Monday, February 05, 2007

Classics of Everyday Design 3

Number three in the ongoing Guardian arts blog series by Jonathan Glancey, the humble paper clip was patented by the Norwegian inventor Johan Vaaler in 1899 and has been indispensible ever since. Interesting historical note: "...in recent years a giant paperclip (I promise this is true) has been erected outside Oslo in Vaaler's memory. There is, though, a perfectly serious reason for this seemingly mad moment in the world of public art. During the Second World War, when Norwegians were forbidden by their German conquerors from displaying national symbols, they began to wear paperclips in their clothes. Not only was it, in their minds, a Norwegian invention, but it symbolised the idea of holding on together. Soon enough it became a crime to be seen sporting a paperclip." Read the rest of Glancey's piece here.
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