November 18, 2014

An 1898 Parker ad

[Posted on L&P on July 18, and July 27, 2012.]
        Parker got an introductory advertising article in the magazine called The Office as early as July 1891, p.viii.  His pen was at first produced as an overfeed, a pen where “the supply of ink is furnished at the top of the pen instead of underneath”.  That must have really rattled the chains of Wirt’s bulldogs.    Here’s another early Parker ad, and another version of an ad with a “Pen is mightier than the sword” theme.  And again the patriotic event that is the occasion of the ad is the signing of the Treaty of Paris at the end of the Spanish–American War, and the annexation of Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and the so-called “liberation” of Cuba.  The ad is for the “Jointless” pen, ca.1898-99, and look where the jingoistic pen is this time.  It’s in the place of the scabbard, of all things.  That’s like saying, “The pen is a sword”.  Or, “The penis is a sword”.
        Here’s another Parker “Jointless” ad from
Christmas 1898.  This ad was originally posted on Zoss by Steve Nelson in December 2007 as part of his “Twelve Days of Xmas” series, one ad per day for 12 days.  This one was on day 2.  There are b&w versions of the ad that are cropped versions of the color ad, and from the telltale cropping at the bottom of the color ad, there may have been another even larger version of the color ad.  There are versions with the ad-line “No Old Style Nozzle” just at the bottom edge of the ad.  By the way, Parker stopped using that “old style nozzle”, the one with an overfeed, in order to get away from Wirt’s bulldogs.  It looks like the Parker pen boxes are orange, and it also looks like the pens are being made, not at the North Pole, but at Janesville, Wis., which seems to be right under Santa’s armpit.  The train takes the pens from there to an east-coast port city, probably New York, and from there the sailboat takes them around the world.  I wonder how much of the illustration is missing at the bottom.
        Here’s a
b&w version of the ad with exactly the same image, but with different ad copy below it.  And here’s one of the cropped versions to which I was referring.  It was posted by Tsachi Mitsenmacher on Pentrace on Sept 1, 2011.  He said he found it in an 1898 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal.  The text that was below the train in the color image was moved up into the clouds in the cropped version.  That’s why I say the line “No Old Style Nozzle” is cropped off at the bottom of the color ad and your b&w image.  Even the color ad, not just the b&w versions, are cropped.  I wonder what the whole picture looked like.  They probably cropped the ad to suit the various sizes of the ad spaces in the different magazines in which they advertised, and we will find out what the whole picture looked like only if they used this image in a full-page ad.  But in the meantime, here are some possibilities that I photoshopped.
        These versions show just the image portion of the b&w ad, but altered at the bottom to put back the possibly excluded content.  And the blank space would just be filled in with an extension of the background-globe imagery.  The first image shows the line that I think is missing from the bottom of the image,
“No Old Style Nozzle”.  The missing line is a bit long and might overlap the cowcatcher on the front of the train, so they may have split it into two lines.  The overlap might not have mattered, if the letters were orange like the letters at the top, but the dark letters are a problem against a dark background.  They may not have included the word “Perfection” in the full ad, but if they did, the ad would have been a little taller, yet, and the two ads would have looked like these, depending upon whether they split that long line, or not.
        Otherwise, the only other consideration is at the bottom left.  There’s a little elf carrying an orange box under his arm who is cropped a bit.  The elf in the boat at the right isn’t cropped, and isn’t an issue, and I don’t think there’s anything else below him, but we’ll have to wait and see.  I think the first version is the most likely candidate because that missing line and the elf at the left are the only things necessary to complete the cropped image.  But again, we’ll have to wait.  By the way, did you notice the two words in the bottom left corner of Tsachi’s ad?  They’re not there in the other ads, and I can’t quite make them out, but they may be the name of the illustrator who painted the picture, or the graphic designer, or ad agency that created the whole ad.

George Kovalenko.