Arago: Mailing Containers

Mailing Containers

V-Mail stationery ink bottle


Vibrant yellow, black, and red paperboard box contains a four-ounce glass bottle of Sheaffer’s V-Black Skrip ink. Skrip was a leading brand for the ink, pen, and pencil manufacturer W A Sheaffer Pen Company of Ft Madison, Iowa and Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which during the Second World War packaged the V-Black, Number V4, ink marketing it towards use with V-Mail stationery. The label proclaiming, “photographs best,” refers to the microfilm processing of V-Mail correspondence. Stationery suppliers and the US government encouraged letter writers to use V-Mail for military service members overseas because it reduced the bulk of mail to reels of 16 mm film, which were shipped via air transport to processing centers closest to the addressees. Because the letters were photographed and then reproduced for delivery at only a quarter of the original size, legibility was essential. Informational articles and advertising campaigns for the V-Mail service explained the process and the need for good penmanship with dark ink or pencils.

Box: printed markings from manufacturer on all sides; "For V-MAIL" in red band along top edges of box; "Skrip" in yellow band around center of box; "SHEAFFER'S / V-BLACK / PHOTOGRAPHS BEST" in black band along bottom edges of box; "Skrip / The finest permanent black, / developed especially for / fountain pens and general / use. Makes all pens write / better and last longer. / V. BLACK, NO. V4 / PHOTOGRAPHS BEST" on top of box; handwritten "25c" in pencil on top of box Bottle: printed markings from manufacturer on label; printed "Skrip / TIGHTEN CAP. / TIP BOTTLE TO / FILL THE WELL" on bottle cap
cardboard; glass; ink; paper
Height x Width x Depth (box): 3 3/8 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (8.57 x 6.35 x 6.35 cm) Height x Width (bottle): 3 3/8 x 2 3/8 in. (8.57 x 6.03 cm)
Museum ID:


  • V-Mail stationery ink bottle and box
  • V-Mail stationery ink bottle and box
Additional Records

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