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Sunday History Lesson — How Smart Was Jay Rider, Really?


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#1 Richard

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:18

(Apologies for the lateness of this posting. We had a house full for an early Mardi Gras dinner, and I've just now gotten to sit down and rest.)

I've long admired the Rider "Perfection" pen, produced by the J. G. Rider Pen Company of Rockford, Illinois.

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Based on U.S. Patent Nº 737,920, awarded to Jay G. Rider on September 22, 1903, the pen was an eyedropper filler without a separate section. Instead, it had a special feed that was notched on the bottom so that you could use your fingernail or the pen's clip to pull the feed out, leaving the nib in place, to fill the pen. Here's the relevant patent drawing.

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Well, my admiration is a little dimmed these days, I have to say. While I was doing some research this week on the Laughlin Manufacturing Company, I discovered a patent taken out by Joseph F. Betzler and assigned by him to James W. Laughlin. U.S. Patent Nº 686,902, dated November 19, 1901, is in essence identical to Rider's later patent.

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Laughlin never made pens to Betzler's patent, and now I wonder whether Rider might have seen it at some point, varying his design just enough that it would pass muster at the patent office.
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#2 Pen Is Mightier

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:58

Interesting history lesson, brings up the old adage that history repeats itself, or at least other people repeat history if only with slight modifications.
The Pen Is Mightier than the sword.

#3 P.A.R.

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:08

There's something beautiful about functional simplicity of design.
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#4 Roger W.

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:37

I've wondered how much of a hustler he was. We live near Rockford and get our groceries there so I know a little about the town. Checking with the Secretary of States office yielded the incorporation papers. While Jay's partners put up money Jay, put up patents however, some of them must have been pending because the number of patents he put up for his share is greater than the number of patents ever issued to him. That he might have cheated on the patents is, well, quite probable.

Roger W.

#5 beak

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:10

That's a very elegant pen. Tell me please, did one merely extract the feed a little way - enough to put ink down its channel and so into the body - or take it out completely? I wonder if that repeated movement of the feed caused any flow problems or undue wear to the alignment of nib and feed.
Sincerely, beak. God does not work in mysterious ways – he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.

#6 Roger W.

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:22

That's a very elegant pen. Tell me please, did one merely extract the feed a little way - enough to put ink down its channel and so into the body - or take it out completely? I wonder if that repeated movement of the feed caused any flow problems or undue wear to the alignment of nib and feed.


The feed was taken out completely.

Roger W.

#7 Richard

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 18:34

That's a very elegant pen. Tell me please, did one merely extract the feed a little way - enough to put ink down its I wonder if that repeated movement of the feed caused any flow problems or undue wear to the alignment of nib and feed.

It seems to have caused no problems. The feed fits into a tapered opening that is shaped so that the feed can go in only one way. Any wear, of which there seems to have been very little, could be accommodated by the taper of the opening.
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#8 sadiemagic

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 21:48

Interesting and simple way to fill a pen.

I rather like the clip, it has a certain elegance and timelessness to its design.
Not all those who wander are lost. J.R.R.Tolkien

#9 Richard

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:26

Interesting and simple way to fill a pen.

I rather like the clip, it has a certain elegance and timelessness to its design.

You might like to read my profile of the Rider Pen.
Click to send email: richard@richardspens.com
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#10 stevlight

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:41

OK I gotta get me one of these. I wonder if any will surface at the LI Pen show??
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