Below are a couple of examples of various filing systems for different types of businesses. If your historical characters work in an office or a newspaper this information might be helpful.
HOW lNQUlRlES ARE FILED.
Mr. Haskins, in charge of the mail-order department of Wm. Wrigley, Jr., 8.: Co., Chicago, outlines this firm’s methods as follows :
“The inquiries are entered upon blue cards, containin the name, address and source; then we are able at any time to determine by this system what mediums are producing the best results, and can spend our money most advantageously. In replying to an original inquiry, we send one of our catalogues, together with an accompanying letter. All orders are entered subsequently upon this card, so that after the receipt of a letter the card system becomes the sole source of information and the letters are gradually discarded. We make it an object to have each of our customers send us the names of neighbors and friends, and names obtained from other sources than those coming from direct advertising are entered upon white cards. We arrange our cards alphabetically under States, towns and names within each town.
“ In regard to this card system, we wish to Sat that we think it is one of the. greatest things ever gotten up. We are annually saving hundreds of dollars by discarding from our lists duplicate names which are automatically detected by the card system, and which would result in the loss of catalogues, postage and time if an other method were emplo ed. We can handle one hundred thousan dollars’ worth of business with the card system with as much ease, accuracy and attention to details as we can one hundred dollars’ worth. and think we get three times the result from the same effort and same amount of correspondence and advertising that we could without the system.”
Mr. C. A. Bent, of Geo. P. Bent Piano Manufacturing Co., Chicago, has the following to say about methods and filing systems :
“ We use the card system and numeric expansive filing system for tabulating and rendering effective all information about prospective customers and inquirers. \Ve have rimarily a county file, in which are placed all etters relative to prospective sales arranged by counties, so if our traveling man is going through a certain district of the country, he can run through this file and regulate his visits and conduct by the matter which it contains. As soon as one of these prospectives becomes a customer, the letter receives a number, and becomes an integral part of our numeric system, finding its place in numeric order under the State in the larger series of cabinets. Regarding the adaptability of this filing system by numbers, we have found it most satisfactory— we can not speak in high enough terms of it. \Ve find it adequate for all demands, and we have a very heavy correspondence. The capacity of our system is about two hundred thousand letters. We use the card system, keeping all correspondence with our customers and accounts in our ledgers, by the same number, found in the card index.”
A large Chicago concern which deals with advertisers throws the following light on its methods and office system :
“ Our territory is systematically divided, and a portion assigned to each of our solicitors, who is made responsible for his field. The inquiries, as they are received, are tabulated in a card system operated numerically in connection with an expansive filing system. This method we have employed for about two years. At that time we discarded making copies of our correspondence in the old method,and adopted the idea of making carbon copies of our letters, which enables us to file the letter and answer in one compartment. \Ve consider that this manner of handling our corresprmdence is as great an improvement in this office as is the emplo ment of typewriting machines over the o (1 method of writing letters. The Correspond
ence in this cabinet and the tabulated record of inquiries in the card system work in harmony, and are arranged both by territory and under the date in which they should receive attention. Thus, an inquiry is first tabulated on the card system, then the correspondence is arranged in the expansive file, and subsequent letters are so placed that our solicitors are kept informed at all times of our operations with each customer, and are enabled by this excellent method to interview the advertiser at just the right time to secure the best results.”
Source: Marketing Communications ©1898
Record-Filing—The Vertical System
By a record-filing system is meant the indexing of papers or other records (not necessarily letters but frequently so) that do not have to be transcribed but may be filed away in the original form.
The vertical system is the one most generally used in filing correspondence.
As business letters come in various sizes, forms, and thicknesses of letter paper, with not a few postal cards scattered in, it is necessary to have a means of conveniently holding and handling them. For accomplishing this purpose the folder is employed. A folder is a sheet of heavy manila paper made with one fold and measuring when folded about 12" wide by 9J" high. A folder of this kind holds from 50 to 100 letters, depending on the thickness of the sheets, etc. The back sheet and front sheet of the folders are nearly equal in height, though the back sheet should project slightly above the front sheet for convenience in handling.
One of the best forms of folders now used is that termed "half cut" in lefts and rights. This tab is printed with the words "Name" and "Number," as a folder generally is devoted to a certain firm or individual, and this space provides for entering the name thereon. On the second line of the tab may be written the date of the oldest letter and the date of the latest when the folder has become filled.
When folders are placed in the vertical file-drawer they are just high enough to allow the extension on the guides to project above them. As with the card-system so with the vertical system, the folders must always be filed behind (not in front) the guides. There is no limit to the number of folders which may be filed behind a single guide. Separate folders may be assigned to different firms and individuals or to different towns if the filing is by location instead of alphabetically.
Source: Style-Book of Business English, designed for use in Business Courses ©1811