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Old Carter's Ink factory building


Kalessin
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I work at a courthouse in east Cambridge, MA, USA, which is where an industrial zone used to be booming. There's still some light industry left, but most everything is now offices and the Cambridgeside shopping mall. The MIT campus is right next door; their student engineers had industry right by their doorstep and started up many companies in the fairly cheap spaces.

 

Some of the better known brands that were manufactured in this area were: Davenport furniture (once so popular that "davenport" was a generic word for "sofa"), Polaroid, De Haviland chocolates, and Acoustic Research audio.

 

From a history of the Carter's Ink Company, at http://kamakurapens.invisionzone.com/index...t=ST&f=13&t=266

By 1909 Carter's had once again outgrown its facilities. The company built a new factory on First Street in East Cambridge, Massachusetts on the corner of Atheneum, not far from the M.I.T. campus moving there in 1910. Carter's as a company would never move again. In fact its huge electric sign reading Carter's Inks was a landmark along the Charles River until the 1970's.

 

I take a walk along the Charles River every day at lunch, and this building at 245 First Street is near the turnaround point halfway through my daily route. The green sign reads "Edwin H. Land Boulevard", which covers First Street at this point; Land was the inventor of inexpensive polarizing filters (like in sunglasses) and Polaroid instant photography:

http://www.genericdomain.net/~joelll/fpn/carters-ink/viacell-building.jpg

 

The topmost floor is of later construction than the rest of the facade, and there's been extensive reconstruction of the building behind the facade; right now it's being fitted out for new tenants on the first and second floors. The Viacell name was added about a year ago.

 

If you look at the original top center of the building facade, you see the old name preserved:

http://www.genericdomain.net/~joelll/fpn/carters-ink/factory-name.jpg

 

As a bonus, right next door there's another fabulous old structure, the Athenaeum House building (I'm not sure what was housed there; I was guessing a publisher, but I can't find any info on the web):

http://www.genericdomain.net/~joelll/fpn/carters-ink/both-buildings.jpg

 

The Athenaeum House building has a large statue of Athena up on the roof. She was green for all the years I can remember, until she was gilded this year by the new owners, who also changed the name to "The Athenaeum Building":

http://www.genericdomain.net/~joelll/fpn/carters-ink/athena-statue.jpg

 

Finally, a view out over the Charles River, which is about a hundred feet away from the front of the Carter's Ink building. This view is approximately in the direction that Athena is looking from on high, but taken from the promenade at the river's edge. The Science Museum is the brick building on the left, with spire, and the white triangular forms are the cables on the Lenny Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge (the most visible part of the massive Big Dig project; the bridge carries Interstate 93 traffic):

http://www.genericdomain.net/~joelll/fpn/carters-ink/charles-river.jpg

-- Joel -- "I collect expensive and time-consuming hobbies."

 

INK (noun): A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and water,

chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime.

(from The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce)

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  • antoniosz

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  • Kalessin

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Cool, cool, cool :) and thank you. Not only for the pictures but because you took me back more than 15 years ago,

when I as a young (rapidly aging) MIT nerd was passing by to go shopping at Lechmere :) ...

No, I was not into vintage pens then, although I had a 51 frankenpen which together with a Parker Classic and a set of Sheaffer NNS were my pen collection.

 

So at that time, I never paid attention to the building. Here is a 1917 ad for the company that made the building (the ad was placed in MIT's student newspaper, the Tech on November 19, 1917).

 

s_Page_15_Image_0001.jpg

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  • 15 years later...

OH,wow, is cool.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

Don't know where to start?  Look at the Inky Topics O'day.  Then, see inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When we lived in Massachusetts, my husband worked for a company which was located right between the two entrances to the Kendell/MIT Red line stop.  I don't remember the street address offhand (we'd come up out of the T station into the hotel a couple of doors down.  But I remember that Harlequin would give directions to people using "the Klingon Embassy" as a landmark (in actuality it was the US DOT building, but the sculpture on the side of the building was very similar to the Klingon Empire logo -- I guess they figured that saying "Klingon Embassy" would be a good description since they were a software company with a lot of computer nerds... :lol:).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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The sign at the very top of the building, which was ViaCell when the OP was written, is now Forsyth. You can get some nice views of the building using Google Maps. 

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Interesting! My MIT dormitory was 1/2 mile from this. In those days, this was a factory district, now it is almost all MIT.  I later worked at the DOT building in Kendall Square, but I don't recall the Klingon Embassy. Next time I'm in the area I'll walk by there.

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The exterior sculpture on the wall makes the building pretty unmistakable.  Although it's also fairly high up the side of the building.  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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