Around Westport, “Staples” means one thing: our high school.
Everyone knows the name. Some folks (though not enough) know that the namesake is Horace Staples. In 1884, at the age of 80 — after making a fortune in lumber, shipping, farming, banking, and a silk and axe factory — he “put up” a school.
But this isn’t a story about Horace Staples. It’s about what the rest of the world thinks of when they hear “staples”: the tiny wire thingies that fasten sheets of paper together.
The other day, Mark Kramer was cleaning out his late father’s Minuteman Hill house. Sid died in December, a month short of his 100th birthday. A noted publisher and literary agent, he’d lived in Westport for much of his adult life. There was a lot of stuff around.
Mark spotted an old stapler — one he’d used at Staples, before graduating in 1961. Curious, he went online to learn more about it.
He did not find that device. But he stumbled on a whole web world of stapler aficionados.
Including this, from Tom Crandall on the Antique Outings website:
OK I will admit it. I just love staplers from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. There is something special about them that just warms my heart. The Compo Stapler was manufactured by the Compo Manufacturing Company located in Westport Connecticut. The patent dates back to 1923 and was invented by Richard J. Holt-Hausen….
The patent was for a Staple Machine, which at the time, was what some staplers were referred to as. I couldn’t find much information on how long the Compo Manufacturing Company existed for or how long the Compo stapler was produced.
The Compo Stapler was sold as a non clogging paper stapler. It accepted No 1 staples, but they suggested using the Combo No 1 staples to increase sales no doubt. It was touted as a stapler that could also unbend staples. They even made a rubber cushion that would fit on top of the plunger. They had a motto “It Never Foils In the Clinches.”
There you have it. Everything you never even knew you needed to know about Westport’s connection to staples.
But if you know more — like where the Compo Manufacturing Company was located — hit “comments.” Westport — and stapler fans everywhere — want to know.