Wilson Jones Co., est. 1893

Museum Artifact: Marvel 60 Hole Punch, c. 1940s

Made By: Wilson Jones Company, 3300 W. Franklin Blvd., Chicago, IL

Long before any Marvel superhero ever punched a villain, the mighty Marvel Hole Punch was already dispensing its own brand of justice on unsuspecting sheets of binder paper. This lever-operated “paper perforator” was originally designed by Alexander and Chesley Dom of the Samuel C.

Felt & Tarrant MFG Co. / Comptometer, est. 1887

Museum Artifact: Comptometer Calculating Machine, Model H, 1920s

Made by: Felt & Tarrant Manufacturing Company, 1733 N. Paulina St., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Woodstock Typewriter Co., est. 1907

Museum Artifact: Woodstock Standard Typewriter, Model No. 5, 1922

Made By: Woodstock Typewriter Company, 300 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL (Offices at 35 N Dearborn St, Chicago)

Woodstock is a sleepy, romantic little town of 25,000, accessible by the Union Pacific Northwest Metra rail line from downtown Chicago—about an hour and a half journey. If you go there, you might recognize it as the stand-in for Punxsutawney in the movie Groundhog Day.

U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener by APSCO, c. 1911

Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co., 35 Randolph Street., Chicago, IL

While it was initially distributed out of New York City, the U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener was actually designed and patented by a Chicago inventor named Essington N. Gilfillan (first patent date, 1906). And after a few short years, it would return home, becoming the first marquee product of the Chicago-based Automatic Pencil Sharpener Company (aka APSCO) under the banner of the Spengler-Loomis Co.

Eugene Dietzgen Co., est. 1885

Museum Artifact: No. 2745 Handy Pen-Filling Ink Stand, c. 1930

Made By: Eugene Dietzgen Co., 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

A.L. Hansen MFG Company, est. 1920

Museum Artifact: Hansen Tacker / Stapler, c. 1940s

Made by: A. L. Hansen MFG Co., 5037 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

The vintage Hansen Tacker pictured above looks and functions much like the manual staple guns of today—it’s spring-loaded, uses tough wire staples (also made by Hansen), and has an upturned squeeze-trigger handle for one-handed efficiency. It was used for the same sorts of handyman tasks,

Page Boiler Company, est. 1905

Museum Artifact: Chicago Stadium Boiler Room Blueprint, c. 1940s

Made By: Page Boiler Company, 815-819 W. Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL

In 2015, the Page Boiler Company shut down its last Chicago plant at 2348 N. Damen Avenue in Bucktown, and I guess I can say I attended the funeral.

After 110 years of designing, building, installing and repairing the finest water-tube boilers in the Midwest,

Hedman MFG Co. & The F&E Check Writer, est. 1914

Museum Artifact: F&E Check Writer, 1920s

Made By: Hedman MFG Co., 1158 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL

First developed in 1914, the F&E Check Writer was more of a hi-tech defense weapon than a mere piece of office equipment. It was designed, as a number of other similar machines were in the early 20th century, to combat what was then considered “one of the gravest and most widespread of all menaces against our nation’s business”—check forgery.

C. H. Hanson Company, est. 1866

Museum Artifact: Promotional Paperweight, c. 1920s

Made By: C. H. Hanson Co., 303 W. Erie St., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Baby Calculator Sales Co., est. 1924

Museum Artifact: Baby Calculator, c. 1928

Made By: Baby Calculator Sales Co. / Calculator Machine Company, 318 N. Pine Street, Chicago, IL

Just about everybody knows about “The Day the Music Died”—the plane crash on February 3, 1959, that killed rock n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. But did you know there was a much deadlier airline crash in the U.S.

Western Fluorescent Light Co., est. 1950

Museum Artifacts: Chelsea Hotel “Fire Escape” Lighted Sign and Lighted “Exit” Sign, c. 1950s

Made By: Western Fluorescent Light Co., 3242-4 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Victor Adding Machine Co., est. 1918

Museum Artifact: Victor Adding Machine – 600 Series, c. 1939

Made By: Victor Adding Machine Company, 3900 N. Rockwell St., Chicago, IL

The story of the Victor Adding Machine begins—ironically enough—with a miscalculation. Or at least, a misunderstanding. Some might even go as far as to call it a bamboozling.

In the summer of 1918, according to lore, a salesman came to the door of the Buehler Bros.