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Hyde & Co. (London, England)
Hyde's manifold letter writer.
London : Hyde & Co., ca. [1890?]
Physical Description:
1 portfolio ; 23 x 17 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Z48 .H93
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
A crude form of carbon paper was patented by Ralph Wedgwood in 1806. The Wedgwood Patent Manifold Writer was patented in 1806 and initially intended as a means of helping blind people to write. But it was very quickly adapted for business use, and similar systems that were sold from 1806 until around the end of the 19th century enabled users to retain a copy of outgoing letters made with this carbon paper. Hyde & Co. manifold writers first appeared in the 1840s.
"Hyde's manifold letter writer. Supplied officially to Her Majesty's colonial, foreign, and stationery offices. By the use of this invention you obtain a letter and its copy at one operation; or if required, six facsimiles to send abroad; thus effecting a great saving of time, trouble, and expense. It is always ready for use -- is very portable -- simple in the application -- effective in operation; the pen needs no repairs, and will last for years; the writing is legible and permanent ..."--Printed label (1 of 2) affixed to interior of the portfolio. The label also lists prices for the four sizes of manifold writers made by Hyde & Co. The present model is "Note Size, 8 in. by 5 in."
"Directions for arranging the papers to produce a letter and its copy at one operation. To ensure clear and bold impressions, place the tablet between a sheet of letter paper, on which put the carbonic or ink paper (black on both sides) covering the same with a leaf of your copying-book, and then write with the style on the copying leaf, pressing rather hard. When the papers are arranged, they fall thus: 1st. Copying-leaf, on which you write; 2nd. Carbonic-leaf; 3rd. Writing paper; and under these the tablet. To produce two letters with the copy at one operation ... [variation on the procedure above]."--Printed label (2of 2) affixed to interior of the portfolio. The instructions in English (at top) are repeated in French and German.
Accompanied by: the metal "tablet" in its original envelope; Hyde's Indelible Carbonic Ink Paper (booklet); Hyde's Transparent Improved Copy Book (booklet); Duplicate Order Book (booklet); and a marbled backing card. The components are stored in the pocket of the portfolio. The original pen is not present. The booklets all bear the printed labels of Hyde & Co., with an address on St. Bride Street, London. Hyde & Co. was active at this location from the 1870s to the 1890s (from the 1840s to the 1860s the firm was active at Fleet Street).
The present manifold writer was owned by Sir Thomas Fowell Victor Buxton (1865-1919). In the copy book, he writes, "I am now trying the interesting experiment of writing my first double letter, & feel proud of my success with this first attempt. It may be most useful to me, especially on our approaching tour.” Buxton goes on to propose an itinerary to Egypt and the Middle East, from February to May, 1894.
Subject Terms:
Buxton, T. F. Victor (Thomas Fowell Victor), Sir, 1865-1919.
Carbon paper.
Copying processes.
Buxton, T. F. Victor (Thomas Fowell Victor), Sir, 1865-1919.

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