I’ve regularly thought that i was born in the wrong century. Countless hours spent watching seller Ivory movies, every variation of little Women over and over and just around every episode of Masterpiece Theatre have actually reaffirmed this. With my love that fashion, some would certainly say the my past centuries’ sensibilities need to do with the clothing, yet those of friend who have read mine previous short articles are probably clued right into the point that most draws me come palaces, country estates and manors: the desk set. Sadly for me, long gone are the job when having a suitable desk set was a symbol of wealth, professionalism or fashion, however one the the devices of the desk collection has endured fads and also trends to remain: the ink blotter.

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What is a ink blotter?

The term squid blotter refers one of two people to a handheld rocking maker or basic blotting paper, both offered to absorb overfill ink as soon as writing with fountain pens. Blotting paper is a textured, thick paper specifically made to easily absorb overfill ink. Before blotters were invented, the preferred an approach was sprinkling salt over fresh written text to speed the dry process.

History the The octopus Blotters 

The history of the ink blotter is as lengthy as writing through ink itself. If we go ago to 400,000 B.C., pigment was currently being do in Africa and mixing tools suggest that sand and clay, combined with the sun were being provided to dry and fix the ink. In the 26th century B.C. Squid made indigenous hide glue, carbon or bone pigment, ground into a paste and also then dried in ceramic bowls, was being sprinkled v pounce to protect against smudging ~ above papyrus. In fact, pounce, do from the skeleton of cuttlefish has a long history of usage for preparing paper prior to writing and additionally setting file afterwards. This good powder was still in use during medieval times when monks were copying manuscripts and even in the 18th century as a more economical alternate to sprinkling salt on dry ink, a new, an ext expensive practice of the bourgeoisie. 

Rocker Blotters 


In the early 1800’s hand blotters arrived. These blotters were frequently made that wood, stone, metal, porcelain or glass and had a little handle, curved base and felt bottom that can be rocked over the message to eliminate excess ink. Through the mid 1800’s record often replaced the felt. This document was soft, had a cardstock-like weight and was normally made through fibers of cotton, flax seed and also rice, every absorbent reality to help in soaking increase ink and also providing a fast drying time. 

Companies offered to advertisement on squid blotters, in number of sizes.
Image credit transaction Etsy
Blotter paper after use

As squid blotters became readily easily accessible to the masses, this file was understood the perfect platform because that advertising and messaging. The paper on the bottom of the rockers came to be a 2nd business card through information about vendors, manufacturers and also mom and also pop spots. As a novelty, the cards noted space for calendars, scripts for practicing one’s handwriting and also illustrations of famous pin-up girls. Once the cards were not attached come the blotter, lock could likewise be used to wipe the nibs clean.

Copper octopus blotting roller.

Image credit Etsy

Another roller squid blotter supplied for advertisement

With the arrival of the fractional pen’s nemesis, the ballpoint pen, the love because that the contemporary ink blotter’s shelf life expired in the 1950’s. Designed as a fast-drying, cleaner, an ext reliable and portable alternative to fountain and also dip pens, the quickly became the world’s many used composing instrument, and with the snuffed the end the need for squid blotters. By the so late 19th century, the ballpoint pen had end up being the “cheap pen that changed writing forever,” and it sadly forced no accoutrements. Vice versa, rockers had been offered for advertising, it was quickly found that the body of a ballpoint pen can be offered in the same means and professionals reverted ago to the standard company card or the new trend that promotional pen to industry themselves and also their services. 

A tooled leather workdesk accessories set, from 60"s (image credit: 1stdibs)


For those of friend who are Mad males fans or actually resided in the sixties, you are well aware that the desk collection made a comeback throughout this time, although main to the set was commonly a an intricate ballpoint pen, for this reason does it really count? okay leave that to you to decide.

Modern octopus Blotters 

.J. Herbin still creating wooden squid blotter rockers.

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Which brings us to now and also some happy news for the octopus blotter. As fountain pens have actually made a resurgence and also interest in them has actually increased, the octopus blotter is detect its way back top top people’s desks. Because that companies, choose J. Herbin who has actually been making them because its beginning in 1670, the attention to pen and ink has kept them flush v blotter individuals for centuries. For modern-day makers, the renewed awareness that the squid blotter provides an possibility to increase the category. Or, if you are Galen Leather, you have the right to innovate, combine the ideal characteristics the the traditional leather desk set with the portability that sheets the blotter paper. 

Galen - Nude animal leather Ink Blotter

I require not take up her time expounding and also waxing poetic about my love for Galen’s daily Books. There are several blogs before this one where I have done simply that. I have never, however, said you around one of my favorite features of this notebooks and also that is the break-up leather that in contained in every Everyday book set. Each collection of notebooks comes v this piece of multi-use animal leather which is cut to the size of the books. While its key purpose is come be supplied as an ink blotter, it can also be offered as a writing pad for comfortable creating (fantastic for a coffee shop, library or all over on the go). It avoids shadowing on sub-pages and it is also really useful because that protecting the clean, unwritten components of the page by put the animal leather under her hand. Ns can’t articulate exactly how handy this basic piece of leather is. The is a value-add for the product and also you’ll just realize exactly how much you’ve missed having actually it when you shot one yourself. 

Ink Blotting and also Sheen

Just a quick interlude prior to I bid friend farewell to do mention around inks through sheen. This modern-day invention is encountering squid blotters for the very an initial time. Blotting too quickly will lift increase what renders the ink special and will mitigate the sheen. For those the you that love sheen you might steer clear and also for those of girlfriend looking to have actually the sheen be much less noticeable, the blotter is your brand-new best friend.

As squid blotters do their method back onto our desks and become a an ext important device for composing again, that is quite amazing to think the they have not encountered a an ext opportune time to reimagine themselves than best now. I would certainly love to understand if you space using one, if you have discovered one the you covet, if you have a arsenal of vintage octopus blotter cards or understand of a new manufacturer or version that excites you. Please use the comments to permit us and also the ar know!

Katy Klassman


Katy worked in a stationery shop for nearly a decade, so she’s educated on many products and also stationery customer questions. She is additionally stationery - planner - fountain pen fanatic.


November 01, 2021

I can’t discover the “GALEN – NUDE leather INK BLOTTER” for sale on your page. Carry out you still offer it?