Although the trend to “go green” is still gaining in popularity, along with its policies to reduce energy and paper usage, there are often still times when an office administrator simply needs to fasten one piece of paper to another. They can occur especially more often in legal and medical offices, where client and other past records need to be compared even if to newer digital versions, but the need for paper-fastening can be found everywhere.
In a pinch, a worker can simply fold the corner of the small stack of papers over onto itself, thus improvising a “dog ear” to keep the sheets together temporarily, such as tucking a fax into the mailbox of its intended recipient. Another option for fastening a few sheets of paper together is to use a paper clip, which has the added bonus of being reusable, and comes in many varieties of both form and function.
But for larger stacks, or for sheets that need to stay together more permanently, the office stapler is still the tool of choice. Providing a firm fastening that requires a staple remover to undo cleanly, staplers get the job done in an efficient, effective manner. There are a handful of different types of staplers available as well.
The Standard Stapler
With even such famous examples as the red Swingline model in the film Office Space, the standard stapler comes in basically the same size, operating in the same push-down manner, refilling in the same pull-out tray fashion, using the industry standard size, and coming in a variety of colors, brands, and ultimately minor design differences. This is the model that will do most stapling jobs just fine, when needing to staple 2-20 sheets.
The Miniature Stapler
Most often found in school supply kits for children, mini staplers are much smaller than their counterparts, often just a few inches long and a little over an inch high. In addition to simply being “cute,” they may also serve a need for the space-conscious or those lacking storage space. They may use standard size staples or the smaller variety.
The Automatic Stapler
An office may share one of these; that is, an electric stapler that stays plugged into an outlet, is loaded with a roll of perhaps 5,000 staples, standard or small, and is operating by simply shoving the corner of the stack into its maw. A split-second later with minimal noise, a staple is automatically fastened to the stack neatly and consistently. These are best used in offices with multiple employees, or for larger jobs, such as a collated printing that needs many sets stapled. The term “automatic staple” or “electric staple” is also sometimes used interchangeably with “staple gun,” being the delivery device for powerful, larger, industrial staples.
The Staple-Free Stapler
For both the environmentally responsible and the budget-conscious, organizations are beginning to release staple-free staplers. So far, they are only useful for stacks of 2-5 sheets, perhaps a couple more at times, but are indeed able to fasten sheets without using any staples. They operate through a neat, one-motion operation where, like most staples, the target corner of the stack is pushed into the slot before the device is pushed down upon; however, rather than using a staple, the paper is fastened by means of punching two holes, then sliding a tab from one through the other, to form a folded-over tab. This is perhaps easier to understand once seen, rather than simply read.
The Power Stapler
Power staplers are those used for larger stacks of papers, such as a 25-50 sheet document, yet are designed to be used with decreased force. Their efficient engineering comes at a slightly higher price, but for the same sized stapler, a smaller effort yields a more powerful fastening. These can be a real treat for office workers, offering mighty capability with minimal exertion. There are also much larger models of stapler that, often operated by a hand crank, are capable of stapling upwards of 100 sheets.
In the future, new types of staplers will probably be created, and other devices for connecting documents and papers. In the meantime, as technologies and stapler advances improve, office workers worldwide can be thankful for the wonderful invention of the common stapler.