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  1877_Document_and_Box_Envelope_CCALChamberlain_NY_NY.jpg (49714 bytes)
Early Filing Devices

Small Antique Files & Filing Devices

This exhibit has two parts: (1) Letter and Document Files and (2) Data Files.

Letter and Document Files

Desktop Devices . .

Letter Clips

Earliest patent 1843 (England)
Earliest advertisements c. 1814-26? (England), 1848 (U.S.)

The John Johnson Collection Exhibition 2001, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, included a c. 1814-26? advertisement by W. Davison, Alnwick, for letter clips.

In the late 1860s, Wm. Staehlen, New York, NY, advertised letter clips in the form of a hand, a wheatsheaf, a shield and flag, and a scroll.

Letter clips were still advertised in 1919.

Merry_Phipson__Parkers_Letter_Clip_OM.jpg (76712 bytes)  Letter_Clip_top_OM.jpg (23440 bytes)  1845_MERRY_PHIPSON__PARKERS_LETTER_CLIP_OM.jpg (20569 bytes)
Merry Phipson & Parker's Letter Clips, patented 1843 & 1845.  These are fairly common, so it is reasonable to infer that they were sold for many decades.

1872_Letter_Clip_OM.jpg (34036 bytes) 1876_Van_Horn_clip.jpg (30177 bytes)
Patented 1872
Right: Van Horn Clip, patented 1876, advertised 1881

The base of the Novelty Paper Fastener, patented 1880, was offered separately as the Novelty Paper Clip in 1881. 1877_and_1878_Paper_Clips.JPG (30972 bytes)
Clips, patented 
1877 & 1878
1880_Novelty_Clip_OM.JPG (30009 bytes)
1880_Novelty_clip_OM.JPG (12399 bytes)

Novelty Clip, patented 1880
Regarding the clip to the right, notice that the clip is in the shape of a keystone (the stone at the top of an arch).  The company that produced Blair's Keystone office supplies operated from 1880 to 1865.  As of 1888-90, J.C. Blair was the proprietor of Blair's Keystone Stationery Manufactory, Huntingdon, PA.  As of 1917, the company name was J. C. Blair Co. 1885_1886_BLAIRS_KEYSTONE_PAPER_CLIP_Huntingdon_PA_OM.jpg (94398 bytes)
Blair's Keystone Clip, Blair's Keystone Stationery Manufactory, Huntingdon, PA, patented 1885 & 1886
Auto Files

Earliest patent 1889
1889_Auto_File_.jpg (194936 bytes)
Patented 1889
Auto File OM.JPG (17048 bytes)
Paper Weights

Earliest advertisement 1847
Earliest patent 1876 (combination paper weight and pen holder)

In the late 1860s, Wm. Staehlen, New York, NY, advertised oval, round, and stork paper weights.
1876_Combination_Weight_and_Clip_OM.jpg (41785 bytes)
Combination Paper Weight and Clip,
patented 1876, advertised 1885-87, 1911.
1891_Paperweight_advertised_by_A_C_McClurg__Co_2.jpg (36241 bytes)
Advertised 1878-1911

Victorian_Paperweights_OM.JPG (62147 bytes)

Ornate_oval_paperweight.jpg (29136 bytes)
    Ornate_rectangular_paperweight.JPG (35656 bytes)

1891_Paperweight_advertised_by_A_C_McClurg__Co.jpg (16215 bytes)
Advertised by A C McClurg & Co, 1891. Similar octogonal paperweights were
advertised in 1878-1911
Paperweight_xxx.jpg (31187 bytes)
Straight Files (a.k.a. Paper Files, Stick Files, Spear Files)

Earliest patent 1878
Earliest advertisement 1869

Grigg & Elliot, Philadelphia, PA, advertised "paper files," c. 1850-60, but there is no illustration.  In the late 1860s, Wm. Staehlen, New York, NY, advertised "straight wire" bills files.

Image coming
Patented 1878

Tiffany_Zodiac_Paper_File_OM.jpg (9995 bytes)
Zodiac pattern, Tiffany Studios,
NY, NY, c. 1900-20

Hanging Files (a.k.a. Harp Files)

Earliest patent 1872
Earliest advertisement 1878.  However,
in the late 1860s, Wm. Staehlen, New York, NY, advertised "long hook" bills files. These may have been hanging files, but the advertisement was not illustrated.
1872_Hanging_File_cd_OM.jpg (25594 bytes)
Patented 1872
1903_Hanging_File_hook.jpg (17167 bytes)
Patented 1903

Paper Files

Earliest patent 1870
Earliest advertisement 1886

Hustler_Duplex_File_1.jpg (17442 bytes)
Hustler Duplex File,
Advertised 1910

1870_Laphans_Paper_File.jpg (9292 bytes)
Laphan's Paper File,
 Patented 1870

1883_Keeps_Patent_Transfer_File_OM.jpg (19561 bytes)
Keep's Transfer File, patented 1883. 
Advertised by Wm. H. Woglam, NY, NY, 1886.

Shannon_Clip_Yawman_and_Erbe_Mfg_Rochester_New_York.jpg.jpg (16320 bytes)Shannon_Clip_Yawman_and_Erbe_Mfg_Rochester_New_York_2.jpg (16445 bytes)

Shannon Clip, Yawman & Erde, Rochester, NY, patented 1878. Advertised as Shannon Single Arch File No. 1, Office Specialty Mfg. Co., Rochester, NY, 1897.

Accumulator Bill File

Earliest patent 1880
Eastlist advertisement 1885
Image coming
P.N.  H
Advertised 1885. Device is 15.75" long including loop.
Paper Hook MBHT_F_T_Loftin__Co__paper_hook.jpg (187039 bytes)
Loftin's Convenient Hook, F.T. Loftin & Co., Huntington, IN. Courtesy of the Museum of Business History and Technology
Book and Binder Files . .
Letter Copying Book

Earliest advertisement 1847
1905_Insurance_Co_Letter_Copying_Book_OM.JPG (36811 bytes)
Letter Copying Book with copies of typed letters, 1905
Yates (Ch. 4-5) reports that the Illinois Central Railroad used copying presses to make copies of outgoing letters in press books at least from the late 1850s to 1894 .
Adhesive Stub Files

Robert T. Young's Improved Adhesive Letter and Invoice File was a book into which letters were glued to narrow paper stubs. "The prepared surfaces [of the studs, which were 'gummed'] only require to be well moistened, and the paper immediately adheres."

Earliest patent 1853
Earliest advertisement 1874

Books of this general type are reported to have been used by the 1820s at certain government offices in the U.K., but they were not adopted by private businesses at that time. (Yates, Ch. 2, note 29.)

1853_Smith__Buttles_Improved_Adhesive_Letter_Invoice_File_Robert_T_Young_NY_NY.jpg (68526 bytes)
Improved Adhesive Letter and Invoice File, Robert T. Young, New York, NY, patented 1853, and subsequently by Asa L. Shipman & Sons, New York, NY, patented 1853-71. In 1874, Asa L Shipman & Sons advertised Shipman's Adhesive Letter File.

In 1878, the latter was advertised in sizes from 6" x 9" to 12.5" x 17.5" for notes, bills, letters, invoices, price lists, and manifests.

1876_Adhesive_stub_book_1883_adx.jpg (212760 bytes) 
Adhesive stub files patented in 1876 were advertised in 1883-84 (above) for the same purposes as well as for postal cards.

Shipment's Patent Gummed Letter and Invoice Files were still advertised in 1911.
Yates reports that the Illinois Central Railroad stored incoming letters in bound volumes from at least the late 1850s until 1896. In the late 1850s, "letters were pasted chronologically into bound books of blank pages or of adhesive stubs."  "Clarke's in-letters, for example, are pasted into a bound book of gummed one-inch stubs, 'Smith and Butler's Improved Adhesive Letter, Invoice, and Music File.'" (pp. 116 including n. 56, 131, 155)
Portfolio Binders

The Hawkins instant binder consists of a portfolio a, having a double back b, containing a flat needle c, with a sufficient quantity of thread wound around its length to enable any person instantly to bind each sheet in succession, so as to form a volume. This was marketed for organizing and preserving individual papers and pamphlets.

Portfolio Paper Files or Self-Binding Letter Files

Two cords attached to the inside right edge of the front cover were passed through holes made near the left edges of letters and other papers.  When the file was full, it had the appearance of a bound book.

1828_Hawkins_Patent_Instant_Binder_London_England_OM.jpg (107138 bytes)
Hawkins Patent Instant Binder, made by H. Flowers, Borough, UK, patented 1828 in the UK
1860_Portfolio_Paper_File_J_N_Jacobs_Pat_No_28755_June_19.jpg (266228 bytes)
Portfolio Paper File, 1860 patent illustration. U.S. Patent No. 28,755 was awarded to J. Nelson Jacobs. This illustration was also used in an 1866 ad by manufacturer John C. Koch, New York, NY.   

Earliest patent 1859. Click to see Patent No. 23,506, awarded to Henry T. Sisson in 1859.

Earliest advertisements 1878 (Sisson's Improved Magic File and Binder) and 1881 (Keech's Patent Index Book and Perpetual Binder). Sisson's binder, which secured papers that were punched with four holes, was advertised for letters and invoi
ces. Common Sense Binders were still advertised in 1911.
1877_Russells_Common_Sense_Binder_Asa_L_Shipmans_Sons_NY_NY.jpg (72405 bytes)
Russell's Common Sense Binder, Asa L. Shipman's Sons, New York, NY, patented 1877, advertised 1883.  
Shipman_Common_Sense_Binder_exterior.jpg (33478 bytes)1883_1892_Shipman_Common_Sense_Binder_instructions.jpg (41653 bytes)
Shipman's Common-Sense Binder, Asa I. Shipmen's Sons, New York, NY, patented 1883-92
. 1893_Goldmans_Automatic_Binder_Henry_Goldman_OM.jpg (295590 bytes)
Goldman's Automatic Binder, 1892 ad. Advertised as Automatic Binder in 1891. "For permanently filing and binding Bills, Orders, Papers, etc. Self-Locking and Self-Opening."
Loose Leaf Filing System (two-ring binder)

Earliest advertisement 1899

1899_Perfect_File_and_Loose_Leaf_Filing_System_Chicago_Binder__File_Co_Chicago_ad_OM.jpg (59171 bytes)
Loose Leaf Filing System, Chicago Binder and File Co, Chicago, IL, 1899 ad. 
.No._2_ST_Unimatic_Punch_OM.JPG (34815 bytes)
S&T No. 2 Unimatic Two-Hole Punch, advertised 1910.
Board Clips and Files . .

Board Clip

Earliest patent 1870-71
Earliest advertisement 1876

1870_1871_Emerson_Clip__File_Clipboard_J._R._Barrett__Co_Chicago_OM.JPG (18775 bytes)
Emerson's Clip & File, J. R. Barrett & Co., Chicago, patented 1870-71. Advertised by Henry Bainbridge & Co., New York, NY, in 1876.

1875_Pack__Vanhorn_board_clip.jpg (24807 bytes)
Pack & Vanhorn, patented 1875

1883_c._Eagle_Clip_Clague_Schlicht__Field_Rocherster_NY.jpg (31031 bytes)
Eagle Clip,
Clague, Schlicht, & Field, Rochester, NY, c. 1885
1889_Board_Clip_back.JPG (25784 bytes)
Philadelphia Novelty Mfg. Co., Philadelphia, PA, patented 1889. Image shows back of board clip.
Shannon File

Shannon Arch Files were attached to boards and, alternatively, they were attached inside flat file drawers in letter filing cabinets

According to a 1909 history of the Yawman & Erbe Mfg. Co., "About 1877 a contrivance called the Shannon Arch File, for filing letters, bills, and other papers, was invented, patented, and put on the market by a Mr. James Shannon...consisting of a board, an arch, a compressor cover, an index, and a perforator. During the year 1883, the Shannon Arch File, with all its patents and other rights, was purchased by a Rochester concern known as the [Clague, Wegman, Schlicht & Co.], who had only a selling organization, possessing no manufacturing facilities. Yawman & Erbe [which had been founded in 1880] were negotiated with in reference to making the Shannon Arch File. [In 1884, Clague, Wegman, Schlicht became Clague, Wegman, Schlicht & Field; soon it became Clague, Schlicht & Field; and in 1886 it became Schlicht & Field.] In 1888 the Schlicht & Field Co. was reorganized as The Office Specialty Mfg. Co....But...their entire [U.S.] business was sold, in 1898, to Yawman & Erbe." However, The Office Specialty Mfg. Co. had a factory in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, at least as late as 1913.  Yawman & Erbe was still in business in 1932.

An 1899 article on modern banking methods stated that "in the filing away of deposit tickets the old custom of tying them into packages daily, or holding them together with rubber bands--the bands rotting and breaking and the tickets becoming scattered, much to the discomfort of the bookkeeper or clerk--has been superseded by a very neat plan."  The plan was to file deposit tickets on a board clip with a Shannon arch file, like that in the middle photograph to the immediate right. "Between each day a card can be slipped on the file. At the close of the month open the hooks and insert the ends of a piece of copper wire, about a foot long, into the hollow spindles, then lift off the tickets from the spindles and the ends of the wire can be brought together and twisted.  If a piece of heavy manilla paper be put on the spindles at the bottom and one at the top, and thus bound with the tickets, it will protect them and they can be filed away on shelves like books." (Bankers' Magazine, Dec. 1899)

Shannon Arch Files attached to boards were advertised at least as late as 1928.

Patented 1879 (arch file pictured immediately to the right)
Earliest advertisement 1881

Standard_Arch_File_Whiting_Stationer_Co_Buffalo.jpg (26016 bytes)
Standard Arch File, Whiting Stationery Co., Buffalo, NY, undated, identical to Shannon File, patented 1879

Coming soon:  Shannon Letter and Bill File, Schlicht & Field, 1888 ad.

Board_Clip_Yawman_and_Erbe_Mfg._Co._Rochester_1_OM.jpg (13639 bytes)
Yawman & Erbe board clip with arch file at top and two-hole punch at bottom. 

1890_Globe_Union_File_2.JPG (39217 bytes)
1890_Globe_Union_File_3.JPG (53563 bytes)
Globe Union File board clip with 2-hole
punch at bottom, patented 1890

Shannon_Letter__Bill_File_with_Binding_Case_ad_c._1883_Clague_Schicht__Field.jpg (67491 bytes)
Shannon Letter and Bill File and Binding Case, Clague, Schlicht & Field, Rochester, NY, c. 1885.

1881_Fosters_Business_File.jpg (63711 bytes)
Foster's Business File, 1881 ad

1891_Two-hole_punch.JPG (17034 bytes)
Two-hole punch, patented 1891

Samson_Punch_Levy_Bros__Co_Inc_Bank_Supplies_Indianapolis_Ind.jpg (78925 bytes)
Samson Punch, sold by Levy Brothers & Co., Bank Supplies, Indianapolis, IN
Bill File (a.k.a. Bill Holder)

Earliest patent 1865
Earliest advertisement 1878

John W. Clothier, Philadelphia, PA, advertised "bill files," c. 1858, but there is no illustration, and the date may be later than 1858. (Hagley Museum and Library)
1868_No._1_L._H._Olmsteds_Improved_Bill_File_Pat._1868_New_York.jpg (47287 bytes)
L. M. Olmstead's Improved Bill File No. 1, 
L. H. Olmstead, New York, NY, 
patented 1868
1878_H_Baldwin_Bill_and_Paper_File_patent_model.jpg (29306 bytes)
Bill & Paper File, H. Baldwin,
patent model, 1878

1875_Bill_File_W_R_Clough_patent_diagram.jpg (35065 bytes)

Bill-File, W. R. Clough, 
patent illustration, 1875

1882_Cloughs_Improved_Bill_File_OM.jpg (14703 bytes)

Clough's Improved Bill File, 
W. R. Clough, Newark, NJ, 
patented 1882
Account File

These were used by retailers for keeping small accounts.

Earliest patent 1895

Advertised 1901 ("Ledgerette," W.R Adams & Co., Detroit, MI, $2.25-$2.75.)

1895_National_Account_File_Company_Fremont_Ohio.jpg (26211 bytes)
National Account File Co., Fremont, OH, patented 1895
Fremont_Account_File.jpg (19288 bytes)
Fremont Account File Co., Fremont, OH
Weis_Account_File.jpg (34260 bytes)
Weiss Account File, advertised in 1903
Box Files . .
File Box (or pigeon-hole for folded papers)

Patent 1866
Earliest advertisement 1877

"Bill head boxes" were advertised by William H. Maurice, Philadelphia, PA, in 1847, but without an illustration. "Bankers' cases" were advertised by John W. Clothier, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1858, but without an illustration. (Hagley Museum and Library)

In 1866, T.K. Sterrett & W.R. Ferrell were granted a US patent for a letter file-box or pigeon-hole, shaped like those in the images to the right, with an internal mechanism for holding folded letters in place.

1877_Document_and_Box_Envelope_CCALChamberlain_NY_NY.jpg (49714 bytes)
C. C. & A. L. Chamberlain Document
 and Box Envelope, 1877 ad
1886_No._1_File_Box_John_Polhemus_NY_NY.jpg (60553 bytes)
Paper Files, John Polhemus,
New York, NY, 1886 ad
Amberg Self-Indexing File and Binder

"Patented in 1869, a mere wooden tray containing loose sheets indexed from A to Z, with a pressing bar to hold the contents securely. When this File became full of letters a means of binding the volume with wires was provided. A crude device, yet it was much better than any method then used."

Patented 1869
Advertised 1876
AMBERGS_Self-Indexing_LETTER_FILE_AND_BINDER.jpg (17719 bytes)
Amberg's Self-Indexing 
Letter File and Binder
1876_Amberg_File_Asher__Adams.jpg (81550 bytes)
Amberg's File and Binder, 1876 ad
Letter File

Earliest patent 1877
Earliest advertisement 1878

The John Johnson Collection Exhibition 2001 (see above) included a c. 1814-26? advertisement by W. Davison, Alnwick, for "letter files," but there is no illustration.
1878_Browns_Letter_Box__Invoice_File_Culver_Page_Hoyne__Co._Chicago.jpg (54659 bytes)
Brown's Letter File, Culver, Page, Hoyne & Co., Chicago, IL, patented 1877, advertised 1878. Letter files of this style were advertised as least as late as 1928.
1883_J.W.__Co._Improved_Letter_and_Invoice_File_OM.JPG (22989 bytes)
Improved Letter and Invoice File,
J. W. & Co., patented 1883
1887_Tapleys_Self-Indexing_Letter_Files_Milton_Bradley__Co_Springfield_MA.jpg (92566 bytes)
Tapley's Self-Indexing Letter Files, Milton Bradley & Co., Springfield, MA, patented 1879, advertised 1883-87
1879_Tapleys_Self_Indexing_Letter_File_Milton_Bradley_Springfield_MA_Patented_1879_1.jpg (28908 bytes)
Tapley's Self-Indexing Letter Files, Milton Bradley & Co., Springfield, MA, patented 1879

1884_Du_Bois_Bill_or_Letter_File_Frank_G_Du_Bois_NY_NY.jpg (44969 bytes)
Du Bois Bill or Letter File, Frank G. Du Bois, New York, NY, patented 1884

1890_C_J_Letter_File_Brown__Besly_Chicago_IL_OM.jpg (299395 bytes)
C. J. Letter File, Brown & Besly, Boston, MA, 1890 ad

1886_Leader_Letter_File_John_Polhemus_NY_NY.jpg (56468 bytes)
Leader File, John Polhemus,
New York, NY, 1886 ad. Same illustration used in 1883 ad.
Amberg's Patent Transfer Case, 
advertised in 1881, is similar

1886_Victor_desk_tray_with_1_hole_punch.jpg (17501 bytes)
Victor letter file with one-hole punch, 1886

File Holders

Woodruff's File-Holder was patented in 1868 and advertised in 1876. Woodruff's Improved File-Holder was patented in 1884-89 and advertised in 1887-99. The original and improved file-holders were similar in appearance. In addition to these file-holders for folded papers, by 1903 the Woodruff Mfg. Co., Washington, DC, was also selling vertical file-holders for folders containing unfolded letters.  In 1903, Woodruff claimed that 90% of the file holders used by the US government in Washington DC were Woodruff File Holders. Files holders of this style were advertised at least as late as 1928.

Earliest patent 1868
Earliest advertisement 1876
1884_1889_Woodruffs_Improved_File_Holder_1_OM.jpg (18085 bytes)
Woodruff's Improved File Holder,
E.W. Woodruff, Washington, DC, "for filing letters, bills, deeds, wills, vouchers, briefs, pamphlets &c.," patented 1884-89.
1884_1889_Woodruffs_Improved_File_Holder_2_OM.jpg (10910 bytes)
Woodruff's Improved File Holder, patented 1884-89

The John Johnson Collection Exhibition 2001 (see above) included a c. 1814-26? advertisement by W. Davison, Alnwick, for "ivory folders."  Holden & Cutter, Boston, MA, advertised "paper folders," c. 1845-60; Grigg & Elliot, Philadelphia, PA, advertised "ivory folders," c. 1850-60. (Both Hagley Museum and Library)  None of these ads is illustrated.
. .
Document Envelopes

Earliest Patent 1864
Earliest advertisement late 1860s
1864_Document_Envelope_OM.jpg (64683 bytes)
Document Envelopes, patented 1864

1867_Document_Envelope_OM.jpg (44774 bytes)
Document Envelopes, patented 1867
1883_Congress_Tie_Envelope_adx.jpg (217536 bytes)

Congress Tie Envelopes, advertised 1878-84
Bellows Files

Earliest advertisement 1878
Earliest patent 1883

An 1884 advertisement states: "Alphabetically indexed, suitable for letters, notes, drafts, postals, or miscellaneous papers."
1883_Bellows_letter_files_adx.jpg (116595 bytes)
1883 ad
1895_Falcon_File_bellows_style_open.jpg (25580 bytes)
Falcon File, Patented 1895. When closed, 
this looks like a letter file box.
Document Files

1899_Handy_Document_File_A.C._Barler_Mfg_Chicago_IL_used_in_1899.jpg (69709 bytes)
The Handy Document File, A. C. Barler Mfg. Co., Chicago, IL, used in 1899
Letter Trays

Earliest advertisement 1887
Earliest patent 1885
1887_Letter_Trays_Geo_D_Barnard_cat_St_Louis.jpg (45081 bytes)
Advertised by Geo. D Barnard & Co., 
St. Louis, MO, 1887
1885_Globe_Desk_Tray_Office_Specialty_Co_Piittsburgh_PA_adx.jpg (145627 bytes)
Globe Desk Tray, Office Specialty Co., Pittsburgh, PA, patented 1885
1890_Acme_Wire_Letter_Tray_Pat_March_11_1890.jpg (59881 bytes)
1890_Acme_wire_letter_tray_OM.jpg (100012 bytes) 
Acme Wire Letter Tray, patented 1890
Office Baskets

Earliest advertisement 1883
1883_Office_Baskets_adx.jpg (109369 bytes)
1883 ad

Data Filing Systems

Filing systems that were used for data were also used as indexes for other filing systems

Ledgers & Blank Books

Earliest English advertisement for account books c. 1742, for copy books, ledgers, and other account books c. 1814-26?
Earliest US advertisement for account books 1831, for blank books 1847.  Earliest exhibition of blank books 1837.

The John Johnson Collection Exhibition 2001 (see above) included a c. 1742 advertisement by Samuel Harding, London, for account books; a 1783-85 advertisement by Abel Sweetland, Exeter, for account books; and a c. 1814-26? advertisement by W. Davison, Alnwick, for copy books, ledgers, and other account books.  In 1831, John March & Co., Boston, identified itself as an account book manufacturer.

Exhibitors of blank books at the 1837 Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, Boston, MA, were B. Loring & Co., J.P. Fairbanks, and T Groom, all of Boston, MA.

1855_Blank_Books_Doubleday__Latimers.jpg (84300 bytes)
Doubleday & Latimers, New York, NY, 1855
1860_Ledger.jpg (68488 bytes)
Ledger used in 1860

1887_Ledger_Cameron_Amberg__Co_Chicago.jpg (41879 bytes)
Cameron, Amberg & Co., Chicago, IL, 1887

Loose-Leaf Ledgers

Loose-leaf ledgers offered flexibility that bound ledgers did not, e.g., a new account could be inserted in alphabetical order without leaving blank pages for this possibility.

Earliest invention 1894 (See Gerri Flanzraich, "The Library Bureau and Office Technology," Libraries & Culture, 1993, pp. 403-29.)

Earliest patent 1896

Earliest advertisement 1896

1898 Tengwall Loose-Leaf Ledger advert OM.jpg (132059 bytes)
Tengwall Continuous Loose-Leaf Ledger, 1898 ad
1900_Dade_Improved_Loose_Leaf_Ledger_Wm_G_Johnson__Co_Pittsburgh_ad_OM.jpg (50643 bytes)
Dade Improved Loose Leaf Ledger, Wm. G. Johnson & Co., Pittsburgh, PA, 1900 ad

1905_Jones_Perpetual_Ledger_Co._Chicago_IL_adx.jpg (132059 bytes)
Jones Perpetual Ledger, Jones Perpetual Ledger Co., Chicago, IL, patented 1899, 1905 ad

Card Index Files and Card Ledgers

Card files were in use at the Bank of England in 1852, at the Harvard University Library in 1860, and in a US bank in 1884. (See Flanzraich)  Sherwood's Patent Check Sorter and the Globe Banker's Case, which were similar to card index files but used to organize and store checks, were advertised in 1887. (Geo. D. Barnard & Co., Price List and Catalogue: Stationery and Office Supplies, St. Louis, MO.)

Earliest patent 1887 (See Flanzraich)

Earliest advertisement 1890 (Library Bureau)

1897_Globe_Card_Index_File_ad_OM.jpg (42332 bytes)
1897 ad
1898 Webner's Card Ledger Frank E Webner Chicago IL advert OM.jpg (26211 bytes)
Webner's Card Ledger, Frank W Webner,
Chicago, IL, 1898 ad

Globe_Card_Index_File_OM.JPG (28800 bytes)
Globe_Index_Card_Box_inside.jpg (65084 bytes)
Globe Co., 1896-99
Visible Indexes

Visible indexes came in several styles -- swinging panel, flat book, drawer.

Earliest advertisements: 1905 (Revolving Directory & Register, shown to right), 1909 (Rotary Instantaneous Index, The Time Saver Co., Boston, MA. S-11-09), 1910 (Rand Revolving Index, Time-Saver Co., Boston, MA, S-4-1910).

1905_Revolving_Directory_and_Register_Mail_Order_Mfg_Co_Chicago.jpg (21534 bytes)
Revolving Directory & Register, Mail Order Mfg. Co., Chicago, IL, 1905 ad
1913_John_A._Manson_file_2.jpg (36571 bytes)
File, John A. Manson, 1913

1920s_Acme_Visible_Record_System.jpg (396434 bytes)
Acme Visible Record Keeping Equipment, 1920s .

Acme Visible Records Book, Acme Visible Records Co., Chicago, IL
1921_Acme_Visible_Records_Acme_Card_System_Co_Chicago_ad.jpg (95876 bytes)
Acme Visible Records, 1921 ad

Postindex_Rotary_Reference_File_Postindex_Co_Inc_Boston_MA.jpg (47267 bytes)
Rotary Reference File, Postindex Co., Inc., Boston, MA

1923_Kardex_ad.jpg (32044 bytes)
Kardex, 1923 ad
Click on the two links (1, 2) to view c. 1940 photos of a visible card index from the Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. Then click the "Back" button on your browser to return here. 
Sortergraph Sortergraphs_used_to_organize_accounts_Can_Nat_Railways_Can_Sci__Tech_Museum_CN003892.jpg (56840 bytes)
Sortergraphs used to organize accounts, Canadian National Railways. Canadian Science & Technology Museum, CN003802.


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