Adolf Ehinger’s paper shredder, based on a hand-crank pasta maker, was manufactured in 1935 in Germany. Supposedly he needed to shred his anti-Nazi propaganda to avoid the inquiries of the authorities. Ehinger later marketed his shredders to government agencies and financial institutions converting from hand-crank to electric motor. Ehinger’s company, EBA Maschinenfabrik, manufactured the first cross-cut paper shredders in 1959 and continues to do so to this day as EBA Krug & Priester GmbH & Co. in Balingen.
The U.S. embassy in Iran used strip-cut paper shredders to reduce paper pages to strips before the embassy was taken over in 1979 (though not entirely successfully: some documents have been reconstructed from the strips, see below). After Colonel Oliver North told Congress that he used a Schleicher Intimus 007 S cross-cut model to shred Iran-Contra documents, sales for that company increased nearly 20 percent in 1987.