colored paperclips

A paper clip (or sometimes paperclip) is an instrument used to hold sheets of paper together, usually made of steel wire bent to a looped shape. Most paper clips are variations of the Gem type introduced in the 1890s or earlier, characterized by the almost two full loops made by the wire.

Common to paper clips proper is their utilization of torsoin and elasticy in the wire, and friction between wire and paper. When a moderate number of sheets are inserted between the two "tongues" of the clip, the tongues will be forced apart and cause torsion in the bend of the wire to grip the sheets together. Too many sheets will cause the elastic limit of the material to be exceeded, resulting in permanent deformation.