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WWII Office Supplies - ETO


AirCorpsClerk
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AirCorpsClerk

As my username partially implies, my primary interest is in WWII clerical items, primarily Office Supplies and forms/paperwork.

 

This thread is for folks to share photos of WWII era Office supplies and their packaging, as well as pertinent reference info such as specs, approved contractors, period references, period commercial (off the shelf) equivalents, etc.

 

I'll be going through my own items and photo-documenting them, going line-by-line from the list of office supplies outlined in Circular 23, ETOUSA, March 9th 1944, and including with the photos any additional information I have.

 

Unlike other folks, I don't have access to any military catalogs or spec lists from WWII, so the only hard (military) reference I have is the list in Cir 23.

 

I am nowhere near having an original military example of everything on the list, but I am always working on trying to find more items as well as improve the ones I have. (And to that effect I'm always on the lookout to buy original WWII US military office supplies, any condition, any quantity, from anywhere in the world)

 

Since a number of the items I have right now aren't military, as well as some not being WWII, I'll start by documenting the WWII military and commercial items first, then moving on to all the other item I have that still match the sizes and descriptions on the list.

 

Later on, as more photos and such are posted, I'll come back and edit this post to include direct links to some of the best photo and written references of each item, with the goal of creating a definitive guide to WWII office supplies for the ETO.

 

 

The List:

 

BINDERS, loose leaf, 3-ring, 11 x 8-1/2"

 

BOOKS, blank, pocket, 3-1/2 x 6"

BOOKS, blank, note, stenographic

BOOKS, record, drill, 8-3/4 x 13-3/4"

 

BRUSHES, typewriter, machine dusting

BRUSHES, typewriter, type cleaning

 

CARDS, guide, field desk, company, alphabetical

CARDS, guide, field desk, company, daily

CARDS, guide, field desk, company, misc

CARDS, guide, field desk, company, monthly

CARDS, guide, field desk, regiment, misc

CARDS, index, filing, 3 x 5"

CARDS, index, filing, 5 x 8"

 

CLIPS, paper, wire, gem

CLIPS, paper, wire, ideal, large

CLIPS, paper, wire, ideal, medium

 

CRAYONS, chalk, white

 

ENVELOPES, mailing, 2-1/2 x 4-1/4" kraft

ENVELOPES, mailing, 3-3/4 x 5-7/8" kraft

ENVELOPES, mailing, 4-1/8 x 9-1/2" kraft

ENVELOPES, mailing, 5 x 11-1/2" kraft

ENVELOPES, mailing, 6-1/2 x 9-1/2" kraft

ENVELOPES, mailing, 8-1/2 x 11-1/2" kraft

ENVELOPES, mailing, 10 x 15" kraft

ENVELOPES, mailing, 3-7/8 x 8-7/8 white

 

ERASERS, rubber, pencil, oblong

ERASERS, rubber, typewriter

 

FASTENERS, paper, 2-3/4", 1" capacity

FASTENERS, paper, 2-3/4", 2" capacity

 

FOLDERS, file, manila, 9-1/2 x 11-3/4"

FOLDERS, file, manila, 9-1/2 x 14-7/8"

 

INK, duplicating, black, 1-lb can

INK, numbering machine, black, 2oz

INK, stamp pad, black, 2oz

INK, stamp pad, red, 2oz

INK, writing, blue-black, 1 qt

INK, writing, red, 1 pt

 

LABELS, paper, gummed, 1-3/4 x 1-15/16"

 

MUCILAGE, gum, 4 oz bottle

 

OIL, typewriter, 2 oz bottle

 

PADS, ink, duplicating machine, 8-1/4 x 16"

PADS, memo, white, 3 x 5"

PADS, memo, white, 8 x 10-1/2"

PADS, stamp, dry, 3-1/4 x 6-1/4"

 

PAPER, blotting, 3 x 9-1/2"

PAPER, blotting, 19 x 24"

PAPER, carbon, typewriter, 8 x 10-1/2"

PAPER, carbon, typewriter, 8 x 13"

PAPER, computing machine, 2-15/16"

PAPER, mimeograph, 8 x 10-1/2"

PAPER, mimeograph, 8 x 13"

PAPER, stencil, duplicating, 8-1/2 x 14-1/2"

PAPER, typewriter, bond, 8 x 10-1/2"

PAPER, typewriter, bond, 8 x 13"

PAPER, typewriter, manifold, 8 x 10-1/2"

PAPER, typewriter, manifold, 8 x 13"

 

PASTE, office, with brush, 4 oz jar

 

PENCILS, lead, colored, blue

PENCILS, lead, colored, green

PENCILS, lead, colored, red

PENCILS, lead, No 1

PENCILS, lead, No 2

PENCILS, lead, No 3

PENCILS, lead, No 4

 

PENHOLDERS, wood

 

PENS, writing, steel

 

PINS, office, pyramid

 

RIBBONS, typewriter, record

 

RULERS, maple, 12" or 18"

 

STAPLES, paper fastening, 5,000 to box

 

TACKS, thumb, steel, 3/8", 1/2", 5/8"

 

TAGS, shipping, 5-1/4 x 2-5/8"

 

TAPE, linen finish, 72 yds

TAPE, paper, transparent, 5/8" wide, 12 yards per roll

 

VARNISH, stencil correction fluid, 1oz bottle

 

WAX, sealing, red, 4oz sticks

 

 

So feel free to post photos of any of these items and/or their packaging from your own collections as well. That way we'll all have a good record of what these items look like, so we all will have a better idea of what to look out for when we're at flea markets, auctions, estate sales, on eBay, etc. as well as have a proper reference for indentifying these elusive and often overlooked items.

 

 

Cheers!

 

Cody F.

The Air Corps Clerk

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Brian Keith

Cody,

That sounds like a really cool project. I may be able to contribute, I'll do some digging. I'm looking forward to seeing things posted!

BKW

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Interesting and original topic. Sorry to say that I don't have much to contribute, but I'll be sure to be checking in here to see what gets posted.

Mikie

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Welcome to the Forum, Cody. I will also be following this thread and I can even make a (very) small contribution: olive drab thumb tacks.

 

post-169612-0-63825500-1529577875_thumb.jpg

 

And then I have also this bottle of correction fluid. I don't know if it is post war or earlier. Do you have any idea?

 

post-169612-0-27404700-1529577989_thumb.jpg

 

 

Rene

 

 

 

 

 

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AirCorpsClerk

Cody,

That sounds like a really cool project. I may be able to contribute, I'll do some digging. I'm looking forward to seeing things posted!

BKW

It has its moments, that's for sure. For my actual display for living history events, right from the start I decided to not limit myself to just WWII-era military/commercial items, or else i'd never had made as much progress as I have. As I go along I just continually try to acquire more appropriate examples of each item, while still trying to find the rest of the items I need. When I get a chance to sit down with my laptop I plan on also posting some photos of my progress list.

 

I started acquiring stuff about 13 months ago, and I honestly expected to have some kind of example of each item on the list by now. By November of last year I was already 2/3rds of the way through.

 

Of course, I also didn't know about the BOOKS portion of the list till a week ago when I found another site that has a viewable copy of Circular 23.

 

 

Finally! Something to put IN one of those famous field desks!

Just wait till I start a topic on the list of blank forms to be carried. That's a whole other ball of wax and is just as difficult as, if not more than, trying to find suitable office supplies.

 

 

And then I have also this bottle of correction fluid. I don't know if it is post war or earlier. Do you have any idea?

 

Rene

 

I'm not too familiar with the Man-O-War brand, but if I remember correctly that style is from around the WWII era. Having it in a field desk would not look out of place.

 

 

 

Cody F.

"The Air Corps Clerk"

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Persian Gulf Command

If anyone has photos of the pencils, colored pencils, grease pencils, and pens that GI's would have used in the ETO please post them. If you have any of these in your collection, I would appreciate knowing exactly what was used to write messages, mark on maps, and write home with.

 

Thanks!

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AirCorpsClerk

If anyone has photos of the pencils, colored pencils, grease pencils, and pens that GI's would have used in the ETO please post them. If you have any of these in your collection, I would appreciate knowing exactly what was used to write messages, mark on maps, and write home with.

 

Thanks!

I was saving this dissertation for once I started working my way through the list of items I currently have, and gotten pictures taken of everything, but I suppose pencils is a good place to start.

 

For regular pencils I use wartime Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. I have seen some written references and one photo that corroborate their use at least in the ETO.

 

The wartime ones can be identified be the ferrule. Sometime in 1942 the ferrule changed from a gold metal, to a cardboard ferrule that is green with two yellow stripes, and some of these were still packaged in boxes still depicting the old style ferrule. By 1943 they switched from the cardboard ferrule to a phenolic plastic one, and by then the box artwork was slightly changed to now depict the green with yellow stripes ferrule.

 

Production of the phenolic plastic ferrule on Dixon Ticonderoga pencils didn't end till 1948, but sometime after the war the box style changed from a two piece with a center split, to a two piece box but with the top now being more of a slip cover that covers all but the bottom 1/4" or so of the bottom half of the box.

 

 

For colored pencils I'm using a few different brands. I don't have any references on what brands/manufacturers were used, so I simply have gone with era appropriate commercial pencils.

 

For the red I'm using pre-war (1938 copyright) Venus "Verithin" pencils. Eventually I want to replace these with something wartime, but I acquired these for a good price so for now they'll continue their service in my "office".

 

For the green I'm using TUFF-TEX thick lead, and while there is no date on the cardboard band the printing style and overall quality seem to indicate late '30s through '40s.

 

For the blue I had been displaying a pack of "Mongol" by Eberhard Faber, which was undoubtedly wartime since it has a small cardstock insert about the absence of a ferrule to save metal for the war effort. I have since switched to using ones by TUFF-TEX.

 

 

For all my pencils, both plain and colored, I keep a full box/pack in the deep drawer of my field desk, and keep at least two matching loose pencils of each kind in the writing utensils tray.

 

 

Since all I have in terms of reference materials is the office supplies list in "Circular 23" and what I've read/seen in regards to the use of Dixon Ticonderogas in the ETO, I don't know who the actual official contractors are for pencils.

I can't find any contractor/supplier lists online (meaning free) so unless I come across a hard copy of such info or someone who has such info posts it here, or somewhere, I'll be forging ahead with what I can come up with in my feverish eBay searches.

 

 

Pictures are forthcoming. It's all a matter of getting time to sit down on my laptop and get them uploaded and then posted here.

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Jumpin Jack

post-247-0-36078200-1529862925.jpg

 

This is a period original photo of a wooden chest and the administrative supplies that were contained therein. It appears to be relative to a lot of drafting material. The box is marked "US" and has a label of contents in the lid. There are a variation of pencils shown to include what appears to be two mechanical pencils. Sorry, but this is the best I can do

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Jumpin Jack

post-247-0-36078200-1529862925.jpg

 

This is a period original photo of a wooden chest and the administrative supplies that were contained therein. Sorry, but this is the best I can do

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AirCorpsClerk

Cody F,

 

What about the pencil sharpener and erasers? Any info or photos?

 

John

I have a wartime Boston model L pencil sharpener, but I have yet to find a matching desk clamp for it. I happened to find a wartime advertisement for Boston sharpeners inside a sealed box of Hunt brand pen nibs, so that is what I used for my reference. But I have a feeling that a small hand sharpener would be more commonplace in a Field Desk. I just haven't gone about finding one yet.

 

 

As for the "oblong" pencils erasers, I have two kinds.

An original Eberhard Faber "Pink Pearl" No.100, and a Ruwe Pencil Co. "No.206 PINK" (of which I have plenty of useable extras if anyone needs a good eraser for their Field Desk).

 

I don't know if either of these are the appropriate eraser supplier, but I know the Eberhard Faber one is a pretty safe bet given how commonplace they are even today, just under another manufacturer. I just got lucky in finding a couple with their box (helpful in dating such things) that are still very supple.

The Ruwe erasers are also very supple still. I bought a case of them that was nearly full, so it's my go to "user" eraser when I'm at events. Their box is more plain, so they're harder to date, but since I have them mainly to make use of them I'm not too worried about it.

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AirCorpsClerk

AdminIMG_5179.JPG

 

This is a period original photo of a wooden chest and the administrative supplies that were contained therein. It appears to be relative to a lot of drafting material. The box is marked "US" and has a label of contents in the lid. There are a variation of pencils shown to include what appears to be two mechanical pencils. Sorry, but this is the best I can do

I'd say that isn't for clerical/administrative purposes, but rather strictly a draftsman's or mapmaker's chest given all the drafting related tools and the presence of mechanical pencils.

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I'd say that isn't for clerical/administrative purposes, but rather strictly a draftsman's or mapmaker's chest given all the drafting related tools and the presence of mechanical pencils.

I cannot see everything in that chest from the photo, but based on the partial description of contents, definitely agree.

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Persian Gulf Command

Here are some pictured of WW2 Pencils, Colored Pencils, Block Eraser, and Pencil Sharpener:

 

Pencils w/ Cardboard or plastic ferrule. The one on the bottom is an oversized ferrule, which is correct for the period:

post-17994-0-71745200-1530197650_thumb.jpg

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Persian Gulf Command

Set of Black, Blue, and Red Grease Pencils. The top one shows the other side of the examples shown:

post-17994-0-26330200-1530197896_thumb.jpg

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huntssurplus

Very interesting thread. I don't believe I have acquired any office supplies myself, will have to check though. Very interesting things to collect!

 

Hunt

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AirCorpsClerk

Map Case Display:

That's a very well put together map case!

 

And your other photos are excellent as well!

 

 

 

I'll have to get mine posted tomorrow night when I finally have some spare time to actually sit at my laptop.

 

Then it'll be time to start taking photos and drafting a write-up for the next topic.

 

I'm going to try to go in order of the list, save for where I have gaps in my collection, so that'll mean I'll be moving on to BRUSHES and working my way down from there, unless I miraculously acquire an example of any of the items that come before BRUSHES.

 

 

-Cody F.

"The Air Corps Clerk"

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AirCorpsClerk

So apparently my discussion of pencils may have spurred the market some.

 

Recent auction prices for wartime Dixon Ticonderogas on eBay have doubled from where they were previously. A full box of No.2 or No.3 pencils shouldn't be going for more than $30, yet just recently a full box of the early-war metal ferrule No.2s sold for nearly $60! Prices first jumped when a reenacting group discussed wartime Dixon Ticonderoga pencils on their Facebook page, and right after I posted my information here and this forum's Facebook group, the prices have now doubled. I honestly didn't think anyone but me really cared about wartime office supplies, but I clearly was mistaken.

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I'm not surprised. Every day I do my routine check of certain categories on Ebay, one of which is Venus Pencils. I'm looking for a single particular one, not military related. Still, since I first read your thread the day you posted it, I think of that every time I go there on Ebay. The other day I saw one of the pencils with the oversized erasure on it which you showed as a WWII period piece. If I were collecting these, I would have bid on it. So, no doubt your thread is having this effect.

 

Steve

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