In Praise of Vintage Rings


I was writing the article about A – Z dividers and found myself fondly gazing at those 31mm huge Portland Grand rings (above), marvelling how vintage rings are as tight as drums even after use and time has taken its toll.  Below are some perfect A5 Belmont rings

Large perfect rings which shut tight as a drum
Large perfect rings which shut tight as a drum

I have many older binders and it is sadly wonderful to feel that tension and hear that satisfying click as they close so tightly you sometimes can’t see where the join is. I say ‘sadly’ because it shouldn’t be a wonderful bonus that rings close properly. When you spend large sums of money on organisers you should not have to be worried all the time it is on its way to you that the rings will be dodgy and you will have to embark on the long and inconvenient process of returning it for a new one which may or may not also have ring problems. People should not have to specify when selling newer binders that the rings are perfect. People shouldn’t have to ask for each ring set to be checked before they leave a shop.

I understand that the ring manufacturer is not a ‘special’ filofax one but a mass manufacturer (World Wide Stationery I believe) who stamps the ‘f’ on their standard rings.

My Ostrich and Lizard Filofaxes have replaceable ring sets which slot onto the backplate. So do my Gillio organisers. This is great because faulty mechanisms can be replaced rather than the whole binder having to be thrown away. I would be prepared to pay more for an organiser for this option, though I should not have to!

Another thing that may help is to improve packaging. Reintroduce the Filofax box (most other products come in boxes so they should never have been phased out, extra costs or no extra costs). If I spend over £100 on a Malden, I want a box not a Jiffy bag. Speaking of packaging, Steve over at Philofaxy wrote this great article on packaging Filofaxes. I hope Filofax reads it and follows his advice, particularly about removing inserts to reduce strain on rings during transit.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

One thought

  1. re the replacement rings – I really do not see why the ability to replace faulty rings with a snap on/snap off system could not be a standard feature of all ring binders.

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