Keller Ink Company

Site Name:

Keller Ink Company (aka 12th and Fort)

WSUMA Accession Nos.:


Site No.:


Excavated By:

George Miller

Excavation Year(s):


Site Description:

The Keller Ink Company was formed in 1889 by Robert Keller. The owner was a Swiss immigrant who came to the United States in 1881. He settled in Detroit in 1883 and married Sarah McConville in 1886. He owned a drug store busuness and, as a side line, established an ink processing plant in 1890. By 1897, Keller was manufacturing ink, paste, and mucilage and had established offices and works on Palmer Ave. in Detroit . In 1898 he discontinued his drug store and focused his attention on the new ink company. In 1900 the Keller Ink Company offices and works had moved to Russell and then moved again in 1902, to the site that is the focus of this summary, 523-529 West Fort Street . Keller manufactured his inks here until about 1917 when the company was moved to Brooklyn Ave.

The collection of artifacts from the Keller Ink Company, was recovered by George Miller. These artifacts were salvaged from the site when the building was torn down and mainly consist of stoneware sherds. This took place in June of 1971 and the artifacts were accessioned by Wayne State University Museum of Anthropology at the same time.


  • Ceramics:

    • Porcelain (decaled, transferware (blue and black), spatterware)
    • Stoneware (salt glazed, lead glazed, Albany slip, Bristol slip, cobalt hand painted writing, annular, impressed writing, stamped writing, crocks, bottles, jugs)
  • Construction Materials:

    • ceramic tiles
  • Glass:

    • bottles (amber, cobalt, aqua, colorless, sun purpled, green)

Catalogue Nos.:

1W214351-1W214750 ( 1W214744-1W214750 is missing), 1W215468-1W215750, 1W216055-1W216150, 1W217720-1W217725, 1W219301-1W219700, 1W223501-1W223600, 1W229140-1W229231, 1W229751-1W229884


  • Lyshak, Joanne, “ The Robert Keller Ink Co.” Unpublished manuscript on file at WSU Museum of Anthropology. [# 11W570]
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