People used to pin their papers together, of which the needle hurts the paper and the user. A Norwegian inventor named John Waller thought the problem can be solved by a wire paper clip, for which he got a patent in 1901. At almost the same time, several inventors came up with several similar designs.
However, all these solutions had some problems. First, the end of the wire stuck into the paper when it was pushed, causing more damage to the paper than that with the needle. Then, difficulties arose in developing a machine producing clips, as well as the hand-made clips to be much more expensive.
William Middlebrook, an engineer at Wartburg, Connecticut, solved the problem of machine building. In 1899, he invented a machine for bending wire-paper clips and might offer solutions to other problems. The paper clip made by his machine has a doubled ring, very much like the one we use now. Among them, was the famous "Gem" paper clips, which might not damage the paper. Made of plastic, attractive paper clips now are coated with different colors, by which the user can "code" the page. No one seemed to mention the patent for the "Gem" paper clip before, so its inventor remains unknown. However, since it was adopted in the early of this century, it has become the standard design.
What can the paper clip do? I bet that many of you would like to know. Bent several times, a thin steel wire within an inch turns out to be a paper clip. Besides holding paper, what can it do?
In the office, as a fixer, the most common use of paper clips is to attach files and paper together. My neighbor put paper clips together and wrapped them in colorful paper to form a curtain. It was beautiful! It can also be twisted into a variety of small artworks. I have seen them made into the shape of a bicycle. Creative! Think out of the box to discover the veiled use. Enrich its use as much as we can, then the answer comes up in all kinds.
In the training of "creativity" exists a famous training case: How many uses are there for paper clips? I bet that everyone’s instant answer is folders, then it is surely followed by chains, toothpicks, bindings, forks, stings, keys, hooks, buttons, needles, curtains, .... According to a Japanese scientist, there are 2,400 uses for paper clips listed. Even a scholar in Nanjing claims that he can list 30,000. How useful the little paper clip is!
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