Kirk Remembers,  Product History

Kirk Remembers: A Strathmore Bristol Conversation from the 1970’s

In the 1970’s there was a salesperson who called on us with the Strathmore company. Her name was Katie Bryant. She had a fantastic knowledge of the paper industry and she would share that knowledge with the dealers. Occasionally when I would ask a question that she didn’t have an answer for, usually within 24 hours she would get the information I needed.

One day I was talking to her about bristol boards. I had carried the Strathmore 500 series bristol and drawing paper for some time at that point, as well as some of the 400 series bristol pads. Also, we stocked 3-ply 500 bristol that was cut to a special size for patent drawings. I asked Katie about how bristol got its name. She explained that true bristol board was composed of glued-up sheets of paper. In the case of 500 bristol it was sheets of the Strathmore 500 100% rag drawing paper glued into a single sheet. Of course the boards were classified by how many plies were glued together. She explained that when Strathmore started manufacturing the product, there were no facilities in the US for gluing the sheets together. So Stathmore made the paper and shipped it to Bristol, England, to be glued. Then it was shipped back to the US. The smooth bristol in the 500 series was listed as a plate finish. Most of the less expensive papers classified as bristol are bristol-type paper consisting of thick single sheets.