A Soft History of Hard Cover Binders

Custom Turned Edge Binders

The Trapper Keeper is probably one of the most famous hard cover binders of all time, appearing in multiple school desks and movies alike since its incursion in 1978.


Erin McCarthy recently wrote a very cool piece  for Mental Floss magazine entitled The History of the Trapper Keeper. But it got me wondering: where did it all begin?


The 3-ring binder as we know it can be traced back to the origin of loose leaf paper in 1854, although it would be another 20 years or so before they began to adapt, change, and become patented. The first innovation was going from two rings to three. This was game changer for the custom hard cover binder industry. Demand for the 3-hole punch skyrocketed.


Since then there have been several more innovations, notably the D-Ring Binder. This handy upgrade allows the paper to lay more evenly when on a flat surface. Of course, the Trapper Keeper and other customized 3-ring binder variations inevitably incorporated elements like velcro latches, pockets, and lays. Customization advances such as turned edge offset printing, and the use of hidden rivets also produced a more flawless looking exterior. And while binders like the Trapper Keeper began being made out of PVC plastic, modern products now include vinyl binders, poly binders, and even eco-binders. Eco-friendly binders are made with environment-friendly, soy based-dyes and recycled materials. The modern hard cover binder ranges in all shapes and sizes, including the Easel Binder, with extra flaps for standing upright, for presentations or menus.

Custom Easel Binder Display

With the ability to custom print, emboss, and foil-stamp your personalized hard cover binder, the possibilities are endless. While the catalog of innovations continues to grow, it is nice to remember where it all began.




For a less brief history, click here.

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