I don’t know if it is because of Mad Men, but retro/vintage office supplies from the 1920’s to the 1960’s are really hot right now. They are really inexpensive, and easy to find at the flea market and at thrift stores.
I have had the same stapler since I was a little girl…it is a vintage 1950’s Swingline.
Swingline® was founded in 1925 in New York City by Jack Linsky as the Parrot Speed Fastener Company. The company’s first manufacturing facility was opened in Long Island in 1931. Just a few years later in 1939, Swingline revolutionized the stapling industry by creating a stapler that opened on top, allowing an office worker to simply drop in a row of staples. This now-standard loading mechanism allowed stapling to become far more practical. In 1956 the company was renamed Swingline. It became a division of ACCO World (formerly a division of Fortune Brands) in 1987.
My tape dispenser is a 1940’s cast iron Scotch model. It weighs almost 7 pounds! In 1930, Richard Drew, a young 3M engineer, invented Scotch® Cellulose Tape. Later to be renamed Cellophane Tape, it is an attractive, moisture-proof way for grocers and bakers to seal packages. The tape helps people “make do” during the Great Depression—they made simple repairs to household items. Scotch® Brand introduced the first heavy-duty, countertop tape dispenser in 1932, made from cast iron. In 1939, Scotch® Brand welcomed the “snail,”—its iconic, handheld tape dispenser. The first version is made from stamped sheet metal, and a molded plastic model is added one year later.
I also have a couple of vintage typewriters, a Royal and a Remington. I bought the Remington years ago at an antiques store, and found the Royal for $5 at the flea market. Henry Mill filed the first patent for a typewriter in 1714, although the machine he envisioned was never built. In 1874, Christopher Sholes developed one that would change that; with backing from Carlos Glidden, he proposed the design for the Sholes & Glidden typewriter to E. Remington & Sons, a manufacturing plant that had formerly specialized in guns but was looking to diversify its business with the Civil War over. In that first year, E. Remington produced 1,000 Sholes & Glidden typewriters, making it the first historically important typewriter and the first to be mass-produced.
Since then, typewriters became much more user friendly and portable. In the 1920s, typewriters began to be standardized, and diversity in typewriter design gradually disappeared. Collectors today can easily identify typewriters by the brand names that are generally stamped on the fronts of these machines in large letters. The exact age and year can be more difficult to determine, but serial and model numbers are useful starting points.