Shredding: A Brief History

10:22 am Shredder

Shredder

Shredder

Shredding is basically the complete destruction of the used or not so relevant data, in any form, be it on paper or CD. Shredding is mostly used by offices and business establishments to destroy the various out dated and used up or old data. Common households also use shredding machines, known as Shredders to destroy unnecessary data in the form of papers or CDs in order to create free physical space for other uses.

The history of shredding machines or shredders goes back to as early as 1909. In the year 1909, a person called Abbot Augustus Low, a resident of Low in New York, invented the first paper shredder. His invention was also patented by the U.S.A Government under the name “waste paper receptacle”. But this invention was never mass produced.

In the year 1935, a German named Adolf Ehinger created a paper shredder based on the concept of the hand-crank pasta maker. Legend has it that Adolf wanted to get rid of his anti Nazi documents in order to save himself from the Nazi forces. So, he created the shredder to save himself. Later on, Adolf marketed the shredder extensively and the German Government became on of the first customer of the paper shredder.

History also has it that just before the partial and somewhat unsuccessful takeover of the U.S. Embassy of Iran, in 1979; the important documents were shredded using strip-cut paper shredders. When this information came to the forefront, the sales of that particular model of shredder rose by nearly 20%.

Till the early 1980s, Government offices were the only major buyer and user of shredders. But after the 1984 Supreme Court decision, in the case California v. Greenwood, the scenario started to change. In its judgment, the Supreme Court clearly mentioned that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the seizure of garbage kept outside the house for disposal. After this judgment, the sale of shredders increased many folds. Most of the business establishments as well as households started to shred their paper and CDs before disposing them, in order to protect their own interests and in order to be safe from identity theft.

Laws against burning and unrestricted landfills have also added to the importance and increase of sales of the shredders. Industrial espionage is again another modern day evil which is making the shredder more relevant and important than ever before.

 

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