collection1b

collection1b

April 21, 2016

X-It, Exit


   , for now.
  

US trademark no. 144,412 for ink eradicator.

           So what am I gunna do now?  What can I do now?  I can keep reading and writing. 
 

      Sincerely, George. 

 .

P.S.

      These last few posts have been about dingbats and colophons and explicits, and that’s what 
the illustration in this post is, too.  It’s a finial dingbat to this series of posts, to come full circle.

P.P.S.
         “I hold every man a debtor to his profession.  As men, of course, do seek to receive
countenance and profit [from a profession], so ought they, of duty, to endeavour [to give
back to the profession,] to be a help and ornament thereunto, and to visit and strengthen
the roots and foundations of the same, thereby not only gracing its reputation and dignity,
but also amplifying it in perfection and substance.”  –Francis Bacon [with apologies].

 

April 19, 2016

And who am I?


   , a colophon.
 

        I am that marginal character–the chronicler, interrogator, and research bum.  I am a notesnatcher and a pensmith, and I have been using pens since the 1950s, collecting pens, in 
a small way, since about 1963-64, visiting antique stores since about 1968-69–my first was the Indefinite Article when it was still on 20th St. East–and researching pens since the late 1970s, subscribing to pen magazines and building a large library of pen books since the early 1980s, attending antique shows since the mid-1980s, setting up and selling at antique shows since the early 1990s, attending fountain pen collector shows since 1992, and participating in online pen message boards since 1996.  I started researching fountain pen patents in 1993, but found a way to do the work online in 2000, and published a book on the subject in 2006.  I collect orange-red hard rubber fountain pens, penholders, nibs, mechanical pencils, pen company display cases and signs, Waterman’s globe-shaped and Underwood’s cobalt-blue-glass ink bottles, the burnt orange #37 and bright orange #41 Canadian 3¢ Small Queen stamp, but only with pen cancels, turquoise blue opaline pressed glass, some neon signs from Saskatoon stores, and I now own the Indefinite Article store sign.  But what this scrivener really collects is history.

George Kovalenko.



.
 

April 17, 2016

My Bibliography

 
   , and my meta-blog.

       And here, finally, is my bibliography. There are other fountain pen bibliographies elsewhere, such as
this one, but this is my bibliography.  It would have fit here in this blog, but I placed it in my meta-blog instead. Here it is, for those of you who haven’t found it, yet, and also on wayback.

George Kovalenko.

.

  

April 15, 2016

The Wayback Machine.

 
   This blog on…

        I am paranoid about losing data.  If I am going to spend all that time and effort researching and writing about something on a pen message board, then it had better have an archive.  It’s why I don’t participate much on Pentrace and Zoss.  In any case, I save everything I write on multiple hard drives and other storage media.  The rule is 3, 2, 1.  Save everything in at least three copies, on at least two different storage media, and in at least one off-site location.  And always update from old, out-dated storage media to new media, but never throw out the old media.  And keep 

at least one old dinosaur machine on which the old media can be played and retrieved.
        I passively waited for Wayback to archive my blog, until I figured out that I could actively do it myself. Now, I treat it like a social media website. You can see the evolution of all the mastheads and the frontispiece pictures there, going back in time.  This is the link for all
four years together, and these are the direct links for the 4 years separately, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.  It’s actually only two years long, but spread out over three years.  The only downside is that some of the early posts, which have been revised and expanded since they were originally placed online, are now fossilized in their earlier versions only because everything beyond the first page, or homepage of a website defaults to the earlier captures of the website on Wayback.  The only upside of this downside is that the earlier versions of the masthead and background colors are also archived.
        So, I have no intention of ever shutting down this blog, but if the blog were ever to die out, or disappear, you would always be able to find it archived there, in the Wayback Machine.

George Kovalenko.

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April 13, 2016

Bibliometrics and Citations


        I was undertaking a
bibliometric search, or a citation analysis, otherwise known as “Googling your own name”, and while searching for images of hand pen, and pen in hand, and hand & pen, and hand and pen, and hand and pen kovalenko, and hand pen stock photos, I stumbled upon a truism.  If you google any random set of words, eventually you find porn, “penis instead of a pen”.
        When I show my books and blogs to anyone I call them my “babies”.  There’s a song by the Rankin Family called “Rise Again” that has the refrain, “We rise again in the faces of our children.  We rise again in the voices of our songs”.  And I add, “We rise again in our books and written words”.  It’s our modern version of reincarnation.  Life is short, but art is long.  Well, a few books and articles have been published that have made use of the information in the three volumes of my patents and penmakers books.  The books by David Moak, David Shepherd, Max Davis, and Gary Lehrer, and articles by Ron Dutcher, Rob Astyk, Sterling Picard, and Moak have all been generous with their citations and acknowledgements of both volumes of the patent book and my penmakers book, and it’s very gratifying to see this.  Well, these books and articles are the next generation, and I have taken to calling them my “grandchildren”Now, that’s bibliometrics, too.

George Kovalenko.

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April 11, 2016

Fountain Pen Bibliography


      And finally, there’s the fountain pen bibliography. There are others elsewhere, such as this

one, but my inclusive version is too long for this blog, so I’m saving it for a book. Let me know
when you, too, have read all of the books and articles. Then we’ll talk, boy, will we eeever talk!

George Kovalenko.

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April 09, 2016

The Missing X-Patents

 
, and one x-patent restored.

[Posted on L&P on July 21, 2007.]
       And last but not least, here’s one of the disappeared ones.  As you can see from the story told by John H. Lienhard in
“The Lost Patents”, in his online column, The Engines Of Our Ingenuity, most of the x-patents did not survive, and the attempt to restore them has not been altogether successful.  Well, I am pleased to announce here that at least one more of those lost x-patents shall be restored, and a fountain pen patent, no less.  A fellow pen collector and contributor to the pen discussion on the various pen message boards, Deborah Alicen, was instrumental in finding this lost x-patent, and I owe her a debt of gratitude for sharing her discovery with me.  Her name will appear in the introduction in the next volume of my patent book, and the illustration itself will appear at the head of the chapter of US patents.  There are a few fountain pen patents that are earlier than this one, but there are no surviving patent images for those, either, so by default, this one is the earliest surviving US pen patent image, so far.  Seeing as there are no patent images online, yet, I can’t include a link to this patent, so for this one, sadly, you’ll have to wait for the book.  I can’t give everything away. 
 
George Kovalenko.

 
.



P.S.  This series of posts illustrates the kinds of things that can be found in the pen patents, and the type of research that is made possible, if one has a chronological list of all the US pen and pencil and ink and inkwell, &c., patents, designs, and trademarks to work with.  But before I go, here’s a parting challenge.  There are about 11,325 patents, designs, and trademarks from the years 1799 to 1957, and I have looked at all of them, except for the few that are not online.  So who will be next in line to look at all of them?  Mind you, you’ll have to look at and read every single one of them in order to find all the interesting ones, and to discover all the structures, patterns, and connections between them, and to make your own interpretations, and come to your own conclusions.
 

April 07, 2016

The Word ‘Pensmith’

 
  , publisher’s devices, and dingbats, and writing devices.
 




[Posted on L&P on July 18, 2010.]
        The word “pensmith” is a word I cobbled together out of the words “penman”+“wordsmith” in 1992, before I discovered the word being used elsewhere.  It made its first appearance as a surname in the Baltimore region around the late 1840s.  But here are the trademarks and designs that I used as the basis for my printer’s devices and dingbats.  First, you take the Kurta Corp. trademark
1,431,849 for the word “Pensmith”, used since 1986 for a “Computer Program In The Form Of Magnetic Discs”, a totally different type of “softwear” used to run the “Penmouse” graphic tablet in trademark 1,387,314, used since 1985 for a computer tablet that utilized a pen stylus instead of a mouse.  And then take Ormiston & Glass’s trademark 41,380 for “Steel Pens”, used since 1901, an image of a nib with double wings like those of a dragonfly, or firefly, and trademark 41,381 for the word “Firefly” to be used in conjunction with the previous trademark.  The O&GL image in trademark 41,380 looks almost like an illustration of the “flying pen” in US patent no. X2,972, Lewis M. De Spraugh, “Tachygraphy, Or The Flying Pen”, June 29, 1818, a system of shorthand, but it sounds more like an illustration of the words “Pensmith Fugit”.  Now, put all of these ideas together, with those words printed beneath it, and you have my publisher’s emblem on the last page of the first volume of the patent book.  And the second volume makes use of the penmaker “hammer and pen” device, with the words “Pensmith Fecit” printed beneath it.

George Kovalenko.



.
 

April 05, 2016

The Writing Hand




   , where it all began.

[Posted on L&P on July 19, 2007.]
        At the beginning of writing is the hand, putting the hand to paper with a pen, that is, the act of the hand writing.  All of this started for me in September 1993 when I discovered the mostly neglected and forgotten, mostly unseen and unread patents for writing instruments, mostly for fountain pens.  I live in Saskatoon, a Canadian city of about a quarter of a million people, and there really shouldn’t be any kind depository library for Canadian patents in a city this size.  But instead, there are two libraries here, the University of Saskatchewan Library, and the
Saskatoon Public Library, with almost complete holdings of the Canadian Patent Office Record.  This is almost unheard of for a city this size.  And on top of that, the U of S library here has the complete holdings on microfilm of The Scientific American magazine, which contain a complete numerical list of all the US patents from the years 1845 to 1910.  Between those holdings and the various later online patent-search websites, I have been able to piece together and research most of the US, Canadian, British, and French patents for writing instruments, and all from this isolated, little vantage point on the rest of the world.  It is truly the golden age of pen research.
        And as I read through the patents online, I kept running across the odd patent illustration that incorporated an image of a hand holding the patented item in question, that is, showing “the hand of the ready writer” in the act of writing, and in the correct position for writing.  I collected all of these pen-in-hand images in a database, or book I call The Hand Writing.  The 1890s Waterman’s advertizing
blotter that appears in this blog post, also called “The Hand Writing”, is the last image in the list, and serves as the back cover of the book.  It shows yet another version of the pen-in-hand image, and the ad’s caption line reads, “The correct way to write”.  As I collected all the patents in my patent books, I annotated all of the entries for patents that had illustrations with this type of hand imagery, and I decided to collect all of them in chronological order.  A lot of these images are also in the lists of some of my favorite patent and trademark images, and together, all of these images are the story of writing in images of hands writing.
        I found US utility patent no.
69,126 quite early in my online patent research, and right away adopted one little part of it, the illustration in Fig.2 of the “fingerpen”, as one of my printer’s devices, the sign of the hand and pen. I now use it both as my publisher’s symbol and as the initial dingbat, the little emblem I use as an ornament at the beginning of a chapter, or essay, or any other text, to signal the onset of writing.  There’s another one that I now use as a finial dingbat at the end of a text, showing a hand at rest after writing.  I found US design patent no. D8,382 way back in 2001, but I can’t post a link to that version of the design since the USPTO has seen it fit to update the original illustration twice since then, and to eliminate the most interesting portion of the image, the resting handLater on, just as a curiosity, searching for the design on the USPTO and Google Patents websites retrieved two other images, separately on both websites at the same time.  At first, everything in Fig. 2 was removed except for the traces of the buttons on the cuff of the shirt sleeve and the notepad rivet, that tiny constellation of three circles just to the right of the middle of the page, but then, as seen in the version of the design presently available online, Fig.2 had been cleaned up and removed altogether, all erased, right down to the buttons.  There is no trace of the hand at all.  But you can see both of these dingbats in my books, at the beginning and end of all essays, and chapters, and sections.  And last but not least, here’s trademark 51,186, an image of an open hand, palm down, but it’s not as nice as the hand in US design no. 8,382.
        This finial dingbat shows a hand at rest without a pen.  At the end of writing, the empty hand is placed palm down on the paper on the writing desk.  The end of writing is the beginning of reading.  What it’s saying is, “I hope you’re having fun reading all this stuff, not just the patents, designs, and trademarks, but also all of these blog posts”.

George Kovalenko.

.
 

April 03, 2016

Poor Ink, Poor Pen


 



        One of the earliest things I remember reading and writing is a little humorous rhyme that 
was often used by children to sign one another’s autograph albums back then.  At least that’s where I first encountered it.  I first wrote it in my brother’s autograph album around 1961, but 
the first time I read it was when my grade school teacher signed the same autograph album with her Parker 51 filled with Waterman’s South Sea Blue turquoise ink.
Poor ink,
Poor pen,
Poor writing,
Amen.

But it can also be found much earlier.  This is the earliest one I have found, so far, the one above from an 1850 letter from the Poe Archives, a school teacher writing to her sister about teaching.
Poor ink, poor pen,
Poor writer.  Amen.
And then Titivillus sneaks in some errors, and creates some variants of the text.  Here’s a similar one from 1887, but slightly jumbled, so that the rhyme is all screwed up.
Poor Pen, Poor Ink,
Poor Writer, Amen.
Here are two more variations from the 1880s.
My pen is poor and my ink is pail
but my love for you shall never fail!
My pen is lon, my ink is pale,
my hand trembles like a puppy dogs tail.
Here’s a prose, but not prosaic, version from the Woman’s Home Companion, 1908.
Poor ink, poor pen,–perhaps worst crime of all!–the writing crossed upon the page; added to this, handwriting which through carelessness is nearly illegible, and you have a sorry travesty of what a letter should be.
A short ad-poem in American Stationer, Sept 28, 1912, p.39, includes the lines, “My pen is poor, My ink is pale”, but then a Waterman’s pen swoops in to help the writer “As he indites his tale”.

Here’s one from 1927.

Poor ink, Poor pen.
Poor girl, Amen.
And one from 1931.
Though my ink is bad,
And my pen is poor,
Remember me forevermore.
Then back to this in 1943.
Poor ink,
Poor pen,
Poor writer,
Amen.
It sometimes shows up in this version, found in an autograph album from 1947.
Poor ink,
Poor pen,
Cant think,
Amen.
Here’s another version from an autograph album from 1969.
No ink, no pen,
Can’t think,
Amen.
Here’s a longer variant from 2006, remembered by someone as something her mom used to say.
Can’t think, brain dumb,
Inspiration won’t come.
Poor ink, poor pen,
Best wishes, Amen!
And here’s a slightly shorter version from 1956, missing just one line.  Perhaps memory failed at the spur of the moment.
Can’t think,
Brain numb,
Inspiration won’t come,
Bad pen,
Best wishes,
Amen.
        And then, there are also all the “bad ink” versions of the rhyme. But first, in the 1894 Minutes of the Memphis Conference, p.43, we find, “This journal is very much disfigured by the use of bad ink, bad pen, and careless blotting”.  The rhyme usually comes with a prefacing verse about “brain dumb”, or “brain numb”.  Here’s one from New York in 1850-1900.
Can’t think
Brain dumb
Inspiration won’t come.
Bad ink
Bad pen
Best wishes, Amen.
Here it is alone on Nov 15, 1920.
Bad ink, Bad pen
Bad writing, Amen.
And on Apr 1, 1953.
Can’t write, too dumb,
Inspiration won’t come,
Bad ink, bad pen,
Good luck.  Amen.
Here it is in Detroit on Oct 25, 1934.
Can’t think, too dumb,
Inspiration won’t come,
Bad ink, bum pen,
Best wishes.  Amen.
And in Detroit in 1963.
Can’t think, too dumb
Inspiration won’t come
Bad ink, bad pen
Pencil’s broke, Amen!
Here’s a version from Mar 13, 2007.
Can’t think
Brain dumb
Inspiration won’t come.
No ink
Bad pen
Good luck!
Amen
And from 2013.
Can’t think
Brain numb
Inspiration
Won’t come.
Bad ink
Worse pen
Best wishes
AMEN.
And on Jan 10, 2017.
Can’t think.
Brain dumb.
Inspiration won’t come.
Bad ink.
Bad pen.
Best of luck amen.
And another version from a girl in the Convent School of Sion in Saskatoon, ca. 1930.
Block Head, Brains Dumb,
Inspirations won’t Come,
Bad ink, rotten pen.
Best wishes,
Amen.
        And here are some more versions with “bum pen”.  First, here’s one from Southfield, Mich., but with no date.
Can’t think
Brain dumb
Inspiration won’t come
Poor ink
Bum pen
Best wishes
Amen
Then, another one from Nov 9, 1940.
I can’t think
My brain’s dumb
Inspiration won’t come
Bad ink
Bum pen
That’s all
Amen.
And almost the same one from Aug 8, 2016, but with punctuation.
Can’t think, too dumb;
Inspiration won’t come.
Bad ink, bum pen;
That’s all!  Amen.
And lastly, here’s one from June 17, 1944, that says this is enough.
Can’t write, too dumb,
Inspiration won’t come,
Bad ink, bum pen,
This is enough—AMEN. 
        These rhymes, however, come from a much older tradition, that of inserting marginalia and rubrics and glosses and colophons and incipits and explicits in books written by medieval scribes.  There are surviving examples concerning “Damn this ink”, and “Damn this pen”.  In the exhibit “Technologies of Writing in the Age of Printing” at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, there was a more recent poem written in 1692 by William Math, inside the front cover of a book that he once owned.
Little is the Robin
And less the Wren.
Bad is my writing
And worse my pen.
And if my pen had
Been but better
I might have mended
Every letter.
So now, finally, here is my new secular version of the rhyme.
Poor ink,
Poor pen,
Poor writing–
Amend!
To that end, one might even go so far as to say that we all need to be our own pensmiths, our own Write Right Wrights, the pensmith’s version, so to speak, of Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web.  So, now, go and abide these three–ink, pen, and writing–but the greatest of these is writing, no matter how poor the ink and the pen.  In other words,
Good ink,
Good pen,
Good writing–
All men!

  George Kovalenko.

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