Jul 252011

Nothing like a good solid clipboard when you need one. Saw this one on line and thought it was the coolest.  The clip with printing slides up and you use that to open and close the spring jaws.  Patent 2,996,774 I don’t own one yet, but I am on the hunt.

  57 Responses to “Bear-Of-A-Clip”

  1. I have one, it is from before it was even patented. It shows bear of a clip pat pend. it is on a custom made folder/clipboard. Trying to find info on it. Looked vintage to me, but is in brand new condition. It was made by a company called custom container corp. los angeles. anyone with any info, please let me know!

  2. I had one on a vinyl folio. The vinyl wore out. I’ve been looking for a replacement. I’m unsure if they are still in business. I liked it a lot.

  3. I had one of these clipboards, the board broke, I salvaged the clip and put it onto a bamboo cutting board. I expect that I will get quite a few years more use out of it, especially since the new board is 3/8″ thick.
    Mine is the older version, btw. It has “Patent Pending” instead of the patent number on it. I have been unable to locate the company that made them via online searching.

  4. Apparently the patent was assigned to AMERICAN BINDER COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA, at some point in time. My online search for that company has been fruitless, so far. I keep getting AMERICAN BINDING COMPANY instead. The inventor was Charles O. Sutton. the patent was filed in 1958 and granted in 1961.
    I am currently “on the hunt” for more of the clips the boards they were mounted to were just regular cheap press-board. I like my bamboo version much better.

    • I have two of these, got them at garage sale around 1980. They are great. I’ve been looking for more to buy, but never found any.

  5. I was general manager at American Binder company in San Francisco. We moved the plant to Oakland
    and changed the name to American Durien. I left the company in 1973. I was told the company went out of business in the 80s. I was also told they sold all of the dies and equipment to a company in L.A. The designer Church Sutton lives in Joplin, Mo. I still feel this was the best clip board ever made.

    • Thanks so much for your comment about the clip board. I think its great piece of history. I am really fascinated with all of this.

      I would love to get my hands on one of these clipboards. They seem amazing, I found a picture of one on line and posted it up because I thought they looked so interesting and the clip was really genius I thought. Its generated more comments then any other post and your comment is really just icing on the cake…

      Thanks again

  6. The Bear-of-a-clip boards used to be pretty much the standard in eastern Canada when I was in school – I recall them from the 60s-70’s and I still have two that I managed to buy at the local stationery store in early 80s. Since then they have disappeared. My two boards say Patent Pending – and Made in Canada (stamped horizontally across the budge bar just above the B in Bear). Besides having a strong spring which can hold loads, yet is easy and quick to open, the feature I like most is that there are no sharp edges as on other boards to dig into you or snag clothing. For wall mounting, the board itself has a hole in back under where the clip mounts. Also the clip design makes the board profile just a tad larger than the pages being clipped so the whole deal can be stowed in less space in a briefcase than other board/clip designs.

  7. What ever seeded the thought this morning about “Bear-Of-A-Clip” and led me to Google and then stumble upon this thread is beyond me. Anyway, though I remember the name Sutton at American Binder Co. of San Francisco, I don’t recall my uncle Al Stanton including that name when the “Bear” was invented. The clip was invented sometime in the 1957-1958 time frame. My uncle gave me the three sizes manufactured at that time together with special made binders that had the clips inside when I started college in 1958. I still have the letter-size clip-board today!

    I don’t recall when Doug Durien took the helm from his father, but it would have to have been sometime in the mid to late 70’s, as Doug was behind me in high-school by a few years. I seem to recall that Doug had a younger sister, but I don’t recall if she ever played a role at ABC.

    I was not aware that ABC went out of business or when and how the original patent on the “Bear” expired.

    Uncle Al died about 15 years ago when he was in his early 80’s.

    I’ve never seen anything close to the original “Bear-Of-A-Clip”. The picture that heads this thread is exactly like mine except that mine is stamped “Patent Pending”.

    All this history will simply make a few of us feel a little bit older………..cheers!!!

    • Bill,your uncle was a great guy.The clip was first developed for carry rug samples.It was Al Stanton
      Idea to mfg clip boards,he never got the credit for it.The last time I spent any time with Al was in the
      Early 80s.He had a reunion dinner for all of the former employees and some of the current employees
      Of America Binder.Chuck Sutton was their and about thiry other folks.We had a great time,I will never
      Forget the time with Al and Chuck. Ron Sommerfeldt

  8. Where can you find just these clips? I hear they are discountinued…

    • Sorry it took so long to get this up on the boards. I just moved and have gone through a period of no Net connection. As far as I can tell the Bear of Clip design has not been made for many years. The only way to get one of these incredible clip boards is on the used or surplus market. Watch your local Craigslist and visit yard sales and flea markets.

  9. The Bear-of-a-Clip Board (Patent Pending) is one I bought at the book store at the University of Pittsburgh in August 1961, when I was beginning graduate school. It is still in use. I attach attendance sheets on mine for all of my classes at Smith College, and have been doing that for years. Students always ask where they can purchase one. I wish that it could be marketed again. I suspect that when/if I retire, I will give it to the best student that year!

  10. I got my Bear pattent pending in1963, and use it still. My children have long argue over who is going to get it when I stop useing it.

    I would buy a half dozen if I could.

    I would love to be a part of getting it back on the market.

    • Are you aware of any info on the Bear-of-a-clip patent and its designer?

      Any info on where is it is sold?

      • I am sorry but all the information I know comes from the comments on this post. I did gather a couple of more documents for another post but I have not gotten around to putting them up yet. As far as I know the only way to purchase these clipboards is to buy them on the used/surplus market. I picked a couple up over on etsy. They are plastic boxes with clipboards mounted to the top as lids. Pretty cool, and I finally got to feel the action of the clip…

  11. Wow, can’t believe I found this thread. Very cool, in a weird, nerdy, engineering way : )

    I have 8.5×11 clipboard with this clamp and have been looking for another one for years. I bought mine at the Cal Poly SLO book store when going thru Engineering school.

    I just saw an 11×17 clipboard with the same clip being used by a designer I work with. He bought his many years ago.

    Would buy 100 of them if I could find them. Best clipboard.ever!!

    Cheers everyone.

  12. Mine is a National brand. Exact details same, says PAT 2996774 right under the stamped National name and logo. I acquired about 20+ years ago at work (might have not returned it to the fire station at some point, accidentally of course). Never have seen another. Great sharing these stories. Used it all through college, grad school, and its been on deployment with me to Haiti, Katrina, and most recently hurricane Sandy. I still stumble fondly onto it in the house a couple times a year and it winds up in limited use, before I misplace it for a few months again. Agree, best clipboard clip ever. Never really noticed the patent numbers until tonight when I saw them and it occurred to me to Google it. Brilliant design, thanks Charlie Sutton.

  13. I recently bought an aluminum bear- of -a – clip clipboard at a thrift store. Mine is a bi-folding one that was apparently used by an air traffic controller or for some type of preflight checklist! I love it and I paid about 75 cents for it!

  14. I bought mine in September 1956 at the bookstore at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. I just moved the metal apparatus onto the 3rd board. A wonderful tool!

    I did just this evening google the brand name (mine comes with “Patent Pending” and learn that the patent expired sometime around 1995. Too lazy to go back.

  15. Best clip ever made. Agreed. I bought mine around 1958 at the San Francisco State College (now University) book store where I was a 1960 graduate. I liked it so much I went back later and four three more, which I still have. I’ve look for them ever since and have never found another Bear-of-a-Clip. I’ve always wondered why such a fine product should vanish from the market. Opportunity is knocking for someone.

  16. Had one in the 60s – 70s (“patent pending”), tragically mislaid in some move. Don’t know where I saw this, but believe it was touted as being safe in a no-sparks environment (presumably because of the aluminum). I had a lot of friends at SF State at one time, 1958 on. Maybe one of them was the source. Count me in as a customer if anybody finds a source.

  17. I acquired my Bear-of-a-Clip Board (Patent Pending) in a similar manner as Craig Felton. I bought my at the University of Oregon book store in 1961 as I too began graduate school. Mine is a 10 x 13.5 Masonite board that I still use in spite of the chipped corners from the drops it has taken. I found this thread while searching in hopes of getting 3-4 more of these best ever boards. After reading these comments, I guess I’ll have to remount my BEAR clip onto a new surface – maybe plastic.

  18. I just saw a ringer for the Bear-of-a-Clip on Etsy.com. They are attached to some of the most beautiful hand made clipboards you’ll ever see. They seem to only go with the smaller boards, but they look to be full sized. And the place where the boards are created is JK Creative Wood, Kalona, Iowa. And they retail these under the “JKartisans” handle. The boards with the clone clips run from $14 on up. They might tell you where they get these clips. Go to etsy.com and type in “clipboard” and you’ll get 52 pages of clipboards.

    • Sorry, but the clip that JK Artisans uses is not the Bear-of-a-Clip original or even a close copy. It is much flimsier. And $33 for a clipboard???? It is beautiful, but there’s gotta be a limit.

  19. The only kind of clipboard I can use with my arthritic hands. The patent must be expired by now, why hasn’t someone like Oxo making them again? URGENT!!!

    • I have loved my clipboard for years, but now I want several more. Since my arthritis has gotten worse, it’s the only clipboard tha’s usable.
      Karen Piplani

  20. I just found a couple in my school’s storage shed. One is a standard size and the other one is a legal size. I stumbled on vintage school stuff!

    • Oh! Fantastic!
      Good Find, hope you let us know how you like them.
      I am curious also just how springing is that Bear Clip, I imagine that its very springy and holds papers tight, but is also very easy to open…

    • I’ll buy them right now, name your price. The only clipboard that deserves to exist!

      Will Dewey
      7610 Midtown Road, Apt. 212
      Madison, WI 53719

  21. Neat to see this. When I went to Caltech in 1957, this was what everyone seemed to use. We would tuck an eraser under the clip and carry our mechanical drafting pencils in …a pocket protector. I still have one – patent pending – that I use today. Many good memories.

  22. I bought mine in 1974 at the Stanford Univ. Bookstore. I still use it, almost 40 years later. According to the patent filing, its primary advantage (other than just being simply beautiful) is that the clip can’t be accidentally squeezed while in a briefcase — something that I can attest happens everytime a conventional clipboard is put into some tight spot. I sure wish I had another one, although mine is probably good for another 40 years.

  23. I have been thinking about reproducing some of these. The problem is quantity, I am sure the Chinese would want to see an order of at least 1000 pieces and more likely 10000. Is there a demand for that many??? Or are electronic devices replacing the clipboard with laptops??? Tablets are no good for intensive typing unless they have a USB port and can accept a real keyboard. Comments????

    • I think you could sell 10,000 before they got here air freight, just read this thread. I would take a dozen.

      Will Dewey
      7610 Midtown Road, Apt. 212
      Madison, WI 53719

  24. Staples would sell a million!

    • That may be so but there does not appear any way to ask Staples if they are interested.

      • Go to Staples and ask for them. All of us!

        I’ll take a dozen right now.

        Will Dewey
        7610 Midtown Road, Apt. 212
        Madison, WI 53719

  25. Dave,
    Have you started making these?

    • I have not gotten any further on making them yet, but I bought one on eBay just a couple of days ago. On a non-commitment, straw-poll basis, how many would you buy if the clips only were $15 (you can mount on a board of your choosing) and mounted on a Masonite board $25???

      • I wondered who got that one 😉

        I also picked up a couple over at the Etsy shop, but not sure yet how they will be, they have boxes underneath. I was really interested in checking out the clips. I think I would be interested in one plain clip if you do decide to make them. Thanks for considering. I would certainly help you advertise!

      • I’d buy 3 for $15 retail. Mail order would be tough for this product — likely $11.00 USPS Flat Rate. Might consider 5 for $25 plus shipping. I know those aren’t happy numbers for you, but they are real for me. I desperately want a replacement Bear clip, but cheap substitutes are practically free.

        • I’ll take a dozen. There are no sustitutes. The only clipboard that deserves to exist!

          Will Dewey
          7610 Midtown Road, Apt. 212
          Madison, WI 53719

  26. I bought one in Berkeley in 1961. It has gotten so worn that it doesn’t quite reach the board any more. I left it on the roof of my car in Santa Fe the other day and not only did my manuscript get spread from one end of Paseo de Peralta to the other, but the clip board got run over by a couple of cars. Still works, sort of.

    Tho it makes me feel disloyal to say it, I would buy another in a shot at the suggested price. And probably others to give as gifts.

    One way to get this made might be to propose it to Quirky, an organization that crowd sources inventions. Might not be groovy enough for them, but worth a shot.

    Please stay with this.


  27. I have one with the full patent number on it. I googled it because the rotating clip that is the lever is a little loose and won’t stay where it belongs, and I was hoping to find another. Don’t recall where I got it but I’ve had it for years and I love it.

    I live in Santa Fe too and if I had seen Nick’s clip board on the street I would have run off with it.

  28. My Patent Pending one is from the bookstore at the Univ. of California Davis Campus, some time during 1961. It survived another year there, then about 3 dozen years at a research lab, finally many years as a retiree. Recently – don’t know how – a triangle of the masonite was broken off one of the top corners, but some Duco cement, with several woodworking clamps, has it back looking almost like new. That accident is what led me to see if replacements are available, and like many others, I can’t imagine why not. It’s the only kind that can be carried easily without loosening the clip and dropping whatever papers it held.

  29. I have a huge double clip board if anyone is interested in buying it. It’s 26 ” high by 23″ wide and two Bear of a Clipboard clips : pat. 2,996,774 on them .
    If you email me I can send pictures
    I don’t know what to do with it- I was going to put it on eBay but if someone on here would enjoy it more that would be great.thanks, Brittany

    • I’ll buy them right now, name your price. The only clipboard that deserves to exist!

      Will Dewey
      7610 Midtown Road, Apt. 212
      Madison, WI 53719

  30. I have been using one of these Bear of A Clip Board sine the early 1980’s best clipboard ever. The corners of the board are a little dinged but the clip will still hold anything you put in it. Still using it daily at work. Too bad more things don’t exhibit this kind of quality.

  31. bear of a clip ebay 322335135699 3pcs $31 ea

  32. Just found these!!! The boards look the same as some photos I have seen of Bear of a Clip sketch boards and if you look closely the clips look like they have the fold out piece just like the original. Wonder how well they work and if they match. The UPC number will bring up others that are the same but different prices.


    almost willing to buy one to find out 😉

    Here is the UPC
    Made by Saunders
    UPC 0044357056068
    Alias SAUSAU05606

  33. I found one! I hope someone is able to buy it!

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