Earlier this year, I posted a description and pictures of a brass desk set by Bradley and Hubbard of Meriden, Connecticut. At the time, I had acquired and restored three pieces: the oval blotter, the oval pen tray, and the hand-held ink blotter. You can read the original post by clicking here.
At that time, I had found a nearly identical set in the Smithsonian collection and realized that the original set included three more pieces: the lidded inkwell, the letter opener, and the letter holder. That set me on a quest to find the missing pieces.
I first found an inkwell with the same art deco motif. It is rectangular rather than round like the Smithsonian version, but matches the set quite well. The inkwell was in very shabby condition and beyond my capability to restore, so I called on Southeastern Musical Services here in Huntsville. They repair and restore brass musical instruments and were able to bring the inkwell back to life for me. Fortunately, the glass insert was intact.
Here are before and after pictures of the inkwell:
More recently, I found a Letter Holder in excellent condition, again with the same art deco motif, only missing its perpetual calendar. I copied and resized the parts of another perpetual calendar to fit in the frame on the Letter Holder. Some Nevr Dull and Brasso, plus elbow grease, brought the brass back to a full shine.
I have found a matching Letter Opener, but in poor condition. It is at Southeastern now for them to work their magic. I’ll add it to the blog later.
Here are pictures of the Desk Set with the Inkwell and Letter Holder:
In looking through the Smithsonian Collection of Bradley and Hubbard desk accessories, I found this same inkwell in two different finishes, and the oval pen tray in yet another finish. It seems likely that the company produced a variety of sets in different finishes with components mixed in different combinations. This gave the customer many more options without requiring drastic retooling by the company. Here are the Smithsonian pictures: