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History of the Office
Office Machines


 
Office Supplies
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The History of the Home
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Office History
A short history of the birth and growth of the American office and office machines.

Office Museum
The museum promotes research on the evolution of early office machine technology based on original documents and artifacts and disseminates information about the history of antique office machinery focusing on the 1860s through 1920s. 

By Mary Bellis

The following is a list of office machines with background information and history on each office machine.

Calculators
Carbon Paper
In 1806, carbon paper was invented by Pellegrino Turri of Italy. The term "carbonated paper" was first used in 1860, when Englishman, Ralph Wedgwood was issued a patent for his "Stylographic Writer." However, Pellegrino Turri invented carbon paper as we know it today.
Check Protectors
The earliest record of a mechanical check protector is an 1872 advertisement for the National Safety Check Punch, which was patented by Cory & Brown on May 17, 1870, and sold by J. B. Parks of New York, NY.
Clocks and Timekeeping
Coat Hangers
Coffee and Coffemakers
Computers
Copying Machines
In 1780, steam engine inventor James Watt obtained a British patent for letter copying presses, which James Watt & Co. produced beginning in that year.
Fax, Fax Machine and the Facsimile
Fluorescent Lamps
Legal Pads
The following information may or may not be true, since legal pads were never patented it is hard to say who really invented them first. Since the American Pad & Paper Company does claim to have invented the legal pad and no one else is claiming this, it is fair to give them the credit until proven otherwise.

The American Pad & Paper Company (Ampad) was founded in 1888 by Thomas W. Holley, who was a young employee of a local paper mill. Holley recognized a need for "inexpansive ruled pads of paper" and from his employeement at the mill knew of a paper source called "sortings" from the paper mills. Sortings were cheap because they were unsuitable for finer papers, however, they were perfect for Holley's making of low-cost lined pads, which came to be called legal pads.
Measurement & Measuring Tools
Modems and Email
Paperclip History
Paper Punch
Pens, Pencils, and Pencil Sharpeners
Post-It Notes
Push Pins
Revolving Door
The revolving door was patented by Theophilus von Kannel (1841-1919) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 7, 1888.
Rubber Stamp
The rubber stamp was patented by William Purvis on February 27th, 1883 (U.S. pat#273,149).
Office Safe
The office safe was invented by Henry Brown on November 2nd, 1886 (U.S. pat#352,036).
Rolodex
Scotch Tape
Scissors
Stapler
Brass paper fasteners were introduced in the mid-1860s, and by 1866 George W. McGill had developed a machine to insert these fasteners into papers. The first stapling machine with a magazine that held a supply of preformed wire staples that were fed automatically to the staple-driving mechanism was patented in 1878.
Telephone
Typewriter and Typing
Xerox Photocopiers
White-out - Liquid Paper

Next page > The History of the Home.

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