Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Advertisements: Insurance Agent Ink Blotters

In the days of nibs and ink bottles, advertising blotters were as ubiquitous as business cards are today. Used to catch excess ink from the writing tips of quill and fountain pens, paper blotters disappeared from everyday use with the advent of the ball point pen in the mid 20th century. Here are a couple of examples of blotter advertising recently shared with EWM by historian Barbara Shaffer, featuring Westfield insurance agent, S. A. Allen & Son.

S. A. Allen & Son's office was located in Gillett's Block, on the corner of Elm and Arnold Streets. The building, designed by Westfield architect, Augustus Holton, was opened for occupancy in 1899 and today is home to Westfield Gas & Electric, the municipal utility. Along with running his insurance company, S. A. Allen was president of Westfield's First National Bank.

S. A. Allen's son, Charles Turner Allen, met an unfortunate fate on the night of June 11, 1903, when he fell three stories to his death in the hose tower of Westfield's Arnold Street fire station. An inquest conducted by Judge Willis S. Kellogg the following month concluded that young Charles died as a result of his own carelessness, raising himself 34 feet above the concrete floor by a life-belt attached to an old rope used for lifting fire hose for drying and storage, despite being warned not to go so high. Even the insurers need insurance.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care. (And thank you, Barbara, for sharing these interesting pieces of ephemera!)

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1 comment:

sojourner said...

Your creativity is phenomenal, Mark. Who would have guessed that a fascinating article could be written about a couple of insurance blotters? Good job as always!