November 22, 2014

The Founcil combo

, and the Esterbrook Duograph combo.

[Posted on L&P on Jan 26 and Jan 30, 2012.]
      If you like combos, here’s an early one, the Founcil combo featured in an article in American Stationer, Aug 22, 1908, p.13.  And here’s the trademark for the word “Founcil”,
71,461, said to be used since November 1907 by Frederick R. Wells who was doing business at 103 Halsey St., Brooklyn, N. Y.  It’s probably an eyedropper-filled combo.  And even though there is no “t” in the spelling of the name, the “t” is not exactly silent.  It’s implied, and it’s still partially there in the pronunciation of the name, sort of like the Swan “Fountpen”.  Well, it’s a “Fountpencil”.  Also check out these two threads on FPN, one, and two.

      Has anyone ever heard of an Esterbrook combo?  And do you want to know more about the “Founcil” combo?  Well, here’s the “Founcil” smoking gun.  I ran across the above article from Am. Stat., Sept 25, 1909, p.28, about the Esterbrook “Duograph” made by the Esterbrook Duograph and Specialty Co. headed principally by Richard Esterbrook and, get this, by Frederick R. Wells, called “the inventor”.  This is the same Wells who received the trademark for the above-mentioned “Founcil”.  So the “Founcil” and the “Duograph” are one and the same!  I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that these two combos, really just one combo under two different names, are the “first” ones of their type.  And by that I mean that they are the ones that really got the ball rolling and started the onslaught of imitators that ended up in the classic combos of the late 1920s, combos such as Gilliam’s “Dubel Servis”, and Schnell’s “Penselpen”.  There are earlier ones, most notably the all-metal, glass-cartridge Eagle combo with a wooden pencil holder, but this is the first one that really looks like a modern hard-rubber, or plastic combo with a mechanical pencil.  And the Founcil-Duograph was followed by a slew of imitators including Eagle’s black hard rubber combo, but this combo started it all.  As I said below, at this late stage in the game, there is still some
new, obscure stuff out there just waiting to be found.

George Kovalenko.