8 Amazing Things You Never Knew About Stationery

Drawing pins

OK so stationery is something not everyone can get excited about – but we have been digging around in our history books and we’ve found some fascinating facts. From the origin of paper to the first ever envelope, we bring you the 8 most amazing facts about stationery that you never knew before.

– We all know that the Egyptians used papyrus to write their hieroglyphs, but did you know that the paper we use every day was invented in 105 AD by a Chinese man known as Cai Lun. There were, of course, primitive forms of paper around before this, but Cai Lun was the first to make a significant stride forwards in the paper industry by adding new materials to its composition to make it stronger.

–  It takes an average of 3.5 litres of crude oil to produce a single laser toner cartridge.

– Did you know that pen lids cause on average 100 deaths a year? This is, unsurprisingly, because people put the lids in their mouths, chew on them and very quickly suffocate. To counteract an astoundingly high death toll, manufacturers introduced a small hole into the lids to prevent choking. This is often viewed as an urban myth, but it does mean that if the lid is inhaled and gets stuck in your throat, you can still breathe (just about) until it is removed.

– There is in fact, indisputable proof that pencils are superior to pens. A typical led pencil can draw a line that’s 35 miles long, while the average ball point pen can only draw one up to 2 miles long.

– The ballpoint pen has been around since 1938, when a Hungarian journalist named Laszlo Biro used the ink from a printing press in a fountain pen to avoid leaks, blotches and smudges. This is because the ink from a printing press dried much faster than the traditional fountain ink. However, the ballpoint pen didn’t really take off until World War Two, when the British RAF adopted it because it wouldn’t leak at higher altitudes.

– We all love a good eraser – one that doesn’t mark or tear the page and just removes our mistakes. But before the modern eraser was invented, there was an alternative – this was known as ‘bread eraser’. Crustless bread used to be used as an eraser before an English engineer stumbled across rubber’s erasing properties.

– The first known envelope was used in the Middle East, and goes as far back as 3500 BC. But these weren’t the traditional paper envelopes we know today. Instead hollow clay spheres were moulded around the financial tokens used in those times as a substitute for money. Once our friend  Cai Lun invented paper, our modern envelopes emerged and were first found China to store gifts of money.

– The Post-It note was invented in 1977, roughly 9 years after the technology was invented to make them possible. A man called Spencer Silver, who was working for 3M at the time, was working on new ways to create a super strong adhesive, and instead managed the reverse – a super weak adhesive that could be peeled away and leave no residue.


So there you have it – the 8 most fun facts we found about stationery throughout the years. Stay tuned for more updates as we hit the book to dig out more gems for you!

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