ephemera

Special Pen and Instructions Enclosed

Marvellous invention, eBay! Just got this tiny bottle of ink (only 45mm tall!) in it’s box (70mm tall!) for a couple of quid, complete with the special pen and instructions as indicated. The design wraps over two sides of the box to read horizontally and is also stacked vertically on the other two sides just in case some pre-war halfwit couldn’t decide which way up to put them on a shelf! It does dry an intense black though.

There is no indication of what the contents are on the actual bottle – didn’t anyone ever lose the box? It reminds me of old poison bottles…

The label (16 x 18mm) does come with a very serious warning though, and I half expected another label on the back to continue “or seven plagues of hell will descend upon you and your offspring for eternity.”  Well, maybe not quite as strong as that, but the red ink and four typefaces – FOUR! – do tend to give the impression of dire consequenses for those foolhardy enough to actually the heat the markings before washing.

There is a double sided instruction sheet too, set in various weights and varieties of Gill Sans in black (and red). Double sided instructions? This is just ink, not the Hadron Collider for Pete’s sake!

I like the special instructions for inking on handkerchiefs though. It makes me sad that we don’t care this much for handkerchieves anymore…

The much-vaunted special pen is actually just a nib for dipping into the ink, but it is shiny and clean, just like it would have been when brand new.

I had a bit of a look around for any information on Cooper Dennison and Walkden Ltd, but didn’t find much – they have long since ceased trading, but their victorian ink bottles do come up at specialist auctions and seemed to have been a major brand at some point.

I have included an image of the pack it was posted in too, which was very inky (I feared the worst) but appears to be the result of an over-enthusiastic postal clerk or an inter-departmental war over post-room territory…

Did I mention that it dries an intense black?

Well, it does.

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One thought on “Special Pen and Instructions Enclosed

  1. Thanks for this post! I found a tiny clear bottle with a black screw top marked “MELANYL” at an old RAF sight and had no idea what it was, but now I do!

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