I love typography and anything that makes print & type and so I find myself collecting letterpress drawers, vintage stamps & pens, and antique inkwells among other things. My mom happened upon this inkwell a month ago at a flea market and I have just now had time to sit down and research more about it.
My only clue was its (very difficult to read) makers’ stamp and model no. on the bottom (pictured below). I have found that when a stamp or brand is difficult to decipher 2 tricks work best: 1) rubbing the stamp with chalk (a trick that worked well here because I could not tell whether or not the Bs in Hubbard were in fact Bs and not Rs.) or 2) paper and crayon (which you would use as you would a grave rubbing).
Here is what I have discovered: This inkwell is in fact a Bradley & Hubbard Bronze Mission Style (or Arts & Crafts) Double Inkwell, model no. 6062. The company began in Meriden, Connecticut in 1852. Their primary products were clocks; however, they prospered during the Civil War and came to manufacture a vast number of oddities: hoop skirts, measuring tapes, match safes, kerosene lamps, desk accessories (like the inkwell), and hearth necessities (andirons and the like). Their products were carried in many stores, including Sears & Roebuck. To learn more about Bradley & Hubbard, click here.
If you are looking for a Bradley & Hubbard inkwell yourself, make sure you check for their brand: a triangle with a lantern inside. Along the three sides of the triangle is stamped their name: “Bradley & Hubbard MFC. Co.”
A google search for a Bradley & Hubbard Co. Mission Inkwell will reveal several Ebay auctions and antique dealers’ listings. There are a number of these inkwells out there and for a wide range of prices. I have found nearly immaculate inkwells for $450.00 and ones that need a little TLC and elbow grease for $75.00. My mom found mine for a steal—a whopping $45.00. It is one of my favorite flea market finds & acts as both a conversation piece in my home, inspiration for my writing, & a prop for photographing my Steampunk jewelry.