Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oh, patents! Collette paper-clips

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Ok, back to paperclips! 
Have you ever noticed how a regular smooth-wire paper clip sometimes just slips off the surface of the paper? Collette clips, named after the American inventor Clarence Charles Collette,  are designed with serrations,  precisely to resolve this issue, and to securely grip together  various sheets of paper.

The Collette clip, as disclosed in the May 17, 1921 patent US1378525, titled Paperclip was introduced as follows:

"My invention has for its object to produce a means for securing a plurality of sheets together, commonly known as a paper clip wherein are formed sharply pointed projections for penetrating and engaging the sheet material, such as paper, to prevent removal of the clip or the separation of one or more of the sheets from the dip. In my invention the projecting points are located on the opposite sides of a bent clip having its parts preferably located in the same plane, it being particularly adaptable to a clip which is of the form of a flattened oblong spiral well known in the stationary arts."

The Collette clip was also disclosed in the 1922 British Patent GB182567 titled Improvements to paperclips, this time  introduced in contrast to the original paperclip as:
“The invention relates to means for clipping together a plurality of sheets of paper or the like and has particular reference to clips of the kind which comprise a length 'of resilient metal wire bent to form two U-shaped portions one of which lies within and in the same plane as the other, one limb of the one U being connected to the remote limb of the other U.”
And in both patents, the invention also includes disclosure of  the means by which the serrations are produced, at strategic offset  positions, on opposite sides of the clip, using a sharp instrument.

Below, the abstract for Collette Clips from the original 1922 British patent GB182567, titled Improvements in paperclips is included. There is no abstract available for US1378525, titled Paperclip. The two Figure drawings are identical in both the GB182567 and US1378525 patents. 

 182,567. Collette, C. C. April 6, 1921. Clips, spring-wire.-A clip of the shape shown in Fig. 1 is provided on both sides with projections 8 raised above the normal surface of the wire, the projections on the opposite sides being preferably arranged alternately as shown in Fig. 2.

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