Some Interesting Facts about Stationery

For those of you who may not think stationery is interesting, this post is for you. Stationery, and office supplies, in general, have earned a reputation for being boring or “every day” and the staff here at Envelopes Ltd. want to change that.

Here are some interesting facts about stationery and office supplies and perhaps you might learn something new today. Don’t miss the last one; it’s something you’ll really like!

  • PaperIn the middle ages, a stationer was a person licensed to sell books and paper at a fixed place or ‘station’ at a university. The term stationery later came to be applied to all writing materials.
  • Paper was invented by a Chinese eunuch and court official named Ts’ai Lun around AD105.
  • In the 16th century, the first graphite deposit was discovered in Northern England, so the pencil was created.
  • Edwin Hill and Warren de la Rue were granted a British patent for the first envelope making machine in 1845. It took almost 50 years before a successful machine was built and commercialised for the purpose of producing pre-gummed envelopes.
  • Envelopes containing windows were patented by Americus F Callahan of Chicago in 1902.
  • The first patent for a ballpoint pen, designed to mark leather, was given to John Loud, in 1888.
  • It would be another 50 years before László Bíró patented his re-invention of the ballpoint in 1938 making it more useful for the “common” man.
  • Research in 2008 showed that the average Bic ballpoint pen can draw a line two miles long.
  • Using just commonly found Sellotape, you can create an interesting phenomena known as triboluminescence. This is where light is generated during the breakage of chemical bonds in materials when they are subjected to forces such as being pulled apart, ripped or crushed. The effect can be seen as flashes of blue light when peeling the Sellotape in a darkened area.