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Thread: Show Us Your...Inkwells

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    I'll Lock Up Widebrim's Avatar
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    Show Us Your...Inkwells




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    As far as I know, there is no inkwell thread on this forum, and since inkwells were an integral part of most peoples' lives during the Golden Era, let's start one.

    20th century, institutional (common/public use) inkwells were produced by many different companies, some of the more famous being Esterbrook, Morriset, Sengbusch, Fount-O-Ink, and Carter's. Materials used included metal, bakelite, plastic, ceramic, and glass, and they came in just about every price range. They were found in classrooms, home desks, banks, offices, post offices (officially until 1957), on ships, on military field desks, and almost everywhere else. Some had to have the ink poured into them, whereas some used bottles of ink screwed into the base. What gives an inkwell a foot up on a fountain pen is the ink supply; depending on one's writing habits, an inkwell could go far longer without re-filling than a fountain pen (the latter's advantage being its portability.) As far as I know, the last American inkwells were produced in the early-1960s, although their termination date might have been later in other countries. (As late as the end of the 1970s, at least here in the L.A. area, you could still find NOS inkwells languishing in stationery stores.)

    So, what inkwells do you have do show off? I'll begin with one that I currently have on top of my classroom desk:



    This is a Fount-O-Ink inkwell, produced around 1940 (it has a South African patent date of 1939), in the city of Los Angeles. The company existed from at least the late-1930s until at least the mid-1950s (I found a mid-'50s, high-end NOS model in a stationery shop in the late '70s). As can be seen, the bottle was screwed into the base, so one had to either buy a new bottle of the company's ink, or use a small funnel to pour the new ink into the used bottle. The base is heavy ceramic, whereas the bottle cover appears to be celluloid in nature. Utilitarian, but still nice-looking.
    1. John 3:16, 17
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    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    I have a glass and nickel (i think it's nickel) inkwell on my desk which I use fairly regularly.

    Photos to come.

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    I'll Lock Up Widebrim's Avatar
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    Dueling Morrisets.




    Bert M. Morris Co. of Los Angeles produced literally thousands of these Model Bs from around 1940 until about the early 1950s. With the Model B you had to use the company's ink bottle inside the well, but the inkwell came with a small funnel which could be used to pour any brand ink. (My first inkwell was a red Morriset, which I still have.) In addition, the nibs were replaceable, a feature shared with Esterbrook pens holders. Model Bs often appear in vintage movies.
    1. John 3:16, 17
    2. Dress to please yourself, but do take others into some consideration.

    -Lee

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    I'll Lock Up Widebrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shangas View Post
    I have a glass and nickel (i think it's nickel) inkwell on my desk which I use fairly regularly.

    Photos to come.
    Get a move on it, Shangas. I'd like to see that inkwell.
    1. John 3:16, 17
    2. Dress to please yourself, but do take others into some consideration.

    -Lee

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    "A List" Customer Highlander's Avatar
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    Well, here is one of the inkwells I have:

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    I'll Lock Up Widebrim's Avatar
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    ^^Very nice pressed glass example. Does it have any markings at all, and do you have any idea as to its age?
    1. John 3:16, 17
    2. Dress to please yourself, but do take others into some consideration.

    -Lee

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    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Widebrim View Post
    Get a move on it, Shangas. I'd like to see that inkwell.
    To fulfill WideBrim's rabid insistence to see my inkwell, I shall concede, with photographs thereof. I purchased this about five years ago at my first Melbourne Pen Show. I've no idea how old it is, I just think it's cool:





    OH MY GOD IT'S GOT INK IN IT!!!

    Yes, that's because I use this on a pretty regular basis. So I keep it topped with ink every now and then.

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    One Too Many lolly_loisides's Avatar
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    OK, I'll join in, these were all once owned by my father in laws father.

    This has an onyx base. It's very heavy.


    Unfortunately the base on the glass desk set broke some time ago & the clock hasn't worked for years. The inscription reads, "To Capt C P Leeds from the staff of The Mayfair Theatre, Xmas 1933".
    Last edited by lolly_loisides; 04-05-2012 at 12:11 AM.

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    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    Those are beautiful, Lolly. There are two Mayfair Theatres. One is the Mayfair Theatre in Dunedin, New Zealand, opened in 1914, and the other is the Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa, Canada, opened in 1932. They were both opened in December. New Zealand one, 8th December, 1914, Canada one, 5th December, 1932.

    Given that you live in Australia, I'd speculate that the Mayfair Theatre in your inkstand is the New Zealand one. Here's a photo:


  10. #10
    One Too Many lolly_loisides's Avatar
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    Christos managed movie theatres in Sydney & western NSW for 40 years. He never went to NZ. He was the Manager of the Mayfair (73 Castlereigh St Sydney) from 1932. (great photo though, thanks).

    EDIT - He's a link to a newspaper article showing the days movies listings in Sydney 1933 - The Mayfair is there (though I'd rather go see Gold Diggers of 1933 at The State Theatre!).

    Sorry to get so off topic.
    Last edited by lolly_loisides; 04-05-2012 at 01:11 AM.

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