I had just finished a very complicated conversation with a customer, when my boss Aditi poked her head through my doorway.
"Do you have a moment and a camera?" Aditi was fighting to control her expression. Was it a grin or a snarl?
I grabbed my smartphone and she led us both towards a group of people in her office. As soon as they saw Aditi, the crowd parted and there was Andy, bent over her compact shredder.
Aditi pushed me forward and tapped my phone, "be ready."
Perfect shot as he tried to stand up! His expression was pure frustration and embarrassment, and no wonder. He was almost strangling himself.
"How, in the name of everything possible, did you manage to feed your tie into the shredder, Andrew?" Aditi had a hard time not laughing as well.
Andy had about 8" of tie between him and the shredder. He was gripping the machine with both hands and pulling away as hard as he could. His face was going all kinds of interesting colours.
"You need a new shredder, this one's jammed."
She pressed the latest Office Plus flyer into my hand, "I'm one step ahead of you. I've put a flag on the page."
Aha! This sounded great. The Swingline™ Stack-and-Shred™ 100X Shredder lets you stack the paper—up to 100 sheets—into the top, close the lid and leave it alone. There's even a separate slot for credit cards—no need for any part of Andy to be too close to the machine. And it automatically clears jams. It'll take paper clips or staples and cross-cuts to make it difficult to reassemble documents. The size is perfect to fit under a desk and, with a self-clean feature and warranties on the machine and cutters, and there's a $100 Mail In Rebate!
"HEY! Get me out of this," I'd almost forgotten about him. He was still braced, straining to pull his tie free.
"Sometimes, Andy, I think you should have full-time adult supervision," I picked up a pair of scissors from Aditi's desk and cut his tie, leaving 2" of frayed fabric below his stunned face.
The first paper shredder is credited to prolific inventor Abbot Augustus Low of Horseshoe, located on the Western shore of Horseshoe Lake, in Piercefield, New York. His patent for a "waste paper receptacle" to offer an improved method of disposing of waste paper was filed on February 2, 1909, and received a U.S. patent number on August 31, 1909. Low’s invention was never manufactured, however.
Adolf Ehinger's paper shredder, based on a hand-crank pasta maker, was manufactured in 1935 in Germany. Supposedly he needed to shred his anti-Nazi propaganda to avoid the inquiries of the authorities. Ehinger later marketed his shredders to government agencies and financial institutions converting from hand-crank to electric motor, manufacturing the first cross-cut paper shredders in 1959.
The U.S. embassy in Iran used strip-cut paper shredders to reduce paper pages to strips before the embassy was taken over in 1979 (though not entirely successfully: some documents were reconstructed from the strips). After Colonel Oliver North told Congress that he used a Schleicher Intimus 007 S cross-cut model to shred Iran-Contra documents, sales for that company increased nearly 20 percent in 1987.