On this day in 1899, William D. Middlebrook of Waterbury, CT patented the popular Gem-style paper clip. The humble paper clip remains virtually unchanged in all this time. There are plastic-coated clips nowadays, but the familiar round edge is unlikely to change. The round edge keeps papers from tearing.
Nearly 20 million pounds of paper clips are produced every year in the United States. The machinery that makes the paper clips is original from the 1930’s.
Paper clips are not just for the office anymore. There are several uses for these office essentials:
- Does the paper tab on your tea bag slip into the hot water? Weigh it down with a small paper clip.
- I hosted a party one afternoon for pet parents. I wanted to display photographs of my sweet dog, Casey, but did not want to put any holes in my walls. I made a garland of paper clips, attaching a photo on to every 5th paper clip. The garland easily attached to my fireplace mantel. I was able to hang the photos at eye level and it was quite a conversation starter!
- Instead of using the flimsy plastic tool included in the dye package, use a large paper clip to dip eggs into the dye bath for an even color. Open up the clip, bend one end into a circle, then push the other end up to make a handle. Place a hard-boiled egg in the circle and dunk. Your Easter eggs will look fantastic!
- Have you ever lost a screw from your glasses? You can replace the missing screw by sticking a small, opened paper clip in its place. Snip the excess metal with wire cutters.
- If I had a nickel for each time I had to fix a hem with paper clips, I’d be rich. Paper clips can keep a hem in place until you get home from work and can get to straight pins and a sewing machine.
Today we celebrate the paper clip – and all the many jobs it does! 🙂