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Autopoint Fountain Pens


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5 replies to this topic

#1 nxn96

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 21:12

I've tried searching this on FPN and elsewhere, but so far no luck; so I thought I'd start this topic.

Is anyone out there familiar with fountain pens made by the Autopoint Company of Chicago? I know Autopoint is primarily known as a pencil company (and a good one at that!), but I have a handful of fountain pens that are also Autopoints. I can't give an exact dating, but I think they're probably from the 1930's. The caps and barrels are celluoid (not Bakelite) and are styled not unlike the Parker Duofold. The filling system is also Parker-like, as there is a blind cap that unscrews to reveal a small lever mechanism that functions (I'm guessing here) not unlike that of the button-fill system from the Duofold era. The nibs are marked "Autopoint" and "14k"; both of which suggest a better than average quality pen.

However, that's about all I know. Many contacts who are familiar with Autopoint pencils do not seem to know about a fountain pen, and those that do generally say they've never seen one. Autopoint pencils, for the most part, were a very well made pencil, but sold mostly through the "ad specialty" and contract market to large use customers (like the US Government), which probably diminishes their value, but the fact that so many are still there speaks well to the quality. These also seem to be of good quality, but not made for the ad specialty business.

Any help on this is appreciated.

Thanks

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#2 rdh

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 21:47

I've tried searching this on FPN and elsewhere, but so far no luck; so I thought I'd start this topic.

Is anyone out there familiar with fountain pens made by the Autopoint Company of Chicago? I know Autopoint is primarily known as a pencil company (and a good one at that!), but I have a handful of fountain pens that are also Autopoints. I can't give an exact dating, but I think they're probably from the 1930's. The caps and barrels are celluoid (not Bakelite) and are styled not unlike the Parker Duofold. The filling system is also Parker-like, as there is a blind cap that unscrews to reveal a small lever mechanism that functions (I'm guessing here) not unlike that of the button-fill system from the Duofold era. The nibs are marked "Autopoint" and "14k"; both of which suggest a better than average quality pen.

However, that's about all I know. Many contacts who are familiar with Autopoint pencils do not seem to know about a fountain pen, and those that do generally say they've never seen one. Autopoint pencils, for the most part, were a very well made pencil, but sold mostly through the "ad specialty" and contract market to large use customers (like the US Government), which probably diminishes their value, but the fact that so many are still there speaks well to the quality. These also seem to be of good quality, but not made for the ad specialty business.

Any help on this is appreciated.

Thanks


I don't know much about the old ones, but you can buy new ones from Richard Binder. Check out his page here. He sells them as part of a smoothing kit so you can learn how to be your own nibmeister. As the logo on the page says, the company has been around since 1918. I don't have any of their pens, but I do have a pencil that I like. It is inexpensive but of much better quality than more expensive mechanical pencils that you find in school and office supply stores.

Dave

#3 nxn96

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 22:29

I've tried searching this on FPN and elsewhere, but so far no luck; so I thought I'd start this topic.

Is anyone out there familiar with fountain pens made by the Autopoint Company of Chicago? I know Autopoint is primarily known as a pencil company (and a good one at that!), but I have a handful of fountain pens that are also Autopoints. I can't give an exact dating, but I think they're probably from the 1930's. The caps and barrels are celluoid (not Bakelite) and are styled not unlike the Parker Duofold. The filling system is also Parker-like, as there is a blind cap that unscrews to reveal a small lever mechanism that functions (I'm guessing here) not unlike that of the button-fill system from the Duofold era. The nibs are marked "Autopoint" and "14k"; both of which suggest a better than average quality pen.

However, that's about all I know. Many contacts who are familiar with Autopoint pencils do not seem to know about a fountain pen, and those that do generally say they've never seen one. Autopoint pencils, for the most part, were a very well made pencil, but sold mostly through the "ad specialty" and contract market to large use customers (like the US Government), which probably diminishes their value, but the fact that so many are still there speaks well to the quality. These also seem to be of good quality, but not made for the ad specialty business.

Any help on this is appreciated.

Thanks


I don't know much about the old ones, but you can buy new ones from Richard Binder. Check out his page here. He sells them as part of a smoothing kit so you can learn how to be your own nibmeister. As the logo on the page says, the company has been around since 1918. I don't have any of their pens, but I do have a pencil that I like. It is inexpensive but of much better quality than more expensive mechanical pencils that you find in school and office supply stores.

Dave

Thanks very much for your note, but the current Autopoint pens are from a totally different era from those I'm trying to source. Still, it's nice to know the Autopoint people are still out there with a pen product.

#4 Dave Johannsen

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 00:52

Any help on this is appreciated.

Thanks

A quick check of Google books turns up a 1933 issue of "Printer's Ink" in which there is a brief mention that new executives were placed in charge of the Autopoint compnay (by its parent company). The blurb goes on to mention that there were plans to introduce fountain pens and desk sets. It's not much, but I hope that it's more than you had before.


Dave

#5 Vintagepens

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:00

Autopoint fountain pens are quite scarce; I've been interested in finding out more about their history myself, as it seems they were produced for a very short period. From their design, that would appear to be the early to mid-1930s, in accord with the Printer's Ink reference cited above.

The filling system is actually not so much like a Parker button-filler as an Aurora tab-filler, where the little end-lever is flipped to actuate the pressure bar (don't try to operate it unless the sac has been replaced, otherwise you can damage the mechanism).

#6 Autopoint

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:07

What would you like to know, nxn96? I have a bakers dozen of 1930's Autopoint fountain pens, in various colors and lengths. And one with a washer pocket clip where the cap top screws off to replace the pocket clip, just like an early Duofold. Rather than write a complete treatise in reply to your general question, I'd be happy to try to field some more specific questions.

For what its worth, I started out collecting Autopoint's fine mechanical pencils, then the Realite and Realpoint subbrands. First ran into Autopoint fountain pens at a show, and brought one home right away (about 1990). Now I know that Autopoint actually produced pocket model fountain pens in two different brands, and in both the 1930's and the 1940's. And I have a desk set mechanical pencil in one of the fountain pen colors, so I suspect they made an Autopoint fountain pen in a desk set model, with a tail. I've never seen an Autopoint fountain pen catalogue, brochure, etc. The only Autopoint FP ephemera I've even seen is the filling instructions and a box for an Autopoint FP (with the logo "Autopoint - the Better Pen").
- - - Jim
Collector of Autopoint + Realite + Realpoint, and Esterbrook accumulator






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