Can you imagine a world without fasteners? Probably not. You probably have them lying around on your desk at any given time. Have you ever wondered where they came from and how far innovation has taken them?
The Fastener and Its Maker
Heavy clips, staplers, punchers, office organizers and even presentation software, ACCO or American Clip Company, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands, Inc., makes them all and is one of the world’s leading suppliers of office tools.
The company began it business with paper clips and later expanded to other office and school supplies, including prong paper fasteners, which was introduced to the public in 1912. Today, ACCO sells everything from desk staplers and punchers to shredding and binding machines. Under the umbrella company, ACCO, there are several other brand (Apollo, Kennsington, Quartet, Swingline, Day Timer, GBC and Wilson Jones) all of which have unique specialties and fall under different product categories.
In spite of how far it has come ACCO does not forget that much of its success is owed to the most basic of office and school supply: the fastener.
Acco fasteners are a two-pronged items designed to compress and hold paper together or in a folder. After the advent of typewriters with front strike keys, volumes of documents were being produced every day. The invention of this typewriter created a need for a tool to bind thicker sets of documents in a way that is neat, organized and durable. Unlike the paperclip which was designed for a light and temporary hold, prong paper fasteners were far more secure. From that point on, the ACCO paper fastener became a staple in office work and remains to be one of the most commonly used office supplies today.
It has clearly set the standard for quality; in fact, the US Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends the use of Acco fasteners. Instead of heavy staples, applicants are advised to prepare their resumes with Acco fasteners or heavy clips. The Acco fasteners USCIS prescribed in this government agency’s website must be used to put together thick sets of documents for submission.
High Grade Metal Fastener
ACCO fasteners are made from high grade metal with smooth and safe edges. Each fastener is manufactured with a storage capacity of about one to 3-1/2 inches thick of paper. The most common of these sizes can bind documents two inches thick, consistent with the size of standard file folders. Online and in retail stores, you can get a box of 50 ACCO fasteners for about $13 to $16.
As with all inventions though, prong paper fasteners have also gone through significant product innovations.
Plastic Paper Fasteners
ACCO is more known for its metallic binders for documents but from the original thin-metal material, the trend has moved towards the use plastic, definitely something more user-friendly. Plastic fasteners never rust over time and spares users from that rather disconcerting feeling they get when they rub two metal objects against each other.
Everybody knows the fastener is comprised of four small parts: a two-holed flat base, a thin flat stick and two flat hooks attached to the base. When plastic is used, it is easier to move the little objects of the fastener around and put them together because the hooks and the binder slide through without friction. Plastic has also enabled fasteners to come in bright colors, more preferred by users of a younger age group.
Brass Round Head Fastener
Other than the more familiar Acco fasteners staples, ACCO has likewise developed a roundhead fastener made of brass. This design is more flexible because the individual heads can be positioned anywhere in the sheet regardless of the holes’ distance from each other.
The round brass head is sized larger than the standard size of the punch hole to secure the binding. Two thin prongs, which can be folded into place, extend from the brass round head to fasten the documents together. These prongs come in different lengths, typically from 1/2-inch to 3 inches.
Compressor and Binder Sets
Although it used to be that fasteners were not built into folders and the two items have to be purchased separately, in recent years ACCO has been making cover and binding sets. You can keep documents neatly bound together with the use of ACCO Pressboards, which are pretty much sturdy folders and fasteners all in one. Here are some of the sought-after products of ACCO:
The ACCO Pressboard Report Cover in a Legal document format (housing 8 ½ “docs with top binding) keeps your papers together and without wrinkle inside a thick pressboard cover bound along the top. It can hold up to two inches thick of legal size sheets. Black with matching hinges, the ACCO Pressboard Report Cover is great way to present important documents to clients and superiors who need to be impressed.
The ACCO Pressboard Report Cover Letter documentation format (housing 11” docs with side binding) meanwhile comes in different sizes and layout. Another variation comes in more colors covered in 20 pt. genuine pressboard material. The fasteners secure all pages by the sides and are designed to bind a set of documents 3 inches thick. This one is letter-sized.
The ACCO Pressboard Report Cover Specialty binding houses 11” docs and is bound right at the edges, it can hold 3 inches thick of 11″ x 17″ size sheets. It is also made in 20 pt. genuine pressboard material with hinges the same color as the cover, Red.
Those who are environmentally conscious will be happy to know that all of the aforementioned products are made from 50% recycled content as well, so you are reducing your effect on the environment while you work. These sets of pressboards with accompanying ACCO fasteners are the latest innovations from ACCO to provide students, clerks, managers and even top executives with top quality cover and binding. Their prices range from $6 to $8 per piece and sets cost about $30.
Acco fasteners staples have indeed come a long way but the classic metallic two-pronged fastener has yet to go out of style. For now, it remains to be widely used and because it is useful, it may continue to be a staple item for the filing needs of students and professionals.