|Location||"Independence National Historical Park, "Philadelphia|
The Syng inkstand is a silver "inkstand used during the signing of the "United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the "United States Constitution in 1787. Aside from paper documents, it is one of four physical objects that were present during the "Constitutional Convention known to still exist (with a reasonable degree of certainty), along with "Independence Hall itself, the "Liberty Bell, and the chair that "George Washington sat in as the Constitutional Convention's presiding officer.
The inkstand was made by "Philip Syng in 1752 for the "provincial assembly of Pennsylvania. Both a work of art and an important historical artifact, the Syng inkstand was used by such prominent "Founding Fathers of the United States as Washington, "Benjamin Franklin, "Thomas Jefferson, "John Hancock, "John Adams, "James Madison, and the other signers of the founding documents.
Desktop inkstands hold ink for "quill pens and other implements that require an external source of ink. Ornate versions include a pen holder, an inkpot, a candle to melt sealing wax, and a pot similar to a salt or pepper shaker used to pour "pounce to aid in the "sizing of "parchment or "velum. The Syng inkstand is decorated in late "Rococo style and includes, from left to right in the image shown, a pounce pot, quill holder, and inkpot.
Syng, who had immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1713, was a renowned "silversmith who created fine works in "silver, and sometimes "gold, for the rich families of "Philadelphia. He was an associate of "Benjamin Franklin and a prominent member of the Philadelphia community who assisted in the founding of the "Library Company of Philadelphia, the "American Philosophical Society, the "Union Fire Company, and the "University of Pennsylvania.
The Syng inkstand became the property of the state of Pennsylvania, and was moved to the state capital in "Harrisburg soon after the Constitutional Convention ended. In 1876, on the "first centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the inkstand was returned to the City of Philadelphia where it became famous. For a time it was displayed in Independence Hall on a desk in front of George Washington's chair, and was considered such an important artifact that in 1922, when cracks in the plaster ceiling of Independence Hall stoked fears that the building would collapse, the inkstand was removed at the same time that the first floor of the building was cleared of visitors.
The National Park Service inherited the inkstand when they took over maintenance of Independence Hall from the City of Philadelphia. It is now on display in a special case in "Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, along with copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.