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Yawman And Erbe History ##TOP##


According to a 1909 history of the Yawman & Erbe Mfg. Co., "About 1877 a contrivance called the Shannon Arch File, for filing letters, bills, and other papers, was invented, patented, and put on the market by a Mr. James Shannon...consisting of a board, an arch, a compressor cover, an index, and a perforator. During the year 1883, the Shannon Arch File, with all its patents and other rights, was purchased by a Rochester concern known as the [Clague, Wegman, Schlicht & Co.], who had only a selling organization, possessing no manufacturing facilities. Yawman & Erbe [which had been founded in 1880] were negotiated with in reference to making the Shannon Arch File. [In 1884, Clague, Wegman, Schlicht became Clague, Wegman, Schlicht & Field; soon it became Clague, Schlicht & Field; and in 1886 it became Schlicht & Field.] In 1888 the Schlicht & Field Co. was reorganized as The Office Specialty Mfg. Co....But...their entire [U.S.] business was sold, in 1898, to Yawman & Erbe." However, The Office Specialty Mfg. Co. had a factory in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, at least as late as 1913. Yawman & Erbe was still in business in 1932. An 1899 article on modern banking methods stated that "in the filing away of deposit tickets the old custom of tying them into packages daily, or holding them together with rubber bands--the bands rotting and breaking and the tickets becoming scattered, much to the discomfort of the bookkeeper or clerk--has been superseded by a very neat plan." The plan was to file deposit tickets on a board clip with a Shannon arch file, like that in the middle photograph to the immediate right. "Between each day a card can be slipped on the file. At the close of the month open the hooks and insert the ends of a piece of copper wire, about a foot long, into the hollow spindles, then lift off the tickets from the spindles and the ends of the wire can be brought together and twisted. If a piece of heavy manilla paper be put on the spindles at the bottom and one at the top, and thus bound with the tickets, it will protect them and they can be filed away on shelves like books." (Bankers' Magazine, Dec. 1899) Shannon Arch Files attached to boards were advertised at least as late as 1928. Patented 1879 (arch file pictured immediately to the right) Earliest advertisement 1881




Yawman And Erbe History



I didn't know that this hunk of iron had a direct and important link to ephemera when I originally found it lying at the bottom of a dumpster. According to a 1909 history of the Yawman and Erbe Mfg., Co., the Shannon Arch File was invented and patented by James Shannon in 1877 for filing letters, bills, and other papers. Shannon Arch files were attached to boards or inside flat file drawers.


The history of filing systems demonstrates the importance of understanding more mundane technologies, like filing cabinets. Exploring the history of vertical filing offers more grounded and use-based explanations to how the operation and expansion of corporate and government bureaucracies increased in the twentieth century.


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