Register Tuesday | June 18 | 2019

Publisher, Know Thyself

The Maisonneuve Decanter

Decanter /di’kænt r/, n. 1. A vessel used to decant liquors, or for receiving decanted liquors; a kind of glass bottle used for holding wine or other liquors, from which drinking glasses are filled.

What’s in a magazine? To inaugurate its new section, Maisonneuve takes a look in the mirror to find out what we’re made of. Not gumption and good looks: paper, ink, and staples. 


• Number of staples in this magazine: two.

• From the eleventh to eighteenth centuries, loose pages were secured by a ribbon, looped through holes in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Soon after, wax sealing was applied to pages in conjunction with the ribbon.

• One of the first metal-based staplers in the world was presented to King Louis XV of France (reigned 1715-1774). Each staple was handmade and engraved with the royal insignia.

• In 1905 the B. Jahn Manufacturing Company invented the first modern stapler. The staples were so difficult to separate, the ram-head had to be pounded with a mallet in order to “staple” pages together.

• The 1999 film Office Space makes use of a Swingline stapler, painted red, as a symbol of rebellion for the character Milton, who burns the building down soon after his stapler is appropriated by the boss. Swingline introduced “establishment-defying” red staplers (tagline: Up the revolution!) when demand for the model rose sharply.

• Staple gun haiku: “American Tool. / Every handyman needs one. / Shit! That was my thumb!”

• Highest price paid for a stapler: $760 US for a 1919 Remington.


• Cold-set inks (the kind used in the production of Maisonneuve No. 2) contain up to 30% soybean oil. A primary goal of the American United Soybean Board is to “develop eight new industrial uses by 2005 that increase the utilization of US soybeans by ten million bushels per year.”

• The use of liquid inks with reeds and brushes appears to have started in Egypt and China about forty-five or fifty centuries ago. Inks were made from soot, lamp-black carbons and vegetable oils.

• Today’s Specials: Squid Ink Spaghetti and Risotto with Squid Ink.

• World War I saw many a soldier write home about the harsh conditions and brutality of that war. The “trench pen” was created to help soldiers pass the long hours in the mud. It consisted of ink tablets that could be dissolved in water in an eyedropper format. Parker and Swan were two of the main suppliers.

• Since 1968, astronauts have used the Fisher Space Pen, which writes in zero gravity. The Apollo 11 mission was apparently saved by a Fisher AG7. When the astronauts boarded the lunar module, one of their backpacks brushed against the engine arming unit, breaking the switch and stranding them upon the moon. Scientists on earth devised a plan to use Buzz Aldrin’s Space Pen to flip the metal strip inside the broken switch and light the engines for takeoff.


• Forty-two percent of the world’s industrial wood harvest becomes paper. The world has lost nearly 200 million hectares of tree cover (Straits Times). Canada’s forests cover approximately half of the country’s land mass—about 417 million hectares out of a total land mass of 921.5 million hectares. Of the total forest area, approximately 57% (234.5 million hectares) is commercial forest.

• From the American Forest & Paper Association’s website: “Environmental regulation is a major threat to the industry’s competitiveness because it requires large capital expenditures that increase operating costs and divert capital away from productive uses.”

• Number of pages in this magazine: eighty.

• 4000 BC: Ancient Egyptians make use of papyrus, a woven mat of reeds pounded into a thin sheet.

• 105 AD: A Chinese court official, T’sai Lun, invents modern paper out of mulberry bark, hemp and rags mixed with water.

• 1454-55 AD: Gutenberg’s forty-two-line bible printed.

• Quebecor World Inc. is ranked #1 in the world in commercial printing. Quebecor’s logistics division moves direct-mail books, catalogues and publications—over nine billion pieces shipped per year or four billion lbs of paper. Quebecor started in Montreal in 1954 with one printing press.

• The United Nations Forum on Forests was created in 2000 after a five-year forest policy dialogue, its mandate to “promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.”