February 22, 2005

*History of the paper clip

Shank asks:

I've always wondered who invented the paperclip, and was this person swindled out of their royalties. Or do they still collect to this day?

That’s an interesting question--if you have a prescription for Phenobarbital.

The first bent-wire paper clip was patented by Samuel B. Fay in 1867. This link provides a gallery of styles, showing what the early clips look like if you scroll down.

You’d think that would be cut and dry, but it’s not. Other sources cite the clip as being invented by a Norwegian fellow in 1899. Frankly, I’m skeptical.

As to the collection of royalties? I’m no patent lawyer, but since a patent was actually granted on the clip, rights would have been protected for a number of years. Of course both of these geezers are long dead so it’s inconsequential. I believe a patent would have either long ago expired or someone else has found away around it, which is typical. Their estates are probably up the creek on present day royalties.

Posted by Paul! at February 22, 2005 12:28 PM


Phenobarbital? Heck, if it'll keep the kids from running all over the damn place, I'm all for it.

And uh. Are you saying you know where I could get summa that?

Posted by: shank at February 22, 2005 12:55 PM

That was actually kind of interesting for some reason. Thanks, Paul!.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at February 22, 2005 05:19 PM

Paul, I have a question: why is your guest posting here at Jen's so much better than any of the crap you've posted at your blog?

Posted by: Simon at February 22, 2005 10:27 PM

Gee Simon, that sounds like sour grapes against your former campaign manager. Could it be that you were just unelectable?


Posted by: Ted at February 23, 2005 11:54 AM