Ingenuity with a click

Whether on a coat, handbag, or wallet: the small press stud makes many of our everyday movements easier. It was invented over 130 years ago by Heribert Bauer from Pforzheim.

Heribert Bauer had many flashes of technical inspiration. Clever ideas for inventions – though none of them went into production. The same goes for his idea for a press stud, which he patented on March 5, 1885 at the Imperial Patent Office in Berlin. This was designed to “simplify the opening and closing of men’s overalls,” according to the patent document. At a time when the textile industry was booming, this was a groundbreaking invention, as it did away with the need to sew buttonholes. But there were still a few details to be ironed out. The quick-release fastener rusted quickly and opened at the most inopportune moments – unfortunately for the overalls-wearer. The haberdasher Hans Prym from Stolberg in the Rhineland finally tackled the problem: in 1903, he came up with the idea of fitting the upper section of the press stud with an elastic, rust-proof spring into which the nub of the lower part clicks. The closing force could be correctly applied with the help of an S-shaped bronze wire.

Anything but buttoned-up

Unlike Heribert Bauer, Hans Prym also had the commercial skill needed to market the press stud: with competitions, artfully designed cards, collector’s stamps, discount systems, and cinema ads, he made the press stud famous worldwide. The family-owned company Prym still claims to be one of the world’s largest manufacturers of press studs today. Press studs come in many variations and are a practical and at the same time fashionable accessory.

(Image: svetlana67 – Fotolia)

Place of invention

Zweifaller Straße 130, 52224 Stolberg