Archival-Style Supplies

Each Fall I seem to have a run of bookings for talks and hands-on workshops at various organizations. This blog is in response to questions asked at recent events!

How to achieve museum-style archival wrapping with affordable supplies purchased locally.

You may wish to wrap items with:

  • Card folder, taped at who sides
  • Card book cover, closed with Velcro button
  • Encapsulated Mylar sleeve, closed on three sizes with double-sided tape
  • Photograph sleeves and albums
  • Tubes to roll textiles
  • Bankers boxes
  • Acid free file folders, sleeves, envelopes
  • Tissue papers

Acid free card/art paper – Michael’s, Curry’s, Maggiolly Art in Orangeville.

Strathmore art paper series 500 is best, but series 300 acceptable and acid free.

Artist tape (to close the sides of a folder), made by Artist’s Loft, a non-staining and PH neutral tape….  spotted at Michael’s.

Normal poster tubes and coat hangers can be used for textiles, they need to be wrapped and covered with acid free tissue or white unbleached cotton. Covers in similar fabric.

Photograph albums and sleeves marked PHP neutral, lignin and PVC free are available at Michael’s.

** A note of caution from my Museum colleagues.  When purchasing albums and paper in stores, you will see many are made in China. Although marked as PVC free etc., be mindful to keep an eye on the plastic over time, if it yellows it will need to be replaced, as it may have degraded and off-gas. Not all is, as it seems in this modern world. **

Pigment pens can be found in art stores. They are permanent archival ink, use with caution, but the ink will not permeate to through to objects.

Storage boxes are best from Carr McLean, various sizes and types. Some are buffered (for extra protection, and use with wool items  etc)

Archival quality file folders, tissues, PHP testing pens, and envelopes are also best from museum suppliers, Carr McLean, Brodart, Currys etc. Have fun searching on the archival sections of these websites.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I discovered Mylar map protectors to use for encapsulating at Carr McLean. A perfect weight and size.

So, use everything with care….  no ink, sticky, or cutting near the artifacts please!



Business Timeline – Are You Ready?

As a semi-retired museum worker, I am keen to see business history captured for the future. Creating your ‘archives’ as you go, whether paper or artifacts…. can help you be ready when your company’s anniversary comes around.

Capturing your business history contributes to the historical knowledge and the local business footprint of activity for your area. As time goes on and new families come to town…. a little of the past will remain for them.

Artifacts can take any form…. often promotional items sporting your logo…. pens, give-aways etc. Do you have an old ink blotting pad, an old paper wall calendar, a desk diary, or a calculator?  These type of  items are already obsolete in this modern day of technology.

Items in the picture above: company register and minute binder, corporate stamp/seal; unused IBM punch cards (circa 1970); vintage IBM flow chart template for use in preparing system and program flow charts by computer programmers; address book; ink and ink fountain pen; letter openers; staple remover, business folder (1991).

Maybe you have items that relate to your business activity? Found at the historic Alton Mill, (which was one of 8 mills in the village of Alton, Ontario, during the early 1900s), are these fascinating balloon moulds…. they relate to the Western Rubber Company, a latex business run on the site by Frederick Stubbs in 1935. Before this textiles were produced by Alton Knitting Mill (1881) run by John A Dods, then his sons until the early 1930s.

Over the years your graphic and logo may have changed. Noting when these changes took place, is useful to date your artifacts. A stationery set of business card, brochures and letterhead paper filed in chronicle order will do the trick.

Your official company seal is likely the first and main artifact to be cared for, along with your corporate articles, minute book and indenture papers.

Among your photographs will be staff, colleagues and customers too, people connections may have changed over the years, make a note of the names and dates on the back of photographs.

Notable documents might include certificates, awards, plaques and more.

Shared below are some recent business anniversaries I have spotted in local advertising. Congratulations go to:

Butcher Furniture – celebrating 60th anniversary

Dufferin Board of Trade – celebrating 110 years

Glen Echo Landscaping – celebrating 40 plus years

Start your archive now…. and write-up your business timeline ready for your next significant anniversary. Let me know if you need some help – it’s what I do!

PastPerfect Ontario-based User Group

In order to share information and have a central depository for documents, past-minutes and previously asked questions among our group, we have run an open public forum for the last few years.

The free software wasn’t very user-friendly, and we attracted a huge number of spammers to the site.  The forum will now close.

Going forward, to help share questions, see past-minutes and more, we have started a CLOSED / PRIVATE Facebook Group – Midwestern Ontario PastPerfect User Group. Drop an email to Alison or Patti with a note of your work or private Facebook info and we will invite you to join.

See you there……

Alison Hird

Ink, Dip Pens and Calligraphy

This blog post was prompted by a colleague sharing an picture of ink pen cartridges online….

As a lover of stationery and all things connected to pens and art, I pulled out my calligraphy box. Yes, I discovered there is a fine selection of Osmiroid and Parker ink cartridges, and much more.

My Grandfather gave me his dip-pens and nibs sometime in the 1960s. Quite fascinating collection when you look closely, many with maker’s marks.

To explain: the tiny (1″ long) lightweight silver box and lid has intricate detail around the top, and centre. There is no maker’s mark on it. Within the case are three unused nibs. They are gold plated, and stamped with J (the size) and A & N.C.S. Ltd (the maker), and date to circa 1900.

The others are well-used ink-stained pen nibs, which push into the metal tops of basic wooden pens. Some wooden handles are stamped “Made in England”. The nibs include single and double style with a back plate to hold more ink. The nibs are stamped with various  markers marks. Each has a letter or number to indicate its style or nib-width. Brands include:

  • The Haymarket Metallic Quill, 28 Haymarket, S.W. 1 (London),
  • William Mitchell’s Poster Pens, England, and
  • Reeves manuscript pen, oblique, Made in England.

With cursive handwriting being taught and practices less, calligraphy as an art form has become more popular. My first ink fountain pen used at primary school was an Osmiroid.  Over the years I have bought nib attachments (for various calligraphy styles – copperplate, italic, Gothic etc.,) and a variety ink plungers too.

So, the history…. Osmiroid pen nibs were originally created by James Perry about 1819, an educationalist who patented his nib in 1830. A meandering history continued until eventually a factory was build in Gosport, Hampshire in 1953, which is where the popular Osmiroid 65 pen was designed. E.S. Perry adopted Osmiroid as the company name. The company was sold to  Berol UK in 1989.

Popular in my home-town area in southern Hampshire and available from several small town art shops and newsagents, my favourite calligraphy pen set was made by E.S. Perry Limited, Gosport in 1981. The packaging promotes the set as “easy-change” with “hand-finished nibs with 22 carat gold plating”. I had purchased in a newsagent and tobacconist on Cosham, High Street who were Osmiroid suppliers.

The packet of cartridges, noted as “international” size, was bought in nearby from Russell’s (Havant) Ltd, an art shop.

The bottle of ink has been bought after 1989 as it is marked “Osmiroid is a registered trade mark of Berol Corproration Berol Ltd. Kings Lynn, Norfolk. Empire Berol USA, Brentwood and Berol Canada Inc, Montreal. Made in England” This black water soluble ink, has a health label, and noted in US fluid ounces and millilitres.

The above two calligraphy dip pens, are more modern. The wooden posts are stamped with a size, and “Automatic Pen, Made in England”, likely as the double styled nib holds plenty of ink! These were purchased in the mid 1980s from an art shop and gallery on Stanley Street, Southsea (now called the White Dog Gallery). These wide nibs are used for much larger poster designs and can be used with ink or watercolour paints.

I have been practicing calligraphy for many years and sharing with friends, family, with primary school students, March break camps…. and more recently with seniors at local lunch and learn sessions.

Let’s keep the skill of handwriting going….

Did you know?  A pen knife is folding pocket-knife used to cut and shape the tip of a natural feather quill, to use as a dip-pen.