The A-Z of Office Supplies ‘S-Z’

The A-Z of Office Supplies ‘S-Z’

A-Z from Euroffice, we love office life…

….and pride ourselves on being the office supplies experts, with this in mind, we’ve come up with a handy product guide. The A – Z of Office Supplies. A gift from Euroffice to your office, to help you find out more about what we have to offer. Each week we’ll feature a selection of our favourite products along with some quirky facts about each of them and of course, all the information you’ll need to purchase your own. I wonder if anyone will get the full A-Z collection 🙂 … This week we shine the spotlight on N-R

S is for…

screen glass filter euroffice

  1. Medics in WWI would have loved these screens. To protect themselves from radiation, Radiographers in the Great War had to wear gloves, long smocks and a bucket-like helmet that covered their entire head. These days we can shield ourselves with something much thinner.
  2. If you use this filter on an LCD monitor, you’ve got George Heilmeier to thank. He was instrumental in developing liquid crystal displays and went on to create technology used in stealth bombers, and he even became Director of Darpa, the organisation that invented the Internet.
  3. Perhaps the earliest reference to static electricity came from Greek philosopher Thalus of Miletus in 600BC, who noticed that amber attracted feathers when it was rubbed. He even tried it out on a cat by rubbing amber on its fur.

signature book euroffice

  1. Crossroads was a 70s & 80s soap opera set in a hotel. After it was cancelled, the hotel’s guest book was reportedly auctioned off. Bidders thought they’d get signatures from all the guest stars (signing in as characters), but instead it was full of squiggles.
  2. Neil Armstrong couldn’t afford life insurance for the moon landing mission on his Nasa salary. In case things went wrong and he died up there, he signed a set of space-themed envelopes for his family to sell to raise money.
  3. A copy of the US Constitution, owned, annotated and signed by George Washington sold in 2012 for $9.8m (about six million quid). It went to the organisation that runs Washington’s Virginia estate.

stacking chair blue euroffice

  1. John Cram, who made musical instruments in the late 1700s in Philadelphia, invented a chair with an overhead fan. The rockers on the chairs activated the fan. (Benjamin Franklin is also believed to have designed a fan chair.)
  2. The world’s largest deckchair was sunning itself on Bournemouth sands in 2012. At 28ft high – taller than a double-decker bus – and weighing more than an elephant, it was commissioned by Pimm’s to mark the start of British summer time.
  3. A giant sculpture made of 400 chairs stacked one top of the other was installed in an Atlanta park in 2012. Called Seat, the chairs were stacked to form a sine wave. The designers wanted visitors to use the chairs to sit and socialise in the park.

step file organiser euroffice

  1. The step file organiser looks like a toast rack for the files sitting on your desk, but it’s a darned sight cheaper than the £1,000 solid silver toast rack sold at Kensington Palace in 2012 to raise money for Historic Royal Palaces.
  2. Most filing systems store documents alphabetically or by subject, but the Noguchi method, invented in Japan, files papers by frequency of use. This makes life easier because you’ll always have the things you need most, close to hand.
  3. In the 1930s, Alice Kober, a classics professor from New York, helped a British archaeologist to decode Linear B, a mysterious Bronze Age script from 1500 BC. She kept her notes on 180,000 tiny index cards cut from old greeting cards and exam book covers, which she filed in old cigarette cartons.

T is for…

triple toilet roll euroffice

  1. Loos in ancient Rome didn’t have toilet paper. Instead there was a (shared) sponge attached to a stick that was dipped in vinegar between uses. I suddenly don’t feel like fish and chips.
  2. The oldest wooden toilet seat in the world was found at Vindolanda, a Roman settlement near Hadrian’s Wall. Archaeologists said it looked ‘pretty comfortable‘.
  3. It’s reported that when President Obama went to Buckingham Palace for a state visit in 2011, staff had stocked up on the sort of loo paper he preferred. I wonder who they had to ask to find out?

U is for…

umbrella stand euroffice

  1. There were 12,000 umbrellas languishing in Transport for London’s Lost Property office in 2013. Other items left behind by forgetful travellers included 51,000 books, 27,000 phones and 11,000 sets of keys.
  2. The world’s only Umbrella Cover Museum was set up by Nancy 3. Hoffman in Maine in 1996. Visitors are treated to Nancy playing the accordion and singing a song about umbrellas. (It’s said that Nancy changed her middle name from Arlene to 3. in 1992.)
  3. British soldiers routinely took umbrellas on campaigns during the Napoleonic wars. But the Duke of Wellington disapproved of officers and troops using them at rain-sodden Waterloo. ‘It is not only ridiculous but unmilitary,’ he is believed to have said in before the battle on 18 June 1815.

V is for…

vga cable euroffice

  1. The first laptop capable of displaying VGA graphics may have been the Compaq SLT/286. Released in 1988, it had a 12Mhz processor 640K of RAM and a 20mb hard drive. The screen was black and white and the machine weighed 14lb.
  2. Reportedly, VGA was invented by Swede Håkan Lans (he got the patent). He later went on to invent navigation and communication systems for ships and aircraft; they formed the basis of technology still used by planes today.
  3. With things like Google Glass and the Apple Watch going on sale, it’s easy to forget how expensive small screens once were. A 2001 Guardian article on wearable computing mentions a teeny, tiny VGA screen costing $5,000.

W is for…

water euroffice

  1. Is this the earliest proper water cooler? In 1845, Baltimorean Joseph Craddock patented a water cooler that not only filtered the liquid, but also chilled it with ice. I suddenly want to watch The Wire again.
  2. As you sip your glass of chilled water, have you ever wondered how big the UK water cooler market is? Well, in 2013, it was worth a staggering £137 million a year. That’s a lot of sips.
  3. The oldest water in the world was found 2 miles below ground in copper and zinc mines in Ontario. Scientists discovered pockets of water that had been trapped between 1.5 billion and 2.64 billion years ago. That pre-dates multicellular life.

X is for…

x bands euroffice

  1. Mrs Meta Kirkland of California cut up her old rubber girdle and mailed it in strips to President Roosevelt when he launched rubber rationing in America during WW2. She wanted to be the first person to donate clothes to the cause.
  2. Joel Waul of Florida made a five-ton ball out of 730,000 rubber bands. He started on it in 2004, and relied on industrial-strength elastic bands donated by a local company. The 6ft 7in high ball was bought by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in 2009.
  3. Royal Mail spent £5 million on red rubber bands over the course of five years, which comes out at an average of £2,840 a day. The company released the figures in 2011, after the Daily Telegraph put in a Freedom of Information request.

Y is for…

yellow dusters euroffice

  1. In 2007, Gloucestershire police decided to hand out yellow dusters to motorists in a bid to prevent satnav theft. The logic? The dusters should be used to wipe out the telltale satnav sucker marks on windscreens.
  2. The Big Yellow Duster is a five-car train that cleans the tunnels of the London Underground. Painted a vivid yellow, it runs at 6mph and has two sets of nozzles: one to blow the debris into the air above the track, the other to suck up the rubbish dislodged.
  3. The Chinese prepare for the New Year by giving their homes a good clean the day before. All cleaning stuff – dusters, dustpans, mops and brushes – is stowed away, because sweeping or dusting on New Year’s day would lead to good fortune being swept away.

Z is for…

zip bag euroffice

  1. The world’s largest movie poster, for Bollywood’s movie Boss, was printed on PVC mesh in Cambridgeshire in 2013. At 3,234 square metres and weighing 1.3 tons, it was first revealed at an airfield before dispatch to India.
  2. Whitcomb Judson developed a slide fastener that could be opened and closed with one hand – he was trying to help a friend with a bad back who was unable to do up his shoes. Judson’s ‘clasp locker’, patented in 1893, paved the way for the invention of the modern zip.
  3. When the ArchTriumph organisation launched an ‘ideas’ competition to design a new bridge over the Seine in Paris in 2012, AZC architects came up with an inflatable trampoline bridge, made of PVC mesh and membrane. Boing!


Check out the full A-Z of Office Supplies by Euroffice:

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Pingback: The A-Z of Office Supplies ‘I-M’ | Euroffice Stationery Blog
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