Can't say I ever gave much thought to staplers until last week, when I had occasion to use the stapler in the office mail room, depicted above.

The first thing I noticed was that it's ugly, and seemingly over-designed. The platonic form of a stapler doesn't have that narwhal tooth. This one does, so that rather than going to all the trouble of squeezing the stapler, or pushing down on the stapler with your hand, you push the lever. I didn't see how that could improve the function and it clearly detracts from the form.

It turned out to be the best stapler I've ever used. It works with surgical precision, almost a sense of purpose. A quiet, hydraulic-sounding shot and the papers are fastened together evenly, dependably, perfectly.

Having given it some thought, I guess the stapler works so well because it's solidly constructed--it's about six inches long and surprisingly heavy--but also, perhaps, because that lever that I was scoffing at encourages accuracy by interpolating a layer of control between the head of the stapler and the human operator. You know how people just staple things all willy-nilly, holding the stapler at whatever angle seems right at the time. In this case you're ergonomically encouraged to change the way the designer intended.

The experience that results isn't fun in any objective sense, but it is exceptionally fun in terms of using a stapler. One caveat: you shouldn't switch to this stapler if you're the kind of person who frequently has occasion to remove staples. It's too good.

Recommended reading: You Are Not a Gadget, by Jaron Lanier; also this article about how staplers work from one of my favorite writers, "an eHow contributor."
 



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