Stapler Surprises (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Sun, 26 Dec 2004

Stapler Surprises

Did you know that basically all staplers have an adjustable foot which offers a mode where the staple prongs get pushed outward, rather than inward?

Me, neither.

I discovered this by accident. I was organizing some boxes of office supplies, and happened to notice that an upside-down stapler had a spring-loaded foot. How odd, thought I, and poked at it, and discovered that you can pull the plate (held by the spring) out far enough to rotate it 180°, which brings to bear a pair of slots more widely spaced than the normal bend-the-prongs-inward pair of slots.

So I checked Dave's stapler, and it had exactly the same feature. This afternoon I checked my mom's old Swingline (which may be older than I am); it, too, offers the adjustment, but instead of a spring-loaded rotatable plate it has a sliding plate.

I wondered whether I was the only person who didn't know this, after a lifetime of using staplers, so I polled Dave and my mom; they had never noticed it either. Nor have we figured out what circumstance might warrant prongs bent outward -- a circumstance once so common that to this day, every stapler is still designed to make it easy.

I wonder what other surprises are hiding in common household objects?

[ 15:59 Dec 26, 2004    More misc | permalink to this entry ]