What Ever Became of…Brads?


No doubt the object you see above is familiar to you, a vague recollection of elementary school projects involving construction paper and poking and bending and spinning. But since those early schoolhouse days, have you seen these things? According to the limited entry Wikipedia entry that has ‘some issues’, these are brass fasteners, although most are likely more familiar with them as brads. Because there are no things that somebody doesn’t like and collect and write about on the internet, I know that brads were patented in the US in 1866, although there was a pre-existing English patent that was missed during the vetting of that patent. The real question is, who uses these things any more? And if you do use them, share with us what for and how often! What ever happened to brads?

Image via, where this particular device is known as a ‘screenplay fastener’. Sounds fancy!

  • cruisintime

    So Then , there I was.

    • B72

      Wherever you go, there you are.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    I remember making construction paper animals with articulated limbs, but since then I've only seen them in office supply stores, never in use.
    They fasten things with holes in them, but not very much and not very securely. I can imagine them failing very easily, unless they were loaded near capacity, but they don't give any sense of security or permanence. I suppose they hold more than a staple and less than a binder.
    What necessitates so many pages that a staple is insufficient, yet doesn't have the long term relevance that justifies a binder? And it doesn't matter if it's all floppy and the outer pages will probably be torn up.

    "Because there are no things that somebody doesn’t like and collect and write about on the internet"
    I'm still fairly confident this is true, but I've been unable to prove the existence of paper collectors (which is the least interesting thing I could think of).

    • Admittedly the word also covers those who collect paper for its printed content, variety of shapes, intended use, and the like, along with those who collect paper simply for its own sake, but I believe you're looking for papyrophiles.

      When I was in grad school one of my housemates was pursuing a doctorate in paper science. The topic came up from time to time.

      • My advisor at college routinely referred to himself as a "paper nerd."

    • Could I perhaps interest you in the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum? Or maybe the Pulp and Paper Association?

      • BlackIce_GTS

        Ahhh, that's great. How did we know how weird people were before the internet?
        Now I need to think of something less fascinating and find the people that are fascinated by it.

  • Mike England

    I think they became irrelevant when binders were invented.

  • nanoop

    My former employer used brown paper envelopes with strategically distributed holes for the in-house mail. The holes were arranged in a way that one could easily spot if there was still something in it – and they gladly accepted brads. All was reusable.
    The employer is still around, so brads are, as well I guess.

  • RahRahRecords

    The last times I used these was as the hinge on paper knight helmets for a GoT theme party and as the aforementioned screenplay fastener for a friend who was making props for a film.

  • I don't use brads, but I do have a 2-hole top punch on my desk at home and put my stuff in file folders with fastener tangs. Best organizational method yet.

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  • SomeRandomDude

    Hollywood uses them extensively for scripts. Pages are added and deleted from scripts constantly and the brads make it easy to do. Additionally, it makes it easy to fold the pages around the back and hold the script one handed.