Wilson Jones Co., est. 1893

Museum Artifact: Marvel 60 Hole Punch, c. 1940s

Made By: Wilson Jones Company, 3300 W. Franklin Blvd., Chicago, IL

Long before any Marvel superhero ever punched a villain, the mighty Marvel Hole Punch was already dispensing its own brand of justice on unsuspecting sheets of binder paper. This lever-operated “paper perforator” was originally designed by Alexander and Chesley Dom of the Samuel C.

Baby Calculator Company, est. 1923

Museum Artifact: Baby Calculator, c. 1928

Made By: Baby Calculator Sales Co. / Calculator Machine Company, 123 W. Madison St., Chicago, IL

“So simple in operation a child can use it. Every man and woman will find it a boon in business, at home, or anywhere that figures are used for any purpose. You need not be an expert accountant or scholar—let the Baby Calculator do the work—speedily and accurately.”

Ace Fastener Corp., est. 1930

Museum Artifact: Ace Pilot Stapler 404, c. 1960s

Made by: Ace Fastener Corp., 3415 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL

Adapted from a patent application first filed back in 1930, the Ace Pilot stapler is a fine example of a simple, utilitarian design that’s gradually earned itself more of a retro, decorative appeal.

The early models were so pitch perfect in function, in fact,

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.

Coronet Instructional Media, est. 1934

Museum Artifact: 4 Educational Filmstrips + Audio Records – Aesop’s Fables, 1968

Made By: Coronet Films / Coronet Instructional Media Inc., 65 East South Water Street, Chicago, IL

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

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,

Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co., est. 1905

Museum Artifacts: (1) “U.S. Automatic” Pencil Sharpener, 1908; (1) “Giant,” (1) ‘Gem,” (2) “Chicago” (1920s), and (4) “Dexter” sharpeners, 1930s

Made By: Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co. / Spengler-Loomis MFG Co., 58 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL . Factory: 2415 Kishwaukee Street, Rockford, IL.

For many of us, the sight of an old desk-mounted, mechanical pencil sharpener brings back some sensory-charged childhood memories—the thrilling turn of the crank,

Wahl-Eversharp, est. 1905

Museum Artifacts: “Red Top” Eversharp Pencil Leads, F Firm (1920s) and Eversharp “Repeater” Pencil Store Display ft. Ann Sothern (1946)

Made By: The Wahl Company / Wahl-Eversharp., 1800 N. Roscoe St., Chicago, IL

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

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”

Ideal School Supply Co., est. 1913

Museum Artifact: Box of Addition Flash Cards, c. 1940s

Made By: Ideal School Supply Company, 8316 S. Birkhoff 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;

A. B. Dick Company, est. 1884

Museum Artifact: Edison Rotary Mimeograph No. 75, c. 1905

Made by: A.B. Dick Company, 163 / 738 W Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL

Thomas Edison’s reputation has taken a few stiff punches to the gut in recent years, as the once canonized “Wizard of Menlo Park” has slowly given way to a somewhat less admirable character—one skilled at the arts of patent poaching and monopoly-building at the occasional expense of scientific fellowship.

Metal Specialties MFG Co., est. 1905

Museum Artifact: Presto DeLuxe Stapler and No. 165 Presto Staples, c. 1940

Made By: Metal Specialties Manufacturing Company / Loren Speciality MFG Co., 3200 W. Carroll Ave,, Chicago, IL

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

Denoyer-Geppert Company, est. 1916

Museum Artifact: Denoyer-Geppert Cartocraft Globe, 1938

Made By: Denoyer-Geppert Company, 5235 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

“You now have one of the best globes made,” L.P. Denoyer wrote in the preface to his 1931 guide book, A Teacher’s Manual for Cartocraft Globes, “but we are not satisfied with simply having made the sale, for we want you to get the greatest possible value from your purchase.”


U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener by APSCO, c. 1911

Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co., 35 Randolph Street., Chicago, IL

While it was initially distributed out of New York City, the U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener was actually designed and patented by a Chicago inventor named Essington N. Gilfillan (first patent date, 1906). And after a few short years, it would return home, becoming the first marquee product of the Chicago-based Automatic Pencil Sharpener Company (aka APSCO) under the banner of the Spengler-Loomis Co.

W. M. Welch Scientific Company, est. 1880

Museum Artifact: Bakelite Galvanometer, 1960s

Made By: W. M. Welch Scientific Co., 1515 N. Sedgwick St., Chicago, IL

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

Western Fluorescent Light Co., est. 1950

Museum Artifacts: Chelsea Hotel “Fire Escape” Lighted Sign and Lighted “Exit” Sign, c. 1950s

Made By: Western Fluorescent Light Co., 3242-4 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL

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

The Gem Pencil Sharpener by APSCO, 1920s

Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co., 58 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL

“The Gem” was another model of 1920s hand-crank wonders from Chicago’s Automatic Pencil Sharpener Company, aka APSCO. It’s bit lighter and smaller than the “Chicago” brand or the “Giant” (both of which we also have in the museum), but the essential function and design is pretty darn identical.

We do have a full history of the Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co.

Vail MFG Co., est. 1926

Museum Artifact: Victor Stapler, c. 1940s

Made By: Vail Manufacturing Co., 900 E. 96th St., Chicago, IL

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