Colonel R.K. Mallam purchased his calling cards from the Army & Navy C.S.L. who in turn had them printed by the well known stationers De La Rue.
They are 'Ordinary Size' (3 x 1 3/4) and printed on thick card as opposed to thin or extra thick. At the time the engraving of the plate would have cost Col. Mallam 2/4 and the printing of the 100 cards 3/9. The card board box notes the A&N CSL's address of 105 Victoria Street and lists their depots at Plymouth, Bombay & Calcutta. The rest of the box is covered with advertising for other A & N products such as Fancy, Stationery, Artists' Materials and Attaché Cases etc.
Mallam was in the Royal Army Medical Corps and became a Colonel in 1937 before being retained on the Active List as Brigadier in 1943. He was noted for distinguished service in the Mohmand Operation on the North West Frontier of India between 1935 and 1937 and received the OBE sometime between 1937 and 1940. These cards are a very rare survivor and the box is almost complete with approximate 20 cards missing. Given Mallam's rank and award of the OBE the cards can be dated to between 1937 and 1940.
Thomas De La Rue formed the company in Guernsey in 1813 before moving to London in 1821 to set up as a printer, stationer and fancy goods manufacturer.
The business was a great success and innovative. By the middle of the 19th century they were producing both fiscal and postage stamps for the government before moving into the printing of money. They became London stationers of great renown that produced a large variety of items from portable inkwells and business cards to pocket travel chess sets and playing cards.
A number of retailers sold their wares including the Army & Navy C.S.L., Edwards & Sons of 161 Regent St. London (stationers & dressing case makers) and Harrods.
As far as travel items are concerned, they are perhaps best known for the Ransome Patent Inkwell, several of which are illustrated on this website. The inkwell was designed by Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ltd. in 1861 but didn't take off until De la Rue licensed the design. It was made in at least 3 sizes and we have seen examples in leather, all metal and silver. They also sold sets of inkwells to hold various different colours of ink.
The company is still in existence.