The Ink Blots

By Ray Schultz

Long ago, 100 years ago to be exact, direct mailers used geographic blooters to engage prospects. They thus provided a service while getting their commercial message across, according to an ad in Postage magazine.

Here’s the ad copy from the April 1916 issue:


Here are two samples of the Poates Geographical Blotters, the series of which covers over 60 subjects as per the list below. There is a blotter for each week of the year, and a few for good measure.

Maps on blotters is on our own original idea, the first subjects having been put on the market in 1914.

In connection with Direct-Advertising By Mail, you won’t find a better business solicitor. Advertising experts tell us that $240,000,000 is wasted every year by putting out matter that nobody reads; or if read, it is soon thrown away and forgotten.

Persistent Direct by Mail Advertising wins out in the end. When the first blotter is used up, a new one is sent out, with a new map and a new “ad,” and by and by results are obtained.

Our experience has shown that geographical blotters are seventy-five percent efficient as advertising media, instead of thirty per cent efficient as is the case with the ordinary printed circular. No matter what message you wish to send or what goods you have to sell, our blotters will tell the story in an interesting manner, and tell it over and over again.

Besides being seventy-five percent efficient, our geographical blotters are inexpensive, considering that maps are printed in three and four colors, and that we act as the advertising agent in arranging the material so that it shall be typographically attractive and convincing.

All this service, the blotters, the map and the printing we furnish for $6.50 per thousand. It pays to try this method of making announcements to customers A map always pleases and interests and has educational value, and it is known that a man’s mail will reach him where no mortal can.

We will be glad to send samples of these blotters to all readers of Postage, on request.

Yours for efficiency and success,

P.L. DIVER, Treasurer for



Note: Maps were offered of all 48 states (at that time), along with “Porto Rico (2 styles)”, Mexico (2 styles), Panama Canal (2 styles), and San Francisco and New York City with two styles apiece. You could also get Europe and the European War Zone.

And here’s one thing you should know about the ad. The editor of Postage, Louis Victor Eytinge, was a convicted murderer, then serving time in Arizona. P.L. Diver was the woman he married upon his release. The marriage unraveled in about five years.

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