October 29, 2015

Another ‘Big Red’ Frankenpen

  , and a “Little Red” frankenpen.

        Do you all remember the “Big Red” frankenpen in this post, ‘Frankenpens’ and ‘Squeezacs’?  Well, here’s a Parker “Big Red” ballpoint frankenpen with a gel refill from a Pilot G2, or Juice adapted to fit the pen.
        The “Big Red” Was originally released as a felt pen.  There’s a famous scene at the end of the film The Paper Chase where the professor is marking final exams, and he goes back to change the mark on one paper, and he uses a beautiful orange pen, and it’s still the felt pen version.  Then Fahrney’s adapted the pen to take Parker Jotter ball point refills.  But I thought it would be nice to use my favorite gel refill, the Pilot G2, or Juice refill, in the pen.  This is how I adapted it.
        Here’s a
picture of a regular G2 refill at the bottom, my adapted refill in the middle, and above them is one of the two parts that Fahrney’s created in order to allow the pen to take the Parker Jotter refills.  You’ll need to remanufacture this part, but the other part that Fahrney’s made is no longer required, so retire it to your parts bin.  “Never throw any parts away”, the Lourdman said.
picture shows the frankenrefill with the Fahrney’s part just above the spot on the refill where this part is required in order to adapt the G2 refill to fit into the section.  The black tip on the refill is all that is left of this Fahrney’s part after it has been drilled out and shortened.  I also placed a sleeve, in the form of a brass tube, over the refill to help bring up the weight of the whole pen, and improve its balance in the hand while writing.  The plastic tube on the end of the refill brings it up the correct length to fit the pen in the same way that the second discarded Fahrney’s black plastic part did in the original “Big Red” ballpoint.  I used the plastic tube from a cartridge from a Waterman’s cartridge fountain pen, the old-style cartridge with the metal tip.  It just happens to fit snuggly over the G2 refill.
        The black part needs to be shortened just enough to fit over the refill so that the metal tip can stick out sufficiently for writing, and to look aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  The interior bore of the black part does, however, require some machining so that it can sleeve over the G2 refill.  You will need at least 2 drill bits, and possibly a third.  You might need a 1/16" drill bit to ream out the tip of the black part to accommodate the metal tip of the refill, but only if the metal tip won’t fit.  The fit on some is more snug than others.  The first step of grey plastic is a tapering piece that requires a drill bit of 1/8".  The second step of grey plastic requires a drill bit of 11/64".  This is the tricky part because this is where you control how much of the metal tip is exposed, but don’t go too far because the bore of the hole you are creating comes very close to the surface of the black part.  The 3rd step of grey plastic and the refill tube are about 1/4", but they butt up against the black part, so you won’t need to drill it out.  This is what the completed frankenrefill looks like.

  George Kovalenko.

[Addendum, Dec 4, 2015.
        And how about a “Little Red” frankenpen?  Here is a picture of my “Little Red” alongside my “Big Red”.  This is the short
ladies pen with the ringtop cap with chain, which I replaced with a clip cap.  Then I removed the cap band and shortened the cap lip further about a millimeter.  The difference in total length is almost the same as that between a Duofold Jr. and a Duofold Special.]



October 26, 2015

Quills & Inkhorns

[Posted on L&P on June 5, 2010.]
        Many early steel nibs were given names that incorporated the word “quill”, nibs such as Joseph Gillott & Sons’ “Crow Quill” and “Black Swan Quill”, both used since the 1850s, Benjamin Lawrence’s “Metallic Quill”, used since 1882, and Esterbrook’s “Judges’ Quill”, used since 1884.  The first image of a quill, however, is in US trademark no.
1,522, Calvin M. Fisher, “Gold Pens”, Nov 11, 1873, an image of two crossed quills with the letters “P G Q P” in the four quarters created by the quills, standing for “Paragon Gold Quill-Pens”.  But the quill imagery really takes off in the 1890s.  US trademark no. 27,886, George Vickers, “Articles Of Stationery”, Mar 3, 1896, used since February 1894, is for the word “Penwing” and a book with a quill as a bookmark.  US trademark no. 31,442, Arthur A. Waterman Pen Co., “Fountain-Pens”, Mar 29, 1898, used since Oct 1, 1897, is for the words “A. A. Waterman’s Standard Fountain Pen” in a circular border around a broad-shield with an hourglass and a quill dipped in an inkwell in two of the quarters of the shield, the word “Standard” at the center of the shield, all crossed by an open fountain pen, as a heraldic representation of the supremacy of the fountain pen over the inkwell.  US trademark no. 32,488, Francis Pratt, Jr., “Pens”, Feb 14, 1899, used since May 13, 1898, is for an image of two gladiators combating, one lying on the ground with a broken quill, and the other standing victorious over him, holding a penholder with a steel nib with the word “Gladiator” on it in one hand and a shield with “Pratt” on it in the other.  It’s similar to the Aikin-Lambert gladiator trade card, except that the battle there is “Gold vs Steel”.  US trademark no. 38,797, Carter’s Ink Co., “Writing-Inks”, Aug 19, 1902, used since Mar 21, 1902, is for an image of a sheaf of parchment sheets, an inkhorn, a quill, and a wax seal representing an inkhorn crossed by a quill.  US trademark no. 44,350, Carter’s Ink Co., “Ink”, Mar 28, 1905, used since Feb 1, 1902, is for an image of a wax seal and ribbon, the seal impressed with an image of a crossed inkhorn and quill.  US trademark no. 46,483, Carter’s Ink Co., “Inks”, Sept 19, 1905, used since Feb 1, 1902, is for an image of a wax seal impressed with a crossed inkhorn and quill.  This is the source of the words I used when I wrote earlier that I hoped I had not “inkhornized you with too many inkhorn terms”.

George Kovalenko.



October 23, 2015

Flurries Of Trademark Activity

, in the Pencils,

[Posted on L&P and
FPN on Apr 22, 2010.]
        Right from the start, there were flurries of activity in the trademarks, and the first one was for pencils.  US trademark no.
19, by Eberhard Faber, for “Lead-Pencils”, on Nov 1, 1870, but used since 1861, for the name “Star”, and Eberhard Faber’s US trademark no. 117, from Dec 27, 1870, but used since the spring of 1851, for the name “A. W. Faber” were the first trademarks for pencils.  The next one didn’t come along until 1872, but when it did, they came on almost with a vengeance.  There were various flurries of activity in the USPTO record, but starting with US trademark nos. 956 to 966, Orestes Cleveland registered eleven certificates for “Lead-Pencils” on Aug 20, 1872.  These were the “Dixon” pencil trademarks, and continuing in the following years, the pencil trademarks came in a torrent as the various other pencil companies rushed to protect their pencil names and marks.  Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe they were trying to distinguish themselves from all the others, or maybe they were trying to stop the counterfeiters and the imitators, the counterflurrifeiters and imiflurritators, so to speak.

the Steel Nibs, Stylos, & Charm Pencils,

[Posted on L&P and
FPN on May 6, 2010.]
        Those flurries of activity in the USPTO record occurred in the patents and designs as well as the trademarks.  Every time a new invention, or innovation came along, a group of copycat improvements and close variations followed.  The ten-year period from 1875-85 was especially flurrifertile.  In the designs, a flurry of activity in ring-top, charm pencil cases started with US design no. 10,260
from Sept 25, 1877, William S. Hicks’s design for a telescopic, or “extension”, ring-top, charm pencil case in the form of an acorn, “to be worn as a charm or ornament on the watch-guard”.  The flurry continued for almost seven years until US design no. 15,060 from June 10, 1884, Edward Todd’s design, assigned to Edward Todd & Co., for a pencil case ornamented with a spring or spiral coil, after which the flurry of ring-top, charm pencil case designs ended.  
A similar flurry of activity in registering the trademarks and names of steel nibs commenced with US trademark no. 5,731, Joseph Gillott & Sons, “Steel Pens”, Mar 12, 1878, used since 1851, for the name “Double Elastic”, and the number “604”.  But this flurry extended well into the next few decades with trademarks for many more named and numbered nibs.
        The years 1875-85 coincided perfectly with the period when the stylograph was perfected and when it flourished, or flurry-ished.  Almost all the stylograph patents fall into this decade.  In fact, it could be called the stylographic decade.  It all started with MacKinnon’s Canadian patent no.
4,809, and ended with US patent nos. 308,144 and 330,636, or maybe a few thereafter.  But it could also be called the decade of portability, the period when the practical fountain pen started to become ubiquitous, especially after MacKinnon’s 1880 short-long stylo, and Frank Holland’s US 1883 patent no. 276,692, and Waterman’s two 1884 US patent nos. 293,545 and 307,735, all of this continuing the fountain pen’s journey to eventually displace the quill, the penholder, the steel nib, and the inkwell.

, and
the Fountain Pens.

[Posted on L&P and
FPN on June 24, 2010.]

        Except for a few, stray, isolated trademarks for fountain pens that preceded it, the Conklin trademark started off, or rather, was really the first in another flurry of trademarks.  US trademark no. 47,418, Conklin Pen Co., “Fountain-Pens”, Nov 7, 1905, used since June 19, 1905, is for an image of a hand filling a crescent-filling fountain pen from an inkwell, not quite a picture of a hand holding a pen while writing, and also not the trademark for the name “Crescent-Filler”.  I know it seems late, but the flurry of trademarks for fountain pens didn’t come along until the self-filling pens started to predominate.  The proliferation of trademarks came about, not only in conjunction with the “proliflurriation” of the self-filling systems, but also along with the wide success of the fountain pen generally, and the realization by the pen companies that there was a need to protect their product names and symbols.

George Kovalenko.



October 20, 2015

The Word Processor

, another type of
“dead” collectible writing instrument.

[Posted on L&P on Sept 2, and 3, 2005.]
        Rob Astyk wrote on Sept 2, 2005, “Think about the software companies of the 1980s and 1990s, all the dead ends, odd excursions and peculiarities that left us Apple and Microsoft.  What was that computer that Tandy/Radio Shack marketed?  Whatever it was, it was the Caw’s of its day.”  Rob was thinking about the
“Coco”, the TRS-80 Color Computer.  Here’s the link to the homepage for this site about Old Computers.  And here’s a link to “The Dead Media Project” homepage.  It includes computers, but also a lot more.  Here are two of the lists of dead media by category and numerical order.  And here are three lists of dead personal computers, mainframes, and computer languages.
        The PBS documentaries
The Machine That Changed the World and Triumph Of The Nerds laid out the early history of personal computing.  One of the first Texas Instruments desk top computers was as big as a full desk with a shroud over the screen.  They are now so rare that they are worth $50,000.  And a 1976 Apple 1 computer recently sold for $200,000, but others have sold for as much as $365,000, $387,000, and $671,000, and a mint-in-the-box one for $905,000.

        Dennis Bowden wrote, “As I recall, Radio Shack’s biggest seller and an early leader in PCs was the TRS-80.  I remember taking a federal government class in BASIC programming in Chicago and the class room computers were TRS-80 with two floppy drives.  This was in 1989.  Later I progressed to a compiled BASIC, Turbo Basic, and wrote programs for use at our office.”

        Dave Johannsen wrote, “Yes, the TRS-80.  To anyone old enough, this will be affectionately remembered as the Trash-80.”

        And I wrote, “The above link for the “Coco” says that the Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer was known to be called the “Coco” by its users, and the link for the
Tandy TRS 80 Model 1, the one with the b&w screen, says the Tandy competitors nicknamed it the Trash-80.”

        JeffL wrote, “The color variant is a later computer.  The Trash 80 is the name of the earlier black & white models as well as the black & white models sold in parallel to the color models.  I worked on them in maybe 1981-83, or so.  Everyone called them Trash 80s.  I don’t recall anyone saying CoCo as these models were being eclipsed by other makers by the mid-80s.”

        Dan Carmell wrote, “I’d suggest that the eyedroppers and safety pens of the computer world were the dedicated word processors, which largely preceded the multi-programmable personal computer.  I learned to word process on a Wang word processor, which was one of the leaders in this market.  And into the early 1990s, some of the law offices I worked in were filled with dedicated word processors for the secretaries, while the attorneys remained computer illiterates.
        “By the way, here’s an odd story about how I learned on that Wang.  After college, I was be-bopping around, not very interested in a career, and was offered a chance to learn word processing by doing volunteer work.  The volunteer work turned out to be with a Werner Erhart EST group called the Hunger Project, which was going to end world hunger by 1989 by talking it to death, and by lining Werner’s pockets, of course!  I did learn the Wang system there, and it’s a good thing I was a quick learner because I was promptly fired.  I proved myself an ingrate by transcribing the Dear Leader’s speeches with all his “ahs” and “ums” intact, which really pissed off the fanatics.  Boy, was EST ever a creepy outgrowth of the personal growth movements!  Sorry to digress, but the memory arose.”

        Mark Z. wrote, “I remember those old Trash 80s.  Around the winter solstice of ’81 or ’82 I was visiting my sister’s best friend from childhood, who had just gotten one.  While she was at work, I set it up for her.  Getting home and turning it on for the first time, the screen flashed “Hi Raquel, my name is HAL”.  The look she gave me had me Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off.  To this day, all my computers have been nicknamed HAL9000.”

George Kovalenko.


October 17, 2015

The Hard Rubber Substitutes

, celluloid,
pyroxylin, xylonite, galalith, & bakelite.

[Posted on L&P on Apr 27, 2010.]
        Here are a few trademarks for substitutes for hard rubber.  US trademark no.
1,102, Celluloid Mfg. Co., “Compound Of Pyroxylin”, Jan 14, 1873, is for the name “Celluloid”, the cellulose nitrate plastic later used in fountain pens, mechanical pencils, motion picture film etc.  US trademark no. 11,569, Charles H. Graef, “Certain Fancy Goods Made Of Hard Rubber, Celluloid, Horn, Lignoid, Xylonite, Tortoise Shell”, Oct 14, 1884, used since Aug 9, 1884, is for the words “Labor Omnia Vincit, Columbia” and an image of Bartholdi’s “Statue Of Liberty Enlightening The World”.  US trademark no. 20,852, Arlington Mfg. Co., “Material Made Of Pyroxyline”, Mar 15, 1892, used since July 1891, is for the word “Pyralin”.  US trademark nos. 29,053 and 29,054, George A. Alden & Co., “India-Rubber, Gutta-Percha, And Other Vulcanizable Gums”, Oct 27, 1896, are for the names “Anchor Brand” and “Sun Brand”, and US trademark nos. 29,206 through to 29,213, Nov 24, 1896, are for the names “Two-Wheel Brand”, “Globe Brand”, “Crescent Brand”, “Eagle Brand”, “Wheel Brand”, “Rose Brand”, “Lighthouse Brand”, and “Bell Brand”.  I’ll let you look them up yourselves, if you’re interested.  US trademark no. 33,275, Stahl & Straub, “A Chemical Composition As A Substitute For Hard Rubber”, July 25, 1899, used since June 17, 1899, is for the word “Xelton”.  US trademark no. 34,001, Celluloid Co., “Pyroxylin Compounds, And Substances Coated With Same”, Jan 2, 1900, used since Mar 1, 1898, is for the word “Texoderm”.  US trademark no. 35,320, Loewitz & Rohlfs, “Gutta-Percha Paper”, Oct 30, 1900, used since Apr 1, 1893, is for the word “Hammonia”.  Also see Thomas R. Dawson and P. D. Porritt’s book, Rubber, Physical And Chemical Properties (1935), printed on latex-rubber paper, in the Open Library and WorldCat.   US trademark no. 36,603, Gummiwaaren-Fabriken Harburg, “Substances Of Celluloid, Hard Rubber, And Tortoise, Or Like Nature”, June 18, 1901, used since Nov 13, 1900, is the word “Galalith” used for casein plastic.  US trademark no. 59,629, Celluloid Co., “Plastics Composed In Part Of Pyroxylin Or Soluble Cotton”, Jan 15, 1907, used since 1871, is for the word “Celluloid”.  And US trademark no. 75,266, Leo H. Baekeland, “Condensation Products Of Phenol And Formaldehyde”, Sept 14, 1909, used since June 30, 1907, is the word “Bakelite” used for the plastic “product” in US patent 942,852, et al.  For a longer list of hard rubber substitutes see Henry C. Pearson’s book, Crude Rubber And Compounding Ingredients, Chapters VII and VIII, pp.117-152, online webpages 11, 12, and 13.

George Kovalenko.


October 14, 2015

Pens & Nibs, and Italics

, again.
[Posted on Zoss on Mar 14, 1999.]
        Rip Griffith wrote, “Generally, italic nibs are more chisel-shaped than nibs designed for non-italic writing.  Unlike a stub nib, which has rounded edges, allowing for easy flowing strokes in any direction, or a broad nib which just has a large round ball of iridium, the edges on a true italic nib are rather sharp, delineating the downstrokes quite clearly, and often requiring the nib to be lifted from the page when the direction of the line is significantly changed.  Needless to say, an italic nib does not lend itself too well to cursive writing.”
        And I wrote, “On the contrary, the italic nib was designed with cursive writing in mind.  Italic writing was first perfected in the Vatican during the renaissance as a script to be used in the papal chancery.  The scribes found the Carolingian minuscule script too cumbersome and slow because the pen had to be lifted after each letter and stroke.  They were looking for a truly cursive script where the pen was lifted only at the ends of words, or in the middle of words to dot an “i”, or cross a
“t”.  This style of script came to be called the “cancellaresca corsiva”, or the “chancery cursive, at first, but later came to be known as “italic script”, short for “the script from Italy”.  What Rip says is true for capitol letters, or types of calligraphic script that consist essentially of small capitol letters, such as the Carolingian minuscule, but italic script is already by definition cursive.
        “I use italic nibs in my pens almost exclusively, and the only times they give me any trouble is when I write with a bit too much haste and bit too much pressure.  The leading edges of the nib can then grab and tear the ink-softened paper.  But for the most part, my cursive writing in the italic style is almost problem-free.  It takes just a bit more mindfulness than writing with a ball-tipped nib, and a bit more attention to the task at hand, but please don’t think that it isn’t suited to the cursive hand.”
        And Susan Wirth wrote, “Nice post, George.  Well, at least someone, other than myself, has a grasp on italics.”

[Posted on L&P on May 29, and July 16, 2010.]
        US trademark no.
16,012, Consolidated Agency Co., “Pens, Inks, And Nibs”, Nov 20, 1888, used since Nov 13, 1884, is for the word “Fountograph”, an early use of the word “nibs” for “pens”, or the whole pen point, but by a company from the UK, the first appearance of the word “nibs” in a title in the US trademarks.  Also see US patent no. 5,789 for an earlier use of the word “nib” in the patents, but then it doesn’t get used again for decades.  US trademark no. 34,061, Perry & Co., “Pen-Nibs”, Jan 23, 1900, used since May 1866, is for the words “Albert Pen” and a portrait of the late Prince Consort, another early use of the word “nibs” in the US trademarks.  The redundancy of the hyphenated title is another sign that the confusion between these two words is about to be resolved, belatedly, in the US, and that the word “nib” will imminently displace the word “pen” as the word of choice.  Still, it takes a British penmaking company to use the word.  US trademark no. 34,209, Perry & Co., “Pens”, Feb 20, 1900, used since 1868, is for the words “Abraham Lincoln” and a portrait of the late president.  In a step backwards, it seems like the USPTO re-asserted its hegemony and dictated what it viewed as the correct form of this title by forcing the use of the word “pens” instead of the word “nibs”.  US trademark no. 79,883, Johan A. Alling, “Pens And Nibs”, Oct 18, 1910, used since Aug 1, 1909, no trademark image on the USPTO website, another late appearance of the word “nibs” in the trademark system, but not in the patents, or the designs.  It seems almost as if the Patent-Design division and the Trademark division of the USPTO weren’t talking to one another.

        Someone using the anonymous username Resume Writing Services wrote, “Round-tipped nibs allow fast writing, but will only produce lines of uniform thickness.  Italics produce crisp writing and great line variation, but are slower to write with.  Many people believe that the happy medium lies in the cursive italic nib.”

        And I wrote, “I don’t know about that.  An italic nib is already by definition cursive.  It did, after all, start with the “cancellaresca corsiva”, or the chancery cursive script from the papal scriptorium.  Only later did it come to be known as “italic”, meaning “from Italy”.  To call it a cursive italic is like calling it an italic italic.  I use italic nibs exclusively, and I write like the wind.  You get used to the sharp edge and pointed corners.  The problem is that most people try to use pressure with their italic nibs to get line variation, even though it isn’t required with italics, and then they complain about the nib ripping the paper.  Well, they are the ones at fault, not the nib.  An italic nib requires a very light touch, and in spite of that, you still get line variation.  You have to learn to let the nib glide over the paper at just the right level of pressure.

        “Practically all the writing in the western world between the 7th and 19th centuries was accomplished with sharp, chisel-cut quills, and before that, chisel-cut reeds, and they wrote quickly enough.  The only constant complaint you read from that era is that they kept running out of the small quantity of ink held by a single dip of a quill, and that they had to keep redipping into an inkwell right in the middle of an interrupted thought.  What they wanted was a pen with its own supply of ink, not a pen with a different nib.  I shouldn’t make too much of quills, though, because they are by their own nature flexible, and that flexiness is responsible for a lot of the italic character of the writing from that era.  But with metal nibs, you need next to no pressure at all.  There’s the familiar Duofold ad from the 1920s touting the fact that the pen would write under its own weight, simply resting on the web of skin between the thumb and index finger, and dragged and pushed along on the paper.  The thumb and finger tips are required only for light control, not pressure, or soft, minimal pressure at best.

        “Before I typed this post, I wrote the whole thing out with a fountain pen with an italic nib.”

        Dave Johannsen wrote, “So, the word ‘fountain pen’, used to denote a pen that held its own ink, seems to have settled into consistent and unambiguous use more than two decades earlier than the resolution of nib vs. pen.  If I recall correctly, ‘fountain pen’ was pretty well established by the 1880s?  I would have guessed that nib, pen, holder, and fountain pen usage would have all shaken out more or less simultaneously.  Thanks for the interesting post.”

        And I wrote, “It’s hard to establish exact dates.  All we have to go by is the written evidence, and the printed and published record.  I am simply making my deductions from the limited evidence of the US patent, design, and trademark specifications, but a more firm chronology would have to look more closely at the British patents, the diaries of the patentees, and the advertisements and correspondence of the various pen companies, as well as the world literature in other languages.  But you’re right, the patent literature is a fascinating read, if you can get past some of the dry spots.  Mind you, you’ll have to read all of them.”

George Kovalenko.

October 08, 2015

The Button Filler Inventor


[Posted on L&P on Sept 25, 2005.]
        Over on Pentrace someone asked, “Parker invented the button filler, right?”, and then he promptly answered his own question, “Maybe not”.  He then showed a photo of a Walker Davison pen, a button filler with the patent date “Oct 3, 1899” on it, implying that this was the patent date for the button filler.  Well, John T. Davison had a patent for a button filler, but not till 1905, US patent no.
787,152, so that wasn’t it.  But Parker didn’t invent the button filler, either.  The Parker Pen Co. bought the rights to Davison’s patent and used it in their button-filling Lucky Curve and Duofold pens.  But if the date on that pen wasn’t Davison’s, whose was it?  Well, there is no button filler patent on that date, but it might be the date for Oliver R. Mitchell’s US patent no. 634,013.  It’s for the adaptation of the parallel, or cylindrical interior of a cap to allow it to hold a tapered or conical section securely.  There is, however, a button filler that precedes the Davison patent used by Parker.  It’s Oliver A. Morrow’s US patent no. 730,783 from June 9, 1903.  That’s the first one.  The button activates a series of hinged levers attached to a pressure bar, and as with all other button fillers to come after it, it’s just a variety of, or variation on a lever filler.

George Kovalenko.


October 05, 2015

More Ball-Pointed Nibs

 , the pen that moved the world.

[Posted on L&P on May 27, and Aug 13, 2010.]
        As well as the ball-pointed pens in this previous
post, here’s a nib that moved the world well before the ballpoint, US trademark no. 15,805 for Ormiston & Glass’s trademark for “Steel Pens” on Aug 21, 1888 and used since Dec 1, 1887.  It’s for the slogans “Ball-Pointed Pens, Mightier Than The Sword” and “The Pen Moves The World”, and an image of a penholder acting as a lever with a book as the fulcrum and a winged cupid as a representation of inspiration, or thought taking flight.  He’s holding a spear as a flagpole, which supports a banner with a “Mightier Than The Sword” inscription, and he’s sitting on the handle of the penholder and acting as the weight that moves a globe, or the world, with the point of the nib.  Under the globe is a rising sun with beaming rays upon which is inscribed the phrase “The Pen Moves The World”, and lying in front of the penholder is a broken sword.  The USPTO image isn’t very good, but if you download the PDF, it’s a little better.  In the meantime, here’s an American Stationer ad on Oct 11, 1888, p.933.  Altogether it’s a nice visual metaphor for a nib that moved the world before the ballpoint pen.

George Kovalenko.


October 02, 2015

The Waterman’s Globe section-cleaner

  , and red rubber.

[Posted on L&P on July 11, 2007, and May 10, 2014.]
        Here’s a squeeze-bulb device, US patent no.
768,637 from 1904, that attaches to a fountain pen section to “wash and clean” out any ink clogging up the feed.  An earlier squeeze-bulb device, US patent no. 668,150 from 1901, was a “means” for filling a proprietary pen with ink, or cleaning it out with water, but it may have influenced the later device.
        Waterman’s must have seen the opportunity to slap their Ideal globe logo on the squeeze bulb, and they grabbed it.  They probably licensed the 1904 patent for the cleaner, although an article from Geyer’s Stationer,
June 28, 1906, p.10, doesn’t mention that factoid.  The article also calls it a “Joint Opener”, and talks about that function of the device exclusively, even though it isn’t called an opener in the picture of the countertop-display “easel card” that accompanies the article, and where it is illustrated being used exclusively as a section-cleaner.  In any case, it did double duty.  It was a “section-cleaner” that doubled as a “joint-opener”.
        And by the way, did you notice that the article said it was made of “red rubber”?  Although it is made of soft, pliable rubber, it does precede Waterman’s red hard rubber by almost eight months, so they must have been thinking about it.

George Kovalenko.