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  Paper File Handles 1 of 3  

Sometime ago one of the members of the Old Tools list, Paul Comino, posted this picture with short description. It is an English chisel with a handle made of paper.

It is hard to believe, but this thing is real! It even has a patent!

At the time I didnít pay too much attention but a few days ago my interest piqued. The subject returned on the Old Tools with some comments, but no explanation was offered.  I decided to look around a bit and here is what I found.

In 1911 the Machinery, Vol.17, June 11, 1911, (New York, NY: The Industrial Press), published the following announcement:

"Paper File Handles

The file handle shown in the accompanying halftone is made entirely of paper, excepting the steel ferrule at the end.

The advantages of this paper handle are, that it will not split and is practically indestructible.  A file tang is also held more firmly than in a wood handle, and tangs of a larger size than that for which a handle is intended, can be driven in without danger of splitting.  The paper handles are cheaper than those of wood, and they can be obtained in various sizes. This new handle has been placed on the market by Schuchardt & Schutte, Cedar & West Streets, New York City."

These unusual handles were distributed and sold by a German firm Schuchardt & Schutte.  The firm was established in 1880 in Berlin as a distribution company and by the end of 1890s and early 1900s had strong representation in US, Canada, England and several European countries.  After 1910 the company reorganized and emerged as Alfred H. Schutte, a manufacturer of machine tools.

The handle was advertized in US periodicals, although not very aggressively.  I found only two ads in Google Books.  Both ads are from 1913, one in American Machinist and the other in Popular Mechanics

The Popular Mechanics ad had the following sales pitch included:

"Railroad car Wheels have been made of paper, they are strong as steel.  Wooden car wheels are never used. Wood splits.

A genius now invented indestructible paper file handles.  They cannot split or splinter, are smooth and don't raise blisters.  Hold the file tang with a grip many times as tight as that of wooden handles.  Guarantee two new once for every split handle returned. Remember that elastic Grip paper Handles will outlast vast quantity of the once you are using now.  Low price - Long life.

Special offer: 50 ass't handles for one Dollar plus postage.  Samples 10c prepaid.  Ask your dealer.  Agents wanted."


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