September 29, 2015

The Conklin Buildings

  , and the first self-filling fountain pens.


[Posted on L&P on Nov 12, 2012.]
        Here are a few articles from The American Stationer about some of the Conklin Pen Mfg. Co. buildings.  The article on
Oct 1, 1910, p.30 has an illustration of the exterior of their new five-story Conklin Bldg. at the corner of Jackson & Huron Sts.  The article also makes a big deal of Conklin claiming to be at “the birth of the self-filling pen industry”, and that a new building was necessary because of  “the tremendous possibilities in the self-filling fountain pen”.  It went on to say, “The building is a monument to the intrinsic worth and selling qualities of Conklin’s self-filling fountain pen”.  Also, “When the Conklin Co. started in business [in 1898], the self-filling idea in the fountain pen field was an experiment that was looked at askance by men in the business, and predictions were rife that its career would be short-lived, though perhaps meteoric.  But the self-filling fountain pen was just one more modern invention that [upset] the predictions of [the] prophets.  Conklin’s self-filling fountain pen is no longer a curiosity or experiment, but a practical article that has been tried and found worthy.”  One might even go so far as to say, “They upset the predictions of the Pen Prophets”, who were still struggling to get out of the eyedropper era.  The new factory is called the “largest Self-Filling Fountain Pen plant in the world” in an advertisement on Dec 17, 1910, p.23.  The long 2-page article on May 17, 1913, pp.24-25 has seven photos of the interior of the five-story Conklin Bldg. with descriptions in the text of the seven scenes.  And there’s an article on May 15, 1920, p.15 about their plans for a newly projected “modern factory” on the northeast corner of Superior & Chestnut Streets.
        The articles and photos in the above links are all from Hathi Trust, but before the Hathi links were placed online, David Nishimura added the Google Books versions of three of the above links, for those in the United States, Oct 1, 1910, p.30, May 17, 1913, pp.24-25, and May 15, 1920, p.15.

P.S.  And here’s a search for the name “Conklin” in Am. Stat.,
Volume 68, 1910.

George Kovalenko.