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The Museum of Swingline


“Why do I have so many staplers?” I asked no-one in particular when they just kept turning up in every drawer and cabinet today.

“Because the last time we moved, you wouldn’t let anybody throw one away,” said a voice from the opposite cube, “don’t you remember?”

No. But I believe it. My boss usually waited until I took a day off to throw things out; it was so much less painful than prying my fists open and listening to my ululating wails.

Look at these beauties! Big and heavy and streamlined, like some mighty diesel engine of stapling. They streamlined everything back then, as if the efficacy of simple office supplies was determined by their coefficient of drag. Is your desk holding you back? Get the sleek, modern, aerodynamic model, new for 1952! Now with wind-tunnelocity!

This company is both old and parsimonious; stuff hangs around until it flat out disintegrates. Do you know how long it takes furniture of the mid-twentieth century to fall apart? And since we were the art department and got shit on everything we touched, we got the leftover’s leftovers.

My old desk was a heavy, grossly overengineered slab of a barge of a piece of furniture, something like the QEII on legs. Blaaaaart ding ding! Out of the way, you little fishing vessels! Weasel doing paperwork!

We shed most of that stuff when we moved here, across the street from our old offices. But I managed to rescue these few small time travelers. And some rather nice scissors. And a magnifying glass. And all the X-Acto knives and pica rulers. A french curve set. Two excellent multi-hole paper punches. A six foot tall motorized photographic enlarger. And a Bernoulli box.

Ambassadors from another era.

Come, my pets. Would you like to visit England?

swingline staplers


Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: October 3, 2007, 6:21 pm

Insert Office Space Joke here

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 3, 2007, 6:34 pm

Oh. Heh. I’ve never seen the original, only the parodies.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 3, 2007, 8:02 pm


Do staples come in – like – metric and english? You know, like wrenches and sockets and such?

That would suck so mightily.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 3, 2007, 8:10 pm

I don’t know! I’ve seriously been worrying about that all day. Are there imperial staples?

All my lovely notebooks and notebook paper (of which there are skads) are gefuct, I know that. Totally different paper sizes and hole configurations.

Still, I can console myself with the fact they still use fountain pens and I can get them everywhere. Phew!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 3, 2007, 8:25 pm

Yep. There’s more to this moving-to-England biz than meets the eye. Staples. Paper. Mens underwear.

I already thought about your DVD player. Region 1 (USA). But you won’t be taking it anyway, will you?

Actually, you might seriously consider taking it. The power/plug issue is *quite* easily addressed – and a region 1 player might have social advantages since most new releases are in Region 1 first anyway.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 3, 2007, 8:34 pm

Ahhhhh…way ahead of you there, McGoo. We ran into this problem molto years ago, buying DVD’s for each other at Christmastime. I found a program called DVD Region Free that intercepts your PC’s hardware audit and tells it sweet lies. In other words, it plays all regions’ DVDs in all computers. Works a treat, too.

And people wonder why I’m a sinophile…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 3, 2007, 8:36 pm

Wait…men’s underwear?

Comment from Jessica
Time: October 3, 2007, 8:38 pm

Wow, those are beautiful.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 3, 2007, 9:03 pm

That bad boy in the back can staple MANUSCRIPTS. He rawks.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 3, 2007, 9:11 pm

Gotcha! Woot!

As far as I know there is no difference whatsoever in men’s undies over there (other than size nomenclature, maybe?). Ask Uncle B. He should know.

I just threw that in because … I could.

I like the DVD region free thingy. But I was thinking more about your TV/entertainment center/home theatre DVD player. Not a PC player. My bad.

Comment from BGG
Time: October 3, 2007, 9:32 pm

But where is your collection of staple pullers? What goes in must come out. Especially if, like me, you work in a place where every piece of paper is destined for a shredder at some point (haha, no I don’t work at the White House). I am forever buying staple pullers to take to the office after their predecessors are filched.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 3, 2007, 10:03 pm

There must be – somewhere – an Island of the Missing Staple-Pullers. I’ve bought at least 6-8 of ’em in the last decade or so, and right now own precisely none.

Maybe Dark Matter is really all the missing staple-pullers.

Comment from Dawn
Time: October 4, 2007, 12:16 am

Ok – If you haven’t seen Office Space you absolutely must rent it first thing. It’s like the Spinal Tap for office workers.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: October 4, 2007, 7:38 am

Underpants? Badgers don’t wear underpants.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 4, 2007, 8:07 am

Okay, I found a staple puller. One. I don’t de-staple very much as none of my paperwork goes through the shredder. My CD’s have to, though: one of my jobs is publishing our confidential data sheets to CD as .pdf files. The files are encrypted, but we shred the CD’s anyhow.

I’ll tell you a secret! If ever you find one of my CD’s and it’s not been through the shredder, the ultra super secret pass combination is username:godsave password:thequeen. Just a little weasel humor there. Or humour, I guess.

There! I’ve just bought Office Space on Amazon Born Again ($5.99 — man, I love that place). And thank you, Dawn…I circulated the photo of the Yellow Thing to my cow orkers, stunning and amazing them.

Comment from Lokki
Time: October 4, 2007, 9:00 am

1. Real men™ don’t use staple pullers. For many years, I have carried a small pocket knife (a Boker)for that exact purpose. (Well that, and the lovely little hissing noise it makes when I slice open an envelope. I mention this last point because of Weasel’s well-known knife fetish. I believe it was a discussion about knives that first lured me to this site. Heh.

2. I have a Red Swingline 747 Stapler on my desk as I write. Like you, I love the old quality staplers. They’re hard to find, but the 747 is the real thing. They work. When we have somthing thick to staple, this is the baby.

3. In Japan, A stapler is called a Hotchkiss. Exactly why that is so seems to be a bit of a mystery.

4. After rereading this post, I have concluded that I am a very strange person.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 4, 2007, 9:49 am

Yessssss, preciousssss. We likes knivesssss. We likes knives very much.

And staplerssssss.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: October 4, 2007, 10:55 am

Office Space is definitely a recommended film. I’d like to call it an ‘indy’ (film whatever that means), but the budget was $10M and 20th Century Fox distributed it. So let’s just call it – and I feel dirty saying this – a cult film. Swingline staplers play a big role too.
Here’s a diologue quote (courtesy of wiki):

Joanna: So, where do you work, Peter?
Peter Gibbons: Initech.
Joanna: In… yeah, what do you do there?
Peter Gibbons: I sit in a cubicle and I update bank software for the 2000 switch.
Joanna: What’s that?
Peter Gibbons: Well see, they wrote all this bank software, and, uh, to save space, they used two digits instead of four. So, like, 98 instead of 1998? Uh, so I go through these thousands of lines of code and, uh… it doesn’t really matter. I uh, I don’t like my job, and, uh, I don’t think I’m gonna go anymore.
Joanna: You’re just not gonna go?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Joanna: Won’t you get fired?
Peter Gibbons: I don’t know, but I really don’t like it, and, uh, I’m not gonna go.
Joanna: So you’re gonna quit?
Peter Gibbons: Nuh-uh. Not really. Uh… I’m just gonna stop going.
Joanna: When did you decide all that?
Peter Gibbons: About an hour ago.
Joanna: An hour ago… so you’re gonna get another job?
Peter Gibbons: I don’t think I’d like another job.
Joanna: Well, what are you going to do about money and Bills and…
Peter Gibbons: You know, I’ve never really liked paying Bills. I don’t think I’m gonna do that, either.
Joanna: So what do you wanna do?
Peter Gibbons: First I’m gonna take you out to dinner, and then I’m gonna go back to my apartment and watch Kung Fu. Do you ever watch Kung Fu?
Joanna: I love Kung Fu.
Peter Gibbons: Channel 39.
Joanna: Totally.
Peter Gibbons: You should come over and watch Kung Fu tonight.
Joanna: Ok. Ok. Can we order lunch first? Ok.

I watch most of my DVDs on computer, but aren’t modern DVD players (non Blu-Ray and HDDVD) mostly region free anyway? And even if they’re not, there are hacks and other ways of becoming region free. That may sound illegal – and I suppose it is – but in my experience, American issues of movies are usually better than domestic releases in that they have better special features, more content and also, there are some things that they just don’t bother to release here. Mind you, the same can be said for anywhere, I suppose. Which, in itself, is another argument for the ability to play region free DVDs.
Those staplers look well built. It’s always reassuring to know that an object could double as a murder weapon should you require it.

Comment from Micheal Nesmith
Time: October 4, 2007, 11:10 am

I’ve been thinking about getting one of these: a staple-less stapler.

Comment from Got a Clue
Time: October 4, 2007, 11:25 am


Mr. Haynes. In a cubicle. With a Stapler. Do I win?

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: October 4, 2007, 5:44 pm

Your Grace: a most important warning for when you cross the Pond.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 4, 2007, 5:54 pm

Hahaha! I hadn’t seen that one! And wasn’t it prophetic?

This is my favorite of the Harry Enfield shorts.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: October 4, 2007, 6:19 pm

If you’ve never seen Office Space, immediately rush out and watch it. If you’ve ever worked in an office you’ll die laughing.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 4, 2007, 6:58 pm

You-all need to read:


Its…unbelievable, and hilarious, and absolutely outrageous. Its also edited/compiled by the lady who is/was president of the company that runs the big sign in Times Square or sumpin – if memory serves. Her hobby was/is collecting historical and contemporary pronouncements as to the inferiority of the female gender.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: October 4, 2007, 7:06 pm

Still, I can console myself with the fact they still use fountain pens and I can get them everywhere. Phew!

I hear Your Grace!

Oooooooh, I’m being taken over by nostalgia.

In Pakistan, writing instruments are part of much-anticipated rites of passage. Everyone starts writing with a pencil. (If I have observed correctly, most pencils in America have an eraser on the end thereof. Not so in Pakistan: the erasers were separate.) (Oh, and in South Asian English, the eraser for a pencil is called a “rubber”. I need not have to remind my American friends that the same word is used, as slang, for something completely different. One movie (ABCD, a common acronym (?) meaning “American-Born Confused Desi”, referring to people of South Asian ethnicity born in America but confused between South Asian culture and American culture, caught between the two) actually poked fun of this: it showed a professor from India who demanded a rubber from his students so he could erase a mistake. He even said to a female student: “You, give me the rubber in your purse.”)

The grand moment came when we could use fountain pens. Most people got cheap Korean pens (yes, plural: no one had just one). There were so many ways to fill them: pump from an ink pot, use a twisting mechanism, and cartridges. But fountain pens were a messy business. They leaked. The smudged. (Although ink available in the US is more smudge-prone than the ink available there.) The best fountain pens, most of which used cartridges, were from England (Parker, Schaeffer) or Germany (Pelikan). However, these are a far cry from name-brand actually internationally-renowned pen manufacturers (Mont Blanc, Aurora, Waterman, etc.). We did not know of them.

Also, what was *very* common there, but which I have yet to see here in America, was a pen-like implement that could be used to “erase” what had been written with an ink pen. I forgot the name, but thank to the Internet I found it: such an implement was called an “eradicator”. On one end was a white tip that eradicated (erased?) ink. The other end had something akin to a permanent pen/marker to write in the eradicated area. One could not write with a fountain pen in the eradicated area again–the ink would vanish–hence the permanent pen portion. The more the eradicator is used, the more “inky” the eradicator part would get. Once it could not eradicate any more, the eradicator would be thrown away and another would take its place. This was a crucial and essential (indeed, mandatory) implement in one’s stationary set. Along with the pen and method to replace the ink (the ink pot or cartridges). But pencils and rubbers still were used, especially when we had to draw/diagram something. (You cannot use a ruler with a fountain pen, for example.)

Because writing by a fountain pen could be erased, the use of ballpoint pens was frowned upon.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: October 4, 2007, 7:07 pm

Which pens do you like, Your Grace?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 5, 2007, 6:18 am

Well, I file the ball off my fountain pens so that they write impossibly fine. Because this is a delicate operation (and because I have a bad tendency to lose fountain pens) I mostly favor the cheapest pens. The Watermans and Pelikans are lovely, but expensive my way.

They were once much more common here.

We once used “rubbers” to mean “galoshes” — overboots. My grandmother was a sweet, innocent old dame. On my parents’ wedding day, struggling with emotion when it came time to say goodbye, she looked off in the distance and saw a raincloud nobody else could see. Thinking it was an amusing last act of protective motherhood, she ran after their honeymoon car shouting, “be sure to wear your rubbers, son! Hear me? You wear those rubbers!”

My grandfather burned a lot of energy in his lifetime trying to shut her up.

Comment from Lokki
Time: October 5, 2007, 9:45 am

Which is an obvious set up for another Brit phrase that doesn’t cross the pond well….

To knock someone up

While I was in London, I knocked up your daughter

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 5, 2007, 11:22 am

Uncle B called me a slut once. He meant “an indifferent housekeeper.” At least, that’s what he said it meant after I slapped him silly.

Comment from Lokki
Time: October 5, 2007, 1:29 pm

One evening while we were drinking with my (Japanese) bother and sister-in-law, I was looking to tease Mrs. Lokki for being a bit sassy with me. Although, I’m decent enough in my Japanese for everyday stuff, I lacked the vocabulary for this comment. Fumbling through my Japanese/English pocket dictionary for the right word, I stumbled across the noun “Ochaku”. I then declared that sometimes Mrs. Lokki was often quite the Ochaku and that it was a bit of a problem.

My brother-in-law sprayed his whiskey all over the table and damn near died laughing. He told me that he has exactly the same problem with Mrs. Lokki’s sister, his wife.

It came out, when he could breath again, that sassy isn’t quite an accurate translation of “Ochaku” – It’s seems it’s more like “Impertinent Bitch”.

Odd, how Mrs. Lokki and her sister didn’t get the humor of my error quite as keenly as my brother-in-law…. 🙂

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 5, 2007, 4:20 pm

Lokki – I spent uncounted hours trying to get a good accurate japanese translation of “Help! I have a feather boa stuck up my back passage!” – and I now find that you speak the language.

I’m going to go drink. Bye.

Comment from Lokki
Time: October 5, 2007, 4:34 pm

Tasukete kudasai! Boku no ooshiri ni hane no boah sukamate aru!
Note to self: never try this stunt on a blackberry again. Damn near broke a thumb

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 5, 2007, 6:23 pm

Thanks, Lokki, but they were really rude to me when I asked (one even called me an asshole! Can you believe that?) so I’ve moved on. I may write a poem about the experience someday.

Now I’m working on a french cheese site. At least the language is waaay easier.

Sorry about the thumb!

Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: October 6, 2007, 12:31 am

I’ve been at my current job for 16 years. 5 years at an oil co, 5 years at a defense contractor (until peace broke out in 1990, dammit).

This is the first job I’ve ever had where I actually had to request another roll of Scotch tape.

I ran out. By God I actually ran out, at 15.5 years.

I wonder who will finish this roll off after I retire?

Pingback from Hot Stapler Pron « Dave in Texas
Time: October 7, 2007, 4:23 pm

[…] Stapler Pron October 7, 2007 Posted by daveintexas in Finger paints, drama. trackback Over at S. Weasel’splace. […]

Comment from Retired Geezer
Time: October 7, 2007, 7:55 pm

I went to my desk and took a couple of pictures of my stapler.

I think it’s enough to give DinT a little woody.


Comment from Retired Geezer
Time: October 7, 2007, 7:56 pm

Here’s the other one.


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 7, 2007, 8:22 pm


I like that. Especially the bop-top thingy that you can smack the shit out of when you really want to staple sumpin. I haven’t seen one of those bop-top thingies in a long time.

This is a stapler made when men were men! Cold steel. Hardened spring sinews. This is no girly-man stapler sitting on some LA Times fashion-reporters’ desk, that’s for damned sure.

Comment from geoff
Time: October 7, 2007, 9:14 pm

But I was thinking more about your TV/entertainment center/home theatre DVD player.

You just need one of the Philips all-region DVD players. I bought one to watch all my Region 3 martial arts movies, and it’s been great. It worked for the Super Banzai Video Show as well.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 7, 2007, 9:32 pm

geoff – I’m obviously way behind the times. Didn’t know you could get an all-region unit. ‘Spensive?

Comment from geoff
Time: October 8, 2007, 9:07 am

Mine was only $70.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: October 8, 2007, 9:18 am

If they’re that cheap, I wonder why the industry even messes with this “regional” crap.

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