Barber-Ellis Ink Blotters Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Barber-Ellis Ink Blotters
Year Unknown
Size 3 3/4″ x 8 3/4″
Images Color
Type Ink Blotters
Number in Set

Barber-Ellis Ink Blotters Overview

Ink blotters were generally rectangular cards that were popular in the days of fountain pens. They would usually be kept on desks and were used to allow people to wipe off excess ink. To properly absorb the ink, blotters are generally a little thicker and have a different texture than traditional cards.

Barber-Ellis issued numerous ink blotters to help promote their business. The company was a Canadian business that produced stationery, cellophane, and envelope products.

While the company produced many different styles of blotters, one can be considered a set with several blotters all having the same layout. These vertical blotters have various themes with a headline statement at the top and a colored rectangle at the bottom and the print, “Envelopes by Barber-Ellis.” There are other blotters that are similar but slightly different. This particular type has ‘Envelopes by’ printed in a script font and ‘Barber-Ellis’ printed beneath in large capital letters. The colors used vary from blotter to blotter.

Most of the series that I have seen to date are non-sports blotters. However, one hockey card is known.

The hockey card, shown here, has a headline of ‘Watch the Net’ and a picture of a goaltender with a hockey puck. A hockey net is in the background, behind the goaltender and one of Barber-Ellis’ envelopes. The theme of the blotter is that the ‘net’ profits are those that matter and that those can be boosted by using Barber-Ellis envelopes.

As Canada is the country where these blotters were distributed, hockey being chosen as the sport represented is unsurprising.

Regarding dating of the blotters, I have not seen any evidence to determine exactly when they were issued. However, they are often estimated to be a 1920s, 1930s, or 1940s issue. Barber-Ellis was operating as early as the 1870s and had a significant presence by the 1920s.

Barber-Ellis Ink Blotters Checklist

The number of ink blotters in this set is unknown. However, below are the blotters I have seen thus far.

  1. He Couldn’t Believe It (Rip Van Winkle)
  2. Watch the Net (Hockey Goaltender)

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