Stationery | The British Newspaper Archive Blog



One of the best parts of sending mail is in acquiring all your stationery needs. From pens to paper and envelopes to writing desks, there were many stationery items showcased in newspaper adverts over the years.

Newspapers could keep their readers abreast on the latest developments in stationery, and the latest in homonym jokes!

(Click on an image to enlarge)

The Sketch | 5 October 1898

The latest thing in stationery is an envelope that is its own letter-book. Each envelope is attached by perforations to a top part, on which you write the name and address duplicated on the envelope below. By this means you know to whom you have written.

Britannia and Eve | 1 September 1934
The Tatler | 29 September 1909

The caption of this side-splitting comic reads as follows:

Customer: Do you keep stationery?
Commissionaire (new to the business): No, mum; we keep shifting about

The Bystander | 12 October 1910

If you possess a Blick you simply pack it in its case, in which there are compartments for stationery, letters to be answered, etc., and when you are comfortably seated in your carriage you take out your Feather-Weight Secretery, place it on your knee, and type your letters (making copies of important letters in the one operation), and when you have reached your destination an otherwise tedious though pleasurable duty is done–done during moments of travel which otherwise would have hung heavily on your hands–done with as much ease as though you were in your own private office. […] How annoying is it to have hurriedly written a letter which cannot be deciphered by the receiver, and possibly the writer he or she himself after they have forgotten its contents. It is for this especial reason that Editors return manuscripts, commercial travellers lose orders–as busy men are too impatient to read hand-written letters–clergymen stumble over their notes when delivering a sermon, or public speakers falter when reading a speech that otherwise might have captivated their audience. By special arrangement readers can now have one of the Typewriters sent to their home for a free one week’s trial. Further, the Company guarantees to teach every purchaser to use the machine in less than half an hour, so simple is its construction.

Illustrated London News | 2 October 1920
The Sketch | 3 December 1930
The Graphic | 5 December 1931


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