Friday, August 25, 2017

Which Liberty?

This addition fell in the have-to-have-that-cool-name category:

The quality is just so-so, with a cap that isn’t even quite the same color as the barrel.  But “Liberty” is such a great name for a pencil:

When I went to track this one down, I found some conflicting sources.  There was both a “Liberty Fountain & Gold Pen Company” and a “Liberty Fountain Pen Company” in New York.  In 1917, The American Stationer published a directory in which the former was listed under gold pen points (nibs) at 380 Canal Street, New York, while the latter was listed under fountain pens at 69 Cortlandt Street:

American Writing Instrument Trademarks 1870-1953 was particularly helpful with this one.

The trademark was registered on August 10, 1926 as number 216,284.  It was filed by Edward Turnberger, President of The Liberty Fountain & Gold Pen Company at the Canal Street address.  He claimed that the company, and its predecessor, G.F. Barrett, had used the name since August, 1911.

I think the two companies were one and the same, notwithstanding the separate listings in The American Stationer.  Prior to 1916, the Liberty Fountain & Gold Pen Company was located at 69 Cortlandt, as shown in thiese advertisements:

The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer reported on May 15, 1916 that the Liberty Fountain & Gold Pen Company had relocated to larger quarters at 380 Canal Street:

And then there’s this, posted by user Bordeaux146 over on The Fountain Pen Network:

The box uses the abbreviated name at the Canal Street address, while the instructions identify the longer version – at the same address.  The answer to the question “Which Liberty?” is . . . both.

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