Friday, 27 August 2010

Let's stick together - my Velos 323 stapler and me

Today I celebrate the 50th birthday of the acquisition of my Velos 323 stapler. The oldest possession bought by myself.
The day is almost certainly wrong and I could be a year or two out on the year. But the stapler is so old it carries a rare boast declaring ‘Made In England’ – twice.
The machine still functions albeit a little stiff and mottled – a bit like its owner.
My 1956 Dandy and Beano annuals would have pre-dated the Velos purchase but I lost contact with these much-loved books around the time of my divorce over a decade ago.
I have a clear memory of buying the stapler in a stationer in London’s Goodge Street close to where the family home was at the time. It came with a box of staples – let’s say 1,000 of the things. So far the box, yellowed and heavily taped is still more than half full. It’s a sobering thought that I will expire before those staples do.
A satisfying thump on my Velos 323 sealed every letter I ever sent beyond a page – job applications, pleas to literary agents for representation, or just correspondence to family and friends.
We first teamed up half a century ago probably because I wanted to pin together the scraps on which I had started my angst-ridden teenage poetry. And in all senses our attachment grew.
When I die it would be nice to think my stapler will stand at the foot of my grave like some latter-day Greyfriars Bobby waiting to serve its master. But as I intend to be cremated the idea doesn’t work so well.


  1. My colleague at work has one just like it! Was discussing whether it was worth anything!

  2. I suspect not. So many were made - and they were built to last. GC

  3. Hi I have a Velo stapler and was wondering when they were first made?

  4. I wish I could help. I didn't get far when I looked into the firm's history writing the post last year. GC

  5. I have a similar one. but it has a crown with S O stamped on it on the top of the base. See:

    Any idea of what that means?


  6. Mark,
    Thanks for your post. I can only guess the crown and SO - mine has nothing - might stand for something like Scottish Office as a precaution against theft. GC

  7. SO and the Crown stand for The Stationary Office and the crown is for ... well the crown. It was a civil service issued one.

  8. I also have a Velos 323. It was on my desk when I joined the Civil Service in 1998. I left the Civil Service in 2006 but was allowed to keep the stapler as a keepsake. It also has the crown and S.O. stamped on top of the base, so I can confirm that is an indicator of a civil service issued stapler.

  9. I too have a purloined SO version. But does anyone know the modern equivalent staple size? My box of staples disappeared in the course of a flitting a couple of years ago.

  10. Can only tell you that it was made by a company called Rees Pitchford & Co Ltd. I know this because the company was started by my great-grandfather and my father was MD for many years until the late 70s. Not long after he retired the company was sold, but I know he'd be thrilled to read your comments!

  11. What a lovely company Velos were. I found a long arm stitcher (an extra long stapler for making A3, say, into A4 booklets) when surveying an abandoned office 50 (?) years ago. The second or third time I used it the spring snapped so I rang Velos to buy a new spring. The lady at the other end told me the springs were not supposed to do that so if I gave her my name and address she'd send me one. My No. 337 stitcher is still in use.

    1. Thanks for sharing your lovely memory, GC

  12. Hi, I used to work for the Reese Pitchford Co in the Grays Inn Road office. I am trying to locate any of the employee's of the old Co. Is there any one out there who would like to get in touch?
    who would like to get in touch?

  13. I too am still using the Velos 323 which belonged to my father in the early 1950's. I also have 2 boxes of staples.

    What a fantastic stapler. Others come and go but this one never fails.


What do you think? GC