Stationery is a term used to describe commercially produced writing materials such as cut paper, envelopes, writing instruments, continuous form paper, and other office supplies. Stationery comprises materials that may be written on by hand (e.g., letter paper) or by machine (e.g., computer printers).
Many stationery stores also provide additional school supplies for children in elementary and secondary school, such as pocket calculators, display boards, compasses and protractors, lunchboxes, and other items.
Office supplies include consumables and equipment that are frequently used in offices by corporations and other organizations, persons engaged in written communications, accounting or bookkeeping, housekeeping and cleaning, and for storage of supplies or data. The variety of things categorised as office supplies varies, but often includes tiny, throwaway, everyday use items, consumable products, small machines, more expensive equipment such as computers, as well as office furniture and art.
Office supplies are often classified according to the kind of product and the intended application. Among the numerous office supplies options available are:
- Blank sheet paper in a variety of formats ranging from small notes to letter and poster size; photocopier and inkjet printer paper.
- Time cards, tax reporting forms, pads, desk and wall calendars are examples of preprinted forms.
- Name tags, file folder labels, post-it notes, and address labels are examples of label and sticky paper.
- Label tape, fax machine thermal paper, and adding machine tape are all examples of roll or reel paper.
- Paper clips, binder clips, and staples are examples of mechanical fasteners.
- Duct tape, clear tape, glue, and mucilage are examples of chemical fasteners.
- Hole punchers, rubber stampers, numbering machines, staplers, pencil sharpeners, and laminators are examples of small machinery.
- Binders, envelopes, boxes, crates, shelves, folders, and desk organizers are examples of containers.
The technique of putting a coloring agent to a surface to generate a body of text or drawings is known as printing. This is frequently accomplished using printing technology, although it can also be accomplished by hand using more conventional means. Woodblocking is the oldest type of printing. Woodblock printing is a method of printing text, pictures, or patterns that was popular in East Asia. It began in antiquity in China as a way of printing on fabrics and then on paper. The oldest known instances of printing on fabric from China date from before 220 A.D.
Priting is a method of mass replicating text and graphics by employing a master form or template. Cylinder seals and items such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabonidus are among the oldest non-paper creations using printing. Woodblock printing, which first developed in China about 220 AD for fabric printing, was the oldest known technique of printing adapted to paper. It would not, however, be used on paper until the seventh century.
Later advances in printing technology include the invention of moveable type by Bi Sheng about 1040 AD and the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. The printing technique was critical to the growth of the Renaissance.