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 ]