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Morton Pens


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40 replies to this topic

#1 antoniosz

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 23:09

Can anyone point me/share information regarding the Morton Pens?

Thanks,

AZ

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#2 rhr

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 21:56

Hi AZ,

You asked whether anyone could point you to or share information regarding Morton Pens. Are you talking about A. Morton & Co., a penmaker who made gold nibs and penholders, or another penmaker who made fountain pens?

Have you got any pics?

George.
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#3 antoniosz

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 22:31

Hi George, I am not sure about the exact name. It is a "series" of flattops than I have been accumulating. Nice nibs some Morton most Warranted #8 (all have the same "funny" cut). A box that I have just says Morton pen set.
Here there are:

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Antonios

Edited by antoniosz, 10 February 2007 - 05:22.


#4 rhr

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 03:01

Antonios,

I can help with A. Morton & Co., but not the Morton fountain pen company, one of those penmakers that has slipped through the cracks and hasn't been documented very well.

Your pens and pencil look like the ones produced by any of a number of short-lived, second-tier, so-called "No Name" pen companies of the 1920s and 30s. Is there any clue as to city or state of manufacture? If the pens were made in Chicago, then I would venture a guess that they were made by C. E. Barrett & Co., which made parts for pens such as the "Century", "Diamond Medal", "Gold Bond", "Gold Crown", "Gold Medal", "Good Service", "Lakeside", "Lincoln", "National", "New Lincoln", "Webster", etc. Another similar penmaker was Eclipse, a company with dual ownership, one that was based in New York and the other in Toronto.

Wearever is another company that produced those kinds of pens. Frank Dubiel was one of the biggest collectors of Wearevers. And now, too, so is Dennis Lively. Dennis has a theory that the "Onward" and "Pioneer" pens were made by Wearever. Something similar may have happened with the "Morton", but it could also have been a stand-alone company. You're lucky that you have the box and pencil, because it shows that they didn't just produce pens, and what their company logo looks like. And the "Morton" nibs show that the company was idealistic and determined enough to get nibs marked with their own name, at one time.

These pens have sometimes been called "low-quality pens" and "junk pens", but not by me. I collect rhr pens and pencils and penholders exclusively, and quite a few of the pens in my collection fall in this category. The book on these pens is still to be written, but it's funny that two other Canadians that I know of are big collectors of these pens, and one of them is seriously interested in doing a book on these much-neglected pen companies.

George.
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#5 antoniosz

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 20:44

I posted it in PT since I snatched it from the green board.
But thematically it should have been in this thread.
My Morton flock grew by a "Mandarin yellow" with a transplanted W5 Waterman's nib. So now I have to find out about those incredible W5 nibs ....

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#6 wimg

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 21:33

Hi Antonios,

Lovely pens, those Mortons. Does the celluloid of the one on the pink paper, which I assume is the third one from the right in the pen tray, resemble the celluloid of the Etruria Majestic by any chance?

Here's a pic:
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I just love that creamy color with the deep blue interspersed, and I understand the Majestic was made from some ancient stock. Just wondering whether it could be from the same original supplier.

TIA,
kind regards,
Wim

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#7 antoniosz

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 21:44

I do not think it is exactly the same stock but there is resemblance.
It is definitely a lovely pattern.

AZ

#8 wimg

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 21:51

I've only seen three pens so far with this type of celluloid, the Majestic, a Tibaldi, and now your Morton.

Lovely indeed.

Thanks for sharing!

Kind regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
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#9 chris burton

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 05:08

Are you talking about A. Morton & Co., a penmaker who made gold nibs and penholders

Hi George (and everyone else),

Might you tell me a little bit about A. Morton and Co.? I just got a Franklin in the mail and it has a nib that is marked (from memory) Morton First Quality New York. Or something like that. I'll take another look when I get home. The Franklin that it is in is an early one and I'm wondering if it might be original to the pen.

much thanks,
Chris

#10 chris burton

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 20:51

Here's the mhr Franklin that the nib is in...

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and here's a pic of the A. Morton nib. 1st quality New York N23

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Edited by chris burton, 06 March 2005 - 22:14.


#11 rhr

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 09:23

Hi Chris,

I have been attending a local antique show over the weekend, so I apologize for my tardy response. I found only one Parker 75 at the show, five flex and italic Estie nibs, and a nice flowery box of 10 flexy steel barrel nibs. Someone also gave me a traveling ink in a wooden-tube case as a present, and I did some pen appraising. I also had a nice visit with Glenn "Lourdman" Craig, and a nice Canadian roast beef dinner with all the antiques dealers. I had a great time.

Your Morton nib can be repaired, but it might cost as much as a replacement nib. Only go down the repair route if you can't find another nib, or if you have a sentimental attachment to the pen. By the way, the nib is a No. 3, not a N.23 nib. The abbreviation "No." is written in the old-fashioned way as a raised letter "o" with a line under it. Some of the fountain pen holders in those days were sold without nibs, and it was quite acceptable to use any nib that fit the holder, even steel nibs that corroded quickly and had to be replaced often before they expanded and welded themselves into immobility. In fact, some of the early patents for fountain pens explicitly state that any nib, whether gold or steel, could be used in their pens.

Here's a bit of info on A. Morton & Co., but please allow the dates a little leeway. Wherever there is a tilde sign, please read "about", or "approximately". A little more research still has to be done to fine-tune the time frames.

A. Morton & Co., gold pens, gold and silver pencil & pen cases, in business since ~1848, listed at 25 Maiden Lane, New York, N. Y. since 1859, Alexander Morton, ~1848-90, Persons P. Allen, 1860-61, James Morton, ~1890-1910, successor to Alexander Morton, Victorine C. Morton, ~1910-22, successor to Alexander and James Morton, the 1910 trademark that was listed under her name was said to have been in use since 1848, and the company was out of business by ~1920-22.

Take care,

George.

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#12 chris burton

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 04:43

A. Morton & Co., gold pens, gold and silver pencil & pen cases, in business since ~1848, listed at 25 Maiden Lane, New York, N. Y. since 1859, Alexander Morton, ~1848-90, Persons P. Allen, 1860-61, James Morton, ~1890-1910, successor to Alexander Morton, Victorine C. Morton, ~1910-22, successor to Alexander and James Morton, the 1910 trademark that was listed under her name was said to have been in use since 1848, and the company was out of business by ~1920-22.

Hi George,

Sounds like you had a nice weekend. Thanks for the info on A. Morton and Co. I hadn't heard of them before. I'll keep an eye out for a replacement nib, but will probably just put a Franklin nib in it. I think I have a couple of early ones around here somewhere.

as always, much thanks,
Chris

#13 rhr

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:57

TFPN member Thomas Neureither, burnt out and a little bit tired of the short half-life of the chat on other pen websites, wrote to me backchannel on Mar 28 that he found this thread interesting because it touched upon his area of collecting. He asked me to post this on his behalf.

He is trying to collect the history of fountain-pen production in his hometown, Heidelberg, Germany, and the most important firm there in the first quarter of the 1900s is Kaweco. They started importing Morton nibs and fountain pens from NY around 1899. In 1913, Kaweco bought the Morton factory and the rights to produce under the trademark. In March 1914, the engineers and representatives of Morton came to Heidelberg with production machines and taught the Kaweco workers how to produce their own gold nibs with Morton know-how, and Kaweco changed over to the Morton nib-producing system. When WW1 began, the Americans returned to NY, but Kaweco bought the machines and the rights to produce under Morton's well-reputed trademark for the next few years. By the time they left in 1915, they were enthusiastic that the quality of the Heidelberg gold nibs imprinted with Kaweco or Morton was as good as the American Morton nibs. The first nib craftsmen for Kaweco were Hermann Böhler and Peter Rupp. Hermann Böhler together with his brother Georg founded their own writing equipment factory, Osmia, in the same neighborhood, and after the first bankruptcy of Kaweco, Peter Rupp founded a gold nib factory, the nibs with the lion head. It all makes for a very nice story from the first times when they still had good co-operations across the big pond.

George.

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#14 antoniosz

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Posted 28 May 2005 - 00:43

I am following up on the origin of the n-tier Morton pens that I have been obsessed with for a while.

So here is my latest find. The "caligraphy" of Morton is the same with the older ones, and the pen which appears to be uninked by the way has the typical Morrison early piston filler.

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Edited by antoniosz, 10 February 2007 - 05:26.


#15 antoniosz

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 02:41

One more piece of the puzzle

I have also had this interesting Morton pen for a while

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which is "similar" to this Morrison pen (which by the way it is a sterling silver one - while the morton is silver-chrome)

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Tonight I also noticed that there is a patent number printed on a page inside my MORTON pen's box. (82,897 - actually it is D82,897 D for design). So I looked over at the USPTO and I found that the patent holder is a L. Morrison (check D82897)
So the connection between Morton and Morrison is well established.
Of course there are many pieces of the puzzle to be solved.
Was Morton always a sub-brand of Morrison (like WASP of Sheaffer)?
Or was an independent company that was bought by Morrison.
It is interesting to note that the MORTON above was marked as made by UNION FOUNTAIN PEN Co., New York, not by Morrison Fountain Pen Co. as my other pen shown in the previous posting.
Well, I will figure it out, eventually.

Edited by antoniosz, 31 March 2007 - 19:02.


#16 philm

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 04:42

Same problem I am having with Marathon, though I think they were both parts of Morrison, whether purchased or started by them. I love this stuff by my notebook of leads and ideas is getting thick.

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#17 philm

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 04:25

Antoniosz,

I have another question on this whole Morrison, Morton, Marathon puzzle. In reading up on the Morrison Patriot Pen, am I correct to assume that it was produced by this same Morrison Fountain Pen Company?

One FP site mentioned that it was produced by the Morison (1 r) Pen Co which was/is based in Japan. My thought is that this is an error. Pictures I have seen of the Patriot have it with 2rs. Also, I can't imagine this being done.

Not trying to muddy the waters, just trying to make a little sense of these relatioships.

You have given me good evidence of the Morrison/Morton/Marathon ties, though as you mention, the exact dates and business relationships (acquisition, merger, purchase of name, subsidiary...) are still unknown. Thanks for all of the footwork. I love a good mystery. I have traced all of my geneology and my wife's. I need a new project.

philm

#18 antoniosz

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 18:40

Yes the Patriot was made by Morrison.

I am not sure but I do not think there is a connection between Morrison and Morison Japan (or is it Mori-son? :)).

But the way, Roxy, Arrow, Morton (and possibly Jefferson) etc. in addition to Morton appear to be sub-brands of Morrison.

#19 philm

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 19:08

Thanks. At least Roxy and Arrow (maybe Jefferson) don't begin with M (Morton and Marathon). It would have been to much for me to keep straight if they had more affiliates beginning with M. I will keep looking.

#20 philm

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 04:49

Follow up / I just picked up a lever fill Roxy and you were right, it was made by Morrison. The paper work in the box refers to the Morrison Fountain Pen Company, 79 Fifth Avenue, NY NY USA Also says that Morrison was established in 1910.

Here is a picture of the pen, box, and instructions. I look forward to a picture of an Arrow or Jefferson :) :) from someone.

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