Conqueror Envelopes A History Of Quality
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Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009
by Mark Bartley
So how has one brand become so well known, when others are struggling in a faceless and nameless ma
The 114 year history of Conqueror is a dramatic one involving "trouble at mill", the Second World War and innovative technology years ahead of its time. In the late 1880s, E. P. Barlow, director of London-based stationery company Wiggins Teape, decided to begin producing and marketing a watermarked paper. He wanted to produce a high quality paper for the masses, with all the characteristics of hand-made paper but at a fraction of the price. He decided to call this paper Conqueror London. Ever the planner, he had already decided how much he was going to charge for this new paper and had written out his first order. That first order sat on his desk for months because E. P. Barlow drove a hard bargain and no paper mill was willing to produce the level of quality for the price he was offering. Finally, the order was accepted by Henry Hobday who was desperate to save his struggling paper mill in Dover after a disastrous fire. The first Conqueror paper rolled off the presses in 1888 and in 1890, Wiggins Teape bought the mill.
E. P. Barlow hit the market at exactly the right moment. Demand for the high quality, low cost paper soared and in 1910 the company installed a machine dedicated purely to producing Conqueror London paper, increasing the annual production capacity to 2,300 tonnes. Production continued unabated until in 1940 the mill received a direct hit by, ironically, a Spitfire. The mill was rebuilt and from 1945 onwards, Wiggins Teape made huge advances in the production of other items, bringing in the notion of colour co-ordinating both paper and envelopes. The reputation of the brand grew and today is still a byword for quality stationary.
Conqueror is one of the few brands requested by name and has become the standard by which all other 'quality' paper stationary is measured. The brand is now stocked in over 100 countries and is seen gracing the desk of every CEO from Hong Kong to New York. The trick has been in how Conqueror has developed to keep pace with technology, starting from the fountain pen and ink in Victorian times to the latest laser printers and inkjet technology found in every office today.
So is it worth spending that little bit extra on Conqueror envelopes and paper? Depends how you want to present your company to your business colleagues. Conqueror stationary speaks of a company that's serious about business, doesn't cut corners and is interested in quality. The psychology behind stationary is as complex as any other business consideration Conqueror speaks of quality, professionalism and a 114-year provenance that it can't do any business any harm to piggyback.
From an 'any colour as long as it's white' approach in 1888 to a rainbow of colours, textures and that all-important watermark (updated in 2001) today, Conqueror is still the dominant name in quality but affordable stationary for businesses and the dedicated letter writer alike. As soon as a Conqueror envelope drops onto your mat, you can feel the quality. It adds a primary level of seriousness to any correspondence and while the email has become the communication of choice for the digital age, Conqueror still has a major role to play when only a written letter will do.
There are various suppliers of envelopes yet the Conqueror brand is perhaps the most famous. This review provides useful advice on envelope types. More information about finding a quality letter envelope is provided by Mark Bartley in his office product reviews online.
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