Origin of Ring Binders, Depends on Where and Who

Origin of Ring Binders, Depends on Where and Who

(Please use this information to rule the world of odd facts in the Office Supply Trivia.)


Let check the economics first. In the United States, it is between 40 and 60 million 3 ring binders are sold every year – mostly cheap, vinyl, disposable imported ones. Multiply that by at least 30, to estimate worldwide consumption. That total for sure will be occupying a lot of landfill.
The interesting story of a three ring binder as we know it,makes you wonder if such thing exist first in what place. The fascination of our forefathers to create folder-like file storage with a ring attached to it, occurred earlier than we thought.

Called simple as – “A File” , in the old Great Britain, was invented by Friedrich Soennecken in Bonn, Germany , year 1886. He also registered a patent on November 14, 1886, for his Papierlocher für Sammelmappen (“paper hole maker for folders”). Another German – Louis Leitz, founder of Leitz later made some important changes in development of ring binders in Stuttgart-Feuerbach. Leitz introduced the hole in the side of the file.
But the story didn’t actually start there. The invention of this thingy – Three Ring Binder really depends on where you are and who you ask.


Also in 1854, patents in the United States were filed for both the 2-ring and 3-ring binders by Henry T. Sisson of Providence, Rhode Island. Sisson recognized the need to be able to protect pages, although he was not yet exactly sure how to fix the problem. No loose-leaf binders were available on the market at that time.

Not to be outdone, another claim was invented in 1889 by Andreas Tengwall in Helsingborg, Sweden, and patented in 1890 under the name ‘Trio binder’, named after a business consortium of Tengwall and two associates. Tengwall’s design uses four rings, in two paired sets. The hole placement of Tengwall’s Trio binder is still used as a de facto standard for hole punching in Sweden under the name triohålning.

In the US, the Chicago Binder and File Company was one of the 1st companies to offer a binder for sale in 1899.

Whoever claims to be the first with this invention, doesn’t matter with today’s generation. Originally, 3 ring binders were made like hardcover books – three pieces of board (binders board – a heavy paperboard) held together with book cloth covers and end sheets. As plastics got invented, vinyl binders appeared – again three pieces of board but with two sheets of thin vinyl heat sealed at the edges and hinges. Not as strong, but easier to make. The original design was basically the same today. Only the raw materials utilized changes overtime.


After realizing that, vinyl is toxic. US binder manufacturers, who are concerned with the long life of the binder as well as the health of the person using it, the best 3 ring binders are made from one sheet of binders board, cased and lined with printed sheets with a hinge pressed directly into the board. No weak spots and no vinyls, these 3 ring binders are 100% recyclable and non-toxic. It is also the strongest 3 ring binder hinge and allows for round spine binders.

Ring binders are large folders that contain file folders or hole punched papers. These are held in the binder by O-ring or D-shaped retainers, onto which the contents are threaded. As called in England – loose leaf binders, looseleaf binders, or sometimes called files. The rings are usually spring-loaded, but can also be secured by lever arch mechanisms or other securing systems. The binders themselves are typically made from plastic, with metal rings
The ISO Standard two holes are 80 millimetres (3.1 in) apart. The four-hole version has no ISO standard. The distances between holes are 80 millimetres (3.1 in) (3×8).These holes are 21 millimetres (0.83 in), 70 millimetres (2.8 in), and 21 millimetres (0.83 in) apart.
William P. Pitt obtained Patent on December 20, 1904 for a 3-ring binder that became a standard in the United States. The North American de facto standard spacing is 4.25 inches (108 mm) between holes.
The most common type in Canada and the United States is a three-ring system for letter size pages(8 1⁄2 inches × 11 inches). A standard 8 1⁄2 inch × 11 inch sheet of paper has three holes with spacing of 4 1⁄4 inches (107.95 mm). “Ledger” size binders hold 11-by-17-inch (28 by 43 cm) paper, and may use standard 3-ring spacing or multiple additional rings. The lever arch system is particularly useful for larger amounts of paper.

The modern designs of binders were relatively deviated from the traditional ones. Some personal binders and memo books use a six- or seven-hole system, including filopax the Franklin Covey , Franklin Planner, and Day Timer. Most systems have the rings on the left side of the papers as one opens the binder, but there are also binders that have the rings (concealed by the binder cover) at the top edge of the paper, reminiscent of a clipboard.

Whatever design, style and what nots, the past, present and future usage of binders are the same- to hold papers.
Source : NakedBinderBlog.com