Friday, 4 May 2012

Pen, Paper, and Office Supplies: A Charles Dickens Collection



The Law-Writer

“On the eastern borders of Chancery Lane, that is to say, more particularly in Cook’s Court, Cursitor Street, Mr. Snagsby, law-stationer, pursues his lawful calling. In the shade of Cook’s Court, at most times a shady place, Mr. Snagsby has dealt in all sorts of blank forms of legal process; in skins and rolls of parchment; in paper – foolscap, brief, draft, brown, white, whitey-brown, and blotting; in stamps; in office-quills, pens, ink, India-rubber, pounce, pins, pencils, sealing-wax, and wafers; in red tape and green ferret; in pocket-books, almanacs, diaries, and law-lists; in string boxes, rulers, inkstands – glass and leaden – pen-knives, scissors, bodkins, and other small office-cutlery; in short, in articles too numerous to mention, ever since he was out of his time and went into partnership with Peffer.”


Charles Dickens, Bleak House, 1852-1853.

See the explanations of such terms as follscap, whitey-brown and green ferret in Orange Crate Art.


Photo: Charles Dickens' desk. By Lito Apostolakou. Courtesy of Charles Dickens House Museum.

5 comments:

  1. Pounce is still around; I saw draftsmen using it back in the 1970s. Those "pins" I'll guess refer to banker's pins, long straight pins packed in a cardboard cylinder and used to fasten papers together. They were still available in the States as recently as the 1980s. Jack/USA

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  2. This post shows that there are great artist on the late are. And the things that their use is like what we use now.

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  3. This reminds me of my grandfather's office. At the time, I thought I would be using similar supplies when I grew up, but instead it's all laptops and glitchy software. At least I still have desk like Dickens.

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  4. Palimpsest, Carrie, tyranid---years ago in Connecticut I saw an exhibit that included the desk used by a Spanish conquistador. It was small, possibly a shipboard desk, but if my memory's okay, lathered with precious metals and decorative jewels. I've seen nothing like it since. Jack/USA

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