NATIONAL PAPERCLIP DAY
National Paperclip Day is observed each year on May 29. Yes, even the paperclip has its own day of honor. It is about that well-known piece of curved wire that keeps our papers together and helps keep us organized.
While there are much earlier claims to the invention of the paperclip, according to the Early Office Museum, the first patent for a “bent wire paper clip” was presented to Samuel B. Fay in the United States in 1867. The original intention of Fay’s clip was to attach tickets to fabric. However, U.S. patent 64,088 recognized that it could also be used to attach papers together.
There were as many as 50 others that received patents for similar designs prior to 1899. One other notable name receiving a patent for his paperclip design in the United States was Erlman J. Wright in 1877. At that time, his clip was advertised for use in fastening newspapers.
The Gem paperclip, which was most likely in production in Britain in the early 1870s by The Gem Manufacturing Company, was never patented. It is the most common type of wire paper clip and is still in use today. It was introduced to the United States around 1892 and in 1904, Cushman & Denison registered a trademark for the “Gem” name in connection with paper clips. Paperclips are still sometimes called “Gem clips.”
Today, paperclips come in various sizes, shapes and colors and can make your paperwork look more fun and lively.
Paperclips are not just for holding papers together. There are many other things that you can do with them!
- Replace a zipper tab
- Unclog a spray bottle
- Unclog a single serve coffee maker
- Hem holder
- Emergency hooks for broken necklaces
The Paper Clip Project
During World War II this small, universal office supply provided a visual method of protest at a time when any outward signs of objection could be dangerous, even in familiar company.
Early in the war, Norwegians were particularly persistent in their development of symbols. The paper clip represented “sticking together” for a time until the Nazis caught on and banned the wearing of paper clips.
According to a March 5, 1941, Provo, Utah newspaper article (The Daily Herald), the Norwegians switched to new symbols as quickly as the bans could be issued.
In 1998, a group of middle school students led by language arts teacher Sandra Roberts and associate principal David Smith began a project through a Holocaust education class. The voluntary after-school class, Whitwell Middle School principal Linda Hooper’s idea, would be the foundation for developing tolerance and diversity.
Inspired by the story of the protesting Norwegians and their paper clips, the students began to collect six million paper clips – one paper clip representing one Jew who perished during the Holocaust. Adults today still wrestle with how the Holocaust could occur. Imagine middle school students trying understand the magnitude of such an event on humanity.
The Paper Clip Project gained international attention and by 2001 the students collected more than 30 million paper clips. The school dedicated a Children’s Holocaust Memorial which displays an authentic German railcar filled with a portion of the paper clips.
For more information on this inspiring story, the book and film that followed visit www.oneclipatatime.org
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #NationalPaperclipDay to post on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to find the creator or the origin of National Paperclip Day.
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