We acquired these Inkograph marketing materials a while back but we've cleaned our desk off and we're wading through the backlog. If you're not familiar with Inkograph, it was a New York firm run by William and Joseph Wallace beginning around 1914. For more background on Inkograph as a company, we recommend this article by Danny Watts at Chronicles of a Fountain Pen and Jim Mamoulides has some more info in this piece at Pen Hero.
The postmark on the envelope has no date but we are guessing early- to mid-1920s for this marketing campaign. We noticed the receipt booklet has a date field for the year as 192_, and it wouldn't make sense to print it like that unless there was a lot of time left in the 20s decade.
The introductory letter below has a larger version of the Inkograph masthead and has the slogan "The only really successful fountain pencil has an automatic feed which prevents point from clogging." Above the masthead it shows J. Wallace, Pres. & Treas. , then W. F. Wallace as Vice Pres. and finally L. Kiebel as Secretary.
The letter thanks the recipient for requesting a catalog and explains that everything he needs to start making money selling pens is included. It also explains that, as it would be terribly difficult to sell Inkograph fountain pens without actually having one to show the prospective customer, they have taken the liberty of shipping him a No 31X pen at a 1/3 discount. If he didn't want it, all he had to do was refuse it when the postman delivered it. It later explains how they will give him a display case for free when he buys all the pens in it. It's a really wonderful read.
They have included an eight page, two-color catalog, filled with technical details about the pen and how it works. It has some very nice actual size illustrations of the Inkographs pens and the Wallace fountain pens, as well as the Leadograph wonder pencils. The back cover shows the Inkograph Mermaid desk set.
Also included was a receipt book and a sample envelope with sheets of Inkarbon carbon paper.
Here's the front and back of the price list.
There's also a nice brochure touting the benefits of Permex, "A Forward Step in Writing Fluids." Here it is, front and back.
Lastly, we're including this wonderful "how to be a successful salesman" style brochure, containing a "A number of well-prepared, scientific sales plans by an expert who has made Selling a Life Study." This brochure is 24 pages, so we'll include it here as a slideshow where you can flip through the individual pages. If you click play, each page will display for five seconds. Or, you can just use the arrows to go back and forth at your own pace.
Vintage Inkographs are not that hard to find, and several of our club members have one or more in their collection.
Thanks to Fern Padilla, Jr. for these photos from the 1995 Arkansas Pen Show. Do you recognize anyone?
W. A. Sheaffer Pen Co. must have had tremendous success advertising with National Geographic. How else could you explain their almost continuous presence on the back covers from the 1920s through the 1960s?
We've recently come across a large collection of those back covers, and we couldn't resist sharing. They provide a fun and unique way to explore the timeline of various Sheaffer models, including Balance, Triumph, Skripsert, Snorkel, up through the PFM.
Of particular interest is the November, 1955 advertisement, featuring artwork by Norman Rockwell. And be sure to look closely at the ads from the early to mid-1940s, many of which mention the Wartime Production Board (WPB) and materials rationing, as "the facilities, resources, and personnel of the Sheaffer organization have been, and are being, converted largely to the war effort."
Clicking on the images will expand them and show the date the advertisement ran in National Geographic, if known.
This is by no means a complete set, but there are around 77 advertisements represented here, from 1929 through 1959. Amazingly, only two of these advertisements ran twice. We hope you enjoy viewing them, and maybe you'll recognize one or two pens from your own collection.