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Who Invented the Stapler? History, Origin, & FAQ

stapler on a table

There are a bunch of different tools that date way back, including the stapler. People worldwide use this handy tool for work, hobbies, and various projects where you need to fasten sheets together, but most don’t know much about the history of staplers.

While this little tool might not spark the interest of every reader out there, some people would like to know more about staplers, including who invented the stapler and when. To answer this question briefly, the first stapler was the stapler of King Louis  XV, built in the 18th century.

For all of you who’d like to know more, keep reading to learn more about the invention of the stapler and its development throughout history.

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18th Century

If you believe the 18th century wasn’t that interesting, just think that that’s the first time this handy tool came into peoples’ lives. The first stapler was handmade in France for King Louis XV. This stapler was so unique that each staple had the insignia representing the royal court.

During this century, there were still a lot of people who didn’t use paper, and it was considered somewhat of a luxury. Because of that, there was no need for staplers outside the royal court, and only the royals were entitled to use this tool.

vintage stapler
Image Credit: BRRT, Pixabay

19th Century

Paper suddenly became widely available during the 19th century, increasing the need for staplers. The first stapler patent was the idea of George McGill, who thought of this in 1866. He got the patent functional in 1867, and his invention was shown off at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.

During this exhibition, George McGill wasn’t the only one who brought his stapler patent; C.H Gould and Albert Kletzker also came up with their versions of the stapler. In 1877, a man named Henry Heyl also came up with a stapler patent, although this patent was different from the rest—it could drive the fastener through the paper while also clinching it to hold better.

The 19th century was essential for stapler development as people constantly tried to think of better and more functional patents for this tool.

There was a stapler called the Hotchkiss that came out in 1895. Unlike other staplers in that century, this stapler featured a row of staples wired together, which was unconventional. This stapler was functional, but it had a few issues. The biggest problem with this stapler is that it required a lot of force to drive the staple inside the paper, so you needed to use a mallet or a hammer to accomplish the drive.

During this time, George McGill was still thinking of new stapler patents, and in 1879, he came up with the McGill Single Stroke staple press. This device was lightweight at only 2.5 pounds and easy to use, making it extremely popular.

20th Century

The first desk stapler came out in the 20th century, precisely in 1923. In 1937, Swingline invented the first stapler that was easy to load as it used a row of staples. Today’s stapler design hasn’t changed much since, so it resembles this stapler.

After simple staplers that were only used to attach paper together, in 1941, there was the first invention of a four-way stapler. It could fasten paper to cardboard or wood, while it could also fasten stacks of paper. The mid-20th century was about inventing staplers with multiple usages instead of just fixing paper together.

As there were more and more new inventions and the tools kept evolving, so did the stapler. Regular staplers were suddenly replaced with saddle-stitching machines, which could automatically run large batches of newspapers and magazines.

There was increased usage of framing staplers, electric and pneumatic-powered staplers, and ergonomically designed staplers.

black stapler
Image By: pcglenn, Pixabay


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Frequently Asked Questions

What Was the First Stapler Called?

While the first stapler was made for King Louis XV, and it didn’t have a name, the first popular functional stapler was the McGill Single Stroke Staple Press. It was the first stapler commercially popular and used by the commoners as there was an increase in paper usage.

What Is the Difference Between the Stapler and the Staple?

While the stapler and staple have similar names, they are two different things. The stapler is the mechanical device you use to fasten paper together, while the staple is the actual fastener.

When you staple something, the stapler releases the staples that hold the paper in place. Without the staples, your stapler wouldn’t be able to function, so these little fasteners are crucial for any stapler to function correctly.

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Final Thoughts

Staplers have evolved a lot over the years, leading to the modern staplers we have today, which aren’t actually all that different from older models. While there were a bunch of stapler patents throughout history, only the most functional and practical ones remained until this day, making paper attachment much easier.

Featured Image Credit: Naeem-Akram, Pixabay


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