QRS Music Company, est. 1900

Museum Artifacts: QRS Player Piano “Autograph Word Roll” #340 – “Forever is a Long Long Time,” 1916

Made By: The Q-R-S Company, 412 Fine Arts Building – Factory at 4829 S. Kedzie Ave.

“Up to the advent of the Q-R-S Autograph Roll all player piano music rolls were much alike—all made the same mechanical way. . . The Q.R.S. Autograph Music Roll is hand played—it is practically a photographic record of the hand playing of an artist.

Curt Teich & Co., est. 1898

Museum Artifacts: 1933 Chicago World’s Fair Postcards (C.T. American Art and C.T. Colortone), published by Max Rigot Selling Company

Made By: Curt Teich & Company, 1733-1755 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL

“If one were seeking the vernacular aesthetic of a period, the postcard is where you will find it . . . It is the least elitist form of artefact.” —Tom Phillips,

Olson Rug Company, est. 1874

Museum Artifact: Olson Rug 75th Anniversary Calendar, 1949

Made By: Olson Rug Co., 2800 N. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL

No other manufacturing business in Chicago ever had a headquarters quite like that of the Olson Rug Company. From 1935 to 1965, the sprawling Olson factory campus at the northwest corner of Diversey Avenue and Pulaski Road—with its stunning man-made waterfalls, rock gardens, sculptures,

L. H. Thomas Co., est. 1863

Museum Artifact: Thomas Black Ink Paper Bottle and Price List, 1890s

Made By: L. H. Thomas Co., 7059 N. Clark Street and 921 Fulton Street, Chicago, IL

“In the considerable number of fountain pen inks on the market, none are more strongly intrenched among the trade’s ‘best sellers’ than the packages which bear the Black Cat trade mark of the L.

Sanford Ink Company, est. 1857

Museum Artifact: Sanford’s Ink Eraser by Sanford MFG Co., c. 1910s

Made By: Sanford MFG Co. / Sanford Ink Company, 846-854 W. Congress Street, Chicago, IL

“Have you handled Sanford’s ink eraser yet? Every office needs it and every stationer should carry it in stock. It does the work of erasing ink from paper and stains from cloth perfectly. It is put up in a handsome round corner package and is made by the Sanford Manufacturing Company,

Chicago Printed String Company, est. 1915

Museum Artifact: Ribbonette Ribbon Spool Dispenser, c. 1940s

Made By: Chicago Printed String Co., 2300 W. Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL

“In the decorative wrapping and ribbon business, you can’t find any larger than Chicago Printed String.” —Chicago Tribune, August 5, 1960

While the name would certainly suggest a homegrown original, the Chicago Printed String Company could actually trace its beginnings about 4,500 miles to the east,

Oliver Typewriter Company, est. 1896

Museum Artifact: Oliver Typewriter No. 9, model year: 1917

Made By: Oliver Typewriter Co., 159 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL / Factory: Woodstock, IL

“Simplicity, durability, speed, manifolding power, and visible writing are conceded to be the five great essentials in a typewriting machine. We present to the public THE OLIVER as the most striking embodiment of these features, and the most radical departure from other methods of construction.”

Addressograph Company, est. 1892

Museum Artifact: Addressograph Print Ribbon Tins, 1920s

Made by: The Addressograph Company, 915 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL

While the terrific 1920s ornamentation suggests something rare and precious, these small ribbon tins were more like the printer ink cartridges of their day; stacked in office storage rooms to keep a business’s addressograph machine up and running. What’s an addressograph, you ask? Why,

Vee-Jay Records, est. 1953

Museum Artifact: “Introducing The Beatles” Vinyl LP, 1964

Made By: Vee-Jay Records, Inc., 1449 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

To a serious record collector, the copy of Introducing… The Beatles in our museum collection probably wouldn’t appear all that special. It is, after all, a non-mint example of the second and considerably more common version of the album,

Borin MFG Co., est. 1920

Museum Artifact: “End of the Trail” Native American Print & Wood Frame, 1925

Made By: Borin Manufacturing Company, 1325 S. Cicero Ave., Cicero, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Chas. A. Brewer & Sons, est. 1911

Museum Artifact: Peppy Thrill Punch Board Game, 1939

Made By: Chas. A. Brewer & Sons, 6320 S. Harvard Avenue, Chicago, IL

“One out of every three adults plays a punchboard or slot machine. More people do this than play church lotteries, the horses, and numbers games—all three combined.” —Samuel Lubell, Saturday Evening Post, 1939

Produced the very same year as the article quoted above,

Stenographic Machines, Inc., est. 1938

Museum Artifact: Stenograph Reporter Model, c. 1947

Made By: Stenographic Machines, Inc., 80 E. Jackson Blvd.

“The Stenograph was the best machine ever made. It would work with or without oil. Every bearing was like a jewel.” —Robert T. Wright (1906-2000)

Now I will admit from the outset, Robert Wright’s opinion of the Stenograph might not be entirely unbiased,

Replogle Globes, Inc., est. 1930

Museum Artifact: Replogle 12″ Relief Globe, 1964

Made By: Replogle Globes, Inc., 1901 N. Narragansett Avenue, Chicago, IL

Replogle, appropriately enough, is one of Chicago’s best-traveled brand names. If you look for the trademark on any random spinning globe you encounter (it’s usually stamped a little west of the Galapagos Islands), you’ll quickly get a sense of how this former mom-and-pop enterprise grew larger than any “to-scale model”

Green Duck Company, est. 1906

Museum Artifact: Franklin D. Roosevelt Pinback Campaign Button, c. 1930s

Made By: The Green Duck Company, 1725 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Swanberg MFG Co., est. 1922

Museum Artifact: Swanberg Mechanical Pencil, c. 1923

Made By: Swanberg MFG Co., 1516 W. Foster Ave., Chicago, IL

Once seemingly destined to take its place as mankind’s preferred writing stick, the mechanical pencil only ended up writing itself into a corner. No refinement, no reimagining from one generation to the next, could ever quite transition these utensils from the drafting room to the classroom;