Images of the Month Gallery
January 2001
Before ballpoint pens came into widespread use in the late 1950s, back in the days when everyone used fountain pens and, before that, quill pens, ink blotters could be found on every writing desk. Blotters were made of soft absorbant paper formed into a card and were used, of course, to dry up excess ink and prevent smears. They were also a popular form of advertising and were often given away by merchants, banks, insurance companies, and other places of business. Today, these vintage blotters are sought after collectibles.

The Louisiana Division's Rare Vertical File includes more than 80 blotters from businesses in New Orleans and elsewhere--some of them actually used to blot ink. This month's gallery offers a few examples of this by-gone method of advertising. Although they are difficult to date, we believe that most of them are from the 1920s-1940s.

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