November 01, 2015

Pierced By A Waterman’s Pen

[Posted on L&P on Apr 29, and June 12, 2010.]
        This is not about the “Ideal” globe trademark.  There are various trademarks for just the word, and also for the word inside an image of a globe, spread out across the equator, and with lines of longitude and latitude above and below, but I’ll let you discover them on your own.  What I really want to talk about here are some globe piercings.

        US trademark no. 37,762, L. E. Waterman Co., “Fountain-Pens”, Feb 4, 1902, used since January 1896, is for two representations of a fountain pen and a globe, one with the pen passing diagonally through the globe, not behind it, and the other more familiar one with the pen superimposed upon the globe with the pen stroke around the globe, as if the pen had just finished drawing the flourish, and the slogan “Makes its mark all around the World”.  US trademark no. 48,230, L. E. Waterman Co., “Fountain-Pens”, Dec 19, 1905, used since January 1896, is just for the image of a fountain pen passing through a globe.  This takes the meaning of the slogan from “The pen that’s popular throughout the world” and metaphorically changes it to “through the world”.  The Boston Fountain Pen Co. received a trademark for a very similar image, an image that may also have been used by the Colonial Pen Co.  US trademark no. 46,736, “Fountain-Pens”, Oct 3, 1905, used since October 1903, is for an image of the old Massachusetts State House with a fountain pen sticking through it, not just laying behind it, and it’s also reminiscent of the Waterman’s trademarks.

        Waterman’s probably trademarked their image because of copycats such as these.  I don’t know how they thought they could get away with it, but the Wirt Pen Co. also had an ad very similar to the Waterman’s trademark.  The Wirt ad made use of an image of a pen piercing the earth, along with the ad-line, “Through the whole world you will fail to find the peer of the Paul E. Wirt Fountain Pen”.  It’s a visual metaphor meaning, “Sticking through the whole world you will find the Wirt Pen”.  Waterman’s repaid in kind by blatantly ripping off the Wirt ad image with an image of a writing hand of their own that imitated the Wirt trademark with the pregnant pen.  It’s from the “Points for Penmen” catalogue from the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.  I guess Waterman’s got away with it by not making the pen barrel pregnant.  Waterman’s also widely made use of an image of a writing hand in this Waterman’s blotter.  Compare the Wirt trademark image to the pens in the illustrations in US patent nos. 651,736, 651,737, and 651,738.  I have a whole binder full of these kinds of patent images, over 300 of them, all showing hands in the act of writing.  Here’s another pen with a massive, pregnant barrel and an enormous twist-filler bladder, US patent no. 659,989 from 1900.  The Wirt pregnant pen might also be the inspiration for the Parker #47 pen with pregnant pearl slabs that is first advertised, along with the Swastika pens, in Parker’s in-house magazine Side Talks in January 1910.  Canadian trademark no. 12,894, issued to Librarie Beauchemin on July 15, 1908, is for the name “Sir Wilfrid Laurier” and an image of Laurier in a tondo with a “plume-fontaine placed diagonally behind him.  The Laurier-and-pen image appears in ads that are also obviously meant to copy the style of the Waterman’s ads, and possibly influence the buyer to purchase a similar item.  There was also the Hartline Pen Co. logo with a heart being pierced diagonally by a fountain pen instead of a globe.  And just to piss off the L. E. Waterman Co., here is a piercing from the letterhead for the A. A. Waterman Co.

George Kovalenko.