What Are ACCO Fasteners?

ACCO Fasteners secure papers in file folders
ACCO Fasteners secure papers in file folders (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

ACCO is a conglomerate composed of many companies. One of the largest office products suppliers in the world, their products are marketed in over 100 countries. ACCO World Corporation, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands, Inc. manufactures everything from paper clips and staplers to personal organizers, computer peripherals, and software. Various types of ACCO fasteners helped launch the current company.

History of the ACCO Fastener

Fred J. Kline, founder of American Clip Company, previously named Clipper Manufacturing, introduced his new-fangled ACCO Fastener in 1912 and he gave it the acronym of the company as its brand name. Far different than the simple paper clip the company was named for, this two-prong fastener was a great innovation and has been used in offices throughout the world ever since.

It all started with paper clips.
It all started with paper clips. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Original ACCO Fastener

Marketed under the ACCO brand name, eventually the two-pronged locking paper compressor was so successful those fasteners were better known than the name of the company that made them. ACCO gained so much popularity and name recognition that, in 1922, Kline decided to change the company name once more. It became ACCO Products, Inc.

Why ACCO Was So Popular

The introduction of more efficient “front strike” typewriters in the early 1900s, whose keys hit the paper from the front, resulted in larger and larger documents. That created a need to organize them and bind them together in a convenient but durable way. The ACCO Fastener could be used to clip together a few sheets or a multitude of papers and had products to accommodate documents of many dimensions. After punching the papers at the appropriate spots, all one had to do was insert the prongs and secure the top piece to lock them in place.

Typewriters with front strike keys, they were more productive
Typewriters with front strike keys, they were more productive (Image: Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Sizes for ACCO Fasteners

ACCO's Premium Prong Fasteners are sold complete with the compressor as a set. You can also purchase the base only. They secure important papers inside standard file folders or bind them together with or without ACCO binder covers. Manufactured from heavy gauge, high grade metal with smooth, safe edges, they have storage capacity ranging from one to 3-1/2 inches. Lengths are as large as 8-1/2 inches center to center. The most commonly used size is 2-2/3 inches between the prongs with a two-inch capacity, which is used for most file folders.

Some file folders com with the clips attached
Some file folders com with the clips attached (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Binders To Go With The Fasteners

Recognizing the opportunity to add to the product line, Kline established an English subsidiary in 1924 and added a Canadian subsidiary in 1927. By 1928 the company had launched pressboard binders in a multitude of sizes to go with the fastener line. This provided sturdy covers for the documents the fasteners held together. All sorts of businesses use the ACCO products as their standard. Prior to computerized records, accountants used them to handle financial records, attorneys used them for various kinds of legal documents, and proposals were often enclosed between the covers of an ACCO binder. They are still in wide usage to bind hard copies.

Other Kinds of ACCO Fasteners

Adding to the familiar double prong fasteners, used either with or without the locking piece, ACCO introduced the brass roundhead fastener. This fastener fits into one punched hole. Two prongs extend from a round brass head which is larger than a standard punched hole. This prevents it from slipping through the hole. The prongs are inserted into the hole, then spread apart against the last sheet to keep the papers bound together. Lengths range from 1/2-inch to three inches and optional washers are often used with large documents for more security.

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