The Office: The Gem of the Gizmos

The paper clip was invented, perhaps as far back as the 13th century, to clip papers. Since then, it has been one of the most useful of all-purpose tools. Every office worker and housewife has taken advantage of this fact for years, but it took the Germans to make a definitive study. Alarmed at the rate at which its clips were disappearing, a Munich manufacturing firm sent spies out to trace the fate of 100,000 of them.

The findings: only one out of five was ever used to clip one piece of paper to another. Of the 80,000 others, 19,413...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!