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Quick Recap of Wahl-Eversharp naming


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Wahlnut

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 18:07

The following was my answer to a post by Vance Koven on another "network".
But thought it might be of interest here too.

1) The Wahl Company traces back to its history and the manufacturer of the
Wahl Calculator, which they manufactured primarily as an add-on calculator
for the Remington Typewriter Co ( and a few others before they became
dedicated to the Remington production) which made invoicing and ledger
card posting on the typewriter possible, took their by then
considerable financial strength and bout out the rights to the under
financed and struggling Eversharp mechanical pencil from Charles
Keeran of Chicago in 1915 for $50,000 and some Wahl Company stock.

2) Thus having gotten into the writing instrument business they put
their muscle behind it and sold a few million units in the first 2
years of production. After the relative perfection of the self
filling fountain pen, they purchased a large amount (almost all) of
the assets of the then financially strapped Boston Safety Pen Company
in 1918 for $50,000.

3) The Pencils were always called Eversharp. When they bought the pen
designs, machinery and materials and went into the Pen business, they
labeled all of the pens Wahl.

4) The first pens with no variation from the Boston's, (including the
same stock numbers) were sold as Wahl "Tempoint" Pens. In the early
days of the Wahl Pen, as Vance has stated, the leverage they got out
of the Eversharp reputation was used to lend credibility to the
quality and reliability of the Wahl Fountain pens. Eventually the
reputation of the fountain pens was adequate to stand on its own, and
by that time the elision of the names came about. And eventually the
Wahl Company (which was always the corporate name up to the mid 30's)
was merged into a new corporation : Eversharp, Inc.

5) Now, back to the original question...The common opinion amongst
those who have studied the company in some detail is that the
appearance of the Wahl name on the Skyline pens almost 7 years after
it was "dropped" from common use, was a legal necessity to produce
something with the name on it to demonstrate that the name had not
been abandoned. The length of production of the Wahl Skylines is
believed to be no more than a few months in duration. They are few in
number and condition for condition command about a 50% premium over
the standard upper end Skylines , or about $150 -$175.

When, in order to preserve the Wahl and Eversharp name for all of us
to use freely (back when the Paul Wirt name was commandeered by one
Pen entity and the use of the name by anyone else was threatened by
warnings about infringement," in about 2004, I filed with the USPTO
for the rights to the Trade Name Eversharp, Wahl, and Wahl-Eversharp,
as I thought perhaps the names were abandoned too. Not so. The
Parker Pen Company has continued to maintain its rights to the names
up to this day. There is a smallish law firm in Chicago that
continues to re-file/re-register the names in adequate time to keep
their rights to it alive. They even licensed the name to the French
company that made the reproduction Skylines a few years back.

Enough already, right?

Like I said Vance got almost all of this right, so a Gold Star on his
report card!

Syd the Wahlnut
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#2 Richard

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 18:22

The Wahl Skylines are indeed an interesting piece of the company's production history. I finally snagged one back in September, and I'm a happy camper. smile.gif


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#3 Farace

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 21:28

Syd, I have always assumed (a dangerous thing to be sure) that the Eversharp that Schick bought and put that name on injector razors and blades was the same company. Is this a correct belief?
One of the razors I use on occasion is marked Eversharp Schick.
--Bob Farace
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#4 Wahlnut

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 05:25

Yes indeed,
Eversharp, Inc. bought Magazine Repeating Razor Company in 1946. This was the company originally founder by Colonel Schick in the 19teens, and when Eversharp bought it in 1946, they changed to name to Schick and then tried a number of name adjustments to get the Eversharp name into the brand name. There's a lot more history about what happened at Eversharp in the late '40s relating to their corporate successes and failures. While they busted out on the Ball Point due to Costs of original patents ($1.6MM, and the follow through on repairing faulty CA pens, and other boondoggles, the the Eversharp Schick division carried forward for decades more.

Syd

QUOTE(Farace @ Jan 12 2008, 01:28 PM) View Post
Syd, I have always assumed (a dangerous thing to be sure) that the Eversharp that Schick bought and put that name on injector razors and blades was the same company. Is this a correct belief?
One of the razors I use on occasion is marked Eversharp Schick.


Syd "the Wahlnut" Saperstein
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#5 Roger W.

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 07:04

QUOTE(Wahlnut @ Jan 12 2008, 06:07 PM) View Post
2) Thus having gotten into the writing instrument business they put
their muscle behind it and sold a few million units in the first 2
years of production. After the relative perfection of the self
filling fountain pen, they purchased a large amount (almost all) of
the assets of the then financially strapped Boston Safety Pen Company
in 1918 for $50,000.

Syd the Wahlnut


Syd;

Going from memory I'd say it was 1917. Anyway, an excerp from the text Patricia Lofti sent me of her article (then in progress) with Fultz (Pennant 2003 forget which one) bears this out;

"Wahl's president, C. S. Roberts, finally decided to try to renegotiate the acquisition of Boston Safety. After Christmas, 1916, he and Keeran traveled to Boston and tendered $25,000 to Charles Brandt to buy the pen company. Brandt rejected their offer. Roberts had additional funds wired to him and tendered the agreed $50,000 to exercise Keeran's option. Brandt again rejected the money and declined to sell. Roberts hired Boston counsel and eventually prevailed on Brandt to consummate the sale in January 1917."

Roger W.

#6 Wahlnut

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 08:02

Roger,
Of course you are correct. It was 1917 not 1918...no excuse, fat fingers.

The info you cite is corroborated by another source. According to Bob Bolin's research (he's a Pencil historian, and incidentally a Keeran buff and prof at U of Nebraska), Keeran had negotiated an option to purchase the Boston Safety Pen Company for $50,000 on a 60 day option dated September 19, 1916. The option was extended on November 18th 1916 for another 60 days expiring on January 17, 1917. CS Roberts the then president of Wahl and Keeran left Chicago on the Century train on December 26th 1916 to exercise the option, but Roberts thought that Brandt would take $25k and run. (Rob Astyk has some data that indicates that the Brandts were in a financial bind due to some restrained credit by a Bank (I have to look that part up. As is his nature he suspects collusion between the Bank and other forces trying to squeeze the Brandts. But I cant verify that...Rob likes drama)

Any way thanks for the correction. I'm on a diet and soon my fingers will not be so fat!

Syd

T
QUOTE(Roger W. @ Jan 12 2008, 11:04 PM) View Post
QUOTE(Wahlnut @ Jan 12 2008, 06:07 PM) View Post
2) Thus having gotten into the writing instrument business they put
their muscle behind it and sold a few million units in the first 2
years of production. After the relative perfection of the self
filling fountain pen, they purchased a large amount (almost all) of
the assets of the then financially strapped Boston Safety Pen Company
in 1918 for $50,000.

Syd the Wahlnut


Syd;

Going from memory I'd say it was 1917. Anyway, an excerp from the text Patricia Lofti sent me of her article (then in progress) with Fultz (Pennant 2003 forget which one) bears this out;

"Wahl's president, C. S. Roberts, finally decided to try to renegotiate the acquisition of Boston Safety. After Christmas, 1916, he and Keeran traveled to Boston and tendered $25,000 to Charles Brandt to buy the pen company. Brandt rejected their offer. Roberts had additional funds wired to him and tendered the agreed $50,000 to exercise Keeran's option. Brandt again rejected the money and declined to sell. Roberts hired Boston counsel and eventually prevailed on Brandt to consummate the sale in January 1917."

Roger W.

Edited by Wahlnut, 13 January 2008 - 08:04.

Syd "the Wahlnut" Saperstein
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#7 Roger W.

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 22:56

2) Thus having gotten into the writing instrument business they put
their muscle behind it and sold a few million units in the first 2
years of production. After the relative perfection of the self
filling fountain pen, they purchased a large amount (almost all) of
the assets of the then financially strapped Boston Safety Pen Company
in 1918 for $50,000.


4) The first pens with no variation from the Boston's, (including the
same stock numbers) were sold as Wahl "Tempoint" Pens. In the early
days of the Wahl Pen, as Vance has stated, the leverage they got out
of the Eversharp reputation was used to lend credibility to the
quality and reliability of the Wahl Fountain pens. Eventually the
reputation of the fountain pens was adequate to stand on its own, and
by that time the elision of the names came about. And eventually the
Wahl Company (which was always the corporate name up to the mid 30's)
was merged into a new corporation : Eversharp, Inc.



Syd the Wahlnut


Statement 2 is incorrect as Wahl was only making well less than 1,000 pencils a day as they were not living up to their production promises to Charles Keeran (per Keeran's 1928 letter). As Wahl only started production in October of 1915 at 200 pencils a day for the holiday trade it is unlikely that Wahl produced over 500,000 pencils in the first two years. Per the City of Boston's tax records it is clear that Wahl bought 100% of Boston Fountain. There is little hard evidence that assets went elsewhere. Factually, we know that personnel went to Moore Pen (the old American Fountain Pen Company). As Moore made identical pens to original Boston Fountain pens it is a safe assumption that patterns migrated with the personnel. There is absolutely no substantiation that any other assets went to Moore so statements to that effect must be discounted to zero unless other evidence can be offered up. Further, the pen is the Boston Safety Fountain Pen and the company is the Boston Fountain Pen Company (the company never has the word "Safety" in it).

Statement 4 is incorrect as well. In an interview with Printer's Ink in 1919 Wahl states - "It was found early in the campaign that Tempoint could not shine with the reflected glory of Eversharp. In fact the company did not want it to shine in that way." When we go back to the original Tempoints Wahl wanted to trade on the reputation of Boston as the boxes clearly state that Wahl Tempoints were formally known as the Boston Safety Fountain Pen. So in looking at statement 2 by the time Wahl purchased Boston in January 1917 in the 15 months that the Eversharp pencil was in actual production their market share was dependant on its demonstrative competitive advantage of being a pencil that was unequalled to that point. However, being in the pencil business for a mere 15 months did not and could not be brought to bear to influence the sale of Tempoints. Wahl got NO leverage from the Eversharp name to sell the Tempoint pen. One might argue that it was more logical that Wahl was trying to get into Boston's distribution channels as they were well established in major department stores across the country. I won't go as far as that because it is clear that Wahl did not capitalize on that as production of the Tempoint languished badly after the purchase and production only starts on the Tempoint in the fourth quarter of 1917 - almost a year after the sale. Also, it is clear that the pencil sold itself fairly well and would not have depended upon Boston's distribution channels though it may have played a part in desiring to purchase Boston originally. It wasn't until 1919 that Wahl was making a lot of money. They had worked out their production problems per Frary by this time so, late 1915 thru 1918 there is not significant Wahl production of writing intruments there was still significant production of the Wahl adding machine. By 1919 Wahl fully transitioned to writing instruments selling the adding machine to Remington TYpewriter in 1920 at a book loss.

Edited by Roger W., 20 March 2010 - 01:52.


#8 Wahlnut

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 19:23

Well, this old thread from 2008 that you have added to here predates more recent discovery(ies) of late like the purchase of the Boston Fountain Pen Company as a stock purchase and not an asset purchase, so thanks for the update, Roger.

Lets go through your post to come into alignment on at least some of these points:

Roger : Statement 2 is incorrect as Wahl was only making well less than 1,000 pencils a day as they were not living up to their production promises to Charles Keeran (per Keeran's 1928 letter). As Wahl only started production in October of 1915 at 200 pencils a day for the holiday trade it is unlikely that Wahl produced over 500,000 pencils in the first two years.
Seems reasonable to me. At the time of the original post the production numbers were coming from other articles on the Wahl Company (not the de facto biased Keeran letter) that stated such numbers during the first few years. the bulk of which perhaps after Keeran was gone from Wahl

Roger: Per the City of Boston's tax records it is clear that Wahl bought 100% of Boston Fountain. There is little hard evidence that assets went elsewhere. Factually, we know that personnel went to Moore Pen (the old American Fountain Pen Company). As Moore made identical pens to original Boston Fountain pens it is a safe assumption that patterns migrated with the personnel. There is absolutely no substantiation that any other assets went to Moore so statements to that effect must be discounted to zero unless other evidence can be offered up.

That Moore got some equipment came from Boston was information from Rob Astik, who has done some serious work on pen history. But in your update here, I think it stands to reason that until more definitive information comes to light we can agree that if Moore got equipment out of the deal it was before the deal was finished or after the deal was conumated in which case it would have come from Wahl and not Boston.

Roger: Statement 4 is incorrect as well. In an interview with Printer's Ink in 1919 Wahl states - "It was found early in the campaign that Tempoint could not shine with the reflected glory of Eversharp. In fact the company did not want it to shine in that way."

With due respect to the author of that article, The Wahl Company ads of that period place the pen and the pencil side by side on the same page and reading left to right the pencil came first as it was on the left and they were characterized as the Eversharp Pencil and the Tempoint pen "Right Hand Friends for Life". It was not until early 1919 that the Tempoint Pen was advertised by itself alone in Wahl advertisements. Hey that's not very scientific I know, but we are dealing in speculative pen forensics here sometimes.

Roger: When we go back to the original Tempoints Wahl wanted to trade on the reputation of Boston as the boxes clearly state that Wahl Tempoints were formally known as the Boston Safety Fountain Pen.

EARLY TEMPOINTS (as in the first six to 9 months or even year of production...Yes this is correct. The connection to Boston was dropped early on in Tempoint times. It is a bit of a stretch to say that Wahl was doing much more than trying not to lose the Boston business by not telling people that they were carrying on that pen.

Roger: So in looking at statement 2 by the time Wahl purchased Boston in January 1917 in the 15 months that the Eversharp pencil was in actual production their market share was dependant on its demonstrative competitive advantage of being a pencil that was unequalled to that point. However, being in the pencil business for a mere 15 months did not and could not be brought to bear to influence the sale of Tempoints. Wahl got NO leverage from the Eversharp name to sell the Tempoint pen.

Not sure about that one. Mr. Keeran was developing the brand since 1913, the pencil was exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, etc. However by the time Whal went into the fountain pen business, they had 5 years of exposure, and certainly did have leverage with their pencil dealers to at least work on them to stock the Tempoint fountain pens. It is well used tactic to influence dealers to stock up because the public was being told to come to them for an item. When I was a youth in Banking the credit card business was brand new. The merchants were told to sign up to accept credit cards because there were tens of thousands of card carrying consumers out there and at the same time we were advertising to consumers to sign up for credit cards because there were thousands of merchants ready to take their cards.

Roger: It wasn't until 1919 that Wahl was making a lot of money. They had worked out their production problems per Frary by this time so, late 1915 thru 1918 there is not significant Wahl production of writing intruments there was still significant production of the Wahl adding machine. By 1919 Wahl fully transitioned to writing instruments selling the adding machine to Remington TYpewriter in 1920 at a book loss.

Agreed

Syd: Generally, while we both quote Keeran's letter, we should be careful not to put too much stock in everything he says. Keeran's letter was meant to point out that he was screwed, blued and tattooed by Wahl, Roberts and the Wahl board and cheated out of his just due and eventually forced out of the company. His letter is therefore (without other facts to the contrary) biased to say the least and the work of a disgruntled employee. For Keeran to justify his position someone other than he had to be to blame and his case states that it was Wahl Adding Machine Company its officers and board who were guilty of under-producing and unable to match his sales. It is his estimate of the production numbers that we are talking about here it seems. But how many pencils Wahl actually made is not absolutely clear. I have to say that 2 million as I first reported is dubious.
Syd
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#9 Roger W.

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 22:29

Syd;

Agreed that Keeran has to be appoached cautiously but, Wahl comments (Frary in particular) don't dispute Keeran on most points. Wahl tends to discount Keeran's part but, not the other facts surrounding the business particularly production problems.

As to Astyk's comments on Moore getting the heavy equipment that is pure speculation on his part as he has no more evidence than the fact the Tempoints and Moore's are identical/similar. That Moore as American Fountain Pen Co. already manufactured pens and probably would only need equipment for increased production discounts their need to acquire machinery. We have no data from Moore that increases in production occurred at that time period. Wahl didn't make pens but, pencils and was likely to need machines specific to the task and rail shipping the machines to Chicago was probably as easy as selling them to Moore. We know Wahl bought all of Boston so they owned the machinery and there is no documentation of a sale of said machinery to Moore.

It certainly seems to be part of Wahl's tactic to sell pens and pencils together and due to their relience on the pencil this is a Wahl innovation to sell writing intruments as sets. Sheaffer quickly respnded to the idea with giftie sets in 1919. If Wahl wasn't in disarray as to their future in 1917 I think we would have seen more innovation and direction which took a year or two to emerge. By the time Wahl goes to the all metal pen in 1922 they are clearly a leader in the market.

Roger W.

#10 Roger W.

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 01:51

Syd;

Yes it is an older thread which brings up an interesting topic. Should, especially with threads that are establishing company history, we go back up try to keep them updated? I'd hate to write a book for the simple reason you will not get all the facts right but, there it is in print. The beauty of threads and maybe more to wiki's and my website (which I'm tardy on updating) is that incorrect items can be fixed constantly. Early history of Wahl is going to have very few threads extant so maybe we do try to update each as people do read thru them at a later date and often don't comment. Therefore, if they read an old thread they could rely on that and be in error if more has been found.

So, what responsibility should we take on updating old threads that are often packed with good information to be updated?

Roger W.

#11 Wahlnut

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 03:16

Good question Roger. No doubt about it. It is good to update any topic or thread with new facts regardless of how old the original topic is. And as you may be alluding to, there should be a way to gather all relavent posts as they come up into a sub-folder in the Wahl Eversharp forum, but I am not sure if that can be done. I will look into that though. Good thing about FPN is that old topics newly replied to bump to the top of the posts list as yours did here for all to see.
Thanks for the input.
Syd
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#12 jde

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 14:06

What about a pinned index of sorts on pertinent history (& maybe frequently asked questions)? I'd be willing to assist in scouring through the posts and compiling.

Uh, not that I know anything, but it helps me learn, ya know?
Best,
Julie

Edited by jde, 21 March 2010 - 15:34.

 
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#13 Roger W.

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 19:43

Julie;

Thanks for the offer - I don't know how things need to proceed.

Syd;

One more try one my point about the pencil supporting the pen. Yes Wahl tried to sell them together. Yes, the pencil was the hot thing. But, my point is that a pencil that had been really in full production for 15 months really only has enough fame to help itself. I think that is what Wahl is saying in the Printer's Ink article. I also think linking pens with pencils was new in 1918/1919 and that most purchasers were still either/or and not buying sets (you see that in the catalogues - sets are on option but they aren't page one until the 30's). So when Wahl says they wanted the pen to stand on it's own it is saying it wanted to be in the pen market and not just the pencil market as I don't really think it was the writing instruments market yet - though that was clearly coming. That seems to be the status into the 1920's as Sheaffer and Wahl both had turnings in pencils that you couldn't get in the pens - clearly pencils were still a different market than pens. By the 1926 Sheaffer regularly matches pens and pencils which is a practice Wahl had had for some time. Even when Wahl is commenting in 1919 and articles in 1920 and 1921 it is already a bit retrospective - the fame of the pencil was clear to everyone to see. In 1918 Wahl was still selling the adding machine, pencils and pens with revenues of $1.4 million. The pencil volume drives this company but not yet in 1918 so the fame of the pencil can't possibly help the pen much in 1918. In 1919 the pencil really takes off with gross revenues of $3.7 million which can only be attributed to the pencil though they are still selling adding machines and pens (and brake parts but there is no sense to how this influences the bottom line). By 1926 Wahl is still a volume pencil maker with 12 million pencils being sold compared to 3 million pens so, they were obviously not matching them up even still though by this time the pencils reputation could clearly reflect on the pen whose innovations had been few. In 1926 Wahl finally figured out that hard rubber pens were not going to continue as that is the year they sold their rubber company. Anyway, Tempoint did not get a lot of traction from the pencil and I think Wahl made the wise move in 1921 to drop Tempoint call it the Wahl and go to the all metal pen in 1922 (which Sheaffer would have by 1924).

Roger W.






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