Contrary to popular belief, the original black Moleskine-like notebooks used and popularized by famous artists and writers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, were nameless and brandless - made in small batches by a small group of French bookbinders.
They were originally sold only in Parisian stationary shops that were frequented by many artists of the period.
While it has been said that the likes of Van Gogh, Wilde, Matisse, Picasso and Hemingway used these very notebooks, English travel writer Bruce Chatwin, made the tradition (of avant-garde personalities using these notebooks as a creative tool to document ideas) famous.
Chatwin's description of these nameless notebooks in his book The Songlines, gave birth to the name Moleskine:
"In France, these notebooks are known as carnets moleskines: 'moleskine', in this case, being its black oilcloth binding. Each time I went to Paris, I would buy a fresh supply from a papeterie in the Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie. The pages were squared and the end-papers held in place with an elastic band. I had numbered them in series. I wrote my name and address on the front page, offering a reward to the finder. To lose a passport was the least of one's worries: to lose a notebook was a catastrophe."
Shortly after the book was published, in 1986, the last remaining notebook manufacturer had passed away, marking the end of the original "black, oilcloth-covered notebook, [with] pages held in place with an elastic band."
In 1997, Italian company Modo & Modo began remaking the style of notebooks under the trademark Moleskine, building on the books' distinct, romantic history - which even they have admitted, has been "slightly exaggerated over the years."
Today, design, head offices and production are managed from a 60 person loft studio in Milan and smaller office in New York.
The raw materials are largely sourced from France, Turkey and China.
Manufacturing is now largely handled in China in order to take advantage of the country's history in the production and processing of paper (China invented paper in the second century A.D., printing with movable type, in addition to a longstanding tradition of working with paper, ink and book-binding).
The process of crafting a Moleskine still involves a mix of machine and man where China continues to be the world leader in being able to blend grand, industrial production with handmade craftsmanship.
Moleskine's are now available in over 53 countries worldwide and true to their roots, the majority sold in bookshops.