Shredding Blog

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Brief History: How the Paper Shredder Came to Exist

Paper shredding machines don’t really receive very much mental attention; they aren’t exactly a hot topic of discussion. Many people don’t know about the fascinating history behind the paper machine, and the major socio-political events that helped it evolve into their current states.

The earliest known patent that was filed for a paper shredding device was submitted in New York City in 1909 by Abbot Augustus Low. Despite filing the patent, the device was never manufactured during Low’s lifetime.

In 1935 the first known paper shredder was made by Adolf Ehinger. Supposedly it worked similarly to a hand-cranked pasta maker, where users would turn a crank while documents were pulled through and cut up. Ehinger made the device supposedly to destroy his anti-Nazi propaganda in order to avoid being questioned by authorities.

Following the second world war, Ehinger targeted governments and financial institutions with his device, and eventually replaced the hand crank with an electric motor. The events of the Cold War brought document shredders into the spotlight, and their popularity increased rapidly with the constant threat of espionage. Until the mid-80’s the most common users of paper shredders were government entities.

One event that instigated a major change in document destruction design was the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. After having used standard cutting paper shredders to destroy sensitive documents, it was discovered by Iranian hostage takes that the strips could simply be realigned to reveal the information that was intended to be destroyed. This prompted the invention of cross-cutting shredders, which remain in constant use today.

Today, privacy concerns brought in by the era of technology have continued the story of the paper shredder. With legislations in the US such as FACTA and HIPAA being introduced to combat identity theft, and the FTC making a recommendation for consumers to shred financial documents before disposal, document shredders are not likely going anywhere anytime soon.

If you are looking for a reliable shredding service for your office space, or just need a reliable shredding service that offers purge shredding in New Jersey, contact the team of experts at our Moris Plains office. We can put together a plan and service that fits your needs and budget. As a proud NAID member you can be sure that documents are being destroyed in accordance with any relevant laws and required procedures.

Talk to our team today to get started.

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