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The Evolution of Useful Things
The Evolution of Useful Things

Only Henry Petroski, author of The Pencil, could make one never pick up a paper clip again without being overcome with feelings of awe and reverence. In his new book the author examines a host of techno-trivia questions.

It began as a lesson about prejudice... What happened next was a miracle.

Courtesy of Scott Kurtz

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I have come to check my daughter out of school for an eye exam.  The secretary at the school asks if those things in my ears are really paperclips.  Yes, indeed they are, is my reply.  Then I add: these plastic coated ones come in an assortment of colors and don't bother my ears like so many other earrings.  This scenario is like many others I encounter almost on a weekly basis.

A Little-known Fact about the Paperclip

During the five year long Nazi occupation of Norway, in World War II, the paperclip became a symbol of national unity. It was worn with pride even though these simple show of loyalty risked wearers being arrested, deported, or even executed.  BBC

During World War II, Norwegians were prohibited from wearing any buttons with the likeness or initials of their king on them. In protest they started wearing paperclips, because paperclips were a Norwegian invention whose original function was to bind together. This was a protest against the Nazi occupation and wearing a paperclip could sometimes have gotten you arrested.

More on Paperclips

Ideas for use of paperclips

paperclips (Urban Dictionary definition)

Small metal objects, usually with 3 bends in them. Packaged in boxes holding a large number of them. Seen on cubicle desks. Uses include: reshaping out of boredom, throwing at co-workers, firing with rubber bands, holding papers together, picking locks, picking teeth, sticking in wall sockets, or doing anything McGiver would.

Man turns paper clip into house

(Blogger bartered it for bigger or better items until he got the home)
By Brian Bergstein
Associated Press

Taking a paper clip and turning it into a house sounds like a cheesy magic trick or a phony instance of resourcefulness on the 1980s TV show "MacGyver."

People work on the house that Kyle MacDonald bartered a red paper clip for in Kipling, Saskatchewan, Canada. MacDonald will take ownership of the three-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot building Wednesday. Kyle MacDonald, however, has pulled it off.

One year ago, the 26-year-old blogger from Montreal set out to barter one red paper clip for something and that thing for something else, over and over again until he had a house.  Read the rest of the story.

Other uses:

  1. Pick dirt and lint from your fingernails and toenails.
  2. A very cool earring.
  3. To hold various papers together
  4. To construct a chain necklace
  5. Put a curved line of rust on important papers.
  6. Use as a hairpin
  7. Use it for a toothpick
  8. Quite handy at a paper clip convention
  9. hanger for real little people clothing
  10. Replacing the silly little screws which fall out of your sunglasses!

Courtesy of Scott Kurtz