A Window On The Past

StoreFrontLibrary of Congress

This Richmond and Backus Co. window display from 1902 is packed with all kinds of name-brand stationery items, including E. Faber’s Circular Erasers, Columbia Drawing Ink, and Keuffel & Esser Slide Rules to name a few. How many can you spot (and who is that lady staring at)? Click each of the following segments to get a better view:

Store1Top Left

Store2Top Right

Store3Bottom Left

Store4Bottom Right

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5 Responses to A Window On The Past

  1. Richard B. says:

    Gosh, what a treasure trove! French curves, parallel rulers, surveyor’s rods, a card of Keuffel and Esser Crow Quill Pens, but the most amazing thing in the window is that odd-looking cylindrical object right at the head of the display. That is a “Thacher’s Calculating Instrument.” Catalog number 4012 in the 1902 Keuffel and Esser catalog.


  2. Richard B. says:

    Me again. Bottom left, towards the center… there’s a thing that looks like a modern-day fast-food french fry container. It’s striped. Look closely and you’ll see it’s really a pair of “cuffs” one nested inside the other. The draftsmen used to put these over their arms to protect their linen or celluloid detachable cuffs and sleeve ends from the pencil and ink on the drawings. Shirt collars were separate too back then. Gentlemen used small collar and cuff studs to hold them on.


    • Sean says:

      Thanks, Richard, for your insights and descriptions!

      One item in particular that I like is the box of E. Faber’s Siberian Drawing Pencils in the bottom-right section, which were clearly a dig at A.W. Faber’s Siberian Polygrade Pencils. If I’m not mistaken, these are the pencils that eventually are painted yellow and become the Mongol.


      • Richard B. says:

        I think you’re correct. I’m eighteen and a civil engineering major at college, so Mongols were a little before my time. I have two twenty-four pencil sets of nearly unused Mongol water color pencils from probably the Thirties since they belonged to my great-great-grandfather. Those are the only Mongols I know. Anyway, how would you like to have that Koh-I-Noor trade card! Wonder how colorful it was?

        If you want to send me your email address I have a scan from an old K&E catalog of the Thacher instrument. stillthecabinboy on gmail.



  3. Pingback: Look who’s 125 » Bleistift

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