Did you know that humans have been using soaps to keep themselves and their surroundings clean since at least 2800 B.C.? Of course the products used at the time were a far cry from the office cleaning supplies that you’ll find available today. During ancient times, soaps and detergents were made from organic products like salts, oils and ash. Nowadays, a large percentage of them are made from synthetic materials instead, but why? Let’s take a short and sudsy look:
According to the American Cleaning Institute, the switch from manmade to synthetic detergents was born out of war time necessity in the 1900s. The world’s fighting men and women needed cleaning supplies that could be used at sea, and on land, with limited resources. One of the first companies to come up with such a cleaning product was Henkel. Based in Germany, the company released a self-acting detergent in… Continue reading
Have you ever reached into your office cleaning supplies closet and grabbed a bottle of Clorox Bleach or Diversey Dry Chlorine Bleach? If so, at that precise moment, you became part of a rich history that dates back to the late 1700s. And it all starts with a Swedish Pomeranian man by the name of Carl Wilhelm Scheele.
Scheele was a brilliant pharmaceutical chemist who discovered, among other things, chlorine. He advocated its use as a disinfectant in medical circles. But the investigation and experimentation with chlorine didn’t end there. Roughly a decade later, Scheele’s discovery was improved upon by Frenchman, Claude-Louis Berthollet.
Berthollet, an intriguing figure, was a well-respected chemist and a noted politician. He discovered that chlorine could be combined with other ingredients to create what we now know as liquid bleach and toilet bowl cleaner. So the next time you slip into a bright, white… Continue reading
Have you ever taken a deep breath, detected the scent of pine and thought aloud, “Wow, this place sure is clean!” If so, you certainly wouldn’t be the first one. Pine cleaners have been a part of the world’s cleaning supplies for centuries. Their history can be traced back to the 1600s and North Sweden.
At the time, the Swedes were using pine tar as a shipbuilding tool. To make the tar, they’d burn pine tree roots and collect the resulting liquid. That would then be turned into tar pitch, turpentine and oil. They shipped those products around the world until the late 1700s. It was then that Americans living in the Deep South started clearing pine forests and making their own.
By the 1800s, places like North Carolina and Georgia had thriving pine industries. And people were using pine derivatives for everything from home construction to animal husbandry. It… Continue reading
Do you know how America went from using pieces of bone, feathers and metal styluses to modern day, ballpoint pens? Here’s a brief walk through office supply history, looking at ballpoint pens.
During the 1880s, people all over the world were trying to come up with an alternative to using cumbersome ink wells and quill pens. Many men tried to offer a solution, including Lewis Edson Waterman, John J. Loud and Van Vechten Riesberg. However, the only one that achieved true commercial success was insurance broker turned inventor, Lewis Edson Waterman.
He came up with the world’s initial fountain pen. It differed from what people had been using previously because it featured a built-in ink well. The pen’s internal well eliminated the need for hauling around ink bottles. However, it was still prone to leaks, which created a whole new set of problems for would-be writers and housewives tasked… Continue reading
This week, with all of the spring and summer holidays on the horizon, we couldn’t help but think about greeting cards. After all, they are just as much a part of warm weather holidays as flowers, fireworks and kiss the cook aprons. So where exactly did these office supplies come from and why have they captured our hearts? Read on and see:
According to the Greeting Card Association’s research, the world’s love affair with personalized well wishes stretches back to ancient times. At first, people wrote their thoughts down onto papyrus scrolls and passed them on to each other. It wasn’t until the 1400s that actual greeting cards were born. At the time, people made their own, by hand. It remained like that until the late 1800s. The first four people involved in the mass manufacture of greeting cards were Sir Henry Cole, John Calcott Horsley, Louis Prang and Esther… Continue reading
Now that spring has sprung, many commercial businesses located all across America are getting ready to deep clean their properties. If you are in charge of the crew expected to do the heavy-duty spring cleaning, this is the perfect moment to check out and order the following four office supplies:
Chewing Gum Remover
With all of the avid gum chewers in the world, chewing gum remover is one office supply item that will undoubtedly be needed in the weeks ahead. It comes in a spray can and may be used to remove gum from a wide array of surfaces, including floors and cafeteria tables. Depending on the brand, it may also be used to remove waxy substances as well.
Simply remove as much of the gum as you can with a plastic ice scraper. Then hold the spray can close to the remaining gum stain and spray it with the… Continue reading
With spring cleaning on the minds of many, we wanted to spend a bit of time talking about dust and humankind’s war against it. Dust, as we all know, has been a part of this planet since the world was born. It contains tiny fragments of everything from dandruff and dust mites to plant pollen. As for the office supplies used to whisk it away, they are actually just as diverse. And a few are also pretty ancient.
Let’s take the broom as an example. It’s one of the few cleaning supplies mentioned in the New Testament (Luke15:8). So that gives you an idea of how old brooms are. At the time, they were said to be crafted out of whichever natural materials were readily available (i.e. palm fronds, bundles of sticks and straw). It wasn’t until the late 1700s that high quality broom-making in America became an… Continue reading
Everyone’s personality is different, and if you are the type who can work with piles of paper, you may want to take time to organize similar projects or categories together using simple office supplies. Use binder clips to hold groups of paper together, or buy a few extra paper trays and label them. This way you have instantly organized piles.
Wires and cables snaking everywhere looks messy and can be hazardous. You can make the office look more organized by just concealing those wires inside a cable organizer. This one simple tip is cost effective and makes the whole work station feel tidier.
Use a desk organizer for frequently used items like scissors, stapler, pens, letter opener, etc. A… Continue reading
Weather changes across the country bring about special challenges, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, severe storms and flooding, fires and more. Since a natural disaster can potentially cripple a business, there are some proactive planning steps that can help you keep things organized and operational.
Here are some resources to get your business organized in the event of an emergency:
Develop an Emergency Response Plan – A 10 page document to help Businesses Identify the goals and objectives for the emergency response plan:
Business Emergency Plan Checklist – Here’s a template for documenting business continuity during a crisis:
The five steps in developing a business preparedness program:
America’s PreparAthon has a National Day of Action at the end of April; and here’s where you can get more information to use in your community:
American Red Cross Ready Rating – The American Red Cross Ready Rating program… Continue reading
Although it may seem like webcams have been with us forever, they’ve actually only been on the office supplies’ marketplace for 20 years. It’s almost hard to wrap one’s head around that fact, especially when you consider that they help us do so many things. So in honor of that versatility, we wanted to take a moment to explore their origins:
Believe it or not, webcams have a fairly amusing history. It seems that in 1991, a group of java loving, University of Cambridge students had to share one out of the way coffee pot. Much to their chagrin, it was always running dry at the most inopportune times. So to address the problem, Dr. Paul Jardetzky and Dr. Stafford-Fraser got creative.