From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Different items of stationery used at an office
Inside a stationery shop in Hanoi

Stationery refers to commercially manufactured writing materials, including cut paper, envelopes, writing implements, continuous form paper, and other office supplies.[1] Stationery includes materials to be written on by hand (e.g., letter paper) or by equipment such as computer printers.

History of stationery


Originally, the term 'stationery' referred to all products sold by a stationer, whose name indicated that his book shop was on a fixed spot. This was usually somewhere near a university, and permanent, while medieval trading was mainly carried on by itinerant peddlers (including chapmen, who sold books) and others (such as farmers and craftsmen) at markets and fairs. It was a unique term used between the 13th and 15th centuries in the manuscript culture. Stationers' shops were places where books were bound, copied, and published. These shops often loaned books to nearby university students for a fee. The books were loaned out in sections, allowing students to study or copy them, and the only way to get the next part of the book was to return the previous section.[2] In some cases, stationers' shops became the preferred choice for scholars to find books, instead of university libraries due to stationers' shops' wider collection of books.[3] The Stationers' Company formerly held a monopoly over the publishing industry in England and was responsible for copyright regulations.

Uses of stationery




Printing is the process of applying a colouring agent to a surface to create a body of text or illustrations. This is often achieved through printing technology, but can be done by hand using more traditional methods. The earliest form of printing is wood blocking.


Examples for each category of the various printing techniques for stationery. Clockwise, from upper left: Letterpressed paper, thermographic printed paper, an engraving plate, and embossed paper.

Letterpress is a process of printing several identical copies that presses words and designs onto the page. The print may be inked or blind, but is typically done in a single color. Motifs or designs may be added as many letterpress machines use movable plates that must be hand-set. Letterpress printing remained the primary method of printing until the 19th century.

Single documents


When a single document needs to be produced, it may be handwritten or printed, typically by a computer printer. Several copies of one original paper can be produced by some printers using multipart stationery. Typing with a typewriter is largely obsolete, having been superseded for most purposes by preparing a document with a word processor and then printing it.



Thermographic printing is a process that involves several stages but can be implemented in a low-cost manufacturing process. The process involves printing the desired designs or text with an ink that remains wet, rather than drying on contact with the paper. The paper is then dusted with a powdered polymer that adheres to the ink. The paper is vacuumed or agitated, mechanically or by hand, to remove excess powder, and then heated to near combustion. The wet ink and polymer bond and dry, resulting in a raised print surface similar to the result of an engraving process.



Embossing is a printing technique used to create raised surfaces in the converted paper stock. The process relies upon mated dies that press the paper into a shape that can be observed on both the front and back surfaces. Two things are required during the process of embossing: a die and a stock. The result is a three-dimensional (3D) effect that emphasizes a particular area of the design.



Engraving is a process that requires a design to be cut into a plate made of relatively hard material. The metal plate is first polished so that the design cut can be easily visible to the person. This technology has a long history and requires a significant amount of skill, experience, and expertise. The finished plate is usually covered in ink, and then the ink is removed from all of the un-etched portions of the plate. The plate is then pressed into paper under substantial pressure. The result is a design that is slightly raised on the surface of the paper and covered in ink. Due to the cost of the process and expertise required, many consumers opt for thermographic printing, a process that results in a similarly raised print surface, but through different means at less cost.


A stationery shop on November 4, 1973 in Iran

School supplies


Many shops that sell stationery also sell other school supplies for students in primary and secondary education, including pocket calculators, display boards, compasses and protractors, lunchboxes, and the like.[4][5]

Major brands, manufacturers and retailers of stationery


This section contains an incomplete list of famous brands, manufacturers and retailers of stationery worldwide.

In US and Canada, Office Depot and Staples are two major retailers of stationery.

Notable stationery brands in Europe include LAMY, MOLESKINE, Staedtler, and Faber-Castell.

In Japan, major manufacturers of stationery include Kokuyo, Maruman, Lihit Lab, King Jim, MUJI and Tombow. MUJI also has about 800 retail stores worldwide.

In mainland China, 晨光文具 (Chén guāng wén jù) is a major manufacturer and retailer of stationery, and MUJI is a popular retailer in larger cities.

See also



  1. ^ Peter Beal, ed., "Stationery", A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology, 1450–2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 [2011 online]).
  2. ^ Murray, Stuart (2009). The Library: An Illustrated History. Skyhorse Publishing. pp. 65–66. ISBN 9781602397064.
  3. ^ Murray, Stuart (2009). The Library: An Illustrated History. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 9781628733228. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  4. ^ Streamlined Sales Tax Project "Definitions for School Related Supplies: SSTP Recommendations for Amendment to Agreement; July 29, 2004" Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Virginia Department of Taxation "School Supplies and Clothing FAQs" Archived 2015-02-07 at the Wayback Machine