This is it! The first commercially successful fountain pen in the US.
In addition to Ron's post here are some other interesting sources of information about this interest pen.
- The article of M. Fultz: http://www.penbid.co....asp?art_id=111
- Per rhr the Fall 1999 issue of Pennant contains an article for this pen. I am waiting to get it from PCA.
- Prince's patents are: 8, 399 (9/30/1851)
, 12,301 (1/23/1855)
, and 13,995 (12/25/1855)
- David Nashimura pointed out that this photo http://www.vintagepe...aster_cat_1.jpg
which has a photo of Prince's Protean pen. It is the pen depicted horizontally with the subtitle "The original Self-Filling Fountain Pen, Piston suction and tongue feed".
He also has on his web site a very early ad of the pen (Jan 1856): http://www.vintagepe...Jan_1860_sm.jpg
The earliest reference to the pen that I have been able to find is from the April 1855 issue of the Knickerbocker (!), a New-York Monthly Magazine p. 437 shown below.
Apparentely the offices of the Magazine were just next to Prince's office at Number 8 Appleton Bldg, 348 Broadway, in NYC.
Another early advertisement is from January 1856 in The American Journal of Education and College Review.
This ad is very interesting because it gives a hint for the origin of the name of Protean. Some people think
that the name was chosen to suggest the notion of versatility from the adj. protean (org. greek semigod Proteus
which would transform), but this ad says that the pen is "made by protean under the patent of Goodyear" which refers
to vulcanized rubber. Or course a play of words is always part of the game also...
In the Annual of Scientific Discovery: Year-book of Facts in Science and Art By David Ames Wells, George Bliss, Samuel Kneeland, John Trowbridge, Wm Ripley Nichols, Charles R Cross, published in 1856, it is clarified that "Protean was a word coined in Britain to designate one of the forms of hardened caoutchouc". Also it describes that the pen can be used as a piston filler or can by filled by suction through the mouth
The article that I posted above without the name is from "The Employments of Women: A Cyclopaedia of Woman's Work" by Virginia Penny, 1863
where suggested job #316 for women is to be a sales agent
The "NE PLUS ULTRA" reference comes from this ad below. The pen is also called "The pen of the Ready Writer", a biblical reference
(Newell Anderson Prince was a congregational minister). Notable is that in this ad, Prof. S.F.B. Morse (Columbia U.), the inventor of telegraph, is
among the people that recommend the pen (did he get a "kickback"?
A more ... objective review of the pen comes from The Christian World: The Magazine of the American and Foreign Christian Union By American and Foreign Christian Union, p. 157 May 1956, where it speaks of some of the difficulties with regulating the flow of the pen
The pen is showing up in literature few years later. The text below is from "G.T.T: Or, The Wonderful Adventures of a Pullman" Edward E. Hale, p. 11.
Finally here is a biography of Prince from the "History of Bowdoin College: With Biographical Sketches of Its Graduates, from 1806 to 1879", By Nehemiah Cleaveland, 1882
Thanks for participating
PS> Ah,... and if you have a Protean please let us know
Edited by antoniosz, 22 April 2007 - 15:41.