I love researching the little details for a story. Yesterday I decided that a particular character in “Down The Tubes” should live next door to a paper clip factory, simply because I liked the way that sounded. But I needed to be sure paper clips had been invented in 1895. I found a patent application diagram,which shows a paperclip that is identical to the classic clip we still use today.
Even though W.D. Middlebrook’s machine was patented in 1899, I’ll admit that for fictional purposes I allow myself some ‘wiggle room’ for technology in the country of Industralia – the Maker Mentality is so strong in my contrived world, surely inventors here would be a little ahead of the curve.
“Gem Clips” were introduced even earlier, in 1892, which fits my timeline perfectly with no wiggle-room needed! However, they were never patented. For more information about paper clips, including quite an array of bizarre designs, visit the Early Office Museum’s page on the History of the Paper Clip.