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Berlin & Jones
Patriotic envelope collection. Series I: Civil War envelopes, 1861-1865.
New-York Historical Society
Pictorial Envelope: 1 envelope; 3 x 5 1/2 in. Massachusetts state seal between two American flags. White envelope with black ink. Image covers sheet. Printed above image: 'THE WAR / FOR THE UNION.' Printed below seal, on banner: 'MASSACHUSETTS.'
About the Creator: Berlin & Jones was a major producer and distributor of envelopes during the mid-19th century. Following is an excerpt from the New York Times of April 28, 1860, which briefly details the history and operation of Berlin & Jones: 'In[???] 1847, JACOB BERLIN, (father of HENRY C. BERLIN, of the present firm of BERLIN & JONES,) a man of sagacity and enterprise, purchased the little establishment of Mr. PIERSON, and commenced the manufacture, on a larger scale and more improved modes, at No. 180 Fulton-street, New York. Still the business did not prosper, and after a fair trial of a few months Mr. BERLIN was ready to retire, discouraged. As he could not find a purchaser he had to keep his hands and machinery employed. A reward soon came. The apathetic public and Government began to call for envelopes for mail uses, and Mr. BERLIN was unable to supply the demand. In 1853 Mr. BERLIN sold his entire business to Messrs. WM. G. WEST and HENRY C. BERLIN, and retired with a competence earned in laudable enterprise. The new proprietors immediately increased their facilities for production, occupying the premises No. 67 Pine-street, New-York. These facilities proving insufficient, Mr. WEST, in 1854, built a large six story building, with basement and sub-cellars, in the rear of No. 120 William street, New-York, where the manufacture and sale were prosecuted with energy and success, in 1856 Mr. WEST retired, and the present firm of BERLIN & JONES was formed. In May, of that year, the new firm, to accommodate its immense business, moved its salesrooms to No. 134 William-street, where they still remain, commanding and directing a heavy trade. So greatly had the business increased, in 1857 as to compel the removal of the factory to more spacious premises up town, where they have facilities for producing 600,000 per day, or 200,000,000 per year, of every size, quality and kind known in the trade, as Business, Legal, Document, Detector, Embossed, Opaque Silvered, Wedding, Mourning, Drug, Pay, Cloth-lined and Business-illustrated Envelopes. These figures snow the magnitude of consumption of the article. At the salesroom a stock of from fifteen to twenty millions is always kept on hand to answer any demand. Orders come from all parts of the Union, the Canadas and Provinces, South America, West Indies, East Indies, and even from Europe, Prices vary, of course, with quality, size, &c. -- running from sixty cents to sixty dollars per thousand. So steady has been the demand that even during the 'panic' (1857-58) this manufactory did not discharge any of their regular hands... The business of the manufacture of envelopes is overdone. Too many are engaged in it. As a consequence, the big fishes must consume the little ones -- the small manufacturer must give way before the multiplied facilities, capital and business resources of the big establishments. We cannot find a better piece of advice to small producers than to get out of the trade. And, as indicative of what is coming, we may mention the fact that BERLIN & JONES have lately reduced their prices fully 10 per cent. below those hitherto current for all grades of envelopes. Their immense facilities renders this great reduction [???]easible. The great public, which has to use and to pay for these useful articles, will not regret any reduction in their cost. Numbers of 'patent' envelopes have been put upon the market, but have all failed to success, for the reason that while they did not add to the security and convenience of the thing, they did add to its, cost -- in some cases very materially. This is the case of the newly introduced 'ruled' envelope. It has simply three black lines printed on the inside of the lower lappet of the envelope. These lines show through, so as [???]able a person to write the direction, evenly by them, before the letter is put in. A business man wants no such school boy contrivance; and as the printing of the lines is a 'patent,' and adds materially to the expense of producing the envelope, it is not likely to have a very extensive 'run.' The quantity of paper consumed in the manufacture is enormous. A large number of mills make paper exclusively for this business, employing many hundreds of people and heavy capital. The firm of BERLIN & JONES alone consume from five to ten tons of mill paper per week, in their business! This amount is sometimes much exceeded, as in. the case of heavy extra orders. The trade living at a distance, who require supplies, in any amount, have only to write to the manufacturers (Messrs. BERLIN & JONES) for samples and accompanying prices, when they will be furnished with the samples by which to make any order.'
Massachusetts--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
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