Index or Pointer or Book Mark. Ansonia, Connecticut: Wallace & Sons, 1858.
On October 10, 1858, the manufacturing firm Wallace & Sons (founded 1848) took out a patent to make foldable bookmarks from brass. The company’s primary product was brass fasteners for hoop (or skeleton) skirts which were becoming fashionable in the late 1850s. One 1859 report in a Lowell newspaper stated: “Messrs. Wallace & Sons of Ansonia, Connecticut, manufacture daily 1,000 lbs. of brass clasps for ladies’ skeleton skirts. Their factory is in operation from midnight Sunday until midnight on Saturday.” The firm also made brass pins and pipes, and eventually opened a brass and copper rolling mill in New York City.
The bookmark, or pointer, was not usually mentioned in the company’s print advertisements. This surviving card with five of the original twelve bookmarks intact includes promotional text on the verso of the card stating, “Divines, Lawyers, Editors, Clerks, Copyists, Teachers and every class of reader will find this Index to be a saving of their books, time and labour. It is neat, clean, convenient, and so portable that twenty may be used in a medium sized volume without confusion.”