Friday, June 28, 2013

Was There a "Finestpointe?"

I really took an irresponsible chance on this one:


When it showed up in an online auction, the seller–God love him or her – was truly describing it to the best of her ability. The title of the auction was "1920s Finepoint Sterling Silver Overlay Mechanical Pencil." The description indicated the pencil had "no damages or excessive surface wear" and further indicated that there was a name in the silver.

There were no closeup pictures, and the picture didn’t show the name of the owner.

I hemmed and hawed for a long time trying to decide whether this one would be worth the chance. What I was hoping is that the pencil was a Hutcheon, which marketed pencils first under the name "Finepointer" and then, probably under pressure from Mabie Todd, which had the "Fyne Poynt" line of pencils, changed the brand to "Finerpointe" and registered the latter as a trademark (See "I Say Finepointer, You Say Finerpointe, Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off . . ." on January 26, 2012 – http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-say-finepointer-you-say-finerpointe.html).

It looked like the pencil might be acid etched and discolored by patina rather than being "worn." And – as I crossed my fingers – I was really hoping that name on the back wasn’t TOO ugly.

After the auction closed and I paid forty bucks for the thing, including shipping, I was anxious to see whether I might as well have flushed a couple Jacksons down the toilet. This time, I got lucky. Yes, the pencil is indeed acid etched, and yes, the sterling has taken on a nice patina over the years, with no trace of wear underneath. I’ve decided against polishing this one:


Yes, the seller got the name wrong – it says "Finerpointe," not Finepoint:


Yes, there’s a Hutcheon logo – a nice one, in fact, more clear than they usually are, even through the patina:


But what about that name? Is it something I can live with?


Yes, Virginia. I can definitely live with that.


F.M. Humiston appears as a member of the board of trustees for the Owego Free Academy in New York, a position which he held in 1892 and to which he was reappointed in 1894 – dates which are a little early for this pencil, which was probably made somewhere in the late teens or early 1920s. If this is the same Mr. Humiston, he probably would have enjoyed this pencil during his retirement.

The process used to manufacture this Hutcheon is the same process Mabie Todd used to make some elaborate advertising pencils, like the one I featured here on September 7, 2012 ("These Guys Really Did This Right!" at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/09/these-guys-really-did-this-right.html).

I’m increasingly certain that there was some business relationship between Hutcheon and Mabie Todd, but I haven’t yet established what the arrangement was.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Waterman Checking Pencils in Raleigh

George Rimakis had a few pencils in tow that I didn’t bring home with me, but we did spend some time taking pictures of them in my mobile studio:


These are checking, grease or crayon pencils – depending on your preference. The clipless example is unmarked, but the other one has both a Waterman’s imprint as well as the classy globe clip:


Notice how in that first picture, the top on the clipless one isn’t screwed all the way down? There’s a very good reason for that, having to do with a critical design flaw. These worked the same as other leadholders made by Eberhard Faber, Heath and others: as the mechanism is screwed farther down into the barrel, the prongs at the end are compressed against the barrel walls, clamping them down on the lead. But while Faber and Heath leadholders have metal barrels, these are hard rubber . . .


. . . and this happens all too often. I honestly don’t know what the good folks at Waterman were thinking when they cooked this idea up.

By coincidence, Joe Nemecek brought a couple similar pencils with him for me to shoot in Raleigh. One is identical to George’s example with the Waterman clip (but without the usual chunk missing from the barrel), and while the other one is unmarked, it’s clearly all Waterman:


Joe’s brown example should look familiar to Waterman devotees. The plastic and teardrop clip are both from the Waterman 94 line of the mid-1930s:


And by that time, Waterman’s R&D department had figured out that they needed to beef up the business end to keep it from exploding:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Never A Dull Moment

While I was researching Byers and Hayes for yesterday’s article, I found a reference in a couple places suggesting that the firm made "Never-Dull" pencil cases, a fact which surprised me as I had always known the "Never-Dull" as Eclipse’s early metal pencils:


Most of these are pictured on page 50 of The Catalogue. With the exception of the top example, all of these are marked "Eclipse Never-Dull 14k Gold Fill." The full-sized side clip models add an additional line of text: "Pat. Applied For":


The possibility that Byers and Hayes may have made Eclipse’s early pencils put me hot on the trail for more information, but while I found a couple different sources that suggested this, none revealed their source for this information. Fortunately, one of those sources was George Kovalenko, who included the reference in a posting over at Lion & Pen back in 2005. I emailed George to see where he found that information, and he said he had probably learned that information from Ancestry.com, back in the days when you could search for penmakers in city business directories – a function that has since been disabled.

Left to my own devices, I poked around a bit to see what I could find about the origins of the "Never-Dull" pencil. The earliest reference that I found was surprising. The August 2, 1919 issue of Advertising & Selling, a trade publication for advertising and retail professionals, included an article about how overcoming a potential customer’s objections can lead to sales. The article began with a case study:


From this, we know that there was a "Never-Dull" pencil which was new on the market in late 1919; that it wasn’t a clutch pencil; and that it had a cap under which was an eraser. The reference to Halifax suggests that either the author of the article is Canadian or that the transaction took place in Canada (interesting, since Eclipse had a Canadian subsidiary). And unfortunately, we also know that the salesman didn’t impress on his customer who made the frickin’ pencil.

A couple years later, others were still pondering who made the Never Dull pencil. The American Stationer published the question on April 16, 1921:


The question went unanswered. Three years later, however, when the question came up again in The American Stationer, this time the question was phrased a little differently:


Duh. Hey, while you’re at it, "Who makes the Parker Duofold?" Oooh. Oooh. I know that one...

These clues aren’t particularly helpful, but they do establish something of a timeline: the Never Dull was introduced in the late teens, and by 1924 the brand name appears to have been wholly appropriated by Eclipse. But did Eclipse make them? A close examination of the ones I’ve got on hand suggests that maybe Eclipse didn’t make them, after all. Here’s a closeup of the clips:


Starting with the top example – the one that doesn’t say "Never Dull" on it at all – the clip is a stock clip common to pencils made by several manufacturers, but when I show it side-by-side with a Morrison, the similarities are undeniable, right down to a wreath not found on any other Eclipse:


And the middle example has an identical twin. Here it is, shown next to a Superite made by DeWitt-LaFrance:


It’s interesting that the clip on this one says neither "Pat." nor "Pat. Pend.," since the clip clearly would have been made under license at the time. But then again, just a couple years later after the Carter Ink Company bought DeWitt-LaFrance and began putting the clips on its pens and pencils, Carter didn’t mark the clips either (except with the Carter name).

The bottom example is interesting in the intricate detail work seen on the barrel. I was so enamored with it that I paid a lot more than it was probably worth at the 2012 Ohio Show:


But as to who might have made this one, if not Eclipse – I don’t know. However, this one does have an identical twin, which I picked up just a couple weeks ago in an online auction:


The clips are distinctive and identical:


And although the sterling one is a bit slimmer, they share the identical intricately engraved pattern:


But this sterling example has me thinking maybe the question "Who makes the Eclipse Never Dull" isn’t such a silly question after all. Maybe, what they meant, was who made the Eclipse Never Dull as opposed to other the other ones.

Other ones?


"RexHold / Never Dull / Sterling / Pat. Applied For."

Believe me, as a Rex Manufacturing Company devotee, I’ve thought about whether there might be a connection. But other than the word "Rex" used in the name, I don’t have anything else to establish a connection and it doesn’t seem to match any other Rex products. But it does show that "Never Dull" pencils were marketed by companies other than Eclipse, or that Eclipse initially marketed pencils under a different name (in the same way Sheaffer marketed the "Sharp Point" pencil and The Wahl Company had its "Eversharp").

And the "Rexhold" wasn’t the only non-Eclipse brand to use the Never Dull name. Sue Hershey emailed me pictures of a pencil in her collection last night:


Hers is marked "Albert Howard / 14k gold filled / Never Dull / Pat. Applied For":


And what is most interesting about Sue’s pencil is the barrel pattern, which is like a fingerprint. It has a twin:


That’s a DeWitt-LaFrance Superite. No question in my my mind that whoever made the Superite – and I always thought it was DeWitt-LaFrance – also made the Albert Howard Never Dull.

All this started with a hint that Byers and Hayes might have made "Never Dull" pencils or supplied pencil cases. Was it Byers and Hayes, or DeWitt-LaFrance? Maybe. If Byers and Hayes made them, did they also make the cases for DeWitt-LaFrance? Maybe, and that would really be something interesting to prove.

Was Never Dull exclusively an Eclipse trade name? Maybe – and it’s also possible Eclipse marketed Never Dulls under different names, such as "Rexhold" and "Albert Howard." Maybe the name was being used in a generic sense by several companies (like "Eversharp" sometimes is), or maybe several companies marketed "Never Dull" pencils made by some outside company such as Byers and Hayes or DeWitt-LaFrance. But if some outside company was supplying "Never Dull" pencils to several penmakers, why isn’t there a trademark?

For now, this is all I’ve got to go on, and I don’t have all the answers for all the interesting questions that have popped up. One thing’s for sure, though . . .

This pencil research is never dull. Sorry – I couldn’t resist that one.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

From the Mailbag: Byers and Hayes

Sue Hershey found a really nice pencil, and she sent me a few pictures to ask what I knew about it:


And what she found was that I knew absolutely nothing about it. At the top of the pencil, she’d found a cryptic imprint. Would that help?


"I think I see a doggie." Nope. I got nothin’ here. Nada.

But I did have something that I found to be very helpful: David Nishimura’s email address. Within just a few minutes after I sent out the distress call in the hopes that someone in the peanut gallery would be able to help me save a little face, David emailed me back. "Byers and Hayes, I think," he said.

David was absolutely correct. A search with those terms turned up several pictures of pens with a Byers and Hayes imprint, with a logo on the clip identical to the one found on Martha’s pencil. The formation of Byers and Hayes by John E. Hayes, a former manager at Aikin Lambert, and George T. Byers was announced in The American Stationer on June 10, 1916:


The firm was still located at 68 Barclay Street in 1921, as noted in an advertisement the company placed in The American Stationer during July of that year:


According to the "Pencyclopedia" at W-B Pens and Watches and Richard Binder's Pen Glossary, Byers and Hayes was more serious about making pen parts for other manufacturers than they were about making pens and for their own account.  You'd never know that from looking at Sue's pencil, since it is a substantial, high quality piece, probably from the mid- to late 1920s.  There are suggestions that the company survived into the 1930s -- the Pencyclopedia indicates that the firm was located at 133 Monroe Street, New York in 1931 -- but I wasn't able to pinpoint when the firm ceased operations or was absorbed into another concern. 

But there was one other tidbit I kept tripping on while I researched Byers and Hayes that piqued my curiosity: the persistent suggestion from several sources that Byers and Hayes made the "Never Dull" pencil. Tomorrow, I’ll explain why I find that so interesting . . .

Epilogue: Until my encounter with Sue, I had never heard of Byers and Hayes. Just a couple weeks after she sent me these pictures, I was at the Raleigh Pen Show nosing through Richard Vacca’s wares when this little guy jumped out of one case and into my hands:


This example of the Byers and Hayes, unlike Sue’s, uses a standard .046 inch lead and lacks the necked-down nose seen on her example.

Monday, June 24, 2013

From the Mailbag: Roseville Novelty Works


Martha Nichols sent me an email with some pictures of an unusual pencil:


I vaguely remember seeing one of these a few years ago at the DC show, in a set complete with pen and box. Imprinted on the barrel are the words "Roseville Novelty Works / New York Pat. Pend."


Martha had already done some legwork trying to track down the history on this one. She wrote, "In the May 4th, 1921 issue of the journal The Jeweler's Weekly/The Jewelers' Review,
it was reported that Mr. Eben McCree, treasurer of the Roseville Novelty Works, was visiting Chicago for a few days to call on clients on his way further west to St. Louis and Kansas City."

I was able to add a little bit to the story, since a name like Eben McCree just begs to be googled:


Eben McCree, of Arlington, New Jersey applied for a patent for the unusual faceted barrel on this pencil on December 10, 1926, and his patent was granted as number 1,789,387 on January 20, 1931. McCree’s patent related to the manner in which strips of celluloid veneer were laminated to an inner, less expensive layer of material, as can be seen at the top of Martha’s pencil:


Beyond these sketchy details, I haven’t found out much about the Roseville Novelty Works, other than that the company was listed in the 1923 Newark, New Jersey directory. Since McCree’s patent application was filed in 1926 and the imprint on the barrel says "New York," which is also consistent with the 1921 reference in The Jewelers’ Circular, the company may have had two office or moved to New Jersey and then back to New York.

There’s an example of the pen featured in Schneider and Fischler’s The Book of Pens and Pencils, but the caption does nothing more than say "here it is." Sometimes when I get just about this desperate for additional information, I’ll search "all categories" on ebay hoping to find some other products that a company might have made which will provide the trail of bread crumbs I’m looking for. I tried that, and . . .

"0 results found for ‘roseville novelty.’"

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Other One I Thought Might Be Out There

Remember the "Roller Rule?"


As I struggled to determine who the inventor of the Roller Rule was in an article I wrote last year ("The Only Thing I Accomplished That Day," June 19, 2012), it probably looked like I was being overly cautious to eliminate any possibility that anyone other than John Hoe Morehead invented it. But I just kept having this nagging feeling, and I don’t know why, that someone else might be out there, marketing a pencil that was called the "Roller Rule."

Turns out I might have been right. Look what turned up in an online auction a couple weeks ago:


Whether you call that oversized dial a monstrosity or ubercool, I doubt you’d be able to say it’s like anything else you’ve seen:


Best of all, this one came in the box with papers. And worst of all, the paperwork identifies this only as the "Roller Rule" without any mention of who made it:


"A Thousand and One Uses," huh? Name ‘em. I dare ya. Not that I’d turn something like this one down if you could only come up with a thousand . . . heck, come up with three or four and I’d be satisfied.
Part of the reason I doubt this is from John Hoe Morehead’s workshop is that the slogan is different from the one carried on all of his Roller Rules:


Instead of "The Pencil With a Brain," this Roller Rule "Measures As It Rolls." Not the most inspiring slogan – but I’ll even forgive that. There’s something else about this that isn’t consistent with the Roller Rules I’ve seen before:


The dial indicates it was made in Germany, and the spelling of "Centimetres" and "Kilometres," not to mention the metric references, suggests that unlike Morehead’s Roller Rule, which was made in the U.S., this one was made abroad for export to the United States (the paperwork also indicates that the pencil has an "Inch-o-meter"). Another difference, which I grudgingly admit, is that this is a much more precise measuring device – something I suppose I should expect from a German technical instrument. A second piece of paper that accompanied this one indicates that the primary purpose of these pencils was to measure distances on maps:


The tiny wheel moves easily to trace distances not only in straight lines ("as the crow flies," as the saying around here goes), but also through the winding curves of the most challenging country roads. And, in case you are wondering what the "Compass" reference means on the dial, just turn the pencil over:


Yeah, I may profess to collect only American pencils, but my willpower was no match for something as interesting as this!
 
 
 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Modern"

Since my article yesterday concerned A.A. Waterman & Co., this seems like the perfect time to bring up something else I’ve never been quite sure about. I’ve found two of these over the years:


At the top of each of these is imprinted "Modern / Pat. Jan. 20, 1920":



At first, I assumed that "Modern" was short for "Modern Pen Company" and that these pencils were somehow connected to A.A. Waterman & Co. But when I tracked down the patent, I found that this pencil was connected to someone else:


William M. Saunders applied for a patent for this design on October16, 1919, and the patent was granted as number 1,328,300 on January 20, 1920. The assignee of Saunders’ patent, as was the case with his numerous other pencil patents, was the Hoge Manufacturing Company of New York. Hoge is most remembered as manufacturer of the "Pal," an ubiquitous metal pencil that is almost as common a sight at flea markets as a metal Eversharp.

Early Pals had much more embellishment on their crowns than later examples, and a side-by-side comparison of a Pal ringtop and the Modern leaves no doubt that the two were manufactured by the same company.


In fact, these caps were so distinctive that Saunders applied for a design patent for it on October 18, 1921, which was granted on November 18, 1922 as Design patent 61,699.


Did Hoge manufacturing some of A.A. Waterman’s pencils? There was a very narrow window in time for that to have happened; this pencils bears a 1920 patent date and has a cap for which the design patent was applied for in late 1921; in 1921, whatever was left of Modern was reorganized as the "Chicago Safety Pen Company," and pencils were marketed as "EVRDA," or the Everyday pencil.

I think it’s more likely a coincidence. Maybe Hoge quickly dropped the name in light of negative press Modern Pen Company received after the Waterman verdict; maybe the company received a lecture from the Chicago Safety Pen Company, who had recently been so thoroughly educated in the niceties of trade name infringemenet.

But maybe, just maybe, Hoge made pencils for A.A. Waterman & Co. Unfortunately, no Saunders patent matches the profile of yesterday’s A.A. Waterman pencil, so until something more concrete turns up, all I can do is muse.

Update:  Nope.  Hoge did not make pencils for A.A. Waterman.  See http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2015/01/enough-with-musing.html.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Different Sort of a Different Waterman

George Rimakis was full of surprises in Raleigh. After knocking my socks off with a couple Patricians right when I walked in the door, he had a couple other things about which he wanted my opinion. When he showed them to me, my opinion was that if I couldn’t talk him out of them, maybe I could talk him into a little quality time with my portable studio, so we headed up to my room to take a few pictures:


One of these large hard rubber pencils is missing the top, which on the intact example is pinned to the mechanism, much like the blind cap on a Dunn fountain pen:


The clips will look familiar to fans of this cult classic brand – A.A. Waterman:


The patent date on these clips, January 30, 1912, refers to patent number 1,016,066, for which Marius Marcucci applied on April 7, 1911:


But this clip doesn’t look anything like the "AA Clip," does it? That’s because what Marcucci was patenting was the way the clip is secured to the barrel, details which are concealed under the looped AA Clip. This "loopy" embellishment was the subject of an improved version of the clip, patented by William L. Chapman on October 14, 1915 as patent number 1,075,815:


Terry Sell, a high priest of the A.A. Waterman cult, was at the table right next to mine in Raleigh, so George and I sought his opinion about these unusual pencils. Terry had no ideas, either, and he was visibly salivating as much as I was. But since Terry is a gentleman and the pencils weren’t for sale, he too exercised great restraint and resisted the urge to grovel.

Later in the day, George decided to offer me the opportunity to buy the one with the broken top, and I was thrilled at the opportunity. The next day, he surprised me by offering to sell me the intact one – if and only if I sold Terry the broken one for what I’d paid George for it. That’s what I would have done anyway, but the fact that George wanted to be sure I did shows a level of class and maturity from which people thirty years his senior could learn. I look forward to seeing more of George in the future.

As for the pencil, it’s received a little bit of love and attention to bring it back to its former glory. Terry Sell had suggested naval jelly and a bit of 0000 steel wool for the clip, but I prefer my favorite polishing cloth, which over the years has accumulated enough residues of buffing compound and simichrome that all it took was a few minutes of patient rubbing to achieve this:


I’ve decided not to highlight the barrel imprint on this one, since it was clear enough to photograph without doing so:


"Arthur A. Waterman & Co. / New York -Patent Pending." So far, I have been unable to track down the patent for this one. It’s tempting to assume that the pencil was made between 1912 and 1913, since the clip has the earlier patent date but not the later one (later examples of the AA Clip, according to George Kovalenko, have both dates on them). Unfortunately, no patents issued within that window in time appear to fit this pencil.

There’s been quite a bit of speculation over the years concerning the history of A.A. Waterman & Co. While I was researching this pencil, I found two articles, one from The Printers’ Ink, October 29, 1914 (starting on page 64) and "A History of the Trade-Name ‘Waterman,’" foundin the Bulletin of the United States Trade-Mark Association, Volume 13, page 132 (1917). Between these two articles, and George Kovalenko’s research posted at Lion & Pen, there’s a pretty complete record of the company’s history.

Since all of the current articles I’ve read don’t seem to square with these contemporany accounts in one respect or another, here’s a summary of what these sources document, all of which are fairly consistent:

Arthur A. Waterman started as a salesman for the L.E. Waterman Company. "A History of the Trade-Name Waterman" indicates that he had held that position "for some five years prior to February, 1897," but an 1894 article in The American Stationer states that Arthur had been an L.E. Waterman salesman "for seven years or more," suggesting that his association may have begun in 1887 or even earlier.

In February, 1897, Waterman left to start his own company, and in May, 1897, Arthur A. Waterman and Edward L. Gibson went into business as "A.A. Waterman Pen Company." The L.E. Waterman Company promptly sued and obtained an injunction in 1898 preventing A.A. Waterman from marketing pens under the name of "Waterman" or "Waterman’s," but the Court’s holding didn’t prevent the company from using the full name "A.A. Waterman & Co." or "Arthur A. Waterman & Co." Since L.E. Waterman never appealed the decision, that was the end of the first scuffle between the two companies.

According to The Printers’ Ink, Waterman and Gibson continued to manufacture and distribute pens until 1906. The article in the U.S. Trademark Association Bulletin states that Gibson and Waterman dissolved their partnership by mutual consent in 1899 and Waterman carried on the business "with other parties." It’s possible that Waterman and Gibson continued to do business after 1899, just not as partners, so these two accounts are not necessarily inconsistent.

In January, 1901, Arthur A. Waterman formed a new company, "A.A. Waterman & Co.," with a Mr. Frazer and Mr. Geyer, whose company, Frazer & Geyer Co., made pens under a number of different brands, including Lincoln (not the National Pen Products brand, but the earlier one from New York). One Frazer & Geyer advertisement from 1902 pictures a Lincoln Pen with a patent date of July 20, 1897 – not, as I expected, an Arthur A. Waterman patent (number 586,547 was issued to Benjamin Vandemark Eaton). Under the terms of his 1901 contract, Arthur sold pens manufactured by Frazer & Geyer under the A.A. Waterman name.

A few weeks after the 1901 agreement was signed, Isaac E. Chapman and William L. Chapman (the latter of whom patented the familiar "AA Clip") loaned the partnership "some $50,000" and received stock amounting to a controlling interest in the company. Frazer & Geyer, however, retained management of the company.

According to the article in The Printers’ Ink, the partners’ relationship soured in 1903, when Frazer’s mismanagement of the company began to result in financial losses for the partners. Arthur’s 1901 contract with Frazer & Geyer was for a forty-year term, but he negotiated a severance agreement with Frazer and Geyer which was finalized in February, 1905.

On June 12, 1905, Arthur Waterman entered into a new partnership agreement with Isaac E. Chapman and William L. Chapman, the men who bankrolled his earlier partnership with Frazer & Geyer. The new partnership was also called "A.A. Waterman & Co." and acquired all of the "assets" of the previous partnership with Frazer & Geyer (since Frazer & Geyer were making all of the pens, this could only have consisted of leftover inventory and the name).

Arthur’s 1905 agreement with the Chapmans also provided for the formation of a corporation called "Modern Pen Company" which would be the sole sales agent for pens manufactured by A.A. Waterman & Co. The term of the agreement was for thirty-six years. Arthur Waterman hadn’t put a dime of his own money into the partnership, and his only contributions appear to have been his sales skills and the last name he was born with. Arthur at first received a salary, but a series of agreements gradually reduced his involvement in the company’s affairs. By July, 1906, Arthur Waterman no longer had any affiliation with the company.

The L.E. Waterman Co. began its second assault on A.A. Waterman in 1909, when L.E. Waterman sued pen dealers who stocked A.A. Waterman pens and marketed them as "Waterman pens," obtaining injunctions prohibiting the sale of A.A. Waterman pens in several cities. In response, A.A. Waterman sued L.E. Waterman for restraint of trade – unsuccessfully.

L.E. Waterman, emboldened by the victory, filed a lawsuit around 1912 against Modern Pen Company to again challenge the use of the name "Waterman" by A.A. Waterman & Co. It was a different case, though, from when the two squared off in 1898. By this time, there was no Arthur Waterman affiliated with the company and Modern Pen Company was doing all of the production and sales. "A.A. Waterman & Co." was little more than a few sheets of paper, although the Chapmans weren’t bashful about throwing the Waterman name about. The trial court resolved the case by allowing A.A. Waterman & Co. to continue to use its name, so long as it added in the same sized type the words "not connected with the original ‘Waterman’ pens." On appeal, the appeals Court affirmed, but modified the required disclaimer to "Not connected with the L.E. Waterman Co."

Both parties appealed again – Modern Pen Company didn’t want any disclaimer at all, and L.E. Waterman didn’t want the word "Waterman" used at all. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed the appellate court’s decision once and for all on November 30, 1914 (the case is L.E. Waterman Co. v. Modern Pen Company (1914), 235 U.S. 88). According to George Kovalenko, Modern continued to use the A.A. Waterman name until 1921, as evidenced in The American Stationer. In 1921, the company was renamed Chicago Safety Pen Company (I wrote an article on the EVRDA pencil a while back).

Since my pencil lacks the required Waterman disclaimer, it’s probably safe to assume that it was made prior to November 30, 1914. That doesn’t help much, though – finding a pencil patent that was pending sometime between January 30, 1912 and November 30, 1914 is a small needle in a very large haystack. The patent could have been issued years later, or not at all, and there were a ton of pencil patents issued during that "golden age" of pencil patents started around 1914 and extended through the mid-1920s.

I have no doubts that the patent will eventually be found, probably while I’m looking for something else. I also have no doubt that when I do, it will sidetrack me from whatever I was originally looking for and I’ll be writing the follow up to this article instead.