Before ink blotters there were trade cards.
Prior to the printing of ink blotters by pen and ink companies small pocket size trade cards were used by merchants as advertising reminders of their products.
Trade cards were literally used by every conceivable manufacturer or service. The most decorative and beautiful trade cards were actually produced in Europe, some I have seen from other companies go back as far as the 1500’s.
Trade cards usually had attractive lithographic graphics showed their products or whimsical images of children, people or animals. The images chosen would attract attention and give reason to save the card for future reference. Some of the earliest fountain pen and ink trade cards in my collection are from MacKinnon, Waterman, Esterbrook and Spencerian.
PELIKAN blotters and post cards
World War I period post card
An interesting series showing Pelikan trolls playing with Pelikan products, these came from a dealer in Spain.
A series of ink blotters I made for Pelikan several years ago, proposed as a set to be given to customers at stores who buy Pelikan pens. Never produced, these are proof prints.
More original blotters and post cards
Yes, Pelikan did manufacture in Croatia, and it is believed to have been at the Zagreb Penkala pen factory.
One of the earliest ink companies to use ink blotters dating back to pre-1900.
Now I ask you, why is this blotter ironic and significant? Look at the address…what major company is now located in Freeport, IL that has engulfed and devoured pen companies?
SECURITY PEN COMPANY
Look at the addresses, do you know the story?
A major manufacturer of ink wells with a unique self-closing floating disk inside that closed when not in use, preventing ink evaporation, dust and gumming. These were standard issue with U.S. Post Offices and even the U.S. Supreme Court.
SHEAFFER POST CARDS circa 1929 1940 1960
One of the most prolific of trade card and ink blotter users.
Do you know the significance of the top blotter? Look at the distributor name.
The image below is an instructional brochure.
These are trade cards with brilliant color lithography.
The bottom one is called a “hold to light” – when held to light the child’s eyes will open, very creative imprinting. Of course, you know how that works, right?
One of the most brilliant chemists to produce ink, I believe the first to produce a blue-black ink.
STANDARD FLANGE – very clever graphics!
My favorite from a man who was significant in the pen hobby.
THOMAS’ WRITING FLUID
Outstanding graphics – dated to 1890’s