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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

Category:Ink Blotters

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INK BLOTTERS. Written references to ink blotting paper in America have been found beginning in the late 1700s. Blotting paper came into common use in America in 1850 when Joseph Parker and Son started manufacturing blotting paper. In the late 1800s, a patent was issued for improved blotting paper which featured a smooth surface on one side and a blotting surface on the other. Ink blotters could be found on every office or writing desk. Usually made of a soft absorbent paper and formed into a card, ink blotters were used to dry up excess ink. Ink blotters were a very popular from of advertising that were often given away by fountain pen manufacturers, banks, merchants and especially insurance companies. Antique ink blotters were as common as business cards are today.

With the invention of the ballpoint pen in the 1950s, ink blotters disappeared from most office desks. Vintage blotters, made in the 1930s and 1940s, are very highly prized and sought after collectibles.