An Ink Blotter is a tool that is used to remove excess ink from the tip of the nib or from any written material. The very purpose of the Ink Blotter is to soak up the excess ink so as to prevent any smudges and smears on the written document. It was a must have item on the office desk when people used to write with ink pens or fountain pens.
What are Ink Blotters made of?
Made from wood, plastic, metal or bone and curved in shape, the ink blotter surface was attached with blotting paper or felt secured with clips which could directly soak up the excess ink. Top of the Ink blotters were normally designed to have a handle which could be used to hold the blotter and manipulate it as per the need and requirement. In present days, these blotters have become obsolete but remind one of an era gone by when blotters were more commonly used. Ink Blotters were manufactured during 1930’s and 1940’s and are highly priced for those who want keep these as special collections.
What is the History of the Ink blotters?
Ink Blotters were essentially used when most of the writing was done with a quill or writing pen. Many of the ink blotters date to the war period when communication was mostly done through messages written with a quill dipped in ink. In order that the message does not get smudged or smeared with ink, fine sand or salt was poured on the paper to soak up the excess ink. Since salt was expensive, other methods were sought to do the job and the ink blotter was born in 1400. But, Blotting Paper was not in use until 1850 when it was introduced for common use in United States of America. Joseph parker was the one who started the manufacturing of blotting paper in United States of America. It was patented in late 1800’s for the purpose of improved blotting properties, which featured as a blotting surface on one side and smooth surface on the other. It was in much use till 1960 when the roller blotter and the ball point pen came along.
How is the Ink blotter used?
The earlier models of ink blotter were used to directly soak up ink from the tip of the pen before starting to write. The blotter used to soak up the excess ink from the nib thus preventing the ink from flowing onto the paper. It was also used to absorb the excess ink on any handwritten material to avoid smudging and smearing. The surface of the ink blotter is designed in such a way that it absorbs ink without altering the written content on any document.
Rolling blotters were quite famous during the Victorian Era. The Rolling motion of the ink blotter was better in picking up the excess ink from the document without creating any smudging and smearing during the process of blotting. It is a great advantage and excellent tool for writers who write on a regular basis. The invention of Ink blotter, made the blotting process more clean and clear provided the roller is removed smoothly from the paper surface after the blotting process.
When not in use the Ink blotters were placed in a case to keep the desk clean and the ink blotter from rolling around the table. While using the ink blotter to remove the ink from writing the written content appears in reverse on the surface of the blotting paper.
After the invention of ballpoint in 1950’s, Ink blotters started disappearing from regular usage for office purpose. However, even today there is a consumption of Ink blotters in the field of art and with stationary sellers.
Rocker blotter was the most important tool on the desk for writers’ right from 1800 till 1950. Most of these rocker blotters looked quite complex and were usually made of silver, brass, glass and wood.
Ink Blotters were also made from soft paper which was highly absorbent. It is normally in the form of a card and could also be used for cosmetic purposes to absorb excess oil or fat from the skin.
Advertising ink blotters were another type that were common in use in the war period. Messages were advertised on the ink blotter which was a good way to make people notice it.