Ink - Business Insider

When was Blue ink invented



Making History
Tuesday 3.00-3.30 p.m

Sue Cook provides the series that examines listeners' historical inquiries, exploring avenues of study and uncovering mysteries.

Henry 'Inky' Stephens - the creator of blue-black ink

Listener's question
"Henry Stephens built a factory to produce ink in Finchley. Exactly what difference did this make to writing?"

Quick summary
Dr Henry Stephens was at medical school with John Keats, but later on (in 1832) created their popular 'Blue-Black Writing Fluid', which he resulted in composing ink. It absolutely was in about 1834 which he began production just what he referred to as a "carbonaceous black colored writing liquid, that'll achieve the so long-desired and apparently hopeless task of rendering the manuscript as durable and as indelible once the imprinted record".

Stephens create a household company to manufacture the ink and family's fortune was on its way to being made. It had been his child, Henry Charles Stephens, just who turned it into big business, creating a factory in Finchley, north London. He later became an MP and fought a few battles over issues neighborhood to Finchley in which he bought their residence, Avenue House, in 1874. It had been he who had been given the nickname in your area of 'Inky' Stephens. He altered and offered Avenue home, that was built in 1859, including a laboratory. The Council utilized his drawing-room once they had been bombed out throughout the 2nd World War. Stephens left their Finchley estate on local community as he died in 1918.

Stephens' ink had been indelible therefore the Brit government caused it to be the required ink for appropriate documents and ships' sign books, which its even today. In its day it revolutionised workplace life - enough time formerly was spent combining inks and cleaning nibs.

Henry 'Inky' Stephens ended up being definitely a man of his time, having put up a domestic electricity system for his own residence and a water organization at Cholderton in Wiltshire in which he built his country home. The Cholderton & District liquid business was setup in 1904 under an Act of Parliament. It had been the country's just personal water organization for many years until privatisation inside 1990s and it nonetheless continues to be the tiniest of the water businesses. The business's principal shareholder is a descendant of 'Inky' Stephens.

More reading
Lynn Bresler, editor, Finchley Remembered (The Finchley community, 2002)
Stewart Gillies, Pamela Taylor, Finchley and Friern Barnet: A Pictorial record (Pictorial History Series, Phillimore & Co Ltd, 1992)

Place to visit

The Stephens Range
Avenue Home, East End Path, London N3 3QE
Tel: 020 8346 7812
Web Site:

Take note: the BBC accepts no obligation for content of exterior internet sites.



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