Who Invented The Paper Clip?
Who invented the paper clip? That multifunctional and ingenious device you can find in any office anywhere in the world...who indeed? There is naturally no simple answer but the fact remains the paper clip is probably one of the most versatile inventions ever. You can do many things with a paper clip from opening up a jammed CD or DVD drive to putting out some kid's eye with a rubber band sling shot. Oh and you can also use it to clip paper together, which might even be the reason why it was invented.
The fabric connection. In the year 1867, a patent was awarded to Samuel B. Fay for a bent piece of wire he used to clip claim tickets to fabric. The clips were also used to keep loose pieces of paper together. While a clever adaption, the design never really took off because the clips were not meant to be used for a long time and the rust would eventually stain the paper.
The Norwegian myth. Many sources will credit a Norwegian man named Johan Vaaler as the inventor of the paper clip. To be fair, the man did patent an inferior version in 1901 that lacked the rounded bottom end in the designs we are most familiar with today. Unfortunately for proud Norwegians everywhere, two years earlier in 1899 William Middlebrook had already patented a machine for manufacturing paper clips.
The Gem. In William Middleborrok's patent for his machine there is a rendering of the finished product, which is the paper clip we use today. The design has lasted through the ages because it is simple, cheap to manufacture and the rounded ends keep the paper clips from getting tangled together. There are other designs in use but none have proved as useful as the Gem paper clip.
Conclusion. To figure out who invented the paper clip, you must first ask yourself what is a paper clip? Is it the kind you find in every office today? Is it the malleable metal clip clever office workers from days gone by used to fasten loose sheets of paper? The debate will forever continue but if you go by the logic that history is written by the winners, then the Gem design is the clear winner.