Office Supplies On the Go in 1895

Today, in a coffeehouse or an airport, and other places as well, people work on laptops and netbooks. In 1895, you could buy a “pocket inkstand.” One in the Montgomery Ward & Co. mail-order catalog (republished in 1969 by Dover Publications) had a screw top and promised that it could not leak, which would certainly ruin your clothes.

The catalog suggests that this is good for tourists. I suppose you could write “picture postcards” and keep a travel journal, writing while sightseeing. Within ten years, the Brownie camera would change the way ordinary people recorded their vacations.

If you were in business or teaching, you could order a portable blackboard, even a cloth one you could roll up, stick in a bag, and use anywhere.

Author: Pamela Tartaglio

For my vacation, I'd like to go to America a hundred years ago. Instead, I visit cool historic places, art museums and read. I share on my blog, Past and Present with Pamela. People who aren't history buffs tell me they enjoy these glimpses into the past. Please come and visit.

3 thoughts on “Office Supplies On the Go in 1895”

  1. Those pictures are cool, Penny! The first one, patented in 1901, looks like a regular pen, with the ink in the pen. The inventor calls the pen a “travel pocket inkstand.” A great invention, though.

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