A stapler … and not

by | Dec 19, 2013 | Uncategorized | 18 comments

It’s stapler week in the Typosphere!

Ton S. started us off, followed by Miguel Chávez and Nick Beland. Have I left anyone out?

Anyway, I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and show you a couple of paper fasteners I enjoy.

First is an Aceliner stapler, model 502, made by Ace Fastener Co. of Chicago.

Ace Fastener was founded in 1952. The company is now based in Camden, NJ, and apparently still offers the Aceliner 502, although some online retailers say it is currently unavailable.
This model has been made for decades and has many devoted fans. I didn’t know this when I found the stapler at my local St. Vinnie’s. I bought it because of its good-looking industrial design with attractive marbled plastic. After extensive cleaning, it looks fabulous. And I’m also happy to report that it works like a charm — strong, stable, and effective.
The front plate slides back and forth so the machine can be used either for conventional stapling, or for splayed stapling, which creates an easily removable staple (a bit like the straight pins that were sometimes used to fasten papers in the 19th century).

My other gadget bears the entertaining moniker Bump Paper Fastener.

I love the duck face on the Bump:

I learned about the Bump from Mark Frankena’s presentation at Herman Price’s typewriter collectors’ meeting this October. Mark (who curates an online Early Office Museum) gave an excellent talk on the many ways to fasten papers (learn more by following the link to his site). The Bump is particularly fascinating because it uses no staples or pins. Instead, it cuts a tab in the paper, slices a slit, and tucks the tab through the slit, in a very quick and clever mechanical procedure.

We are coming up on the centennial of George P. Bump’s July 21, 1914 patent for my handheld device.

There’s also a version of the Bump that stands on the desk, with a big button on top that does the work. It was patented in 1910 and 1918.

Bump Paper Fasteners were popular for quite a few years, and can easily be found on eBay. Their limitation is that they work best with only 2-4 sheets of paper. Their advantages are that they don’t need staples and they are great conversation starters.

I was amazed when a Japanese-American student turned in some work this semester which was fastened with a Bump-like tab and slit. She told me that her parents brought her fastener back from a trip to Japan. Could it be that such devices are still made there?


  1. Ton S.

    Nice, Richard! The Aceliner looks like it was built to do heavy duty work. I remember seeing it in your office. The Bump Paper Fastener is fascinating (fastener-fascinating, I like the sound of that), didn't even know you can fasten paper that way. How interesting that your student used a fastener, it sure beats the paper clips a number of my students used for their papers this semester!

  2. Unknown

    All five of the new staplers I've seen have been new to my eyes. Shows how much I paid attention to them before…though I may changing that.

  3. Joe V

    Those are very cool staplers! My only stapler of note, besides the standard modern desk type, is a long-reach stapler, handy for making simple manilla cardstock covered booklets, zine style.

  4. Miguel Chávez

    Oooh, the Ace Fastening Co, of Chicago! That was the company that made the other, older stapler I remember we had! And my brother used to have an Aceliner (or something very similar). I remember I found it funny when you opened it for reloading. You pulled the stapler back, then pulled down the staple holder, exposing the hammer. Pulled out the tape spring, and loaded 3/4 of a standard package of staples (it wasn't long enough to hold all the staples at once). Then secured the spring in place, and pressed everything back to the normal position.

    What I liked most about this model was that you could actually turn it into a tacker without having to remove the stapler from the base. Very convenient when you're in that certain age when you find stapled posters and photos on your walls highly fashionable.

    "Splayed stapling"… that was the term I was looking for. See? One can learn something everyday in the Typosphere!

  5. Richard P

    I made up the term "splayed stapling" and Google says it's the only occurrence of it in the world. Let's start a new usage!

  6. Rob Bowker

    Yes, I have seen staple-less paperfasteners with a cut-fold-lock quite recently. It would take farly heavy use over a long term to offset both the steel and the expense… but preloved is a perfect solution.

  7. rn

    Paper fasteners do seem to be popular, and still in production, in Japan. Just search eBay for 'stapleless stapler' and you will find an engaging variety.


  8. Richard P

    Wow, you are right. Thanks for the tip.

  9. schrijfmachine

    What a clever mechanism! I definetely want one of those stapleless staplers!

  10. Mark Adams

    That Aceliner stapler is a pretty one, but finicky. My students never could figure out how to use it (shocking, I know) and every Aceliner I owned got hopelessly jammed. I recall it worked best if one held it in ones hand, rather than place it upon a table.

  11. Dwayne F.

    I found an Ace at an antique mall last year. Gorgeous device – do you recall what modern staples fit?

  12. Richard P

    The company says, "Loads Ace Standard Staples or Aceliner Chisel Point Staples."

    It works great for me, by the way, either in hand or on table.

  13. Richard P

    It's good to know that Mr. Bump's concept continues to thrive! Check eBay for some neat stapleless staplers you can import from Japan.

  14. mpclemens

    "Stapleless Stapler" is the magic search term for the modern Bump machine. I have one of these big-button plastic examples on my desk at work, next to my Swingline #3.

  15. Unknown

    How do you unjamm the stapler? Help please

  16. Richard P

    Sorry, there are several ways in which a stapler can get jammed, and I cannot diagnose it online.


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