Believe it or not, I have noticed that nine out of ten people who habitually click their retractable pens are guys. It is as though the incessant, tactile sound of the click formulates a mechanical discourse – one that only men would understand. Just as there are different screw sizes, pen tip sizes vary, too. Stationery are, therefore, essentially specialty tools, or products of precision engineering.
Which brings me nicely to our protagonist: the Rapid E6 stapler, or what I call Crimson Hot Wheels. You’re probably no stranger to Rapid, the manufacturer of the bestselling K1 stapling plier, which succeeds Rapid’s signature Rapid 1 stapler.
The Swedish stapler manufacturer Rapid, also known as Isaberg Rapid, has a history married to war. Olle Westlund founded the company in 1936 which specialised in celluloid covers and worked with staplers imported from Germany. When the German manufacturer was bombed in 1942, Westlund spent five months making his own stapler – the Rapid 1. Since then, Rapid has become a household name.
The Rapid E6 was presumably manufactured in the 80’s. Neither an award-winning design nor a bestseller, it appeals to me anyway with its slick lines. The fact that it can stand on a surface solves my problem of never knowing where on the table to put my stapler.
Small and unassuming, stationery are measured to the highest standard of functionality and benchmark of form. The simpler the object, the harder it is to get right. The Rapid E6 has spurred in me reflections on lines, order, proportion and endurance. “Good lines” are easy to understand, and they remind one of a puzzle – fitting just perfectly. The Rapid E6 represents precisely such a standard; there’s not a single component which I cannot understand its purpose in relation to the whole. Come to think of it, that’s what every piece of stationery we keep close to ourselves has in common.
Here’s a life hack: the metal plate attached to the base of a stapler, known as the anvil, can rotate or slide to switch between bending the staple ends inward for permanent stapling or outward for pinning. The perfect lines of the Rapid E6 in pinning mode are simply beautiful.
Right, time for me to go for a ride with my crimson hot wheels.