By Beth Clark • May 29, 2018
Humans have been fastening papers together since at least the 13th century, waxed ribbons being the go-to until the late 1800s when the first of over 50 patents were issued to different inventors in different countries for different designs. Norwegian Johan Vaaler is frequently mistakenly credited as "the" inventor of the paper clip, but it wasn't (and still isn't) quite that simple since the first paper clip patent was issued 34 years before his.
There must have been a lot of papers to hold together at the turn of the 20th century because 52 patents for paper clip designs were issued between 1867 and 1936, including:
The modern paper clip—the silver Gem model that we all know, use, and love today—is NOT actually patented. But the name "Gem" was trademarked in 1904, an ingenious move given how saturated the paper clip invention market was.