Inkstands were made to hold ink for quill pens and other implements that required an external source of ink. They were made to be placed on desks, and ornate versions of them included a pounce pot(similar to a salt or pepper shaker, to sprinkle pounce which aids in sizingparchment or velum), a place for the pen, and a candle to melt sealing wax, and may be decorated in various artistic styles. The Syng stand shows, from left to right, a pounce pot, quill holder, and inkpot, and is decorated in late Rococo style.
The inkstand became the property of the state of Pennsylvania, and was moved soon after the Constitutional Convention ended, to the state capital in Harrisburg. On the first centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1876, the inkstand was returned to the City of Philadelphia where it became famous. For a time, it was displayed in Independence Hall itself on a desk in front of Washington's chair. There, it was considered to be such an important artifact that in 1922, when cracks in the plaster ceiling of the hall stoked fears that the building would collapse, it 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 presently on display in a special case in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia along with copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.