5 Fascinating Facts About Document Shredding

In 2020, identity theft affected 49 million Americans and cost approximately $56 billion. Identity fraud is considered one of the fastest-growing crimes, thanks in no part to the proliferation of scams related to COVID-19. Regular, secure paper shredding services are one vital tool in protecting yourself and your family, business, clients, or employees from identity theft. Aside from the criminal element of identity theft, paper shredding might seem like a rather dull topic but there are actually some fascinating facts about document shredding! Consider the following interesting facts you may not have known about your local document shredding services.


Fact #1: Shredding was used to fight the Nazis

The first known shredding machine was used and created by Adolf Ehinger during World War II. Ehinger had created anti-Nazi propaganda as Hitler came to power and later shredded the propaganda in his possession to avoid inquiries. The machine initially was powered with a hand crank, similar to a pasta machine! After the war, Ehinger upgraded his machine with an electric motor as he began targeting government and financial institutions.

Although Ehinger is often thought of as the creator of the paper shredder, the first patent was filed by Abbot Augustus Low in 1909. Low never actually manufactured his device, however.

Fact #2: The Watergate scandal brought document shredding into the spotlight

Prior to the Watergate scandal, paper shredding was more of a background business that was used by government officials and lawyers. However, after President Nixon aide G. Gordon Liddy destroyed mass quantities of documents during the scandal in an attempted coverup, document shredding as a business came into the national spotlight.

Fact #3: Your trash is considered private property in Oregon

Paper shredding became more popular among homeowners after the Supreme Court ruled in the 1988 case of California v. Greenwood that trash is public property if it’s on the curb. However, in Oregon, the state Supreme Court declared that trash is private property, as long as it’s in a covered opaque bin. The court ruled that residents have a reasonable expectation that after trash is put to the curb, ” … no one, including the garbage hauler’s employees, will inspect it without a warrant.”


Fact #4: Paper shredding techniques were improved after the Iran Hostage Crisis

In 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran shredded documents before the Iranian National Guard stormed the building. Staffers only partially destroyed documents because some of the shredders cut the paper into strips. The regime employed skilled carpet weavers using magnifying glasses to piece together some of the documents. After the Iran Hostage Crisis , the U.S. embassy began using crosscut machines, which shred a single piece of paper into as many 10,000 tiny bits.

Fact #5: Paper shredders have their own fingerprints

The paper shredders that are used to destroy documents can sometimes be used in forensic investigations. The blades of the shredder and how it destroys the documents are considered unique even if the shredders came from the same manufacturer. Investigators may examine the spacing between the blades, the blades’ wear, microscopic marks along the edges of the shredded material, or minute variations in the size of the strips.


Contact DataSafe, Inc for your shredding needs in the greater Portland, OR area

DataSafe’s professional and friendly staff take the security of your business seriously. We take pride in meeting the needs of our customers while exceeding expectations. We offer our shredding services on a weekly, monthly, or customized schedule, as well as one-time purges. Let us pick up your materials and shred them on-site or take them back to our secure facility for destruction. We also accept drop-offs by appointment.

Contact us today at 503-620-3423!


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