Swingline Stapler 10/07/17

An illustration of my favorite stapler. It staples…it tacks…it pins!

The tagline is swiped from an old Swingline ad. Imagine a world today where a company advertised staplers.

The good ole days weren’t as good as some people think, but when it comes to office gadgets, stuff made in the 50’s and 60’s can’t be beat. The focal point for innovation and quality in that era was on mechanical devices. Today that focus is entirely on digital tech (which is a amazing and world changing), but a byproduct of that emphasis is a lot of goods that used to be differentiated have become commoditized. People used to care a bit more about what type of stapler they used. Now we just want something that staples cheaply, which is very sane.

Stapler quality has suffered as a result of the race to the bottom, which isn’t really that big of a loss, but it is interesting to think about the ways markets force change. There’s no reason for a company to invest in making a top-of-the-line stapler anymore, which means the best staplers in human history have probably already been built, and you can by them for 75 cents in a thrift store.