Notes from the Past

Reward for Philatelic Aids

In 1897 a Washington patent attorney advertised through the philatelic press, offering $150 for an invention most useful to stamp collectors.  Improvement in the following were suggested:  watermark detectors, duplicate albums, gauges, devices for seeing through stamps, lenses, preparations for fixing colors, hinges, cleaning soap, etc.  That's 45 years ago.  I don't know what results he got, or whether anyone snagged the $150.  It is a fact, however, that very few of the appliances used by stamp collectors are examples of original creative effort.  Most are adaptations of articles used in other fields.  About the only exception that has ever occurred to me is the dealer's stock book, and its offshoot, the approval card.  The latter was patented by P. M. Wolseiffer.  Whoever first worked out the stock book didn't publicize the event and his name is now lost in the hazy past.
- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
November 14, 1942
Posted July 8, 2000

Editor's Note:  A cover with P. M. Wolseiffer's corner card was recently offered on eBay.  He was a Philadelphia dealer.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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