Staplers, used widely in government, business, offices, and schools, are mechanical devices that join sheets of paper by driving a metal staple through the paper. The first stapler was created for King Louis XV. Each staple was inscribed with the insignia of royal court.

George McGill created the predecessor of the modern staple. In 1867, he received a patent for a press to insert his fastener into paper. Henry R. Heyl received a patent for the first machine to both insert and clinch the staple in one step. Many consider him the inventor of the stapler. In 1878, he created the first machine to hold a magazine of many preformed staples. McGill’s Single-Stroke Staple Press was the first commercially successful stapler.

The anvil, a small metal plate that bends the ends of the staple, is on the bottom of the stapler and helps bind the items together. There are also staple removers that can remove permanent staples by used a pair of interlocking curved claws that slide under the staple’s bent-over ends and bend them back out.

There are also staple guns which have no base or anvil. In 1910, staple-less staplers were invented and are an environmentally friendly. Surgeons will use surgical staples in place of sutures to close the skin. However, a surgical stapler will not resemble a standard stapler since it has no anvil. The staples are pre-shaped into an “M” shape. The stapler bends the ends, once in the skin, almost forming a rectangle.