Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wagner's CHIN CHIN and PELICAN Drawing Inks

I just love this 4 page brochure for Guenther Wagners of London advertising their Waterproof Drawing Inks.  Indispensable for Black and White Artists, Architects, Engineers, Draughtsmen, Schools etc.
Just look at the Chinaman on the bamboo ladder adding the finishing touches to the 'Poster'

This leaflet is not dated, but would be from the 1920s. It is very large, over A4 size, and has unfortunately been folded and has a lot of tiny edge tears.

 Just another reason why I find collecting Ink Advertising very appealing.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inky Stephens and Pixie O'Harris

Pixie O'Harris was born in Wales in the early 1900s and moved to Australia as a Child. Her surname was actually Harris the O. being her middle initial, but a printers error published her as Pixie O'Harris, a name she then adopted.  She is the Aunt of another famous Aussie artist, one well known Rolf Harris.  Pixie  drew for newspapers, magazines and was a book illustrator, as well as an author, broadcaster, caricaturist and cartoonist, designer of book plates, sheet music covers and stationery, and children's hospital ward fairy-style mural painter.  A life full of drawing and painting, including this advertising blotter.

This interesting blotter in my collection introduces 'Inky' Stephens....
Holidays are over, back to school,
New books, pencil, pen and rule,
Sandwiches, fruit and milk to drink,
And don't forget your Stephens' Ink.

It is quite a rare blotter, as are any Australian ink advertising blotters, and I was lucky enough to purchase a few several years ago. 

One is now in the Library Archive of THE STEPHENS COLLECTION in North London.  The son of the founder of the Stephens Ink Company, Henry Stephens was himself known to his friends as "inky" and his old home is now a Museum showing all aspects of the Stephens family, the inventors of the famous blue-black ink, his son, the  Member of Parliament, the development of the Ink business and the story of writing materials from ancient times.  A very interesting little museum set up in the original Stephens family home.

Many people ask me what does blue-black ink mean?  Is it blue? Is it black? and the answer is that all ink manufacturers were trying to make a permanent ink, one that did not fade away off the page after a few years.  Stephens Blue/Black ink was the first of its kind, it wrote blue on the page, but as it dried, it turned black and was permanent.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pen Nibs

Part of my Advertising collection covers items that advertise Pen Nibs.  As important as Ink and Inkwells are, without a good pen to write with, they are as nothing.

English pen nib manufacturers in the late 19thC were very keen to develop nibs that did not rust or corrode.  Ink is a very corrosive material, and having a top quality pen was most important.

Companies such as Joseph Gillots of Birmingham were very proud to have the Royal Warrant, pen makers to Queen Victoria and later King George V.  They even won the Grand Prix at the Paris International Exhibition, 1900, and Gold medals at both the 1878 and 1889 International Exhibitions.

Others such as Macniven and Cameron of Edinburgh, Scotland [a company established in 1770]  marketed the Owl and Waverley pens and boasted that their pens were recommended by 807 Newspapers.  They were Pen Makers to Her Majesty's Government Offices.

Another popular British pen manufacturer was Perry & Co of Birmingham.  They made a wide variety of pen nibs, desk accessories, and patented Inkwells.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some Old Postcards

For a short time, I also collected old postcards with inkwells on them.
However, after a few months I realized there were so many available, and I would need yet another album just to keep them in.  So I restricted the collection to just a dozen or so, a few of which I will share today.
--This is from Hungary
from Berlin

Playful kittens

A little boy playing at being a Lawyer in 1907

Monday, December 20, 2010

Carter's Ink U.S.A.

The Carter's Ink Company of America had their Main factory and executive offices in Cambridge, near Boston Mass.  They were very proud of their modern ink manufacturing processes, producing many speciality inks, as well as everyday writing ink, liquid paste and even an ink removal liquid, with the logo of 'Inky Racer' the ink blot who was always running away!.
The earliest advertising I have for Carters dates to 1900 but they were a well established company by that time.
Here I will share some of my more interesting Carter's Ink advertising on blotters

 'This blotter shows a box of Ink Eraser with their famous 'Inky Racer'

and this is a colour brochure for their new Cathedral Shaped Ink Bottles.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Not always what they seem

At the end of the 19th Century, it was very popular to make items that looked like something different, and the Inkwell manufacturers were no exception.

At first glance this may appear to be a normal looking copper and brass Iron for pressing clothes, with a nice wooden handle,  but pop the button and it opens to reveal it's an Inkwell, complete with a little brush to wipe your nib.

Similarly, these tiny leather cases could contain binoculars or a violin, but again, upon opening there is revealed more Inkwells, and another nib wiper.

Commonly referred to as 'travel inkwells', they form just a small, fascinating sideline to our inkwell collection.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ink Advertising

European Ink Manufacturers were very prolific in the use of 'Poster Stamps' (stickers, often called Cinderellas in the stamp trade), to advertise their brands of ink.
I have a large collection of these Poster Stamps, and will add a few photos here over the next day or two.  Most of these have been purchased from Europe, as not many Australian Stamp Dealers have a stock of these types of advertising stamps.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Where it All Began . . . . .

Writing, either as words or in picture form is as old as man himself.
The picture writing of cave men, and later the Egyptians are examples of ways man found to make permanent records of special events.
The Romans used wax tablets, in small ‘note book’ form to record messsages, and reed-paper and dyes for more lasting records.
The Chinese made writing an art form, using a brush and flowing lines with various dyes.

Originally ink was made by combining lampblack with gum and a little water and forming the mixture into small sticks or cakes which were dried in the sun and later dissolved when required. This is the basis of Indian Ink, which despite its name, was invented in China. Being water based it was easily washed off the parchment or paper, so vinegar was substituted for water and the writing became ‘fixed’.

In the 18th and 19th Centuries chemists made ink and sold it in bottles, but it could also be bought from street vendors. 

In London, around 1834 Henry Stephens began manufacturing a ‘carbonaceous black writing fluid which will accomplish the so long-desired and apparently hopeless task of rendering the manuscript as durable and as indelible as the printed word.’
Perry & Co advertised their Perrian Limpid Ink, which had a flowing property peculiar to itself and does not corrode Metalic Pens.
The Term BLUE-BLACK ink means that the ink will write blue, but dry to a permanent black colour.

Ink was very corrosive, and pens and quills needed to be cleaned regularly.  It was also very evaporative, hence the small openings in inkwells.  

Ink sold, in the mid 1800s for One Penny for a small stoneware bottle full (this is about 2 tablespoons full of ink).
Banks, Schools and large Offices bought their ink in bulk and dispensed it from a large bottle or barrel into smaller inkwells.  Some inks were available in Powdered form, making them popular for Schools and large institutions.

The 19th Century saw amazing changes in the literacy of the UK population.
In 1870 Gladstone’s Education Act set the path towards a modern educational system, giving power to elected Councils to provide both primary and secondary education and spreading its provision into rural and urban areas alike.   The effect was profound.
Between 1870 and 1890 the average school attendance rose from one and a quarter million to over four and a half million, while expenditure per pupil doubled.
This new educational revolution fostered the creation of clerks in preference to farm labourers. For the first time, paper and dip pens replaced slate and chalk,  thus laying the foundations for a great surge in the need for ink-related products.  In the early 1800s, with the introduction of the steel nib, quill pens were slowly phased out of use,  and the job of the quill cutter (a very skilled job at the time), was lost.
What we call a Pen Knife today, is really a POCKET Knife, and a pen knife,  was what was used to cut quills, with a thin sharp blade at one end and a very small guillotine action to cut the tip, (the nib), at the other end.

This is a quote I found about Quills … written in 1665….

Take a quill (feather) that is clear, the second or third in the wing. Scrape it with the back edge of your pen-knife, and slit is just in the back, and when you have equally shaved down your nibs, cut the ends of them sloping, so that the nibs towards the right hand may be shorter; round the ends of them a little, and when you have cut a place to receive the ink, wet it in your mouth, and hold your pen in your right hand between the fore-finger, middle finger and thumb.. In writing, sit upright in Majestic Posture……

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coming soon ..  a preview of some wonderful Inkwells
and some great Ink Advertising