October 26, 2015

Quills & Inkhorns

[Posted on L&P on June 5, 2010.]
        Many early steel nibs were given names that incorporated the word “quill”, nibs such as Joseph Gillott & Sons’ “Crow Quill” and “Black Swan Quill”, both used since the 1850s, Benjamin Lawrence’s “Metallic Quill”, used since 1882, and Esterbrook’s “Judges’ Quill”, used since 1884.  The first image of a quill, however, is in US trademark no.
1,522, Calvin M. Fisher, “Gold Pens”, Nov 11, 1873, an image of two crossed quills with the letters “P G Q P” in the four quarters created by the quills, standing for “Paragon Gold Quill-Pens”.  But the quill imagery really takes off in the 1890s.  US trademark no. 27,886, George Vickers, “Articles Of Stationery”, Mar 3, 1896, used since February 1894, is for the word “Penwing” and a book with a quill as a bookmark.  US trademark no. 31,442, Arthur A. Waterman Pen Co., “Fountain-Pens”, Mar 29, 1898, used since Oct 1, 1897, is for the words “A. A. Waterman’s Standard Fountain Pen” in a circular border around a broad-shield with an hourglass and a quill dipped in an inkwell in two of the quarters of the shield, the word “Standard” at the center of the shield, all crossed by an open fountain pen, as a heraldic representation of the supremacy of the fountain pen over the inkwell.  US trademark no. 32,488, Francis Pratt, Jr., “Pens”, Feb 14, 1899, used since May 13, 1898, is for an image of two gladiators combating, one lying on the ground with a broken quill, and the other standing victorious over him, holding a penholder with a steel nib with the word “Gladiator” on it in one hand and a shield with “Pratt” on it in the other.  It’s similar to the Aikin-Lambert gladiator trade card, except that the battle there is “Gold vs Steel”.  US trademark no. 38,797, Carter’s Ink Co., “Writing-Inks”, Aug 19, 1902, used since Mar 21, 1902, is for an image of a sheaf of parchment sheets, an inkhorn, a quill, and a wax seal representing an inkhorn crossed by a quill.  US trademark no. 44,350, Carter’s Ink Co., “Ink”, Mar 28, 1905, used since Feb 1, 1902, is for an image of a wax seal and ribbon, the seal impressed with an image of a crossed inkhorn and quill.  US trademark no. 46,483, Carter’s Ink Co., “Inks”, Sept 19, 1905, used since Feb 1, 1902, is for an image of a wax seal impressed with a crossed inkhorn and quill.  This is the source of the words I used when I wrote earlier that I hoped I had not “inkhornized you with too many inkhorn terms”.

George Kovalenko.