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Pasta to Paper: The Evolution of the Paper Shredder

Posted by Administrator on 5/17/2019

Timeline of the Shred: How the Paper Shredder Came to Be

Before commercial paper shredders were regularly manufactured and purchasable, destroying high profile documents and confidential information was done manually or by burning. Open fire is typically not ideal in most office settings, but employing the use of a high security paper shredder can safely get the job done.

Paper shredders have a unique history. According to streetdirectory.com, the Egyptians first invented papyrus in 4000 B.C. and ever since, there has been a need to get rid of various documentation. The first mention of a paper shredder was in 1909. Abbot Low, from New York, invented a way to reduce the volume paper took up in waste paper receptacles. Later, in 1935, Adolf Ehinger took over paper shredding's claim to fame with the first manufacturable paper shredding design.

Ehinger used kitchen tools to build his first paper shredder gathering inspiration from a manual crank pasta maker. The desire to build such a machine is believed to have stemmed from Nazi soldiers questioning anit-Nazi propaganda that was discovered in his trash bins. At first, people found his invention laughable, but in the 1940s, government officials realized a paper shredder could enhance government security. Ehinger's makeshift crank-pasta prototype quickly morphed into today's high security paper shredders necessary for keeping confidential information secure.

The Levels of a High Security Paper Shredder

When a document contains sensitive information, it is important to understand the risks associated to the responsible party if that information were not disposed of properly. As of now, about 30% of consumers do not properly shred papers before throwing them away. This can lead to security breaches if the information is highly classified as well as overall distrust of the company responsible for maintaining a client's sensitive information. To prevent this from happening, secure paper shredders come in different levels of security ranging from Levels 1 to 7.

The easiest way to think about the levels: a high number = a higher security level. As the number increases, the particle of paper produced decreases.

  • Levels 5 to 7: These shredder levels are associated with the most secure shredders that practically disintegrate paper into confetti by the use of micro cuts. The top two levels, Level 7 and Level 6 shredders, are approved for use with the CIA, Department of Defense, U.S. Military, and other highly secure government organizations.
  • Levels 3 and 4: These shredders are the middle ground for high security paper shredders. Levels 4 and 3 use a cross cut that slices paper into minute pieces. These shredders are ideal for corporate or commercial companies needing to dispose of personal information.
  • Levels 1 and 2: These shredders are the lowest form of security. A shredder in this level uses a basic strip cut. These are likely used in personal homes and more beneficial for reducing space in waste receptacles than for use in maintaining security.

When looking to purchase a high security paper shredder, it all comes down to the sensitivity of the information on the document and the piece of mind you want from knowing it was shredded properly.

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