7 Strange Facts about Document Shredding You May Never Know Unless You Read This Blog Post

People seem to think that document destruction is a pretty boring business. They’re dead wrong, of course; we never get tired of watching our mechanical munchers make mulchy mayhem out of droves of documents, destroy diverse decks of data drives, and otherwise turn perfectly ordinary stuff into complete dreck in a matter of moments. But that’s only the here-and-now of the business. Check out some of the fascinating things that make document shredding interesting ‘back then’ as well:

Do not anger a professional shredder! Things that can make your office shredder spit sparks and die — paper clips, rubber bands, butterfly clips, hanging file folders, and even fingers,  — are no match for a professional shredder. They’ll get eaten and spat out the other end as just another crushed-up part of the dreck. Don’t mess!

The first paper shredding machine was patented in 1909 by Abbot Augusts Lowe, but was forgotten because old man Lowe died before he could produce more than his first functional prototype.

The second paper shredding machine was used to save German engineer Adolf Ehinger from the Nazi secret police — Ehinger invented it himself to shred thousands of pieces of anti-Nazi propaganda in a hurry as Hitler came to power!

Paper shredding was a quiet, background part of normal business for decades until good ol’‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon brought the practice back into the national spotlight by shredding vast quantities of paper as part of the attempted coverup of the Watergate scandal.

Iranian revolutionaries changed the business in 1979, when they seized piles of strip-shredded documents from the American embassy in Iran and easily pieced together the strips, uncovering very sensitive intelligence information. From that day forward, cross-cut shredders became the norm in government operations; a practice that has spread to nearly 100% of business shredding as well.

Rubbish is public property! Once your trash reaches the kerb, anyone has the right to go through it without your interference. If that doesn’t make you paranoid about protecting your secrets, what will?

There’s a one-in-33 chance you’ll have your identity stolen in the next year according to the Federal Trade commission! They have a host of ideas to reduce that risk, but chief among them, as you might expect, is shredding any and every business and personal document that has even the slightest bit of personal information on it.

From fighting Hitler to keeping your identity safe today — paper shredding has a long and glorious history as one of the unsung heroes of our modern world. If you think that you might benefit from a bit of document destruction yourself.