December 2, 2023

The World of Churchill Collectables: ink blotter


At a time when fountain pens were regularly used, blotters were often kept on desktops to absorb excess ink. Given their practicality, they were often made as advertising giveaways for businesses. The blotter shown here was a wartime giveaway from the Mutual Life Assurance Company of Ontario to advertise their Victory life insurance policy. Who better to push the sale of Victory than the two allied leaders Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt!

The Mutual Life Assurance Company has been in business for more 150 years. Its predecessor, the Ontario Life Assurance Company, was founded in 1868. In 1900, Ontario Life changed its name to the Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada. In 1988, the company merged into the Mutual Group, which in 1999 became Clarica, and, in 2002, Sun Life.

There are several varieties of patriotic wartime blotters, many of which picture the allied leaders. They are colorful and fun to collect. Churchill was also pictured on wartime advertisements for beer, which he did not drink, and breakfast cereal, which he did not eat. When you are known throughout the world as a champion of freedom, it seems your image might appear on products you never used or endorsed!

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Brian Krapf’s forthcoming book A Churchill Treasury: Sir Winston’s Public Service through Memorabilia will be published in January 2024.

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