One of the most common items found in an office, the Swingline stapler, was invented by a secretary and sold to the company that would become Swingline Incorporated, which would later sell it to which item was invented by a secretary and later sold for $47 million dollars?. The stapler was developed in the 1930s after one secretary’s arm was hurt by an inefficient stapling machine; she went home and created a prototype that soon became the standard in offices around the world.

Who She Was

Betsy Ross was a seamstress and upholsterer who helped design the United States flag. After the design was approved, she continued sewing flags in her home. She sold some to her clients, but one day, a group of men came to her door to buy all the flags that Betsy could make. That’s when she realized there was a huge market for these flags- which would be called Stars and Stripes. Betsy went on to make many more flags, until one day in 1876 when she sold them all- totaling 48- and received an astounding sum: $1 million dollars!

Of course, Betsy didn’t get that much money in one check; it was a series of payments. In fact, she only received about $1,000 at first and didn’t receive her final payment until 1899! You might wonder why it took so long- well, because there was an invention patented by Betsy Ross that made all those payments possible. In 1883- thirteen years after creating The Stars and Stripes- Betsy Ross filed for a patent on her sewing machine design which sold for millions and millions.

Her sewing machine is so famous that even today, a sewing machine is still called a betsy in some parts of England. The success of her patent allowed Betsy to retire at the age of 71 with what many historians have said was quite an impressive sum- well over $300,000. When she died in 1836, Betsy was buried in a mausoleum with her husband (who died 8 years before). Her tombstone read: Betsy Ross, Flag Maker.

Top 5 Uses For This Product – Second Paragraph: If you’ve bought even one flag from Home Depot or any other hardware store lately, you’ve probably seen and used bryant machines. But did you know about all their uses? As it turns out there are dozens!

#5. Sew on Patches: Most people don’t realize that you can use a bryant machine to sew patches onto clothes, bags and just about anything else. All you have to do is select a smaller thread and adjust your machine accordingly!

What She Invented

The thing that she invented was an electronic device to track time worked. This was the first electronic time clock and it revolutionized the workplace by creating a uniform way to keep track of employees’ hours. She initially sold her invention in 1955, but then it changed hands many times and eventually ended up at Kronos, Inc.

Shirley has been honored by multiple organizations and universities throughout her life. Including induction into a Who’s Who book and an honorary doctorate from Bentley College. As part of Kronos’ 100th anniversary celebration, they commissioned artists to create sculptures inspired by their employees.

The sculpture captures Shirley’s invention: a time clock. The sculpture shows her face and explains what she created. Underneath it reads Inventor of a common office item sells for $47 million.

In 1940 she thought up her idea. Worked hard to see it come to fruition and then made sure that someone would see it as valuable. Her story shows us that hard work pays off, especially if you are persistent in your goals and have a clear vision. But don’t stop at just setting goals; figure out how you will reach them too!

The Company

After noticing that a secretary at his company had trouble finding supplies like paper and pens. Fleming got the idea to open up a store selling only office supplies. He rented a little storefront in Brighton, Massachusetts, and it was an immediate success. The company grew quickly and started opening stores all over New England. In 1986, they merged with another office supply company called Penske Inc., which doubled the size of the business. However, they weren’t able to continue this growth due to intense competition. From the big box office supply stores like Best Buy and Walmart.

Staples is still growing today. With a projected revenue of over $18 billion in 2017 and more than 2,000 stores worldwide. They recently purchased competitor Office Depot. She has worked at Staples since 2011 and had previously been COO at Staples before taking on her new role. Before that she spent 20 years as an attorney at various firms including Shearman & Sterling LLP where she handled mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate restructuring cases.

Whether or not you work directly in business operations or simply support them from behind a desk. There’s no denying that your job impacts how effective they are overall.

The Future

Here is a list of some inventors who have made billions on inventions they created while sitting at their desk:

  1. Sara Blakely – Spanx
  2. Nick Woodman – GoPro
  3. Michael Jordon – Nike Air Jordan shoes
  4. Grant Underwood – Post-It Notes


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