Saturday, February 11, 2006

Obscure Hero #1

Have you ever stopped and noticed something so everyday, so simple, and wondered how it came about? I do on occasion, and this time it was the... drum roll please......

Paperclip.

Yes. The lowly paperclip. Rarely given the accolades that it is due. This tiny piece of metal that we all take for granted, but imagine your life without them. How would you keep your important papers together? String? That seems archaic these days, doesn't it. So without further ado, I declare this the first of the Boondoggled Days of Obscure Heroes.

Imagine if you will, sitting at your desk. Its a boring day, your boss hasn't given you much to do so you are staring out the window and watching the clouds go by and wondering what your mother is making for dinner (remember this is the days before the internet). You are playing with a piece of wire and twisting it around and around idly, when you realize that EUREKA, you've invented the paperclip!

Okay that more than likely isn't how it went.

There are several patents on paperclips. The first was in 1867 by a dude named Samuel B. Fay. In (approximately) 1901, a Norwegian inventor by the name of John Vaaler also patented a paperclip design. Two years before that in 1899, a patent was given to a guy by the name of William Middlebrook who invented the machine that would make Gem paperclips, the paperclip design that is still the standard used to this day. So I supposed officially William Middlebrook is the actual paperclip inventor, since his machine created the paperclips that we all know and love today. A little known fact is that the Gem design of paperclip has never been patented..... hmmmmmmm (she says casually).

So now you know. William Middlebrook is the inventor of the paperclip.

Thank you William.


2 comments:

Odat said...

LOL...ya know ...i use them for everything.....when my shower curtain hooks break, when my hem on my pants unravel, when my chain for my ID breaks I hook it on my belt with them...i twist them open and use them as a tooth pick for ourdevoures (sc)....ummm what else??????

Just D said...

Fix our glasses when we lose the screw? (Not that I would ever do that, that would make me look like a total and complete nerd).

Or so I've heard.