Prophetic Name For a Stationery Store: “Horder’s”


One thing you’ll find in stationery trade publications from the early 1900s up through the middle of the century is an emphasis on window displays, such as the one pictured above from 1915. Just like it was with department stores, stationery dealers wanted to attract the attention of passers-by, often with samples of product arranged in eye-catching ways. Manufacturers put a lot of thought into display materials as well, which were made available to resellers:


Through researching the Faber houses in America I’ve found a few dozen examples of  window displays, but this one from “Horder’s Stationery Stores” in Chicago grabbed my attention:


The photo is from 1921, which was the year the Eberhard Faber Van Dyke 601 (with the clamp eraser) debuted. And as you can see, the display is nearly filled with striped Van Dyke boxes. But it was the name of the store—”Horder’s”—that rang a bell:


The pencils in this vintage box of Van Dykes have “Horder’s, Inc. Chicago.” stamped opposite the brand label. This helps to confirm the date they were made but also answers the question as to whether pencil companies likely offered custom labeling on their premium products. This isn’t the only custom Van Dyke that I’ve seen, but I wonder if the reseller had to pay more; I can imagine a situation where the Eberhard Faber Co. might label the pencils with the dealer’s name for free as a means to entice them to carry the line.

Though impossible to prove or otherwise demonstrate, I like to imagine that the pencils in my hand might be from the ones pictured in that display window.

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5 Responses to Prophetic Name For a Stationery Store: “Horder’s”

  1. Sean says:

    +1 for the period after Chicago.


  2. Gunther says:

    The window display in the first photo is amazing! Compared to these display aids the ones used today are quite meagre. – The name “Horder’s” is great 🙂


  3. Matthias says:

    Those window displays are great!
    I wonder: is the stamped dealer’s name of the same quality as the Van Dyke stamp? Stamping the dealer’s name at the time of manufacturing seems like a big thing for today where I’d guess you’d probably do this process afterwards, but at the time, when there was less automation, some employee might have just done it as an add-on ‘during’ the normal manufacturing process.


    • Sean says:

      Yes, the dealer’s stamp is the same quality and color as the brand stamp. As far as whether they were stamped all at once, I suppose it only matters whether the stamping was done before or after the ferrule was attached. If things were set up to do the stamping before the ferrules (which makes sense given there were plenty of pencils without tips), I would think it would all be done at that point. In other words, the pencils mightn’t fit the equipment or set-up with tips on them, especially the clamp erasers.


  4. Pingback: Of Pencils and Pencil Boxes | pencils and other things

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