Patented 100 years ago to mitigate the time-consuming process of manually hole-punching and thread-binding papers and manuscripts, the classic piece of office-supply brilliance known as the binder clip deserves a prominent spot in every office, home and quick-and-dirty DIYers’ toolkit.
A Brief History of Binder Clips
Unlike its older and significantly more simplistic cousin, the paperclip, the binder clip binds significantly larger stacks of paper together with ease; unlike staples, hole punches or thread, the binder clip is a completely non-destructive method of binding and organising paper with a vice-like grip. (You can even completely remove the wires if you prefer to keep the clip fastened and want to lose the cruft.)
As per Wikipedia, the binder clip has undergone next to no significant design improvements or changes since it was invented nearly 100 years ago. You can find the indispensable gadgets in a variety of sizes, from the tiny roach-clip style to clamps the size of your hand (but with a significantly stronger grip).
In the UK, it’s called a bulldog clip. Yeah.
So yeah, binder clips hold paper together. That’s not terribly sexy, and even the fact that it’s stood the test of time and remains one of the most reliable and ubiquitous office supplies doesn’t really change that. But the binder clip transcends the yawn-factor of office knighthood through the many brilliant and clever ways they’ve been put to use outside the piles of workspace papers. Let’s look at a few of our favourites:
Binder Clip as Cable Catcher
The Hipster PDA
Smart Phone Stand
Combine binder clips with a sturdy sync cable and you’ve got yourself a syncing stand. Or you can do a little bending for a smart phone stand of a different style.
And So On
The binder clip can also stand in as emergency cuff links in a pinch, stop hanging folders from sliding, create a quick DIY photo wall, hold your duvet cover and more. It’s one of those “let your imagination run wild” DIY tools, and it’s surprising versatility seems almost endless.
So it’s in that spirit that we salute the classic binder clip, this editor’s favourite understated workplace timesaver.