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Marshall Field & Co. Bronze Inkwell, probably 1920s

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    Posted 5 years ago

    (307 items)

    Hmmm ... yet another vintage inkwell for my desk. (I’m amazed how this sub-collection is slowly growing and starting to crowd out my work laptop.) It was acquired in February while we were wandering around Florida’s gulf coast ... after all, who wouldn’t want to briefly get away from really cold upper midwest weather at some point.

    Anyhow, as far as inkwells go it is large at 5½” in diameter by 4” tall. Being marked “Made by Marshall Field & Co.” (a Chicago company) also made it interesting. Yet it was the overall design, size and condition that made it attractive; it has a lot of presence.

    The entire piece is beautifully made and a fine patina has developed over the years. The deeply sculpted lid depicting two horses and riders has a Greek or Roman fresco feel.

    And what makes this a doubly interesting piece is discovering what lies beneath the lid. Instead of the usual glass cone or cup shaped insert, within is a sophisticated inkwell designed and patented by Gustav Sengbusch. In other words, the Marshall Field bronze is actually a decorative case housing a rather ugly yet effective glass and hard rubber ‘inkstand’.

    Sengbusch invented and patented his famous “Self-Casing Inkstand” in 1903 and set up a company, the Sengbusch Self-Closing Inkstand Co., in Milwaukee, WI. Sengbusch’s improvement to ordinary inkwells was to add a floating stopper that kept the ink clean (no dust or dirt) as well as preventing accidental spilling. This particular inkstand has a 1914 patent date and it appears to be a less common No.62 model. By 1920 Sengbusch was advertising 115 different designs and sizes!

    Anyhow, my desk is now getting a bit crowded with this addition.


    1. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
    2. antiquerose antiquerose, 5 years ago
      WOW ... Stunning!!
    3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      What struck me was how it looked like a camera lens was popping out of the inkwell !!!
    4. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
    5. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, vetraio50! And you're right. It does look like a camera lens popping out. How did I miss that?

      Thanks, David, Arisellon, and antiquerose!
    6. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, valentino97!
    7. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
      Thanks, Ben!
    8. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
    9. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      STUNNING Rob!!!
    10. rniederman rniederman, 5 years ago
    11. Alan2310 Alan2310, 4 years ago
      I have i big Desk in my office, anytime, LOL
      Beautiful design at the Boom of DECO era, lovely inkwell.

    12. rniederman rniederman, 3 years ago
      Overdue thanks to Alan2310 and Jensen! Alan ... thanks for the comment.
    13. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Overdue thanks to aura and Vintagefran!
    14. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
    15. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
    16. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
    17. rniederman rniederman, 1 year ago
      Thanks, Thomas!

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