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Early Steel Pen Makers In America

josiah hayden massachusetts hayden steel pens history

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#1 AAAndrew

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 17:30

I've finished a new post on individual pen makers. The first one was Peregrine Williamson, who've I've written about before. He was most definitely first. Charles Atwood came second-ish, but not much is known about him. The one I just finished was Josiah Hayden, maker of Hayden's Premium Pens in the early-mid 1840's. 

 

fpn_1511285093__1842_hayden_j_and_p_prem

 

Hayden also made gold pens for a while before selling those works off to Dawson, Warren & Hyde who made a lot of gold pens up until the 1860's. 

 

fpn_1511285059__1863_dawson_warren_hyde.

 

I find this lost history of early industry quite interesting. And Hayden was another of the early makers who were forgotten not that many years later when the first histories of the US pen industry were first jotted down. I'm trying to bring their stories back when possible. 

 

I've also added a helpful Table of Contents that helps find the topics you're interested in on the blog. You can find it by clicking on the link on the left, or just go here.

 


Check out my Steel Pen Blog. https://thesteelpen.com/ . 

 

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#2 AAAndrew

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 19:16

I've added C. C. Wright, a famous engraver and medallion carver who went commercial for a while and made pens in the 1840's. 


Check out my Steel Pen Blog. https://thesteelpen.com/ . 

 

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#3 AAAndrew

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 03:43

I published another one today. Myer Phineas is someone I've been looking at for quite a while. While he was the longest-producing US pen maker to come out of the 1840's (over 20 years), there are still so many mysteries. Like Athena he seems to spring to life fully-formed with a complex and disparate pen line. This seems to point toward his starting with someone else's machines, dies, etc... but it's not clear where these could have come from. Except for some odd dates, I would lay odds on C.C. Wright, but their dates overlap by a couple of years. He could have continued making Wright's pens for a year or two under contract while developing his own line, we know Wright was not really into making pens, but that's just pure speculation. 
 
One interesting thing I think I discovered is that he may well have been the inventor of what later became the Double Spring pen in his 1853 patent. (see the Esterbrook 126 Double Spring as a common version, but there were many others) He even called his a Double Spring pen years before Esterbrook even arrived on these shores. 
 
Anyway, one more major 1840's maker down. A few more to go, but we're starting to know less and less about the next couple. 
 
And I forgot to mention Mark Levy & Brothers, who I wrote about just the other day. That post is interesting because I actually have a Levy Brothers pen, and since they started in 1843 and stopped making them in 1845, it's also one I can date pretty accurately. 

Check out my Steel Pen Blog. https://thesteelpen.com/ . 

 

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

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#4 Bobje

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 12:49

Andrew, you’re creating an entertaining website that allows us to tag along on fascinating research. I especially enjoyed your observations on the differences between everyday writing and decorative writing in historical documents. Much of the everyday writing is so well composed that it appears decorative to my modern-day eye.

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#5 PAKMAN

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 15:09

Do you have any info on Perry nibs?


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#6 AAAndrew

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 19:14

Some. I have the early history of Perry but that’s probably not what you’re looking for. :)

What are you wanting to know?
Check out my Steel Pen Blog. https://thesteelpen.com/ . 

 

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#7 PAKMAN

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 16:54

My first name is Perry and I got my hands on a Perry Dip nib but didn't know any history on the company.


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#8 AAAndrew

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 18:01

Well, there's a little bit in the post on the 1820's in my blog. I can get more for you later, but tl;dr is basically Perry was one of the first and most successful pen makers and marketers. Josiah Mason actually made all of James Perry's pens until about 1870 when he went off on his own. Perry made all of the Spencerian Pen Company pens for most of that company's history. They also made pens for many other brands. They were a first-rate maker of top-quality pens. 

 

At one point (will get dates and details later when I have access to my book) they merged with several other pen companies, moved to Birmingham and formed Perry & Co. pen works. 

 

When I get back to the office where I have my main reference for British pens, I'll add more. 


Check out my Steel Pen Blog. https://thesteelpen.com/ . 

 

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

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#9 AAAndrew

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 21:22

As to the above question, Perry merged with several other Birmingham pen makers to form Perry & Co. Ltd. in 1879, with offices in London and Birmingham. 
 
I also wanted to announce a new maker just added to the blog
 
Added an interesting maker this afternoon. He was a tricky one to track down, but thanks to some help from the lovely Linda at the Birmingham Pen Museum, I think I've nailed down the British connections for Henry Benjamin Herts, known in the US as H. B. Herts & Sons, active in the 1840's and into the early 1850's in New York City. 
 
Herts was interesting in that he started making pens in Birmingham, and then moved to America in 1843. This is the first confirmed British pen maker moving to the US. It's not clear how the earlier makers learned how to make pens. Some like Atwood just invented their own techniques. It is clear that by the 1850's British pen manufacturing methods were the norm in American factories. 
 
Of course, it's also not clear if Herts actually made pens here or still made them in Birmingham and just sold them here through his American company. That's part of the mystery behind this relatively unknown pen maker of the 1840's. 

Check out my Steel Pen Blog. https://thesteelpen.com/ . 

 

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

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#10 mitto

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Posted Yesterday, 10:28

Fascinating pages of history.
Khan

#11 AAAndrew

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Posted Yesterday, 10:51

Fascinating pages of history.


Thanks! I’m glad someone else thinks so. I’m definitely having fun with it.

Things are getting much more complex as we move into the 1850’s. And more interesting.
Check out my Steel Pen Blog. https://thesteelpen.com/ . 

 

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