Invented in 1899 and not improved upon since, the paper clip is the ultimate symbol of 20th century office life. Slate.com’s Sara Goldsmith’s article on the history of the paper clip covers much more than just the little bent wire we’ve all come to rely on. It’s a brief history of paper, the straight pin (the paper clip’s predecessor), the office clerk, and office furniture complete with not only historical etchings and photographs but also literary references from David Foster Wallace and Adam Smith. There even is a mention of one of our favorite websites, the Early Office Museum, which has a wonderful visual history of paper clips.
The article is a must read and we guarantee that you’ll never look at paper clips the same again.