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Hole Punch History & Interesting Facts That Will Not Fail To Surprise You

Updated on 17 January, 2019 at 2:27 pm By


As a kid, one of my favorite things to do in a summer afternoon was to create holes in colored papers using a hole punch. Yes, the small round shapes of multi-colored papers certainly had a special charm for me. Interestingly, I was not alone who loved collecting the papers made by hole punchers but my friends did too. After growing up, this seemingly insignificant device helped me in keeping my papers organized. So, today I am going to fill you up with some interesting facts about hole punch history.

Before taking about this familiar tool that aces cutting through the thick stacks of papers, I want to show you something else. On the occasion of its 131st anniversary in 2017, this is how Google paid its tribute.




Simple yet effective, this tool is certainly known for bringing together the loose pages to give them a home. Fine, I got a bit dramatic there! Now, without delay let me present you with the interesting facts about hole punch history.


1. How old is it?

The hole punch is not at all young. In fact, it was invented before Hitler was born! It was invented around 1885 which makes it about 133-year-old. Though the exact date is still vague, the earliest patent for this product dates back to 1885.


2. Are there variations?

Another interesting fact from hole punch history is that it is not exclusively used for paper. Surprised? Yes, there is a version that is used to cut through leather and create the perfect hole.


3. Number of holes

While using in home or office, the maximum number of holes we have seen is four. However, you will be amused to know that the number of holes can go up to 8. Besides, there are also industrial punchers that are bigger but works using the same mechanism.


4. Who is the creator?

Confusion shrouds this fact of hole punch history. Around 1885, a record for the patent of the puncher shows that it was patented by a man named Benjamin Smith. However, Smith named it ‘conductor’s punch’. Later in 1893, Charles Brookes patented a paper punch but it was again called ‘ticket punch’. Despite the confusion, Google decided to honor Friedrich Soennecken from Germany as the creator who invented a paper punch device invented in 1886.


5. The days of glory

The hole punches are still extremely essential but there was an increased use of this device between 1850 and 1900. Do you know why? Well, it’s during that period the railway boom happened. Naturally, the number of patents and sale increased as the punch devices were widely used by railway conductors at that time.


6. The building materials

In the early designs, the devices were made of metal. Then came the time when metal and plastic were blended to create a perfect one. However, the best change is certainly the shift of the building material into plastic. Also the fact that now the devices are much smaller and pretty-looking.


7. Appealing designs

This is probably the funniest fact in the hole punch history. Though originally and predominantly holes are round in shape but there are also some devices that create other designs. They include a square, star, or heart.


8. A different use

During  1937, after the world was plagued by great depression, photographers were hired to document the plights of poor farmers. The man who led the division was Roy Stryker. He used hole puncher on the negatives for those images which were rejected. Later some of those images turned up on the digital platform with a black hole in them.



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