This Ransome Patent Inkwell has a mahogany frame to the white metal inkwell centre.
The inkwell is stamped Ransome's Patent and De La Rue & Co. to one side with the operating instruction Push to the other. The middle metal section is pushed out from its mahogany frame and will then slide along to be fixed in the upright position at a right angle to the frame which forms its base. The design was very clever and a good space saver with the inkwell's lid securely shut for travel.
Ransome's were known for manufacturing agricultural equipment but De La Rue had a very good reputation as stationers and so the ideal people to market the inkwell. The Army and Navy CSL were one of the companies to sell the inkwell and it was available in 3 different sizes. This is the medium sized inkwell but it would seem that the smallest size was the most popular as they appear more often. Early 20th century.
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.