October 23, 2015

Flurries Of Trademark Activity

, in the Pencils,

[Posted on L&P and
FPN on Apr 22, 2010.]
        Right from the start, there were flurries of activity in the trademarks, and the first one was for pencils.  US trademark no.
19, by Eberhard Faber, for “Lead-Pencils”, on Nov 1, 1870, but used since 1861, for the name “Star”, and Eberhard Faber’s US trademark no. 117, from Dec 27, 1870, but used since the spring of 1851, for the name “A. W. Faber” were the first trademarks for pencils.  The next one didn’t come along until 1872, but when it did, they came on almost with a vengeance.  There were various flurries of activity in the USPTO record, but starting with US trademark nos. 956 to 966, Orestes Cleveland registered eleven certificates for “Lead-Pencils” on Aug 20, 1872.  These were the “Dixon” pencil trademarks, and continuing in the following years, the pencil trademarks came in a torrent as the various other pencil companies rushed to protect their pencil names and marks.  Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe they were trying to distinguish themselves from all the others, or maybe they were trying to stop the counterfeiters and the imitators, the counterflurrifeiters and imiflurritators, so to speak.

the Steel Nibs, Stylos, & Charm Pencils,

[Posted on L&P and
FPN on May 6, 2010.]
        Those flurries of activity in the USPTO record occurred in the patents and designs as well as the trademarks.  Every time a new invention, or innovation came along, a group of copycat improvements and close variations followed.  The ten-year period from 1875-85 was especially flurrifertile.  In the designs, a flurry of activity in ring-top, charm pencil cases started with US design no. 10,260
from Sept 25, 1877, William S. Hicks’s design for a telescopic, or “extension”, ring-top, charm pencil case in the form of an acorn, “to be worn as a charm or ornament on the watch-guard”.  The flurry continued for almost seven years until US design no. 15,060 from June 10, 1884, Edward Todd’s design, assigned to Edward Todd & Co., for a pencil case ornamented with a spring or spiral coil, after which the flurry of ring-top, charm pencil case designs ended.  
A similar flurry of activity in registering the trademarks and names of steel nibs commenced with US trademark no. 5,731, Joseph Gillott & Sons, “Steel Pens”, Mar 12, 1878, used since 1851, for the name “Double Elastic”, and the number “604”.  But this flurry extended well into the next few decades with trademarks for many more named and numbered nibs.
        The years 1875-85 coincided perfectly with the period when the stylograph was perfected and when it flourished, or flurry-ished.  Almost all the stylograph patents fall into this decade.  In fact, it could be called the stylographic decade.  It all started with MacKinnon’s Canadian patent no.
4,809, and ended with US patent nos. 308,144 and 330,636, or maybe a few thereafter.  But it could also be called the decade of portability, the period when the practical fountain pen started to become ubiquitous, especially after MacKinnon’s 1880 short-long stylo, and Frank Holland’s US 1883 patent no. 276,692, and Waterman’s two 1884 US patent nos. 293,545 and 307,735, all of this continuing the fountain pen’s journey to eventually displace the quill, the penholder, the steel nib, and the inkwell.

, and
the Fountain Pens.

[Posted on L&P and
FPN on June 24, 2010.]

        Except for a few, stray, isolated trademarks for fountain pens that preceded it, the Conklin trademark started off, or rather, was really the first in another flurry of trademarks.  US trademark no. 47,418, Conklin Pen Co., “Fountain-Pens”, Nov 7, 1905, used since June 19, 1905, is for an image of a hand filling a crescent-filling fountain pen from an inkwell, not quite a picture of a hand holding a pen while writing, and also not the trademark for the name “Crescent-Filler”.  I know it seems late, but the flurry of trademarks for fountain pens didn’t come along until the self-filling pens started to predominate.  The proliferation of trademarks came about, not only in conjunction with the “proliflurriation” of the self-filling systems, but also along with the wide success of the fountain pen generally, and the realization by the pen companies that there was a need to protect their product names and symbols.

George Kovalenko.