Until the advent of fountain pens in the late 19th century, writing was done with a dip pen into a container of ink. For around 4 thousand years, the pen and inkwell recorded the world's history, its successes, and its failures... the lives of everyday people, and the declarations of nations. They were found on the desks of bankers, and in the packs of soldiers...with heads of state, and heads of religion. They poured forth novels and poems and histories and art.

They were part of our lives. They recorded our lives. They changed our lives.

They are still found in our world today if you take a look...

 

Tiffany Model #1621 – Ninth Century pattern. Intricate and ornate gold-finished design, highlighted with multicolored round glass cabochons.
Bust of a youthful knight mounted on an ebonized oval base. The helmet is hinged and drops forward. Push back the helmet to access the ink.
Bust of a China / Oriental man sits atop a painted metal base. His mustache acts as a pen holder.
Hand-carved Civil War soldier carrying an axe. The inkwell is embedded in the base. There is a bullet (Civil War?) in the pen hole.
This inkwell depicts a knight in armor, peering through the grill of his plumed helmet. This figure is referred to as "Kaiser Bill" or "The grumpy knight."
Kneeling camel, wearing a brightly colored saddle with fringes. The saddle opens to reveal the ink pot. There are matching desk pieces (blotters, letter opener, etc.) all associated with the Shriners
Dark-skinned rider atop an elephant's head. The inkwell is under the cloth on the elephant's back.
Charming inkwell in the form of a standing elephant, dressed in a coat, holding a top hat, which serves as a pen wipe. Lift the hinged head to access the inkwell.
Circus Elephant with Monkey -Whimsical silver-plated inkwell depicts a lute playing monkey riding atop the elephant’s head. c. 1870
Beautiful lady, crouching down on the rocks, touching the water with her hand. The inkwell is housed in the rock beside her.
Bronze figural inkwell features a graceful little nymph sitting cross-legged on the base with her arms outstretched, offering a "toast" in one hand with her scarf and tresses flowing in the breeze.
Woman with Flowing Hair Art Nouveau artists depicted women in highly idealized, feminine & seductive forms. This inkwell (c.1895) is an excellent example. Early erotica
A bronze & copper Tiffany Studios "Bookmark" inkwell; stamped "Tiffany Studios New York 967". Decorated with the ornamental use of typographical marks of early printers and publishers.
Iconic Tiffany Grapevine pattern - trellis, fruit, and curling vine decoration is most evocative of Japanese stencil designs.
Tiffany Abalone Design #1157 - Great raised design around the whole bronze case. Then there are pieces of abalone (mother of pearl) on 4 sides of the case and the top of the lid.
Tiffany Model #851 Double Inkstand – Spider Web (Pine Needle) pattern. The metal overlay covers a caramel-toned Favrile glass.
Tiffany Model #844 Spider Web (Pine Needle) large. The metal overlay covers an amber-toned Favrile glass. Original price in early 1900’s was $15.
Tiffany Model #1072 Large zodiac inkwell. Hexagonal tapered base, with each side depicting a zodiac symbol. Libra is embossed on the hinged lid.
Tiffany Model #1700 Venetian pattern - simulates elaborate Venetian tooled-leather designs. Little ermines (don't call them weasels - not at these prices!) run around the bottom of the piece.
Tiffany Model #1183 American Indian pattern. Indian symbols (owls) and imagery (rain & storm), with design patterns and elements of American Indian rugs and pottery.
A dull gold Tiffany Studios "Adam" inkwell; stamped "Tiffany Studios New York 1777" shows a classical design. One of the less expensive patterns.
Tiffany "Graduate" model is the Mercedes C-class car of Tiffany desk pieces. It has the name and look, but lacks the extra detail. Mid-range price appealed to gift-givers at graduation time.
Tiffany Model #864 – Bookmark pattern (large) - decorated with the ornamental use of typographical marks of early printers and publishers.
Mercury (or Hermes), winged messenger, is sitting down, and fixing a wing that has broken off his foot. (or maybe he’s just “taking a load off”).
Inkwell depicts Rex, king of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), given as a favor at a Mardi Gras ball. The date 1911 is embossed on the right side.
A pair of bear cubs enjoying a feast of berries. The one on the right is throwing a tantrum because the bear on the left is downing the contents of the bowl. M.V.Lomonosov porcelain – dates to 1950’s
The dip pen is housed in the wooden grip of the gun. The pencil is the barrel. Open the chamber of the gun and inside is a small traveling inkwell in the shape of a bullet.
Vintage traveler inkwell, shaped like a gun, which includes a pencil and dip pen, packed in, along with the inkwell.
A ferocious looking lion's head with teeth bared. Upper part of head lifts to access the inkwell. Lion's body forms the pen tray.
© Society of Inkwell Collectors
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