Back in the Stone Age.

When I first started writing, sending manuscript submissions via snail mail was the norm. Very few agents or publishers accepted communications through email. Preparing the documents required manila envelopes, the lives of several trees, and lots of paper clips.

 Now, I rarely need a paper clip. 

The owl, the butterfly, and zebra stripes.

In The Evolution of Useful Things the author details the origin and the production of a device that did not pucker or pierce the paper like straight pins and staples.

Although there are many paper clip designs, the British Gem Manufacturing Company produced the practical ‘Gem.’ This is the oval loop within a loop shape recognized around the world.


Paper is not the only use for the Gem. With just a few bends and added beads—voilà!

These little office helpers are also tools—removing a sim card from a phone, ungunking glue from the tip of the bottle, pitting a cherry, or hanging a Christmas ornament.

It’s fun to make simple paper airplanes using paper clips for counterbalance.

The lowly paper clip is a meaningful symbol.

During WWII, Norwegians fastened paper clips to their jacket lapels. Paper clip translated in Norwegian means ‘binders.’ These tiny pieces of metal were symbols of binding together against the German forces of occupation. 

A 2007 documentary simply named Paper Clips follows Middle School children in Tennessee as they learn about the Holocaust and collect 6 million paper clips to represent the Jewish people killed by the Nazis.

The paper clip can be a tool, jewelry, a symbol, and much more.

What does the paper clip mean to you?


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