Search-engine users everywhere may be accustomed to Google celebrating the day by commemorating a specific individual, but today, it's not a person, it's a product.
November 14 marks the 131st anniversary of the hole puncher. Yes, the office tool that people probably use without even thinking about it is over a century old and, believe it or not, it's remained basically unchanged since its debut in 1886.
The doodle transforms the recognizable Google logo via tiny punched holes in the company's usual spread of primary colours. Usually more annoying that aesthetic, the little holes are the perfect way to represent the hole puncher.
According to Google's doodle team, German designers Friedrich Soennecken and Matthias Theel crafted the oft-ignored tool, though they didn't do it together. Consider it an office-adjacent version of Edison vs. Tesla. Soennecken filed his patent back in 1886 for the papierlocher für sammelmappen, but since hole punches are relatively simple — two pieces of metal held together with a spring — engineers all over the world immediately tried to improve upon the design.
Stateside, both Benjamin Smith and Charles Brooks get credit for adding to the hole puncher. Smith filed the first American patent for the tool, but Brooks is the guy who added the little piece that holds the tiny paper circles. Thank him for not having to pick up after yourself when punching. Unless the end goal of your paper-punching exercise is a slew of confetti, that is. Because even though the hole puncher seems pretty boring, the fact that the byproduct of such a mundane task is a party-ready collection of throwable confetti more than makes up for cubicle malaise.
Today, there are dozens of different hole puncher designs, which can pop through stacks of paper to create classic three-hole patterns and medical files' two holes. And there are even more designs around the globe, including an epic seven-hole puncher used by some businesses. No matter how complex the punches, it all goes back to springs and metal.
Punch a few stacks today to celebrate. There'll be some confetti ready.
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