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Boarding @ Home: Day 69/84: First Find the Stapler Please & Memorial Day Weekend

By popular request … Most reassuring that our blogging labours are stimulating broad interest .. and today's request is: If that was the tale of paperclips [Day 68/84] when and how did staplers get invented? The history probably starts in 1841 when Samuel Slocum received a patent for his document fastening method that consisted of threading pins through paper. Next in 1866 George McGill at Novelty Manufacturing Company patented a fastener that was the first true stapler holding paper together with a binder that was like a staple. Finally in 1877 Henry R. Heyl filed Patent #195,603 for the first machine to both insert and clinch a staple; and for this reason many have considered him the inventor of our modern stapler. However the accolade almost certainly belongs to McGill in 1879 because …. Heyl's first patent in 1877 was a two stage device. It required the user to insert a single staple with the legs pointing up with the papers to be fastened placed above the staple. A first downward blow inserted the staple and bent the legs part of the way inward but did not fully clinch the staple; next the user was required to move the papers forward and deliver a second blow to clinch the staple. His second/ revised patent in 1881 was a single blow device. However, between the 1877 and 1881 dates of the Heyl patents George W. McGill got his own patent for a single blow staple press in February 1879. Neither of these now everyday devices can be dubbed cacotechny, hurtful, as more than a few have quickly become in the digital era!

Memorial Day in USA. Our focus in the British Isles is primarily November 11th but in the US, starting with the tragedy of the Civil War this date was always set as May 30th until changed in 1971 to become always the last Monday in May [i.e. 25.05.2020]. The Day honours and remembers all who have died in military service for the United States which by this year now exceeds a million. It's a Federal Holiday with schools and libraries closed, most federal and state offices closed, and no mail deliveries. Since it always falls on a Monday this creates a three-day break known as Memorial Day weekend. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo N.Y. as the birthplace of Memorial Day where the village held an event on May 5th 1866. It is known that other informal observations took place before that such as on May 1st 1865 when newly freed slaves in Charleston South Carolina held a ceremony properly reburying fallen Union soldiers. Originally called Decoration Day it was held first on May 30th 1868 under proclamation by General John A. Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, with the placing of flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery with Pre-President James Garfield delivering a speech.

Next by popular request comes our own 'pink' garden poppy. It's getting more like the daily Covid19 Press Conference we've had every day since Boarding began. Not wholly inappropriate however bearing in mind the Memorial Day description preceding - even if it was a week earlier this year than today's May 30th. At this time of year our countryside is replete with them just as they grew in Flanders fields as the soil was churned and the trenches were dug out immortalised by John McCrea's poetry.
In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.

Published Date: May 30th 2020

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