The Landmarks of Huntingdon County
Huntingdon County is home to many historical landmarks that played important roles in the early developmental days of the County
J. C. Blair Company Manufacturing Stationers
J.C. Blair, Huntingdon County's most successful entrepreneur, was responsible for one of the firsts. Blair was honored by the Manufacturing Stationers Trade Association as the inventor of the paper tablet.
John Chalmers Blair (1847 – 1897) was a businessman known throughout the world. After receiving a common school education, he took courses at Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, NY. He returned to Huntingdon and got a job as a bank teller. Mr. Blair bought a bookstore and then began printing stationary. He had an idea to bind paper and in 1848, he invented the paper tablet. His wife, Kate Fisher Blair, helped him cook the formula to hold the tablet together on her kitchen stove. Before this time, no one had ever glued pages together.
Business expanded rapidly, so in 1885 construction began of the large brick J.C. Blair Manufacturing Company, which became the tallest building between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh and the forerunner of today's vast tablet and notebook industry. Blair's genius, which places him first in Huntingdon County entrepreneurial history,for putting Huntingdon on the map architecturally, when completed in 1889 he constructed a mammoth factory, which was at the time the tallest building between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Even Mark Twain was amazed and thankful for this innovation. He wrote an appreciative letter to Mr. Blair saying this invention made his writing work much easier. He actually ordered tablets that were made right here in this building. Another story is that while on vacation in Switzerland, Mr. Blair asked a desk clerk for paper and the clerk pushed one of JC Blair's own tablets across the counter to him.
Today, the building is home to the Blair House Apartments, Huntingdon Electric Sales and Electric Motor Services.