Historical information

Pen and ink sets were common household and business items in the 19th century and up to the mid 20th century (prior to the introduction of ballpoint pens). They would have been placed on a writing desk or table. The items here are attractive ones and would have been a relatively expensive purchase.


These items are connected to the Toleman family from Warrnambool and may have been used by the donor’s father who was an accountant.

Physical description

These are four items:- .1 An oblong glass dish, partly rounded at the ends and with a criss-cross pattern on the base. Inside the dish, towards the ends, are two ridges for holding four pens or pencils. .2 An oblong polished black stone tray with a curved front and a ridge for holding a pen. On the oblong section are two square metal bases with four side clips on each to hold the inkwells. These metal pieces are attached to the black tray with metal screws. .3 & .4 Two glass (crystal?) cubes with a hollow inside for holding ink. The tops of the cubes are metal with circular openings. The lids are metal with metal hinges and polished black stone tops