The inkwell pictured above was reportedly owned by Everett W. Stetson of Damariscotta, Maine. The inscription on the base reads: “This ink-well was used by Hon. Everett Stetson when he was member of Legislature of Augusta, Maine.” As a Senator, Stetson represented the Eleventh Legislative District in the 44th Legislature. His name appears in a Legislative Roster in 1865. His brother Joseph is listed in the same Roster as a member of the House of Representatives. Both Everett and his brother Joseph were famous ship-builders in Damariscotta.
Although not trade-marked, the inkwell was most likely made by the Silliman Company of Chester, CT. The company made a wide range of office supplies and stationary items, including the fans, wax seals, wafer cups, and other accoutrements that were needed to write letters. They also produced traveling inkwells that were patented by the company for their unique designs. After turning the wood part from any number of fine woods, a glass bottle was inserted inside the turning and insulated. This feature kept the ink from freezing in winter weather.
The traveling inkwells were used widely across the country and had a big impact during the Civil War, enabling soldiers to write letters home. Silliman traveling inkwells were issued to the Union Army, as part of a contract the Army had with the company.