Inkwell Studios founder (and my great grandfather) Loftus P. Gelen, standing in front of the company headquarters on March 19, 1924. At the time, Inkwell Studios employed over 300 people, including 114 pencilers, 87 inkers, 59 erasers and 28 "nib boys," who kept the artists supplied with sharpened pencils, fresh pen points and black coffee. Unfortunately, the company was devastated by the Graphite Shortage of 1927; overnight, the cost of drawing supplies skyrocketed, with a single No. 2 pencil selling for nearly $1,500. Unable to keep up with the mounting overhead, Gelen was forced to lay off the entire staff, sell the building and relocate to the back room of a barber shop on Clinton Street, where he continued operating as a one-man freelance illustration studio until 1948.