Tuesday, November 18, 2008

R is for Rocker Blotter: for ABC Wednesday Round #3

There is a certain joy in writing with ink. It flows. Wait long enough and keep the paper still and it will dry and not smudge.

Early inks were very wet. Moreover the swirls in distinctive handwriting also contributed to an excess of ink to paper. Needed - something to absorb, or blot the excess so as to get on with the day. Blowing on it helped yet could cause it to run.

The first 'blotters' were sanders; shakers of fine sand which was dusted on to the paper to absorb the excess ink. To the above left is a Chinese shaker decorated in the '1000 faces' pattern and the other is an elegant shaker made in France.

The practical answer however was 'blotting paper' - the Scott towel of handwriting. So what was the best way to bring the paper to the ink you ask? Why that cousin of the rocking horse - the 'rocking blotter' of course! A real winner.Blotting paper was attached to the bottom of a hand sized rocker - which was then gently cradled on a rocker to absorb excess ink.
The ubiquitous rocker was fashioned to suit all tastes and writing desks. In the sample pictures the oldest is a man's chip carved maple rocker from the 1800's. Also from the quill and stick pen era is an elegant sterling silver ladies rocker. The other three are from the golden era of the fountain pen, the 1920's and 30's. One in marble. A copper advertising sample and a tin version. The latter is somewhat 'revolutionary' with grooves on the side to assist rocking, rather than a knob.
The knob variously acts as a carrying grip, a means of rocking or of being unscrewed to attach and change the blotting paper. With a fresh blotter attached one can 'rock on'!
My thanks and appreciation to my husband David, for the sharing of his collection and his writing of this post.
My appreciation and thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for hosting ABC Wednesday Round 3. To view more ABC Wednesday posts via Mr. Linky please click HERE. For viewing the new format of ABC Wednesday Round 3 where all posts can be seen in the same place, please click HERE.


richies said...

I have tried writing with a "real" ink pen, but it has never been such a pleasure for me. My wife can do beautiful calligraphy with a real pen, but I can only write like Charlie Brown.

An Arkie's Musings

deslilas said...

Such a fine collection !
Typewriter, printer are useful but ink writing with a good fountain pen as Mont-Blanc or Waterman that's a real pleasure !

RuneE said...

Much interesting information, and well illustrated too, But if all this is still called for - I'll stay with the keyboard with a pencil on the side.

Liz said...

What a fantastic collection! I haven't used a fountain pen for a long time. I find they flow a bit too easily and make my writing look even messier than it is normally.

starnitesky said...

Your husband has a wonderful collection, I love writing with a fountain pen.

Leslie: said...

What a fascinating post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about these rocker blotters and seeing the photos of them. Great job! :D

ChrisC and JonJ said...

I learned soooo much from your post.Neat!Thanks for posting it!

photowannabe said...

What a beautiful collection of blotters. I remember when practicing cursive writing in school using an ink pen that usually ended up all over the side of my hand as I wrote. Hated the mess.
Very interesting information..thanks Anns' husband.

TSannie said...

I never knew what those top "sprinklers" were for in your first photo. Thanks for that! And also didn't know how extensive the use of rockers were, tho I should have guessed.

Lovely R post for ABC! Can't wait to see what you do next week!

Bear Naked said...

What a marvelous collection of blotters that your husband has.
A most interesting and informative post.
Thank You.

Bear((( )))

Digital Polaroids said...

A fine collection. I never saw this objects before, so thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

What a charming post, really. I agree about ink - I always use a pen and I still have my Grandmother's Waterman's that I had when she died, it is right in front of me. Sadly, rarely used.

Jay said...

An excellent post! I love old things which tell you a little about the way people used to live - everyday articles, or speciality items like this. I imagine that the more utility examples of the rocking blotter were for office use, and the more elegant ones for home use.

I love the sand shakers, too. I knew about them, but had never seen one, so thank you for those pictures!

tonya said...

I love learning about old things!
Happy WW!
Nice shots.

antigoni said...

Unique post! I'm sure noone else thought of that.

Geraldine said...

Oh how lovely! These are just incredible. And what a stylish,practical solution at the time they were needed. Now we can enjoy the beauty of these blotters.

Thanks for sharing Ann.

Mary said...

These are all so beautiful...little works or art! What a neat thing to have a collection of and of course great with all your pens and inks! I love the carved one and that silver one is lovely, too!

Ruth said...

A very interesting post and lovely pictures of the antique pieces. I had never heard of sanders and have only a vague recollection of blotters. Handwriting was an art for sure.

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