Paper Shredding Facts: The Fascinating History of the Paper Shredder

document retention policy abbot augustus lowe

Paper Shredding Facts: The Fascinating History of the Paper Shredder


We have even put together a fact sheet about office shredders. Also and why you should seriously consider using a more industrial solution. With that said, have you ever wondered how the idea of a paper shredding machines ever came to be? It turns out that this machine that many people take for granted has a very deep and political history.


Abbot Augustus Lowe

It really started in 1909 when an inventor named Abbot Augustus Lowe. He came up with the paper concept for a machine that destroys paper pages. Unfortunately for Mr. Lowe his invention never came to be during his lifetime.

However in 1935, a German engineer also had the same idea and built the first machine. The intent here was to destroy anti-Nazi propaganda before it was discovered by the authorities.

The First Shredding Machine To Market

When the first machine came to market many people had a difficult time understanding the point of owning such a machine. However when the Cold War came  things changed. Consequently the machine rapidly became a common appliance in offices around the world.

The rise in international espionage and information mining was increasing. Hence certainly some countries created a lot of fear and uncertainty. It was all regarding who was accessing what information. It became commonplace to see these machines inside embassies and diplomatic offices during this time.

Document Shredding Machine 

While the early document shredder was considered a game changing factor during periods such as the Cold War.  Finally there was a push to innovate the machine further. This point of development is commonly associated with the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979.

Following many tense political events several Iranian revolutionaries took control of the US embassy in Tehran. Staff was taken as hostages and protestors seized piles of sensitive documents and information. However they didn’t just target filing cabinets and desks for these documents. Furthermore also waste paper bins and document shredder bins.

Double Cut Shredding 

The early machines at the time were only capable of cutting in one direction. Consequently  it was fairly easy to reconstruct documents if one was so inclined. Due to this is commonly thought to be one of the major events to have triggered the invention of cross-cutting shredders. These are the types of machines many industrial users have today. 

Document destruction has become commonplace in many offices. Especially those where confidentiality is key. The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) came to be in 1994 and has since been designated as the recognized professional association for the information destruction industry.

NAID Certification 

American Security Shredding, as a member of NAID, is proud to be a part of the next chapter of document destruction. Through collaboration with our partners, as well as stringent practices and monitoring we continue to operate in the most secure fashion, ensuring confidential information stays confidential. To learn more about how we keep information secure, contact us today!

when was the paper shredder invented

The year was 1909 when the first paper shredder was invented

Who invented the paper shredder

Abbot Augustus Lowe in 1909

where did Abbot Augustus Lowe Live

Ironically Abbot lived in New York where American Shredding is based

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