Did You Know?

The proper way to use the Gem™ style paper clip (seen massively above) is probably not the way you’re accustomed to. The smaller side should be located at the front of the papers being held together. That way, a greater amount of the papers’ surface area can be lifted for more complete casual viewing. The problem is that for whatever reason it’s a much more natural motion to apply the clip in a top-to-bottom, moving away from the body motion by catching the larger side on the top of the sheaf. One needs to teach oneself to do it the other way even though the result is a much better arrangement.

A similar situation occurs with corded telephones. Most people introduce an inadvertent 180° twist in the process of picking up the phone, holding it to the ear, then putting the receiver back on the cradle. Both lefties and righties do this, but in opposite directions. This is why so many of those coiled cords get twisted up and ugly so rapidly, and why more than a few people patented those rotating cord attachments.

I have no idea whether these subconscious subversions of everyday objects constitute poor design or if the perversity of people is such that anything is subject to misuse. Or poor use. Or suboptimal use. Or whatever.

A brief visual history of the paper clip.