It has been a bit over 1 year since I reviewed Volume One of Frank Parsons’ “Staplers, Stapling Machines & Paper Fasteners”, on the Hotchkiss line of staplers. Since then, I’ve been eagerly awaiting further volumes that would indicate that this important project is continuing on course, and this past January, Volume Two was published – covering the Neva-Clog line of staplers. I’ve read through this new volume a few times now and even more impressed than I expected to be, given how impressed I was with the first volume. Let’s take a look at why…
Improvements on Perfection.
I thought the Hotchkiss book was pretty darn perfect as a reference work for the collector, especially the budding new collector who was starting from the point of not knowing any of the models produced by Hotchkiss, or at best knowing only the most famous of the models. Mr. Parsons’ book lists every known model and variation, usually accompanied by a full-color photo and at least a paragraph of text describing the machine, details about it, how it differs from other variations and around when it was produced. He describes what staples the machine takes and its dimensions. Pretty comprehensive, if you ask me – and much more detail than you’d have found in any other such reference, if you could find one that covered the brand anywhere near as comprehensively.
The Neva-Clog volume takes this approach and amps it up to a level of detail that leaves practically no question unanswered for each specimen. Every model listed gets not only a color photo, but often more than one, plus the descriptive text *and* a new “Info Box” that breaks out the details like dimensions, weight, finish, material the machine is made of, staple capacity, staple sizes/type, staple clinch type and the relative rarity/value of the machine – not in dollars, which would fluctuate over time to render the information meaningless – but in a simple 1 to 4 diamond rating from “very inexpensive” to “serious collector territory”. This allows you to know instantly the relative collectability value of what you’ve found, yet doesn’t risk irrelevancy by quoting a value that would be obsoleted months or years after the book was printed. If you want to know direct values for the machines, Mr. Parsons wisely offers a constantly-updated volume of pricing that is separate from the reference books he offers, and can be purchased by the serious collector who wants to stay on top of pricing for his or her collection.
Like the first volume, the Neva-Clog book contains sections on Stapler Anatomy, Staple Anatomy and Clinching styles, as well as a whole chapter on the staples used by the machines covered in the book. However, in this second volume, the staple section is significantly more illustrated and almost every example has one or two illustrations showing the individual staple superimposed on a ruler, showing the exact measurements of the staple in question. A small but valuable addition to the information presented. Finally, there is even a new Checklist page, where the collector can check off each model and variation as they add it to their collection.
So, I can say that the “Staplers, Stapling Machines, & Paper Fasteners” series is coming along very nicely. The Neva-Clog volume, like the Hotchkiss volume, is just under 100 pages, so again the spine is fated to be plain black with no text indicating what it is. At this point, though, I think I’ll just get a silver paint marker to write in the titles so I can tell what they are while they are on the shelf. No big deal there.
Note that this second volume was published way back in January of 2019, and my review comes about the middle of the year – the upshot of that is that it is entirely possible that we won’t be waiting a whole year for Volume Three to be published. I’m not privy to what brand that Frank Parsons will be covering in that upcoming volume, but I expect to learn pretty much everything there is to know about that brand when the third volume is published, and am looking forward to what I will learn in the new Volumes.
I don’t think I’m going very far out on a limb here saying that Mr. Parsons’ continuing series of reference volumes on stapling machines and staplers is an absolute necessity for the budding and experienced stapler or office supplies collector. They are just that good, and I highly recommend you pick up your own copy. They’re very much worth the price of admission!
A first-model Neva-Clog B-100 Stapling Plier that Frank sent to me earlier in the year. A smooth-operating high-power stapler that is fairly easy to find, according to the Neva-Clog book listing. Here’s scans of the instructions and brochure that were included in the box: