Carter’s Ink Company



” Carter’s Ink Company ” ‘was a manufacturer of ink and related products, in Boston and later in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. It used to be the largest ink manufacturer in the world.

The William Carter Company, a forerunner of Carter’s Ink, was founded in 1858 by the bookseller William Carter of Boston who, to complete his paper sales, began repackaging the inks of other companies and selling them under his own name. In 1860, William Carter’s brother, Edward Carter, joined the company and the company became known as “William Carter and Bro”. The civil war has turned Carter’s main ink supplier upside down. William Carter used his formulas on a royalty basis and started making his own inks and mucilages, which required moving to a larger building. Another brother, John H. Carter, joined the company, which became “William Carter & Bros.” In 1865, William’s cousin John W. Carter joined the company and the name became “Carter Bros. & Company”. John W. Carter focused his efforts on the ink part of the company which, with the sales efforts of James P. Dinsmore, resulted in such growth that the ink company was separated from the paper industry and moved into its own premises in 1868. “The whole firm and its two divisions and their separate buildings were destroyed the night of November 9, 1872, in what was called the Great Boston Fire in 1872. There was only the goodwill of the company and its formulas.

After the 1872 fire, John W. Carter joined James P. Dinsmore in buying the ink division and starting a new company known as “Carter, Dinsmore and Company”. The new company flourished and in 1884 became the largest ink producer in the world. John W. Carter’s conviction and commitment to research to develop new and better inks contributed to this growth. James P. Dinsmore retired in 1888, and John W. Carter drowned in 1895, which created an organizational crisis in the unincorporated business, which led to his incorporation later that year. there under the name of The Carter’s Ink Company.

At the time of John W. Carter’s death, his son Richard B. Carter was still studying at Harvard, but after graduating in 1898, he joined the company. After a period of apprenticeship with the company, he became the leader in 1903. Under the direction of Richard Carter, the company surpassed its location in Boston. In 1909, a new factory was built in Cambridge and occupied in 1910. The massive “Carter’s Inks” electrical sign in the building faced the Charles River and was a landmark for many years. Richard Carter continued his father’s commitment to research and development of inks, glues and related products.

In the 1920s, when high-end pens were a popular luxury item, Carter began his line of pens. The line was interrupted in the early 1930s, but they are still fondly remembered and sought after by collectors.

Samuel D. Wonders was elected president of the company in 1949 and served until 1955. Francis J. Honn invented the highlight marker (under the Hi-Liter brand) as vice president of technology at Carter in 1963. In 1975, the company at Dennison Manufacturing Company, now Avery Dennison. Samuel D. Wonders was followed by Nathan C. Hubley, Jr. who retired in 1976 when the company was sold to Dennison. To help with the transition, he stayed with Dennison as vice-president until 1977.

After the acquisition of Carter’s Ink Company in 1975, Dennison made the commercial decision to dispose of all of Carter’s records from the 1860s, including Carter’s meticulous records. The Carter name is still used by Avery-Dennison on some ink-related products such as ink pads. The Carter’s Ink building in Cambridge is still standing but has been adapted for other uses. In the summer of 1984, Thinking Machines Corporation moved its head office to the building and signed a ten-year lease in 1989. In 2004, it was converted to 130,000 square feet of lab space to accommodate acquisition by ViaCell, a research in cellular medicine. company later acquired by PerkinElmer.



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