Thanks to Mitt Romney, binders are in the news. He likes his full of women, of course, but binders have other uses as well.
And we have Friedrich Soennecken to thank for them all.
The son of a blacksmith, Soennecken founded a German office-supply business in 1875. His first brainstorm was a type of nib -- the bit of metal at the end of a pen that allows you to, well, write. He also published books on penmanship.
No less an authority than Friedrich Nietzche, the German philosopher, praised the quality of the paper and pens Soennecken's company produced.
Most accounts say the three-ring binder as we know it today was born in 1886 when Soennecken came up with a device that allowed easy storage of paper with holes punched along the edge.