Friday, 30 June 2017

Firmly Attached

Like many of my friends and family, I have a great fondness for stationery. The paperless office will never take over the world, whilst we are acquiring notebooks, purchasing pens, stashing our Sharpies and hoarding hole punches.
Currently I am fascinated by paperclips. It is 5 years since I did a school assembly about paperclips.
I found a lovely image of the different clips used in the 19th and early 20th century.
Nowadays there are hundreds of different styles available.
I think these bicycle clips are great!
The trouble is, the fancy ones are often really overpriced- I am not going to pay 75p for a clip which might easily come adrift and get lost.
I'm amused by the fact that the French word for paperclip is trombone.

During WW2, the Norwegians [who claim their own Johan Vaaler as the inventor of the paperclip] wore a paperclip in their lapel as a symbol of resistance against the Germans.
His clip was rectangular in design  - I don't think it has quite enough turns to be secure. Bizarrely, the sculpture in Oslo which commemorates him is a massive 'Gem' paperclip [that's the shape we are most familiar with, and Gem was a British company]

This week I purchased a jar of paperclips in Sainsburys as a gift for Steph. 
She is very fond of things made of rose gold - so these seemed rather appropriate.

I cannot for the life of me work out why they have been described as ethereal though.

The dictionary gives 5 definitions

  1. light, airy, or tenuous
  2. extremely delicate or refined
  3. heavenly or celestial
  4. of or relating to the upper regions of space.
  5. Chemistry. pertaining to, containing, or resembling ethyl ether
I like my paper clips to be strong, and firmly attached - anything but airy and tenuous! And no, I am not shelling out £140 for the paperclip which Prada is currently selling! 


  1. A Prada paperclip??? Oh my! Ethereal is a great word (my year 4's are obsessed with it!)but certainly not a term I'd apply to a paperclip! I've been bought some of those bike ones as a present in the past. If I find them kicking around, I'll send you one/some/whatever I find!
    I had no idea that historically, there were different models!

    1. Year 4s are great with new words, I had a group who loved 'crepuscular' and 'crenellated'. I shall be teaching Year 4s next term.

  2. For reasons too long, and too banal, to recount, we needed to enter without a key a classroom yesterday, and one very well-behaved girl told me that she could get in with a paper clip. We had unfortunately not got one on our persons, but it did make me wonder!

    1. I remember a staff member nipping out of school one lunchtime, and locking himself out of his car. A former pupil came along, and said "Don't worry Sir, I'll open it for you" and within a minute, the teacher was on his way back to school. It would seem that even the most saintly among us have some devilishly clever skills up our sleeves!! BTW how did you get into the room after all?

  3. I didn't know that paperclips had different names based on their shapes!


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