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Prince's Protean: The Ne Plus Ultra For Writers


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#1 antoniosz

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 00:49

The quiz was solved by Nom de Plume - Well done!...
Click here to go the a post below with more information about
Prince's Protean Fountain Pen - the first commercially successful FP in the US.

We have not had one of these for a while. So here it is:
Which pen was advertized as "The ne plus ultra for Writers" ?


Edited by antoniosz, 22 April 2007 - 15:40.


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#2 ojars

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 00:56

Mont Blanc Meisterstuck
Nakaya Writer Wajima-Urushi nuri Kikyo long pen fp - Grayson Tighe Twist Damascus fp - Mont Blanc Ramses mp - Pelikan M800 (2) - Restored 1936 Conklin Nozac fp - 1935 Waterman #3 mp - Namiki Falcon fp - Lamy Al-Star fp (2) - Parker 51 (8) - Swan/Mabie Todd fp - Wality 69L (3) - et alii

#3 antoniosz

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 01:01

QUOTE(ojars @ Apr 19 2007, 08:56 PM) View Post
Mont Blanc Meisterstuck


Nein! Nein! smile.gif

#4 Tom Pike

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 02:43

QUOTE(antoniosz @ Apr 19 2007, 05:49 PM) View Post
We have not had one of these for a while. So here it is:
Which pen was advertized as "The ne plus ultra for Writers" ?

I can not promise quick reaction but post your answers/guesses and I will respond as soon as I can smile.gif


Wow, Antonios!

That's one that fools every search engine I can find... (and my poor little pea brain too!) dry.gif

Great Question!

I'll take a W.A.G. at one:

OMAS Arco Brown Paragon

#5 antoniosz

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 03:09

QUOTE(Tom Pike @ Apr 19 2007, 10:43 PM) View Post
Wow, Antonios!
That's one that fools every search engine I can find... (and my poor little pea brain too!) dry.gif
Great Question!
I'll take a W.A.G. at one:
OMAS Arco Brown Paragon



Hey, didn't I say no Google smile.gif Oh, I did not, but I guess it does not matter. laugh.gif
This should be a clue about that pen....
Also I just did a search on FPN and this pen is mentioned in 6 threads smile.gif

Keep guessing...


#6 Oxonian

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 14:12

hi Antonios,

How about the Conklin Crescent filler, the original one that Sam Clemens advertised not the modern one?

Just an idea in passing.

cheers, John


#7 BillTheEditor

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 15:16

Parker Duofold (the original, not the more recent version). With the Lucky Curve.

#8 jd50ae

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 15:30

Oh heck, that is soooo easy. It was a super rare and protected from the elements, personally made by Mr. Parker, with only one clip and a new radical ink guessing hooded nib fountain pen. He made 21 of them in non traditional colors, like red and green and blue for our favorite collector, Mr. BENZ.

Edited by jd50ae, 20 April 2007 - 15:30.


#9 philm

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 15:44

Possibly the Conklin Nozak?

#10 antoniosz

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 18:52

No Conklin and no Parker. Try again. As for Benz, I think he does not deserve the attention he is getting.
But it is interesting to discuss at some point how much that pen would be bring in the market today:)

So here is another clue that might help with the time frame. In another part of the advertisement, it says:

"I am so pleased with this contrivance, that I Am desirous to procure another"


which clearly indicates an FP adict smile.gif


#11 Tom Pike

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 19:44

QUOTE(antoniosz @ Apr 20 2007, 11:52 AM) View Post
So here is another clue that might help with the time frame. In another part of the advertisement, it says:

"I am so pleased with this contrivance, that I Am desirous to procure another"


This makes me think early L. E. Waterman Eyedropper, or perhaps Mabie, Todd, and Bard since the dialect seems somewhat British.

Other guesses:
Aiken Lambert
John Holland

Tom (still hunting in the dark rolleyes.gif)

#12 antoniosz

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 00:32

QUOTE(Tom Pike @ Apr 20 2007, 03:44 PM) View Post
This makes me think early L. E. Waterman Eyedropper, or perhaps Mabie, Todd, and Bard since the dialect seems somewhat British.
Other guesses: Aiken Lambert, John Holland
Tom (still hunting in the dark rolleyes.gif)


You are definitely moving closer to the proper time period. But no on Waterman, Mabie Todd or Bard, Aiken Lambert and John Holland.
One hint... The maker of this pen had 3 patents on FPs which you can find in here smile.gif





#13 antoniosz

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 03:38

This has proven to be difficult smile.gif Lets help with another "clue"



#14 philm

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 03:55

Ok I will hazard another guess and get to bed..

Eberhard Faber

#15 antoniosz

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 05:13

QUOTE(philm @ Apr 20 2007, 11:55 PM) View Post
Ok I will hazard another guess and get to bed..


It is definitely earlier than that. 19th century for sure as the supplied above texts indicate.

#16 Nom de Plume

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 09:50

The Prince Protean fountain pen

http://www.kamakurap...ProteanPen.html

--
NdP

#17 antoniosz

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 14:41

Correct, NdP smile.gif 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 smile.gif



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 smile.gif



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"? ohmy.gif )



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 smile.gif



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 smile.gif

AZ

PS> Ah,... and if you have a Protean please let us know biggrin.gif

Edited by antoniosz, 22 April 2007 - 15:41.


#18 maryannemoll

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 01:55

This is great! Before this thread I had no idea there was a Protean fountain pen. Reading through the scans was quite fun. It's definitely a novel way to spend a Sunday morning. Thanks so much for the quiz. smile.gif

#19 rhr

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 04:59

By the way, that should probably be "the April 1855 issue of the Knickerbocker", unless of course you mean "the latest reference to the pen". ;~)

If you're interested in Prince's Protean, take a look at the Fall 1999 issue of "The Pennant" for a great article on the "Protean" by Ed Fingerman. Four examples of the different models are illustrated there.

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#20 Vintagepens

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 01:32

It's been a while since I've looked at the other known examples, but as far as I recall all of them are syringe-fillers, and not readily convertible to suction-filling by mouth (I say "other", because I own three examples, all syringe-fillers). Will have to take a closer look at the patents, and at the other surviving pens when I get a chance.






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