November 10, 2015

The ‘Mercantile’ Trademarks


[Posted on L&P on Aug 13, 2010.]
        US trademark no.
41,433 issued to Aikin, Lambert & Co. for “Fountain-Pens” on Nov 10, 1903, and used since July 1, 1895, is for the word “Mercantile”.  US trademark no. 44,919 issued to Eagle Pencil Co. for “Lead-Pencils” on Aug 1, 1905, and used since 1880, is also for the word “Mercantile”.  And US trademark no. 69,667 issued L. E. Waterman Co. for “Safety-Holder [Clip] For Pencils And Penholders” on June 23, 1908, and used since Mar 1, 1908, is also for the word “Mercantile”.  This is the trademark for Francis R. Baker’s US patent no. 908,537 from Jan 5, 1909 for a fountain pen and mechanical pencil clip, assigned to the L. E. Waterman Co., and also called the “Mercantile” clip.  But what about the sliding, slip-on “Pen And Pencil Clip” in Joseph H. Pilkington’s US patent no. 955,430 from Apr 19, 1910 for a clip also found imprinted with that patent date and the name “Mercantile”?  Pen collectors have always wondered whether this patent had anything to do with Waterman’s.  Well, Canadian patent no. 130,226 is Joseph Pilkington’s Canadian version of the US patent for his sliding, slip-on “Pen And Pencil Clip” from Jan 3, 1911, and this one is assigned to L. E. Waterman Co.  The US patent was not assigned to anyone else at the time of issuing, but this later Canadian patent was assigned to Waterman’s, thus definitely making it a Waterman’s accommodation clip.  This is a perfect example of the benefits of going beyond the US patent system to consult the patent systems of other countries.  Also see the discussion of the “Mercantile” clip in my post about the Kharkiv pen on this blog.

George Kovalenko.