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  • Johan Vaaler was a Norwegian inventor and patent clerk, from 1892 office manager of Bryns Patentkontor in Kristiania. He has often erroneously been identified with the invention of the common paper clip, known to all office employees for more than a hundred years. He was born in Aurskog as the son of a farmer, and died in Kristiania. Vaaler designed a kind of paper clip in 1899 and applied for a German patent on November 12 of that year. It was granted on June 6, 1901. He also filed an application for a United States patent on January 9, 1901. The U.S. patent was granted on June 4, 1901. Unknown to Vaaler, a more functional and practical paper clip was already in production by the British "Gem Manufacturing Company Ltd", but not yet marketed in Norway. His design was less perfect because it lacked the two full loops of the wire. Vaaler probably succeeded in having his design patented abroad, despite the existence of a better product, because patent authorities at that time were quite liberal and rewarded any marginal modification of earlier inventions. Several types of paper clips had been patented in the United States since 1867, but the "Gem" type was not then patented.

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