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National Pen Co.: Comprehensive list?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 rroossinck

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 15:25

Does anyone have the line on a comprehensive list of National sub-brands on the web somewhere?

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#2 Maja

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 16:27

QUOTE (rroossinck @ Jul 31 2008, 08:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone have the line on a comprehensive list of National sub-brands on the web somewhere?

Hi Ryan,

From this page:

--Lincoln
--Gold Medal
--Gold Crown
--Gold Bond
--Good Service oversize flattops

Edited by Maja, 31 July 2008 - 16:27.

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#3 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 16:36

QUOTE (rroossinck @ Jul 31 2008, 08:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone have the line on a comprehensive list of National sub-brands on the web somewhere?


I don't think we really know. There are a few obvious ones, but it is not really that clear. In fact, I am not sure we know that National really made many of the pens we think they made. Michael Fultz might have a better handle on it.

Part of what makes it uncertain is C.E. Barrett. Barrett was mainly a parts-maker for pens. His company turned parts that were used by National, as well as many other penmakers. He had a hand in the Chicago iteration of AA Waterman, in Century (which he later aquired) and in Kraker's pen-making business, and god knows what else.

I think there is an assumption that any pen that follows a certain pattern of construction (lever design, floral clip, flat-top or stepped ends) was made by National. However, many of these features can also be found in Dixie, Yankee and PenCraft pens that were at least assembled and sold by George Kraker's Micheal-George co. So I am not sure that all the pens we lump under "National" are actually verified National brands, as opposed to pens with parts made by C.E. Barrett. I often described those pens as National/C.E.Barrett to highlight the uncertainty.

Also complicating the list is the fact that many of these pens were made for retailers and sold under retail brands, so the brands were not the property of National and may have been made by other manufacturers over the years. Good Service, Webster and Diamond Medal were all brands owned by Sears, and were made by National/C.E.Barrett, by Wirt, by Parker, and possibly by C.E. Barrett Co. (I suspect that his company made the 1940s Websters, but I am not sure). Gold Bond, Lakeside and Wardright were both, I believe, brands of Montgomery Ward which are associated with National, but I think I have seen some Gold Bonds that were clearly Wahl Dorics. So keeping track of all the brands and their permutations gets complicated. Add to this the claim by Bruce Speary "It has been said if you ordered 100 pens they would put any name you wanted on them" and you have a lot of potential pens made by them.(From W-B Pens and Watches)

It would be a great project to pull all the National/C.E. Barrett brands together, first focusing on the ones that actually carry the National name, then on all the suspected ones and related companies.

There was also another National Pen Products corporation of Tennessee or some such - which owned the trademark for Tuckersharpe in the 1950s or 60s (have to check my records on that). I doubt they were part of the Chicago National Pen Co, but it is possible.

Of the brands I know that seem to fall in the National/C.E. Barrett octopus:

National
Good Service (also made by Parker)
Webster (though there were at least 5 different makers and 3 different Webster brands - see comment below)
Diamond Medal (also made by Parker)
Big Ben (short lived Sears pen)
Gold Bond
Gold Medal
Gold Metal (yes, different spelling, and imprinted with the C.E. Barrett Co. name - appear to be 1940s styling).
Lakeside
Wardright
Lincoln (though there was an earlier Lincoln as well)
New Lincoln
C.E. Barrett

I can't remember if the Blue Jay or Blue Ribbon pens were National/Barrett - I think the Blue Ribbon Pens were.

I also would speculate that Barrett may have made the Thompson flat-tops sold in midwest drug-stores - they look a lot like a C.E. Barrett pen on Bruce Speary's website that was labelled for the "Owl" drug store, and it fits the Barrett pattern.

John

PS - Webster is particularly tricky, as there were at least 2-3 Webster brands as well as the Sear's Webster brand. They include:
Webster Pen Co, of New York, which made eyedroppers (according to Bruce Speary - Webster Fountain Pen Profile at W-B Watches and Pens)
The Webster brand of the Rex Manufacturing company of Providence Rhode Island
The Webster brand of Sears, which were made by Paul Wirt (suspected) then National/Barrett, then Parker, and finally another manufacturer, which I suspect was the C.E. Barrett Co.)

Edited by Johnny Appleseed, 31 July 2008 - 16:45.

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#4 rroossinck

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 16:38

Thanks Maja...it's a start, at least.

I have a feeling that this might be an un-answerable question, because there may have been so many different brands.

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#5 Maja

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 16:51

QUOTE (rroossinck @ Jul 31 2008, 09:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks Maja...it's a start, at least.

I have a feeling that this might be an un-answerable question, because there may have been so many different brands.

embarrassed_smile.gif
I just posted first---Johnny A. did all the legwork ... wink.gif

But thanks for starting the topic, Ryan; I looked on LionandPen.com and found some fascinating discussions there about the National Pen Co.
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#6 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 16:54

QUOTE (Maja @ Jul 31 2008, 09:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (rroossinck @ Jul 31 2008, 09:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks Maja...it's a start, at least.

I have a feeling that this might be an un-answerable question, because there may have been so many different brands.

embarrassed_smile.gif
I just posted first---Johnny A. did all the legwork ... wink.gif

But thanks for starting the topic, Ryan; I looked on LionandPen.com and found some fascinating discussions there about the National Pen Co.


Yes - I suspect Dave Johannson will not be far behind in chiming in on this. He sparked a lot of discussion about National and the C.E. Barrett octopus over on L&P.

John
So if you have a lot of ink,
You should get a Yink, I think.

- Dr Suess

Always looking for pens by Baird-North, Charles Ingersoll, and nibs marked "CHI"

#7 rroossinck

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 18:55

Paging Mister Johannson...smile.gif

Great stuff, John.

*Sweet! 3000th post!

Edited by rroossinck, 31 July 2008 - 18:56.


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#8 Maja

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Posted 03 August 2008 - 08:33

There is an excellent (and brand-new) article on "Big Box" brands (or "house brand" pens) and the companies (including National Pen Products Company of Chicago) that made pens for these larger retailers, on Richard Binder's excellent website:

http://richardspens....info/bigbox.htm
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#9 david i

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 14:40

QUOTE (Maja @ Jul 31 2008, 12:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (rroossinck @ Jul 31 2008, 08:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone have the line on a comprehensive list of National sub-brands on the web somewhere?

Hi Ryan,

From this page:

--Lincoln
--Gold Medal
--Gold Crown
--Gold Bond
--Good Service oversize flattops


While National made pens for these labels, It seems (ahhh, a nebulous phrase) that some pens were made by other companies for these labels as well. In some cases, perhaps the labels were not owned by National, but instead National is just the best (?) known producer for those labels. There are Gold Bond pens that seem to be Wahl product, for example. Good Service made by Parker, for another. Webster made by Parker, etc.

regards

david

#10 diezysiete

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 21:42

Hi, I saw in Ebay Spain a few FP, button filler, engraved onto the bodie "The Warranted Pen USA". It is possible that the manufacturer of this pen was National Pen Products? I can´t found any info about this brand. Excuse my english!!
regards
Rodrigo

#11 Happy Harry

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:51

A photo of the nib and feed is needed or a link to the ebay auction.

#12 diezysiete

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 21:48

A photo of the nib and feed is needed or a link to the ebay auction.


Thanks HHarry! The pen is belong now to a partner from a spanish pen forum. Its carried a Conway Stewart nib, not the way to identify. Here a photo.
Regards!

Posted Image

Posted Image


Rodrigo

#13 Happy Harry

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 01:33

A photo of the nib and feed is needed or a link to the ebay auction.


Thanks HHarry! The pen is belong now to a partner from a spanish pen forum. Its carried a Conway Stewart nib, not the way to identify. Here a photo.
Regards!

Posted Image

Posted Image


Rodrigo


I don't think it's a National made pen.






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