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The Equi-Poised Post


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#1 Wahlnut

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 08:14

This is an edited re-post of a post that appeared on Pentrace many moons ago about the possible progression of the Equi-poised pens.

The first Undisputed Equi-Poised Pen was the one that looks amazingly like the Sheaffer Balance. Here we will call it Type 1.
Posted Image
Here it is in real life:
Posted Image
Notice how sharp the end point of the cap (and barrel not shown)

The Type 2 Equipoised is like the type 1 but with blunted ends:
Posted Image

Next Comes the Type 3 which has the ends "cobbled" onto what looks like a gold seal flat top barrel and cap.
Posted Image
Many people are not sure what this pen is and that perhaps it is not an Equi-poised pen at all. Some tradition has it that it was indeed an Equi-poised pen that was radically different enough from the prior 2 Equi-poised pens that Sheaffer would no longer see it as an infringement on their design, even if the word Equi-poised was still defined by Wahl as meaning "equally balanced",

Next what we would now refer to the type 4. comes
Posted Image
This is the one people have seen described in the literature as the Gold Seal Personal point. It is in the Catalog in 1932 described just that way. But the advertising for this very pen in December 1930 shows it definitely called Equi-poised.
Posted Image

Next comes the Type 5 which is shown in the 1932 Catalog supplement
Posted Image

Here it is in real life:Posted Image


Syd


1/14/12
New information has been posted that establishes the legal dispute and cease and desist order that is to some degree responsible for the above variations to in part placate Sheaffer over the Equi-Poised versus Balance issue. Full details are shown here at FPB . We will add the legal matters only to this post in short order.

Syd

Edited by Wahlnut, 15 January 2012 - 04:46.

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#2 david i

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:10

QUOTE (Wahlnut @ Nov 1 2008, 03:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is an edited re-post of a post that appeared on Pentrace many moons ago about the possible progression of the Equi-poised pens.

The first Undisputed Equi-Poised Pen was the one that looks amazingly like the Sheaffer Balance. Here we will call it Type 1.


Here it is in real life:

Notice how sharp the end point of the cap (and barrel not shown)

The Type 2 Equipoised is like the type 1 but with blunted ends:


Next Comes the Type 3 which has the ends "cobbled" onto what looks like a gold seal flat top barrel and cap.

Many people are not sure what this pen is and that perhaps it is not an Equi-poised pen at all. Some tradition has it that it was indeed an Equi-poised pen that was radically different enough from the prior 2 Equi-poised pens that Sheaffer would no longer see it as an infringement on their design, even if the word Equi-poised was still defined by Wahl as meaning "equally balanced",

Next what we would now refer to the type 4. comes


This is the one people have seen described in the literature as the Gold Seal Personal point. It is in the Catalog in 1932 described just that way. But the advertising for this very pen in December 1930 shows it definitely called Equi-poised.


Next comes the Type 5 which is shown in the 1932 Catalog supplement


Here it is in real life:


Syd


Wow, that photographer appears to be an artistic genius, no doubt, even if insufficiently credited . thumbup.gif headsmack.gif roflmho.gif

A couple observations/considerations, though...

"Undisputed" can be disputed sometimes.

To the degree (assuming i'm inferring properly from what I read) that Type 1,2...x as cited above refer to sequentially released models, I don't know of evidence that puts the Type 3 (variably called, "transitional", "semi-streamlined", etc) at a later manufacture date than Type 1 and 2. Recognizing that my research of Wahl is well less aggressive than that of a a couple-three fellows from East Coast, Mid West and West Coast, I do invite evidence. I have never seen anything to suggest when that Type 3 was produced, but even some context-derived speculation is invited. Certainly, i could imagine a scenario in which that Type 3 in fact was released before the Type 1 (not to say this would prove true).

Even for Type 2 vs Type 1, whilst the catalogue page we've both seen introduced the pen and shows Type 1, do we have any hard evidence to date the slightly more blunted Type 2 (ads or other catalogues)? If we don't, we really are not certain that the blunted form might not represent a "batch variation" or a pre-catalogue form, though I'm more willing to yield on this point. For what it is worth, with Parker at least I have hard evidence for pen production in some instances predating first appearance in Parker catalogues (based on barrel date codes and catalogue printing dates... for whatever they are worth).

regards

david

Edited by david i, 04 November 2008 - 13:20.


#3 david i

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:26

QUOTE (Wahlnut @ Nov 1 2008, 03:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Next what we would now refer to the type 4. comes



This is the one people have seen described in the literature as the Gold Seal Personal point. It is in the Catalog in 1932 described just that way. But the advertising for this very pen in December 1930 shows it definitely called Equi-poised.




Syd


Yep. I well recall those discussions about pens called Equi-Poised in various texts, for which no one had come up (apparently) with evidence that Wahl had ever actually called them that.

So, we had the whole "splitter vs lumper" discussion brewing as to whether it is good to simplify (perhaps) by lumping these sort-of-Equi-Poiseds in with the fershure Equi-Poiseds or whether better to go against a now longstanding collector convention by trying to return them to Equi-Poised-like Personal Point Pens or some such.

It was good that you found that one Ad. Of course, pendom historians migh then wonder if earlier writers had access to that one ad or to similar source, or just had lumped the darn things in with the Poiseds, even lacking evidence. Truly, we might never know.

My favorite name for "Type 4" is, i believe, "Equi-poiseds that really were only Equi-Poised-like, until a lucky find proved they were Equi-Poised after all", though I concede, "Type 4" is more brief.


Your two photos also raise a point about (perhaps) subdividing Type 4 into Type 4a and Type 4b.
Having not yet done extensive review of images (i do have several of the 1930's Ads and images of a bunch of pens), I am uncertain if the following A vs B has to do with evolution of style over time, with particular size or clip arrangement, or even with a color association, but aside from clip/ring/size model differences, there is a trim difference.

Some pens lack tassies. (Type 4A?)



Some pens have Tassies. (Type 4B?)




regards

david

Edited by david i, 04 November 2008 - 10:27.


#4 Vintagepens

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 17:35

Hey guys, do a bit of trimming when you respond! We don't need all those pictures repeated in each post.

Although the evidence isn't definitive, I see nothing wrong with Syd's numbering of types 1 and 2. The circumstantial evidence for that particular sequence is quite strong. At the same time, I am not comfortable with identifying the classic Equi-Poised as type 4. In my opinion, the burden of proof is on those who consider Syd's type 3 as an Equi-Poised, and that burden has not been met. Here is what I have to say about that model in my Equi-Poised Pen Profile:
QUOTE
There is yet another Wahl-Eversharp design that is often categorized as an Equi-Poised, probably incorrectly. This is essentially a standard, cylindrical Signature pen to which tapered end pieces have been added. As far as is known, this rather makeshift design does not appear in any Wahl catalogs or advertisements, suggesting that it was never intended as a flagship model. As a transparent attempt to retrofit and update old pre-streamline stock, it most likely represents a parallel response to the challenge of Sheaffer's Balance, contemporary with or postdating the introduction of the original Equi-Poised. As such, the "transitional" label so often applied to this model is almost certainly mistaken, for all evidence indicates that Wahl embraced streamlining quickly and decisively. Once Sheaffer made its move, Wahl followed with its own Balance knockoff that same year, and within two years had released both the classic Equi-Poised and the Doric. Putting the catalogs of 1929 and 1932 side by side dramatically illustrates what a turning point this was.


#5 david i

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 23:24

QUOTE (Vintagepens @ Nov 4 2008, 12:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hey guys, do a bit of trimming when you respond! We don't need all those pictures repeated in each post.

Although the evidence isn't definitive, I see nothing wrong with Syd's numbering of types 1 and 2. The circumstantial evidence for that particular sequence is quite strong. At the same time, I am not comfortable with identifying the classic Equi-Poised as type 4. In my opinion, the burden of proof is on those who consider Syd's type 3 as an Equi-Poised, and that burden has not been met. Here is what I have to say about that model in my Equi-Poised Pen Profile:
QUOTE
There is yet another Wahl-Eversharp design that is often categorized as an Equi-Poised, probably incorrectly. This is essentially a standard, cylindrical Signature pen to which tapered end pieces have been added. As far as is known, this rather makeshift design does not appear in any Wahl catalogs or advertisements, suggesting that it was never intended as a flagship model. As a transparent attempt to retrofit and update old pre-streamline stock, it most likely represents a parallel response to the challenge of Sheaffer's Balance, contemporary with or postdating the introduction of the original Equi-Poised. As such, the "transitional" label so often applied to this model is almost certainly mistaken, for all evidence indicates that Wahl embraced streamlining quickly and decisively. Once Sheaffer made its move, Wahl followed with its own Balance knockoff that same year, and within two years had released both the classic Equi-Poised and the Doric. Putting the catalogs of 1929 and 1932 side by side dramatically illustrates what a turning point this was.



Ahhh, you might not have needed the pics included in responses, but the ones I included... I needed to include in my responses. So it goes.

I don't disagree, per se, with using Type 1 and Type 2 for the pens so described, though my recollection of my comments in the chat that Syd initially cited, is that I favor (c/w other similar situations, eg some early Parker Challengers) Type 1A and Type 1B for overwhelmingly similar pens with subtle design tweaks, both variants of a first style. Personal call, though I am open to other views of this.

Too, the thrust of my remarks now on these two pens is to point out that we seem to lack evidence for a sequential nature of Type 1 and 2 (or 1A and 1B), which Syd seemed to imply in his comments. That lack of evidence does not invalidate the numbering system, but does keep the core issue (what pens were made, when?) alive.

1929-31 indeed was a frantic period of evolution for Wahl's pens.

As to the "Type 3", "Transitional", "Semi-Streamlined PP that folks seem to wanna call an Equi-Poised"... independent of nomenclature/taxonomy (both quite valid concerns of course), it again seems there is no evidence to place their production after the Type 1/2 pens, further weakening a "Type 3" label, if "Type" labels are used to imply sequence of relese.

Regards

David

Edited by david i, 04 November 2008 - 23:25.


#6 Vintagepens

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 04:06

1A and 1B works for me.

Both the (scanty) evidence and logic point to the stated sequence being correct. The earliest mention found to date of the Equi-Poised also presents the model as new -- and that mention shows our pointy-ended type 1A.

Although the story needs to be filled out in its details, I think we can safely assert that with the design (especially coupled with the name) of the original Equi-Poised, Wahl overstepped Sheaffer territory, and was compelled to back off. The "blunted Balance" profile of type 1B (Syd's type 2) makes sense as a modification of the original 1A design, given this backstory. 1A as a modification of 1B, however, does not make any sense.

I think it is also significant that the blunted Balance is more common than the pointed Balance design. Wahl's counsel probably advised that the profile of the original Equi-Poised was a blatant infringement of the Sheaffer Balance design patent, but that the modified 1B profile was different enough to make it defensible, or at least to dissuade Sheaffer from moving with any speed from bluster and threats to actual litigation.


#7 david i

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 04:22

QUOTE (Vintagepens @ Nov 4 2008, 11:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
1A and 1B works for me.

Both the (scanty) evidence and logic point to the stated sequence being correct. The earliest mention found to date of the Equi-Poised also presents the model as new -- and that mention shows our pointy-ended type 1A.

Although the story needs to be filled out in its details, I think we can safely assert that with the design (especially coupled with the name) of the original Equi-Poised, Wahl overstepped Sheaffer territory, and was compelled to back off. The "blunted Balance" profile of type 1B (Syd's type 2) makes sense as a modification of the original 1A design, given this backstory. 1A as a modification of 1B, however, does not make any sense.

I think it is also significant that the blunted Balance is more common than the pointed Balance design. Wahl's counsel probably advised that the profile of the original Equi-Poised was a blatant infringement of the Sheaffer Balance design patent, but that the modified 1B profile was different enough to make it defensible, or at least to dissuade Sheaffer from moving with any speed from bluster and threats to actual litigation.


I don't disagree. I s'pose I aim just to maintain awareness that some of these issues are not... givens. But, then, this is not uncommon in this field wink.gif

Also- not that this is suprise to you as you have taken the following stand before iirc- the Sheaffer "threat" is often cited, but information is scant (to understate) regarding actual legal brouhaha. Too, I need to examine some of the dates involved. Sheaffer Balance is considered a 1929 development. My vague (catalogue not with me) recollection is that the catalogue showing the most streamlined (Type 1a) Poised also packs a 1929 date. I could be wrong. But, the whole Balance-first/Legal-threat thing does bear further exploration.

-d

#8 Johnny Appleseed

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 17:29

QUOTE (david i @ Nov 4 2008, 08:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also- not that this is suprise to you as you have taken the following stand before iirc- the Sheaffer "threat" is often cited, but information is scant (to understate) regarding actual legal brouhaha. Too, I need to examine some of the dates involved. Sheaffer Balance is considered a 1929 development. My vague (catalogue not with me) recollection is that the catalogue showing the most streamlined (Type 1a) Poised also packs a 1929 date. I could be wrong. But, the whole Balance-first/Legal-threat thing does bear further exploration.

-d

The evidence for a legal threat will be difficult to find. It is unlikely that Sheaffer ever actually filed a suit over the issue. Most infringement situations begin with a Cease and Desist letter, and only rarely move to an actual filed complaint. It is possible that someone has copies of the legal correspondence, but more likely that this will remain an area of conjecture.

John

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#9 Vintagepens

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 05:02

In fact, it would have been astonishing if Sheaffer had NOT asserted their willingness to defend their rights to the Balance design. The design was patented and successful, and the Wahl infringement could not have been more brazen. Under the circumstances, and knowing from much other evidence how the big pen companies of the era invariably reacted to any threat, real or perceived, to their IP rights, it can be asserted with a great degree of confidence that Sheaffer must indeed have threatened Wahl over the original Equi-Poised.

#10 LBpens

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 13:02

I think these disputes should be settled like gentlemen, with pistols at 20 paces! Here's what I think:

1. Of course type 1 and 2 are in that order. Only only a compulsive arguer would say otherwise.

2. Type 3 is the only part of the debate I find interesting. To me it gets to the heart of what equipoise-ness is. To me it has nothing to do with model distinction and certainly nothing to do with naming convention, I mean folly, in catalogs. To me it is all about the trend in pens, and elsewhere, for those few years toward the tapered streamlined look. Certainly type 3 is part of that trend. Does anyone really believe whoever designed type 3 wasn't thinking "tapered trend" at the time? What difference does it make if it is a signature with tapered ends? A signature with tapered ends is part of the equipoise trend. Where it belongs in the progression is another question. I often found it tempting to see it as first precisely because it was a cobbled attempt using older straight sided cap and barrel.

3. The classic or true equipoised was the completion of the several year trend in my mind. Yeah some other later pens were called equipoised in catalogs, but they are anti-climactic trendwise.

4. There are other variations that were surely part of the progression that aren't pictured above.

Edited by LBpens, 06 November 2008 - 13:04.

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#11 david i

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 12:21

QUOTE (LBpens @ Nov 6 2008, 08:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think these disputes should be settled like gentlemen, with pistols at 20 paces! Here's what I think:

1. Of course type 1 and 2 are in that order. Only only a compulsive arguer would say otherwise.

2. Type 3 is the only part of the debate I find interesting. To me it gets to the heart of what equipoise-ness is. To me it has nothing to do with model distinction and certainly nothing to do with naming convention, I mean folly, in catalogs. To me it is all about the trend in pens, and elsewhere, for those few years toward the tapered streamlined look. Certainly type 3 is part of that trend. Does anyone really believe whoever designed type 3 wasn't thinking "tapered trend" at the time? What difference does it make if it is a signature with tapered ends? A signature with tapered ends is part of the equipoise trend. Where it belongs in the progression is another question. I often found it tempting to see it as first precisely because it was a cobbled attempt using older straight sided cap and barrel.

3. The classic or true equipoised was the completion of the several year trend in my mind. Yeah some other later pens were called equipoised in catalogs, but they are anti-climactic trendwise.

4. There are other variations that were surely part of the progression that aren't pictured above.


Ahhh, when anyone says, "of course" in a discussion of that which is not well documented...

-d

#12 FredRydr

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 04:26

QUOTE (david i @ Nov 8 2008, 07:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...equipoised....


Would someone be so kind and post the pronunciation of that word? I was told after I said ekwa poized that I was not correct.

Fred

#13 LBpens

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 14:40

QUOTE (FredRydr @ Nov 8 2008, 11:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (david i @ Nov 8 2008, 07:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...equipoised....


Would someone be so kind and post the pronunciation of that word? I was told after I said ekwa poized that I was not correct.

Fred


I don't know if there is any evidence of how Wahl intended it to be pronounced, they didn't put that in the catalogs smile.gif. But I think you were correct. How else could you pronounce it? eekwa? Seems to me it would be the same as equivalent.

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#14 david i

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 17:16

QUOTE (LBpens @ Nov 9 2008, 09:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (FredRydr @ Nov 8 2008, 11:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (david i @ Nov 8 2008, 07:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...equipoised....


Would someone be so kind and post the pronunciation of that word? I was told after I said ekwa poized that I was not correct.

Fred


I don't know if there is any evidence of how Wahl intended it to be pronounced, they didn't put that in the catalogs smile.gif . But I think you were correct. How else could you pronounce it? eekwa? Seems to me it would be the same as equivalent.



Ekwee ?

-d

#15 LBpens

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 18:14

Fred, what did the person saying you were wrong believe was more correct?
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#16 FredRydr

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 21:16

QUOTE (LBpens @ Nov 9 2008, 01:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fred, what did the person saying you were wrong believe was more correct?

Get this: ek-wa-peez

Fred

#17 LBpens

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 22:43

QUOTE (FredRydr @ Nov 9 2008, 05:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (LBpens @ Nov 9 2008, 01:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fred, what did the person saying you were wrong believe was more correct?

Get this: ek-wa-peez

Fred


That's even worse than poise to rhyme with Boise

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#18 Vintagepens

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 04:55

QUOTE (FredRydr @ Nov 8 2008, 11:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (david i @ Nov 8 2008, 07:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...equipoised....


Would someone be so kind and post the pronunciation of that word? I was told after I said ekwa poized that I was not correct.


That's an easy one, since "equipoise" is a standard English word.
Online dictionary entry here, complete with audio.

#19 LBpens

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 14:43

QUOTE (Vintagepens @ Nov 9 2008, 11:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (FredRydr @ Nov 8 2008, 11:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (david i @ Nov 8 2008, 07:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...equipoised....


Would someone be so kind and post the pronunciation of that word? I was told after I said ekwa poized that I was not correct.


That's an easy one, since "equipoise" is a standard English word.
Online dictionary entry here, complete with audio.


Interesting, that's not how I pronounce it. I say ek instead of eek which is odd because I would say eek for say, equidistant.

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#20 FredRydr

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 13:50

QUOTE (LBpens @ Nov 10 2008, 09:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I say ek instead of eek which is odd because I would say eek for say, equidistant.

"Ek" not "eek"; same here. I suspect it's a battle of the accents. I have a Philadelphia accent, which might have something to do with it.

Fred






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