About the “Stationery Trade Review” (1881-1913)


The Stationery Trade Review was a trade journal launched in Edinburgh in January 1881 to serve the needs of the stationery, leather, and fancy goods trades in the north of England, Scotland, and Ireland. It was published by Ormiston & Glass, a wholesale stationer, fancy-goods dealer, and publisher with locations in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The publisher felt that existing publications aimed at the stationery business focussed far too much on London and not enough on the needs of businesses outside of the metropolis.

In its first year, the Stationery Trade Review was published monthly. At the beginning of the second year of publication, however, a number of changes were made:

  • the page dimensions were increased,
  • additional pages were added,
  • the periodicity changed from monthly (12 issues per year) to every alternate month (6 issues per year), and
  • the cost of an annual subscription was decreased.

The Stationery Trade Review sought to provide provincial businesspeople with the latest news about the trade and new product developments because, “Fancy Stationery must be had piping hot, or it is not worth having at all.” Regular departments included:

  • the State of the Trade,
  • Notices of New Goods,
  • Notices of New Books,
  • Letters to the Editor,
  • the Gazette, which announced new companies and business failures, and
  • Law Reports.

Articles outside of departments tended to be excerpted from other trade and popular publications, and the subject matter combined histories of the trade, legal topics, entertaining stories and anecdotes related to the trade, and other materials designed to inform and educate businesspeople about developments in technology, products, and business practices. While the journal professed to focus on northern England, Scotland, and Ireland, the articles situate the trade in a global framework, providing information on everything from copyright in various international jurisdictions to paper consumption in several areas around the globe.

Advertising was an important feature of the publication, not only because it generated income, but also as a means of keeping members of the trade informed about the latest goods and innovations. Both outside and inside covers included display ads, and advertisements were dispersed throughout each issue. Classified ads, such as positions vacant and individuals seeking employment, were also included. Advertisements and content often featured Ormiston & Glass, the publisher.