While lever arch files might look like a distinctly 20th Century creation, they were invented around 100 years earlier. The German engineer, Louis Leitz, was also a prodigious inventor. As a result, his offices and study were always cluttered with notes and paperwork. Because these documents were essential to him, he resolved to find a way to store them properly and coherently.
The first lever arch file
The initial lever arch folder was created from a piece of card. He folded it in half so that it represented the binding of a book before drilling two holes through the outside covers. Inside, he then inserted two adjustable rings made from metal. Not only did these serve as a locking mechanism, but they also created something that would later manifest as the lever arch ring binder that we know and love today. His next step was to punch appropriate holes in each of his sheets of paper, and, in 1896, one of the world's most common and vital document storage solutions was born.
In the 21st Century, while the manufacturing processes may have changed, the design of a lever arch ring binder is pretty much the same as it’s always been. Today, the stiffness of the covers tends to be provided by a board, which can be made from recyclable materials. The covers and spine format can then be coated in a layer of paper, card, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
How to protect your documents
When it comes to durability, there’s not much to match the qualities offered by PVC. It can be written on, wiped down, and is wonderfully resistant to temperature, chemicals, and moisture. Thanks to those factors, it's one of the most protective materials you can use to keep your paperwork safe from the elements and external hazards. However, for those looking for an eco-friendly answer to storing documents, a lever arch folder made from recycled materials could be just what the doctor ordered. Environmentally-friendly lever arch files can be coated in recycled board. These are just as easy to write on as their plastic counterparts and offer similar levels of protection. However, if you need to keep your paperwork free from moisture, heat, and chemical interference, then PVC is the way to go.
Other uses for lever arch folders
While lever arch ring binders are the obvious choice for office workers looking to keep on top of their paperwork, they also serve other purposes. Anyone who's ever moved house will know how hazardous removal vans and packing boxes can be to ad-hoc filing systems. Whether you work from home or as part of a busy office, using a lever arch folder to keep your paperwork in order can make things work much more smoothly. If you've got a folder that allows you to see who your utility suppliers are and who you pay your bills to, the chances are that you'll be able to make the necessary switches almost seamlessly.
Can lever arch files destroy documents?
There can be a worry that paperwork can be 'eaten away' from the inside. Less premium lever arch files can rust, which, in turn, can spoil and destroy important documents. However, those that are well-made sport metal arches and locking mechanisms made from metal coated in nickel. Not only does nickel plating provide that lustrous and professional edge, but it's also rust-resistant and able to withstand changes in moisture and temperature. If you're looking for the perfect way to keep your papers intact, nickel-coated lever arches are the way forward. On top of that, plating with nickel can be an environmentally friendly process.
When designing and implementing a storage system, there's little to beat a lever arch folder. With their book-like construction offering two covers and a spine, there's plenty of room for labelling. However, if your filing system doesn't require files being laid side by side, their covers can be written on or labelled just as easily.
Store your documents your way
While arch lever folders might have been invented in the 19th Century, their basic design has stood the test of time. However, this doesn't mean there aren't any design options for those who want to add that extra edge to their paperwork storage solutions. Whether you choose lever arch files made from PVC or card, you'll find an extensive range of colours and designs available. Choosing the one that suits you best will allow you to create your own colour-coding storage system or present your files to VIPs, safe in the knowledge that they are well-organised and look their best.
19th Century know-how vs 21st Century tech
While physical paperwork might seem a little old-school, storing your vital information in physical files does come with its own benefits. The cloud is an innovative and dynamic invention. However, should there be a power outage, or the Internet decides to go 'on the blink,' your essential data is completely out of reach. Similarly, should you need to instruct someone who isn't that tech-savvy on how to access documents that are held digitally, there can be a lot of floundering – particularly regarding passwords and Internet protocol.
Using lever arch folders negates the need for IT training and can keep your paperwork organised without having to upload it to a digital storage facility. While the cloud comes with its own benefits, there are certain types of documents, such as contracts and those pertaining to identity, that will always require physical copies. If you need to ensure that you've got a real-world backup, then lever arch files and folders are inventions that have stood the test of time and found their place in the 21st Century.
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