Sometime ago one of the members of
the Old Tools list, Paul Comino, posted this picture with short
description. It is an English chisel with a handle made of paper.
It is hard to believe, but this thing is
real! It even has a patent!
At the time I didnít pay too much
attention but a few days ago my interest piqued. The
subject returned on the Old Tools with some comments, but no
explanation was offered. I decided to look around a bit
and here is what I found.
In 1911 the
Vol.17, June 11, 1911,
(New York, NY: The Industrial Press), published
the following announcement:
The file handle shown in the
accompanying halftone is made entirely of paper, excepting the
steel ferrule at the end.
The advantages of this paper handle
are, that it will not split and is practically indestructible.
A file tang is also held more firmly than in a wood handle, and
tangs of a larger size than that for which a handle is intended,
can be driven in without danger of splitting. The paper
handles are cheaper than those of wood, and they can be obtained
in various sizes. This new handle has been placed on
the market by Schuchardt & Schutte, Cedar & West Streets, New
These unusual handles were
distributed and sold by a German firm
Schuchardt & Schutte. The
firm was established in 1880 in Berlin as a distribution company
and by the end of 1890s and early 1900s had strong
representation in US, Canada, England and several European
countries. After 1910 the company reorganized and emerged
as Alfred H. Schutte, a
manufacturer of machine tools.
handle was advertized in US periodicals, although not very
aggressively. I found only two ads in Google Books.
Both ads are from 1913, one in American Machinist and the other
in Popular Mechanics.
The Popular Mechanics ad had the following sales pitch included:
"Railroad car Wheels have
been made of paper, they are strong as steel. Wooden
car wheels are never used. Wood splits.
A genius now invented
indestructible paper file handles. They cannot split
or splinter, are smooth and don't raise blisters. Hold
the file tang with a grip many times as tight as that of
wooden handles. Guarantee two new once for every split
handle returned. Remember that elastic Grip
paper Handles will outlast vast quantity of the once you are
using now. Low price - Long life.
Special offer: 50 ass't handles
for one Dollar plus postage. Samples 10c prepaid.
Ask your dealer. Agents wanted."