Staples and staplers: world inventions!

Loose papers have a tendency to get lost. To ensure that loose papers that belong together stay neatly in order and together, we can use staples. Seemingly a simple thing, but let’s be honest: a stapler with staples is a great invention, we can’t live without it anymore!

The miracle of staplers

You have a set of papers that must stay neatly together. You grab your stapler and with a simple movement you attach all those papers with a staple, which neatly folds through your papers. A small miracle. How do those folds come in so tight and neat?

A piece of history

On September 30, 1841, Sam Slocum patented a type of shooting device that shot needles into the paper to hold the paper together. This machine would become the basis of the modern stapler, created in 1866 by the Novelty Mfg. The machine could load a single staple that could bind a book or secure carpets.

The staple

A staple is in fact not much different than a piece of flattened metal wire. The metal wire is pre-treated, there are two 90 degree angles. It looks like the staple is a wire with two legs.

The guide strip forces the legs to bend in the right direction

The stapler

Several things happen in the stapler.

  • First of all, by applying pressure, the two legs are pressed through the paper.
  • If the legs are through the paper, a kind of guide strip ensures that the legs are deflected.
  • The pressure you exert by pressing the stapler not only ensures that the legs go through the paper, but also that the same legs are deflected via the guide strip and lie flat.
  • The plate with the guide strips can be rotated, so you can choose whether you want the staples to bend inward or outward. In the photo below, the machine bends the legs of the staple inward.


Strip with staples

Strip of staples

It would not be practical if you had to insert each staple into the stapler separately. The staples are therefore linked together in a series, in a light adhesive bond. A spring ensures that the series of staples is always pushed all the way through. When the stapler is used, a kind of hammer ensures that the outermost staples are knocked off the row, pressed through the paper and bent. Simple, ingenious and effective!

Staple sizes

It makes a difference whether you want to attach a stack of 10 or 100 sheets of paper together. If the legs are too short to fold over properly, the paper will not be secured properly. Not only can you lose sheets of paper, the half-bent legs can also leave sharp scratches on your table or your skin. If the legs are too long, the legs will overlap after folding, and that can also irritate the skin and the table. It is therefore important to use staples that match what you want to attach together. And fortunately: staples come in all shapes and sizes.

The right size

Crucial in determining the correct size is the length of the leg of the staple. Approximately 3 millimeters are needed to secure the paper after folding. The other thing you need in terms of leg length is the thickness of the stack of paper to be stapled. If you want to staple a stack of 7 millimeters together, you need a staple with a leg length of 7 millimeters (paper thickness) + 3 millimeters (folding and stitching) = approximately 10 millimeters. A second factor is the thickness of the wire. The more paper you want to secure, the stronger the thread must be. Staple sizes are therefore expressed in two numbers. A staple size of 24/10 indicates a thickness of 24. This number represents the German suture standard, or the thread strength. The second number, 10, indicates the length of the leg. A common size is 24/6. This allows you to staple approximately 20 sheets of paper together.

Stapler with long arms

The right size stapler

Staples come in different sizes. The piece of wire that is not folded is important here. It is logical that the length of the straight piece of wire determines which machine you need. Smaller staples need to be in a smaller machine.

Staple pliers

Types of staplers

There are different types of staplers. Some machines are table models. You leave it there and press it to staple. You use some machines as pliers: the stapling pliers. Sometimes you need small staples, sometimes large ones, depending on the stapling job. When stapling small booklets, you want the staples to be in the center, rather than on the sides. You also have special staplers for these types of jobs, extra long so that you can easily fit half of the booklet under the arms of the machine.

Special staples

In addition to regular staples, you also have staples that have a loop or hook in place of the longer wire. This way you can easily store the stapled work in a folder or hang it up.

Staple remover

Get out of that thing!

Not all staples are placed in the right place and sometimes everything has to be loosened to add or remove sheets. You can of course pry the staples loose with your fingernail or scissors, but neither is optimal. Torn nails, scissors that fall out, paper that gets damaged, all things you want to avoid. It is better to use a staple remover to remove staples. You put your teeth on the staple, squeeze, and the staple is straightened again. Problem solved!

To do odd jobs

Staplers are not only useful for better paperwork. Carpenters also like to use staplers. The staples are then shot into the wood, so more force and special staples are required. These staples have longer legs, so they can penetrate deep into the wood and secure materials together. There is also a difference, the staples are shot straight into the material and therefore do not fold over.

In short

A stapler is an extremely useful tool, a world invention!

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