I've started to post my series on the history of one of the most important steel (dip) pen companies whose history has been mostly lost to us. The Washington Medallion Pen Company was founded only a few years before Esterbrook, but they set several precedents, including that of bringing experienced British pen makers to the US to start a new company. Washington Medallion was also the first company to sue Esterbrook for trademark infringement, a suit that is still mentioned in trademark law books as setting the model for what constitutes trademark-able characteristics.
In my first post, I give an overview of the company's history. I will be delving in more detail in their story in future posts, but for now, you can read a summary of what's to come.
Here's an excerpt.
In 1855 some merchants from the City of New York, including Albert Granger, former owner of a dry goods establishment, and Albert L. Eastman, an importer of silks and fancy goods merchant, formed the American Steel Pen Manufacturing Company. Eastman was the President and Granger was the Secretary.On April 15, 1856, Albert Granger is granted a design patent for a steel pen that includes an embossed medallion showing the head of George Washington. The Washington Medallion Pen Company was incorporated in New York on 10 February 1857. The Washington Medallion Pen was popular, and was sold into the 1880’s. This was the first long-term, successful, pen company in the US with a national market.In 1856 we are also introduced for the first time to two important figures in the history of American steel pens: George Harrison and George Bradford. In the NYC directory for 1856/57, these two young men are listed as toolmakers and live in the same boarding house on 141 W. 36th ST., just blocks from where their employer, The American Steel Pen Manufacturing Company was located.