March 07, 2016

Stylographic Pens In Fiction

 , in Oliver Wendell Holmes’s “Over The Teacups”,

        In a story serialized in The Atlantic Monthly, in the November 1890 issue, on pages
663 & 664, the stylographic pen was criticized because “nothing seems more prosaic”, and because “it deprives the handwriting of its beauty, and to some extent its individual character”, and for “the brutal communism of the letters it forms”, and for filling the page “with the most uniformly uninteresting characters”, but “the stylographic pen, in the hands of one who knows how to care for it” was also praised by saying, “let me pay the tribute which I owe to one of the humblest and most serviceable of my assistants”, and for not interrupting “the fine flow of thought” because of “the unimpeded flow of the fluid which is the vehicle of the author’s thoughts and fancies”, and because “its movement over the paper is like the flight of a swallow”, since the pen no longer had to take “short, laborious journeys [to stop] to drink every few minutes” at the inkstand.

, in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, chapter XXIII,

  [Posted on
FPN on July 13, 2009.]
       In the novel The Age of Innocence, written by Wharton in 1920 about the late 1870s, the character Newland Archer lends Mme Olenska a stylograph to write a note while in the park.

      “You can write here”.  He drew out a note-case and one of the new stylographic pens.  “I’ve even got a envelope–you see how everything is predestined!  There–steady the thing on your knee, and I’ll get the pen going in a second.  They have to be humoured; wait–”  He banged the hand that held the pen against the back of the bench.  “It’s like jerking down the mercury in a thermometer: just a trick.  Now try–”

      She laughed, and bending over the sheet of paper which he had laid on his note-case, began to write.  Archer walked away a few steps, staring with radiant unseeing eyes at the passers-by, who, in their turn, paused to stare at the unwonted sight of a fashionably-dressed lady writing a note on her knee on a bench in the Common.
, in a short story titled ...?... about a detective who used a stylographic pen,

        I lost the reference, but there was a woman who was either going to write, or had written a short story about a detective in the 1870s, or 1880s who was named Inspector Dubiel [?] who used a stylographic fountain pen to write in his notebook.  The character, named after Frank Dubiel, is a case of double tuckerization, since Frank was also famously a collector of stylographs.

, and in the “anti-stylograph”, an early, now-forgotten synonym for “fountain pen”.

        The word “anti-stylograph” was used as a synonym for “fountain pen” in the period 1881-84.  In the short story “Tommy” in Blackwood
s Magazine, August 1884, p.225, the word has nothing to do with fountain pens.  The story concerns the misuse of an eyedropper in the perpetration of a medical fraud, literally using it for blowing dust in people’s eyes, and not for filling fountain pens.  Don’t worry–don’t waste your time.  It’s a boring story, but for the mention of an “anti-stylograph pen-filler, the apparatus for injecting into [a pen] its supply of ink”, and “a little glass vessel, with a nozzle at one end of the tube, and an india-rubber receiver at the other”, and the “filler of the anti-stylograph pen”, and the “ink-injector of your anti-stylographic pen”, and “those little squirts of glass and india-rubber”.  And here’s the link for almost every anti-stylograph pen ad ever made, showing that the stylograph helped to accelerate the development of the fountain pen.

  George Kovalenko.