Ace Fastener Corp.

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Ace Fastener Corp., 3415 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL

It’s a rare circumstance in the ever-changing world of office supplies for a single product to remain relevant for this long, particularly with no major mechanical or technological upgrades along the way. But by some magical confluence of genius and restraint, William Frederick Weber—inventor of the first Ace staplers—basically got it right the first time.

By 1918, being a tad too old for military conscription, Weber helped the war effort by building aircraft parts in the tool factory of the Duro Metal Products Company. Presumably, by the 1920s, he’d begun experimenting with his own mechanical designs, but it’s not until 1930—perhaps forced by economic necessity—that William finally applied for his first patent on a “stapling machine.”

As late as the 1980s, the Ace Fastener Company (by then owned by the New York banking firm Dominick and Dominick) was still based in Chicago and still producing many of its famous brands—including the Pilot, Clipper, Aceliner, and Concorde—the same way it had for half a century.

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