January 13, 2016

Waterman’s Smallest Pens

  , the “Secretary”, “Check Book”, “Baby”, and “Doll” pens.

[Posted on L&P on May 18, 2012.]
        Here are four small Waterman’s pens, and one of them is even tiny.  The first one is the largest, the “Secretary” pen, shown in the ad in The American Stationer, June 27, 1908, p.1.  It’s said to be “adapted particularly as a dainty fountain pen for library and writing desk purposes”, but it’s really just the model #12½.  Later, there was a much-longer, slender pen that was called the “Stenographer’s”, or “Shorthand” pen.
        The next two, the “Check Book” and “Baby” pens, appeared together in the following ad.  The “Check Book” pen was intended “to fill a long-felt want” as “a vest pocket or purse pen”.  When I first saw the “Baby” pen, I thought it was what pen collectors call the “Doll” pen, but it’s much too big to be that pen.  In the Waterman’s ad in Am. Stat., Mar 27, 1909, p.43, both pens are said to be 3½ inches long, and the “Baby” is said to be, “The smallest made”.  Since both the “Check Book” pen and the “Baby” pen are 3½ inches long, they are for all intents and purposes the same pen, except for the flared top on the cap of the “Check Book” pen, and perhaps the barrel of the “Baby” was slightly narrower.  I wonder whether any “Baby” pens have survived still mounted on their celluloid display cards shown in the ad in Am. Stat., Jan 11, 1908, p.1.
        And here’s the so-called “Doll” pen from the article in Am. Stat., June 25, 1910, p.16.  It was given that name by pen collectors, but here in this article it is given its correct, official name, the model number given to it by Waterman’s.  It was called the “No. 000” pen, or the model #000.  Now, how does that fit into the Waterman’s numbering scheme?

         David Nishimura wrote that, “The No. 000 pen was more commonly called in Waterman literature the ‘World’s Smallest’, but was never called the ‘Doll’s Pen’.  Reportedly, one of these found a place in Queen Mary’s doll house, so perhaps that was how collectors began calling it by that name.  The ‘Baby’ appears in the US Waterman catalogs of 1908 and 1914, but not those of 1902 or 1918.  The 1902 catalog does show the #32, however, which may be the same pen.  In the 1908 catalog only the long straight-cap pens appear, the ‘Baby’ being the only exception.”

George Kovalenko.