The beauty that is the trombone


James Ward has an unusual attachment to trombones. And when he sees one, he sees “a work of art, but it is also a useful work of art”.

And like any serious art lover, he is also a collector. He showed correspondent Suysan Spencer variations of his collection of tens of thousands of paperclips, from the classic design…to “owl” paperclips…to crossed paperclips.

Variations in paper clip design.

CBS News

The London-based author wrote a book on the subject, “The Perfection of the Trombone”, simply because he felt the need for a definitive work. And at least one paper clip is still on him – a tattoo on his left arm.

Author and paperclip collector James Ward never leaves home without at least one paperclip.

CBS News

This paperclip design is the so-called gemstone, which dates back over a century. Although there were many different styles, it is this gem that makes the poet stand out in Ward:

“It’s a very beautiful object,” he said. “Almost suggests a kind of eternity, but at each end, in a way, it’s a kind of broken eternity.”

Books on earbuds

“Boy, you read a lot in a paperclip!” Spencer burst out laughing.

Eternity or not, one thing is certain: the paperclip is an office staple – not to be confused with the office stapler.

Spencer asked, “If you were to impart one thought on paperclips, as one of the world’s greatest authorities, what would it be?”

“Treasure them,” Ward replied. “Think about it, use it. And think about it.”

“It’s close to a religious experience, isn’t it?

Ward burst out laughing. “It does its job and it looks beautiful. It’s like it’s all you could ask for in a design element.”

For more information:

Story produced by Amiel Weisfogel. Publisher: Carol Ross.

More from Susan Spencer on the design:


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