There are virtually as many types of staplers as there are uses for them. Staplers are produced for use in: the manufacture of furniture; medical fields; carpet tacking; electrical wire and insulation installation; picture frame manufacture and, of course, in the home or office.

The size of staplers ranges as well—from a mini stapler (as small a finger) to one requiring two hands to use. And while there is no specific standard size of staple, the basic household (office) type—with a wire size of. 017 of an inch in diameter—is generally accepted as typical. The average multi-use stapler operates with wire sizes averaging. 050 of an inch in diameter. Staplers used in the construction industry utilize what resemble nails that come in preloaded magazines (packets)—similar to firearm ammunition and probably almost as deadly at short range.

Even with the potential of dozens of uses, staplers are most frequently used in binding multi-page documents and other such related office tasks. They are extremely inexpensive: a "typical" home or office stapler costs less than $10.00, and a packet of 5,000 staples, less than $2.00.

Raw Materials

A stapler comprises many components, most of which are metal stampings and spring type parts. Main components of a typical home or office stapler include the base; the anvil (the metal plate over which you put the document that you want to staple); the magazine (which holds the staples); the metal head (which covers the magazine); and the hanger (which is welded to the base and holds the pin that connects the magazine and base). Rivets are used to keep the parts together, and a pin is the hinge point for the top and bottom half. There are also rubber and plastic materials used both in enhancing the product and in making the stapler cosmetically appealing. The springs in a stapler typically perform two separate jobs: they keep the row of staples lined up in the track and ready to be used, and they return the plunger blade to its original up position. (The plunger blade acts as a guillotine, in that it separates one single staple from the row of staples each time it is forced down.)

The most recent staplers are being made almost entirely of plastic. Currently, however, the most popularly used staplers are still those made of metal. Thus, the following focuses solely on the metal stapler and how it is manufactured.

The Manufacturing

While staplers are produced for a number of different uses and in just as many sizes, the basic principles behind the workings of each remain the same, and the chief components (springs, stampings, rivets, moldings, and pins), once completed, are assembled to create similar finished products.

Forming the springs

Stamping of parts

Brake forming


Creating plastic moldings

Making the pin



Quality Control

Samples of all the components are tested individually as they are manufactured. A certain percentage of parts are thoroughly checked as they come off of the automatic machines. Critical dimensions are scrutinized and adjustments are made to the machines or the tools are repaired/replaced as they wear out.

Once the parts are assembled, they are sample inspected for functionality and again a small number of units are continuously cycled until they wear out. The component that wears out is checked for conformity to determine whether it was normal wear or a design flaw.

An important item determining longevity and product warranty is the use of factory recommended staples. The use of incorrect staples is said to be attributed to cause the majority of stapler malfunctions. It should be noted that some stapler companies will service their staplers (for free or a nominal fee) only if their staples, exclusively, are used in the unit.

The Future

Staplers, like most other mechanisms, are continually adjusted and improved upon. As new materials and processes are developed, many uses become incorporated into all kinds of products, the stapler is no exception. Likewise the use for staplers will continue to increase as one of the latest uses is in the medical field as a substitute for stitches.

Where To Learn More


Ewers, William. The Staple Gun in Home and Industry. Sincere Press, 1971.


Capotosto, Rosario. "Pop Goes the Stapler." Popular Mechanics. August, 1987, p. 19.

"Now, a Stapler Can Become a Riveting Tool." Consumer Reports. February, 1987, p. 73.

McCafferty, Phil. "Plastic Nails." Popular Science. April, 1987, p. 66.

William L. Ansel

Also read article about Stapler from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Brad Smith
The outward pointing staple or "OPS" as we sometimes call it, has the advantage of being able to accomodate more sheets of paper. Your local office supply shop would probably be glad to give you a demonstration.

--Brad Smith, Consolidated Office Machines, Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio

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