The Name is Bond, John Bond, Licensed to Quill.
The firework company C.T. Brock was well known in adopting the name “Crystal Palace” and the image of the building as their trade mark for many years. However, there was another company using both the name and image of the Crystal Palace, John Bond who manufactured Marking Inks to identify laundry. These were made from the early 1800’s right through to the 1950’s when it was the custom to mark linens with a name or some other identification prior to sending to the laundry or bag-wash. When John Bond, who had a factory in North London’s Balls Pond Road area first started using the “Crystal Palace” and image of the building as a trade mark is uncertain, the establishment of the firm was in 1806, and it has been suggested that they exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and later supplied their Marking Kits to the Crystal Palace Company from 1854, hence using the Palace connection as a trade mark was given as a favour.
The Marking Kits in the early 1800’s comprised a small bottle of permanent marking ink, a short quill pen, and a linen stretcher or writing tablet made in two wooden parts. A central disc with tapered sides and a matching annulus with the internal tapered diameter a little larger than that of the disc. The method was to place the piece of linen to be marked over the disc and press the annulus over the cloth and disc, thus providing a taut surface to write upon. From about 1890 to the 1950's the guill pen was replaced by a conventional steel nib pen.
The 1860's design of the Linen Stretcher/Writing Tablet was 2 5/8" diameter by 5/8" thick, the annulus is 2 7/8" diameter by 3/8" thick, a blue label covers the tablet and is marked “CRYSTAL PALACE” BOND’S CABINET. LINEN STRETCHER. 1/6. This design was changed in the early 1900’s to a 2 1/4" diameter by 1/2" thick disc with the annulus 2 3/8" diameter by 3/8" thick, now with printed labels in red, which range from light red to orange red, and from deep red to scarlet, all are now marked, JOHN BOND’S “CRYSTAL PALACE” WRITING TABLET, and have a view of the Palace and Terraces. There is a minor difference on some whereby the quotation marks of “CRYSTAL PALACE” are sometimes reversed.
These tablets were given free with the 1/- kit. There is also a “Presentation Linen Stretcher” which comes in two sizes of disc, 1 7/8" and 2 1/8" diameter with orange-red or deep red labels. The larger size has a view of the Crystal Palace without the Terrace in front. These were also given free with the enlarged 1/- kit. Finally the Linen Stretchers from the 1950's are made of tin-plate, 1 3/8" diameter by 3/8" thick with a metal circlip instead of the annulus and no longer having the “CRYSTAL PALACE” words or view.
The “Kit” and ink bottle packaging boxes also reflect the Crystal Palace trade mark and did so right up to early 1950’s. The John Bond “Crystal Palace” Marking Ink products make an unusual and cheap theme to collect in respect of Palace memorabilia, there are probably more variations yet to be found. There was of course another Bond associated with writing, Basildon Bond, however, he was a man of “Letters”.
© Exhibition Study Group 2008