What Is a Paper Clip Made Out Of?

By Denise Bertacchi

Updated September 26, 2017

The paper clip is a simple invention that revolutionized offices worldwide. The paper clip seems like a simple solution to binding loose papers, but it wasn't invented until the creation of cheap steel wire. Steel wire is strong enough to hold the shape but bendable enough to be twisted into a clip and stretched over stacks of paper.


Paper clips are traditionally made of galvanized steel wire, but others are made of brass, stainless steel, vinyl-covered wire or even plastic.


Before paper clips, people bound stacks of papers together with straight pins or tied them together with ribbon or string.


The modern paper clip we know today was introduced in 1899 and called the Gem Clip.


Paper clips made of ordinary steel wire will rust and could ruin important papers.

Fun Fact

Pop Deluxe sells an environmentally friendly paper clip from recycled wood pulp--a "paper" paper clip.