Thursday, 6 November 2014

Ink a Day: Blackwood & Co Ink (wherein scant evidence is explored)

London ink manufacturer Blackwood & Co departed from the pantheon of ink makers without leaving many traces behind. 

An advertisement in The Times attests Blackwood's existence already in 1851. Their "steel pen, copying, writing and other inks" are "contained in the clean registered stone and glass bottles with durable cork" and are "superior to all others in use." At that date Blackwood was based at 26 Long Acre (Covent Garden) and continued to do so three years later in 1854.

Blackwood & Co ad, The Times, 4 November 1851

In May 1856, Blackwood & Co had their ink bottles patented and again in 1871.

Blackwood & Co ad, date unknown. Source: Pinterest

Blackwood's patented syphon bottles. Source: eBay
Blackwood advertising their finest quality free flowing ink in patent syphon bottles, glass or stone. Company is now at 18 Bread Hill. Blackwood ad is placed right above their competitors, Stephens' Ink. Source: The Times, 25 January 1861.

In 1861, another advertisement in The Times gives a different address: the manufacture is now at 18 Bread Street Hill in the City. In 1878, they take part in the Paris exhibition and although no awards were taken back home, Blackwood must have done well for themselves becoming writing ink suppliers to the H.M. Stationery Office.

Palimpsest's research in the National Archives, British History online, Archive. org and did not yield any more fruits. This is work in progress.

Glass paperweight which reads "Blackwood & Co's Standard Writing
Inks as Supplied to H.M. Stationery Office sold by all stationers
18 Bread St Hill London; date unknown
Above and below: Blackwood's light aqua igloo shaped ink bottle
with "Blackwood & Co Patent London" embossed. Private collection

Blackwood & Co light aqua octagonal bottle with "Blackwo[od] & Co London" embossed.
Private collection. See the cleaning process here.

Early post-1850s ceramic Blackwood & Co ink bottle.
Source: Pinterest


  1. I have just found one of these post 1950s ceramic inkwell but it's a bit battered from the plough. Is it worth saving?

    1. Well, they are not really valuable but if I found one, I would save it :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I too have found one but it is not like any image on Google. It is octagonal, but the sides are not vertical, leaning in slightly, unlike most that Google shows being vertical. Also, the wording is horizontal rather than vertically up a face as on most I have Googled,and is arced over two faces. Unfortunately the neck has been broken off. Does this description indicate any uniqueness?
      (Previous deletion since I can't find an edit button)

  2. I have an octagonal burst top aqua ink embossed on the base with a cross with a capital B in each section - did Blackwood use that as a maker's mark? Many thanks!