix most minor issues themselves. The 2L measures 10.44 inches long by 2.25 inches wide by 9.25 in height. It weighs 2 pounds 7.5 ounces empty.
This was manufactured for A.H. Irvin Co by the B. Jahn Manufacturing Co. Berthold Jahn is one of the inventors listed on the patents for this device and the patents were assigned to his company. He is actually listed on all of the patents used for the stapling machines released by A.H. Irvin Co.
The New Irvin 2L was released in early 1921 and is known to have been available at least until 1924. While it is possible it was available after this time it likely wasn’t available much longer than 1924. It’s a quality machine but it wasn’t heavily advertised and didn’t seem to gain much traction with stationers of the time.
Patent and Other Information:
- Patent 1387268 Staple Binder (filed 06/19/1919, granted 08/09/1921)
- Patent 1387269 Staple Binder (filed 03/19/1920, granted 08/09/1921)
- Editors, (1903, October), The Story of the Man Who Made the Star Stapler Famous. The Book-Keeper, pp 178-180
- Alex H. Irvin Co, (1921, November), advertisement. Walden’s Stationer and Printer, page 45
- Alex H. Irvin Co, (1923, May), advertisement, Office Appliances the News and Technical Trade Journal of Office Equipment, page 251
- Editors, (1924, March 7), Appliances for Business Office. The Hollywood Daily Citizen, page 5
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