Thursday, July 13, 2006

inner dork: the paper clip

Did you know the paper clip was invented by Norwegians? Me, neither. Then I watched this really great documentary over the weekend called,
paper clip It's about a small town learning about the Holocaust, one paper clip at a time.

Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor with a degree in electronics, science and mathematics, invented the paperclip in 1899. He received a patent for his design from Germany in 1899, since Norway had no patent laws at that time. Johan Vaaler was an employee at a local invention office when he invented the paperclip. He received an American patent in 1901 -- patent abstract "It consists of forming same of a spring material, such as a piece of wire, that is bent to a rectangular, triangular, or otherwise shaped hoop, the end parts of which wire piece form members or tongues lying side by side in contrary directions." Johan Vaaler was the first person to patent a paperclip design, although other unpatented designs might have existed first.

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 have gotten you arrested.

5 comments:

Bi Any Other Name said...

Yes, I did see that, and it was very, very good. They did a wonderful job at filming that.

puerileuwaite said...

PG, thank you for the info.

This will settle many a tavern argument, where some obnoxious drunk (other than me) inevitably riles everyone up with the "What did the Norwegians ever do for us?" question.

Will there be a Quisling (Norwegian for "mini-quiz) on this later?

The Devil's Advocate in me (or maybe it's the Devil himself) can't help but wonder how effective this protest could have been, had they choosen to shoot the Nazis with those paperclips.

Or did they not possess the required rubberband technology?

BTW, you are one sexy Cliff Clavin!

Bre said...

Your inner dork makes me giggle... and look at the box of paperclips in a while new way!

SB said...

I watched that this weekend, too. Made me bawl like a baby. I am going to the Holocaust Memorial in DC next weekend. I promptly bought that song on iTunes, as well. Love Allison Krause. I sing like her in my head but something happens on the way out my mouth.

Instead of bad pick up lines, do a entry on Worst Dates, I got some doozies from my wild single days!

Party Girl said...

Bi: yes. Thanks for stopping by!

P: Damn it! You're on to me. Crap. I need to find a new angle.

Bre: The phrase: did you know, is said a lot. Co-workers have started asking me what I know just so they can hear my dorkiness.
...easy enough to comply.


SB: Oddly enough that's what happens to me too. I sing best when alone in my car with the windows rolled up and the stereo is REALLY loud.