December 20, 2014

A. A. Waterman obituary

        In my
Waterman’s v. Waterman” blogpost below, I mentioned that in the genealogical history of The Waterman Family, by Edgar F. Waterman & Donald L. Jacobus, there is a listing for Arthur A. Waterman in vol. 2, pp. 82-84.  At the end of the entry there is a citation for the source of the information.  The obituary is said to be in the Mar 13, 1939, issue of The New York Times, with no page number given, but it’s actually from Mar 12, 1939, on p. 61.  I found the obituary at my local university library in “ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2010)”.  The Waterman book also cites a “news item” in the May 4, 1939 issue, but I can’t find that reference at all.  Given that the other date was incorrectly cited, perhaps this one might have been incorrectly cited as well.  The genealogical listing in the book follows the obituary quite closely.  Here it is.


Retired Inventor of ‘Middle
  Joint’ Fountain Pen, Rival
    of L. E. Waterman Co.
Manufacturer, 79, First Head
  of Harvard Cooperative
    Society in 1880s

Arthur A. Waterman of 37-46 Seventy-sixth Street, Jackson Heights, Queens, a retired fountain pen manufacturer, died yesterday in the Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, of uremic poisoning after an illness of two years.  He was born seventy-nine years ago at Arcadi, near Troy, N.Y.
After attending Harvard College, where he was a member of the class of ’85 and was the first superintendent of the Harvard Cooperative Society, Mr. Waterman established his home in this city.  He was the first inventor and manufacturer of a “middle joint” fountain pen.
For some years he manufactured pens here under the name of the A. A. Waterman Fountain Pen Company, with headquarters at 22 Thames Street, later moving to Chicago, where he carried on the business until his retirement about twenty years ago [my italic emphasis].
At one time his company was engaged in litigation with the L. E. Waterman Company, rival manufacturers of fountain pens, as a result of the similarity in name.  The fact that two unrelated Watermans were making fountain pens at the same time was said last night by a member of Mr. Waterman’s family to have been purely a coincidence.
Surviving are his widow, the former Emma Fuller; a son, John F. Waterman, and two daughters, both high school teachers, the Misses Dorothy W. and Emma F. Waterman, all of New York.

        So as “more recent research has shown”, he was only ostensibly forced out of his own pen company in 1905, but instead carried on until his retirement around 1919.

George Kovalenko.