Who would have thought that the humble paper shredder – a relatively insignificant little piece of office automation – would have such a fascinating history? Interestingly, the very reason for its invention has made it more necessary today than ever before in human history.
The Origin of Paper Shredders
While the original patent was filed in 1909 by inventor Abbot Augustus Low, the paper shredder never went into production. As they say, however, necessity is the mother of invention, and so it was that in 1935 the first shredder was manufactured. Based on a hand-crank pasta maker, Adolf Ehinger needed a way to dispose of his anti-Nazi propaganda and shredding it seemed like the very best option. And it worked. So well, in fact, that Ehinger decided to market his clever device to both financial institutions as well as government agencies.
The hand-crank was upgraded to an electric motor for speed and efficiency, and the pervasive paranoia of those who really need a to leave no evidence resulted in a cross-cut function in 1959.
Paper Shredders of Today
While conspiracies and secrets in government and the upper echelons abound, paper shredders will always have a home. However, legislation in most countries has dictated that paper containing personal information such as ID numbers, addresses, bank details, etc, be disposed of correctly. This means shredding, and it makes sense.
Sadly, the increase of identity theft has turned paper shredders into a must-have for every home.
What Shredder Do You Need?
Personal documents in the home can be effectively dealt with by using a standard strip cut shredder. However, when you are talking about business documents then a little more caution may be in order and you may want to consider a cross-cut option which reduces your sheet into around 320 pieces. Not so easy to piece back together, you’ll agree.
Governments and financial institutions may want to go a step further with high security shredders which basically turn anything into confetti.
So, whether you just need the peace of mind knowing that your store card details aren’t going to get stolen out of your bin bags, or you have to get rid of some high-level paperwork, paper shredders are your new best friend.