First Staple War

One of the earliest mock feuds was the First Staple War, a.k.a. the Great Staple War, which got under way in 1934 (see "Mock Feuds") when Bob Tucker formed the Society for the Prevention of Wire Staples in Science Fiction Magazines (SPWSSFM) and, shortly thereafter, Donald Wollheim formed the rival International Allied Organization for the Purpose of Upholding and Maintaining the Use of Metallic Fasteners in Science Fiction Publications in the United States of America, Unlimited (IAOPUMUMSTFPUSA, Unltd).

The two organizations battled away good-naturedly at each other in “Brass Tacks,“ the letter column of Astounding until more serious minded fans (such as Dan McPhail in his Science Fiction News) objected to what they considered an undue emphasis on 'Alphabet Societies'. This had the effect of inspiring other writers to “Brass Tacks” to announce the formation of numerous Anti-Alphabetical Alphabet Societies and in turn inspiring Tucker to submit a letter pleading with fans to stick to either of the two original Alphabet Societies and not dilute the debate by belonging to the more spurious groups.

Editor F. Orlin Tremaine apparently took it all seriously, as he was prone to do in other instances, and added a footnote asking readers to accept Tucker's challenge and "work for unity." But when a prankster using the name Anne Smidley hoaxed Tremaine into printing a notice of Tucker's death; and Tremaine came to believe that Tucker was either Smidley or was in cahoots with her, he declared an end to the silly staple stuff and banned Tucker from “Brass Tacks” for a number of years. For the benefit of those who may wonder, there never was a Second Staple War nor a Lesser Staple War.

According to Speer, the First Staple War spilled over into the pages of Wonder Stories, where Tucker sent a copy of his original missive several months after launching the offensive in Astounding. See Up To Now: The First Staple War

Contributors: Dr. Gafia

from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959
In 1934 Bob Tucker announced, in Brass Tacks, formation of the Society for the Prevention of Wire Staples in Science Fiction Magazines; the dictator of the organization, of course, being Tucker. Recruits to the number of about 35 came, with suggestions for such things as rubber staples, or sticking the magazines together with chewing gum — a different flavor each month. At last Don Wollheim could endure it no longer, and precipitated the First Staple War by launching the International and Allied Organizations for the Purpose of Upholding and Maintaining the Use of Metallic Fasteners in Science Fiction Publications in the United States of America, Unltd. (The "First" apparently by analogy with "First World War", a name already common in 1934.) Wollheim was Grand High Cocolorum of the force, and all other members had suitable titles, except one suspected of being a spy who was deprived of his title. There were some twoscore members in all, and several Fortresses (locals) existed.

Fandom! I sing of that heroic crew
Who struggled not for love of egoboo;
To higher aims their ghodlike spirits rose:
Their sole desire was to improve the proz.

Not satisfied with mere conservatism, Wollheim at length announced the Platinum Plan. In accordance with this, wire staples were to be made of platinum; then, after the stfnist had finished reading the magazine, he could take out the staples and sell them for more than he paid for the magazine. This would boom the circulation of stf magazines and carry science fiction to the world.

As in other mock wars such as the FooFoo-Ghughu strife, the fronts on which direct battle could be joined were very limited, but such engagements as occurred practically all went in favor of the metallic forces. (Their military arm called itself the Ultra-Violet Shirt Shocked Troops, in mockery of the polychrome garments used by European political factions about this time.) IAOPetc spies in Tucker's forces wormed their way into such a position of trust that they published the second number of the Official Organ, and it came out stuck full of wire staples! (Tucker quibbled about the difference between proz — which were all he mentioned — and fanzines.) The "entire" New York Episode (local) of the SPWSSTFM (Doc Lowndes) went over to Wollheim's side.

The end of the war was a non sequitur. A prankster's letter was published all solemnly in Brass Tacks, announcing that Tucker had died. By publication time Tremaine had discovered that he'd been had, and declared there'd be no more staple stuff in Brass Tacks.
from Fancyclopedia 1 ca. 1944
The "First" is probably flavoring borrowed from the phrase "First World War", which was current even in 1935. The war broke out when the Grand High Cocolorum, in a letter to Brass Tacks later republished in The Reader Speaks, denounced the policies advocated by the spwsstfm, and announced the formation of the IAOPUMUMSTFPUSA, Unltd.

Not satisfied with mere conservatism, Wollheim at length announced the Platinum Plan. In accordance with this wire staples were to be made of platinum; then after the stfist had finished reading the magazine, he could take out the staples and sell them for more than he paid for the magazine. This would boom the circulation of the stf mags and carry science-fiction to the world.

As in such other mock wars as the FooFoo-ghughu strife, the fronts on which direct battle could be joined were very limited, but such engagements as occurred practically all went in favor of the metallic forces. IAOPETC spies in Tucker's forces wormed their way into such a position of trust that they published the second number of the official organ, and it came out stuck full of wire staples! Tucker quibbled about the difference between science fiction magazines, which were all he mentioned, and fan magazines. The "entire" New York Episode of the swpsstfm went over to the W's side.

The end of the war was a non sequitur. Someone's letter was published all solemnly in Brass Tacks, telling that Tucker had died. By publication time Tremaine had discovered that he'd been hoaxed, and declared there'd be no more staple stuff in Brass Tacks.