As an "inventor of the paper clip" the Norwegian Johan VAALER (1866 to 1910) is in many directories and dictionaries. For the majority of his compatriots he is to this day. They are so proud of him that they set a memorial to him in front of the BI Commercial College in Sandvika near Oslo - in the shape of a seven-meter-high paper clip plastic.

Irony of History: This monument by no means shows the paper clip variant that Vaaler developed and patented for the German Reich (1899) and the United States (1901). It shows the victorious competitor of the Vaaler clamp - the so-called gem-clamp, named after the first manufacturer, the British Gem Manufacturing Company. The staple of the Norwegian inventor who worked in an Oslo patent office has never been produced. His patents ran out unused.

The Gem brace, on the other hand, is still the archetype worldwide and the standard design for wire-bent paper clips. It differs from Vaaler's version in two essential points that established its success: first, by its rounded tip, which facilitates the postponement of the papers to be bundled, and secondly by the missing at Vaalers proposal second wire loop, which gives the clip the necessary stability,

Brace for the population

And yet Johan Vaaler remains in the memory of his compatriots. For in the Second World War, during the occupation of Norway by German troops from 1940, worn visibly on the clothes worn paper clips the Norwegians as symbols of national cohesion. They were also an expression of solidarity with both the government and the king, who had exiled to England. And they should convey the defiant message to the German occupants: We Norwegians hold together against you.

When, a few years after the end of the war, Vaaler emerged as the (alleged) inventor of the paper clip in directories, he was - in memory of the patriotic paper-clip wearing - completely transfigured into a national hero. And after all, he made it this way into the bdw discovery puzzle! display

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