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  1. I once read a similar post about fountain pens on FPN. Since there are many dip pen users and collectors in FPN, I thought it would be interesting to know what is the oldest one in their possession. My humble collection consists of just three dip pen holders. One is a modern wooden straight holder and the other two are the oldest ones. I know this one is old but I couldn't figure out the exact time period. It's not very clear, but upon close inspection one can see "Calcutta" (old name of Kolkata, capital city of West Bengal state in India) imprinted on it. The second dip pen is much more dipped into history. It was gifted to me by one of my father's friend (in fact, the first one is also his gift). It belonged to his grandfather, Manoranjan Sengupta, who happened to be an Indian freedom fighter and a companion of the famous Indian revolutionary "Bagha" Jatin. (Here is the link of the Wikipedia page on Bagha Jatin. You will also find the name of Manoranjan Sengupta mentioned in the 'Death' section. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagha_Jatin ) If Manoranjan Sengupta himself didn't inherit the holder from one of his predecessors then I think it might be from the early decades of 1900. I am not sure about the material of this pen. It feels somewhat like buffalo horn. Another possibility is laquer (must be hundreds of layers if it is really so) on wood. I am pretty proud of this holder. It thrills me when I hold it in my hand knowing that it was once used by a great man who sacrificed his life for the freedom of my nation. Now it's your to turn to tell me about the oldest dip pen in your collection.
  2. Mesu

    Chelpark Company History

    I found the following history of Chelpark company in a website. Hope you will find it interesting *made small formatting changes to make it easier to read =========================================================== CHELPARK COMPANY PVT LTD. The Parker Pen Company, manufacturers of ink, was in partnership with a company in south India by the name of TTK. But Parker wanted to find a new partner in India, as they did not wish to continue their association with TTK. That's when Mr. Byford the main advisor to the Parker family approached the Chellaram family to become their partners for India. Mr. Byford and the Chellaram family had an old association, as the Chellaram family were large buyers of Parker products for trade in the west African region. The Chellaram family discussed with Mr. Byford that they were willing to buy the majority of shares of the Parker operation in India but on a condition. The condition being that the Chellaram family would not be involved in the day to day running and administration of the company. And only Parker would run the entire operations. Parker agreed to this condition laid down by the Chellaram family and they both officially joined hands for the India operations. After giving it some thought it was decided that "Quink" had to be given an Indian identity for it to appeal to the Indian consumer. This is when the brand name Chelpark came into being signifying the Chellaram and Parker. This change in name was backed by an advertising campaign in which showed the peeling off of the Parker sticker and a new sticker that read "Chelpark" on it appearing. This ad campaign was an instant hit and that was the birth of this famous company called Chelpark. The first official name of the company after the Chellaram family bought the majority shares was Chelpark Company Limited. Which was changed in 1985 to Chelpark Company Private Limited. And the head office was shifted from Madras (now known as Chennai), Tamilnadu to Bangalore, Karnataka. This long standing partnership of the two business families came to an end around 1968/69 due to the changes in the Indian finance ministry policies. It was not profitable for Parker to continue its operations in India and therefore decided to sell off their entire shareholdings. This is when Chelpark which was initially only known for its fountain pen ink started diversifying into other office stationary products and today it has become a household name in India with its wide product range.
  3. A BRIEF HISTORY OF WRITING MATERIALS AND INSTRUMENTS IN INDIA. PreVedic Age - According to historians there existed no written languages in India during the PreVedic period. This is confirmed by books like Vishnupurana also. But it is said that the Vedic knowledge existed during this period, which was transferred verbally from Master to the Disciple. Vedic age- This is the period were Vedas were written. Though there are many controversies regarding the age of Vedas, a period accepted by most of the historians is around 3000 BC. Most of the Hindu philosophers also accept this period as Vedic age. The Vedas are written and divided into 4 by Krishna Dwaipayana Vyaasa. Rig Veda is the first written Veda, also this is the oldest literature available to humans at present. Unfortunately there is no clue about the writing material or instrument used. Vyaasa - An Artist’s imagination. There are historians who conclude that writing was not started during this period as no manuscripts, writing materials or writing instruments have been discovered belonging to this period. But I may beg to differ as although there are no direct evidences, the following points may highlighted. Rig Veda itself is the evidence. It is a book consisting of more than 100,000 verses and 1000 hymns. Don’t you think that such a vast volume of information, unless written somewhere , we should n’t have these available at present. Another point, in Rigveda itself the words “Akshara” ( means Alphabet), Grandha ( means Book), Cows with the Numerical “8” written on them are present which clearly indicates that some form of writing was there. Also it has been written in Rig Veda that Shatapriya states – Vamanadeva by hearts Veda by “seeing” it and also Atreya saying about a Rishi reading it. Altough nothing about the word “write” is seen in Rig veda , Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda uses the word “ Likha” which means “to write”. All these indicates writing, though we do not know about where is it written or how is it written. So it should be concluded that some form of writing have been started in India during Vedic age itself. Indus valley Civilizations - This is the civilization which was developed along the River Indus and its tributaries developed around 2600 BC. Though many Stone and Rock carvings are obtained which belonged to this period, all of these are still undeciphered. Also nothing like manuscripts or writing instruments were able to be obtained and the mystery continues about writing in this period. The Epic ages - Roughly this age comes after the Vedic age, probably around 1000 – 500 BC. Many important literature works occurred during this period. Two great Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata were written during this age. Mahabharata with more than 100,000 stanzas is the longest poem of the world. But the bad luck continues- still no manuscript was obtained, nor any writing utensils or materials. But in Mahabharata, there are various situations where some thing is writing on a leaf or cloth and send to be read by other people. Also the names of persons written on arrows. Yet another book written during this age was the “ Ashtadhyayi” by Panini and “ Dharmasutra “ by Vasishta. Though the exact period of Panini is not known, various historians put him from 8 th to 4th century BC. It is a grammar book on Sanskrit language. In various places he is asking the reader to “see” other rules as references indicating that the original form of this was a written thing. Also he uses a word “ Lipikara” Lipi = alphabet Lipikara = Writer. During this age, the usage of ink was there as evidenced by excavations from Takshila. Even a branch of science called ‘ Rasaratnakara’ developed where a recipe for ink was given. It was made from nuts and myrobalan. The word ‘ massi’ was used for ink. The word Massi stands for “ Crushed”. We Keralites still use the word “ Mashi” for ink. The word meaning shows that ink was made by crushing, may be plant or animal origin. The Rasaratnakara also tells us about mixing different types of plants and minerals to get different shades of ink. Some historians says that Wing feathers were used during this time for writing. This is the first time in Indian writing history where the usage of a writing instrument is indicated. There is also evidence about Indians using Wooden board as writing material. Writing was done with a material similar to chalk called Pandulekha. Nearchos ( 326 BC) admiral of Alexander, have mentioned about Cloth being used as a writing material in India. In Kerala ( where I live) cloth is used till recently by certain group of people as writing material. After this period, the next evidence of writing is identified in 250 BC in Emperor Ashoka’s inscriptions on pillars and stones, called as Ashoka pillars. Megasthanes, who was a Greek ambassador in Pataliputra,India,says about written horoscopes of Indian people. AROUND 1000 AD. ( Al beruni’s observations) During the later ages, the great Arab scholar Al beruni’s book gives some important informations about Indian writing. ‘ They use black tablets for children in school and write upon them with a white material from left to right’ (About Palm leaves) ‘ In Southern India they used a slender palm like leaves for writing’ (About Bhurj bark) In Northern and central, India, they used a wood called Bhurj for writing. They oil and polish it, to make it hard and smooth. So, what are the materials used in Ancient India for writing? Paper was hardly known in India before 11th century. Before that the main writing material in South India was Palm leaves.( My mothers horoscope was on palm leaves. It was written on 1950s.) For writing a sharp ended metal piece called Naarayam was used. A type of palm, which grow on coastal Malabar area was famous for this. The leaves are collected, boiled and dried before writing with the Naarayam, which is held with whole palm instead of a tripod grip. In Northern states, where good quality palm leaves were not available, the bark of a tree called Bhurja is used. After Chinese have found the technology of making paper in Ad 700s, it was introduced to India by Arabs. Though reference says that paper industry was already started in a limited amount in India, in Delhi or Lahore,it was probably insignificant. The first real paper industry was developed in Kashmir by Sulthan Sainul Khan, in 1400s. The real high quality paper soon became very famous, so that the demand from rest of India and other parts of the world were difficult to meet. Soon, with rapid demand, other centres also started developing making papers. Important among them were Punjab,Jaunpur, Bihar,Bengal, Ahmedabad,Gujarath and Mysore. Soon Gujarath developed as the largest producer and exporter. In medieval India there were atleast 20 paper making centres. This hand made paper making industry was going in full strength until the early part of 19th century and later started declining. So what writing instrument was used in these papers? In places where bamboo type plants grow, thin reeds about 5 mm diameter were made and tips were sharpened with knife. Bamboo with brushed tips can also be seen in museums. These were dipped in inks made of plant resins with soot or mineral colours for writing. It seems that the ink pot for these inks were made of Brass, which is kept as an antique item in homes and museums. These were called as Kalam Dams. In places were bamboos were not available bird feathers were used as a writing instruments. It seems that a wooden pen nib holder with attached metal nib was introduced in India British East India company, which may be in early part of 20th century. Cheap to obtain, it became a popular writing instrument. For writing different languages like English, Urdu and Hindi different types of nibs were available. Even after the introduction of fountain pen, because of high price , this was the writing instrument for a large mass of Indian people almost till independence. Ink pots were available in office and schools where premade depressions in furniture were made to keep the ink pots. It was during this period that East India Company made a decision not to use Hand made papers in government offices and started using imported machined papers from Britain. At the same time 2-3 paper mills already started functioning in India, which made cheaper paper available in the market. All on a sudden the glamorous profession till now went down to pathetic condition. Going became rough for both people and the industry. Gandhiji understanding the situation,tried to improve this. By this period the Swadeshi movement under his leader ship have already started. To help indigenous industries an All India village Industries Association have started, under the guidance of Sri.Kumarappa. So, what about fountain pens during this period? What I understand is that there were persons ( or agencies?) who bring foreign pens to India, either officially or unofficially. The Hyderabad native, SS Siddiqui, who went to Calcutta in 1920s for pen business, later became agent for Conway Stewart, and started the famous Deccan pens of Hyderabad. Gupta agencies, again based on Calcutta was also importing foreign pens even before this period. While examining the history of Pen hospital, Trissur, the founder KKP Abdulla, got his initial training ( in late 1920 or early 30s) again from Calcutta. So, Calcutta was the India’s major pen hub? In Madras, during late 1920s, MS Cunnan ( pronounced as Kannan), started the pen shop, Gem & Co,which later became authorized representatives of Parker and Waterman in India. After 1925,a few more paper mills started appearing - now there are more than 10 mills functioning in full swing in India with the combined annual production going more than 45000 tons. It seems that India’s writing industry is well responding to Gandhiji’s call for Swadeshi movement. In records, Krishnaveni Ink factory establishedin 1920,by Sambasiva Rao of Madras was the first brand came into life in response to Swadeshi call. So many ink brands, mostly very small units were established in the following years throughout the country. Demands were also raising. 1931- Dandedkar & Co establishes which later becomes Camlin. This company begins production of ink tablets and powders under Horse brand. The year 1932 – Probably the most important event in Indian writing history happened now- In Rajahmundry, “The grandfather of pens” Kosuri Venkat Ratnam makes the first fountain pen of India in silver. When Sri. Kumarappa of All India village Industries Association came to see the work in 1934, he takes one ebonite pen for Gandhiji. And the most important thing, Gandhiji appreciated it very much. What else a pen maker want in his whole life? The year 1933 – Probably this year is also may be very important in Indian writing- The birth of Mahtre pens. They were started as representatives of Eversharp pens in India. But they had no production facilities at present. 1934- Sulekha works Ltd start its operations in ink making. In late 1930s and early 1940s the ink and paper industry of India flourished exponentially due to increased demand during the war, this also resulted in birth of many new brands. 1940 – Yet another important year. The birth of Balkrishna pens and Dhiraj pens. There is a beautiful article written by Purvi Sanghvi, about these. This was a combined effort of two brothers- Sri. Dwarakadas Sanghvi and Sri. Vallabhdas sanghvi. So who made India’s second pen? I think that credit goes to these people, Sanghvi brothers. Mahtre have n’t started their own production facilities ( as far as my knowledge goes). Mahtre start first brand Plato, in 1950 only. During this period Swan and Black bird birds were very available as I interviewed my grand pa and ma. I had to go a little crazy over this and started interviewing neighbor hood grand pas and mas and later all the old people of the village started hiding them selves on seeing my face. The inference I got from different people goes like this- All of them started to write with dip pen which they call as steel pen. Most of them know two types of ink. One coming in bottle, other as tablets. Most of them were using tablets as other was expensive. As they upgraded to fountain pen, most of them started with a Black bird or a Swan pen. All of them have not heard about Ever sharp. One of them used a Parker as step up from dip pens. The bottled ink was a Swan or any “local” manufacturer. So when did Mahtre started representing Swan pens? This remains as a mystery. Any way the pens were marketed more aggressively than Eversharp. Continuing with Balkrishna and Dhiraj pens, initially they started with Wilson branded pens. They became huge success. Soon they started – around 1945- President brand, which also was a huge success. Then they started Olympic brand- but it seems that this brand was not that much heard about later. I think that this group had still some other “ unknown” brands. [ A Wilson 45 ( from 60s). Olympic Pen- A Vacumatic look alike – I do not have original cap – so using Vacumatic’s.. Though initially there was overlap, later Balkrishna pens started producing only Wilson brand and Dhiraj pens, produced President. 1946 – Guider pens started in this year by Mr. G.Subbarao, they still have antique celluloid rods for making pens. !947 – Everlast pens – an American brand was introduced in Madras by a local agency. Later this brand was introduced in Calcutta, Delhi and major cities. It seems that though initially pens were imported directly from USA, later local production started here either with the knowledge of original company or unknowingly. 1950s- By this time there are more than 100 ink brands in India. Also in early 1950s, may be in 1951 itself, the Japanese giant Pilot and the American giant Parker started their ink manufacturing plants in India. Gujarath Pen industry I am not sure when this have started. Having head office in Bombay, but I suspect that they started some where in Gujarath. Only thing I can say is that they have registered the trade mark of “Champion brand” in 1958- but that does not mean that the company have started in 1958. The company may have started may be around early 1950s- but correct me if I am wrong. They had at least 3 brands of pens. President, Ashok and Service. Of these President was the flag ship brand, but Ashok was immensely popular. But do not be confused, there is one more Ashoka ( Ashoka, not Ashok). This was a smaller company from Andhra Pradesh and only made hand made pens unlike Gujarath Ind. These Ashokas were more popular in Kerala. ( I can tell that there are people who still enquire about Ashoka, to whom we may make pen “ like Ashoka” ). 1950 – Kim& Co at Calicut came into existence. As detailed article already exists, readers are referred to there. Probably the first India’s first “manufactured” pen produced by Mahtre under the brand name Plato in this year – 1950. About Mahtre pens and plastics Started in the year 1933, this company made some important contributions to Indian pen industry. It represented Ever sharp in India for decades and later in 1958 it started the brand “ Doric” under Eversharp licence. This firm also had their own brands like “Writer” and “Clipper”. It have represented also companies like Swan and Waterman. During early 1960s they have started making pens for Waterman and Swan under their license for marketing in India. The original Mahtre company although wound up in 80s, the company exist as Ravlon pen company at present with Ravindra N Mhatre as Chairman & Managing Director They are the makers and exporters of ball pen tips. They are the largest makers of ball pen tips in India and also the only exporters of the same. 1951 – Airmail Wality company established. 1953 or earlier – Chelpark Ink company established. About Chelpark company. There is a well written article about Parker pen company and Chellaram family in India, for starting ink manufacturing. Though parker have started it operations early 1950s, the exact time of deal between Mr. Byford of Parker and Chellaram family is not clear. Chelpark Company came into life atleast in 1953. Mr. Byford of Parker joined parker company of Britain in 1946, working for overseas operations including Africa, and Chellaram had business in same region from 1943 onwards and bought Parker products from him for marketing there. Though Chelpark exists almost no more as a ink manufacturer, the group still exists as Chellsons exports and Chellsons Packaging Pvt ltd, exporting stationary items. Late 1950s - Deccan pens started making pens under their own brand. In 1960s, many companies came into existence- notable among them where Mercury pens, Ambitious pens, Ritesharp pens, Chandra pens, Sulekha pens, Matharu pens, Camlin pens , Artist pens and Wimco pens. 1963 - Artist pens, which started their operations in 1963, later became Luxor pens. 1964 – BRIL inks (Industrial Research Corporation) came into existence. In 1960s MS Pandurangan have started Ranga Pen company, producing hand made pens,which later developed in to the single brand having the most international collaborations than any other similar firm. 1965- Ambitious Gold Nib manufacturing company started. This company caters the OEM needs of many fountain pen brands of the world from at least 1980s onwards. From an article about Indian Pen industry in Times of India 1987- (“Ambitious Gold Nib manufacturing company,the Nib and Ballpen manufacturer which hawks nibs to Parker and Sheaffer in the US, is busy developing rollerball and micro-tipped pens”) The company is having ( or had) collaborations with Parker, Sheaffer, Pilot, FaberCastle, Zenith(Poland), Styb(Spain), Viva and many more. Camlin started making fountain pens from mid 1960s. Higher quality products with competitive pricing made them very popular for next 2 decades. This company also meets the OEM needs of major brands and export them to different countries. Nibs for higher models are made by Ambitious. PILOT pens in India On or before 1953 Pilot have established Pilot Pen Co ( India)LTD, and started ink manufacturing. During or after 1959, Pilot have started manufacturing pens. It became a huge success. It belonged to the Super series – though not exact copies of their Japanese counter part- Super 1,2 and 3. Also pilot G series with gold nib. During this period Calicut pen people have contacted the company for making hand made ebonite pens for them, they also made a few ebonite pens as samples using Pilot clips and nibs, but the venture did not worke out well. The models made by Pilot were very popular and affordable. Pen Industry after 70s/80s. Probably after 70 or 80s I would like to call writing instruments industry as modern. The industry pattern have changed. Companies have changed. And the customers requirements also changed. Now there is more demand for ball pens. Among the notable brands from the past, only Balkrishna ( Wilson)have survived the test of time. The hand made pen industry, though surviving, is going through a rough time.It is to be noted that Wilson branded jotter pens very popular now. From 1980s onwards the industry begins to shift from the hands of small unorganized players to bigger companies. Many companies wanted to make alliance with world’s leading brandsto conquer the market. Probably the first move in this direction was made by Luxor, by entering in to an agreement with Pilot to launch Pilot pens in India in 1982. Chandra pens have started marketing Cross ball pens. Cross ,already having a good brand image in India became a huge success, selling more than 100,000 units in the first year itself. Ambitious pen companies talks with Parker and Cross went unsuccessful for a joint venture. Parker began to look for other suitable partner which they found on Luxor.Meanwhile Flair bought Pierre Cardin, Senator and Pentel to Indian market and Linc pen bought Uniball, Lamy and Bensia. About Luxor pen company Started in 1963, Luxor started marketing Pilot pens in 1982. In 1996, Luxor group company and Gillete group entered into a 50:50 venture for production and marketing of Parker, Waterman and Papermate brands in India. This have helped Luxor to strengthen its market position. In late 2000, Gillete sold its Stationary product business to Newell Rubbermade, along with the 50% stake in this joint venture. Later Luxor group bought out the rest of the stake from Rubbermaid, retaining its right to manufacture, market and sell Parker, Waterman and Papermate products in India. ( Sanford does not have any stakes in Luxor now). Still there are companies I do not mention which includes Cello ( 40 % of stake is with BIC, I think Cello is the number 1 brand at present),Reynolds under GM pen International ( still under Sanfords) Today’s, Montex ( another company which concentrates in export market meeting the OEM demands of various brands)Lexi and Pik and probably numerous others. I know that many other small firms that make hand turned pens have been omitted. A place called Thiruvalloor, of Chennai , was just like a pen making centre where there were many small firms making ebonite rods and Ebonite pens. Most of them have closed, but still some exist. They do not want to brand themselves . When they get clips named Swarna, that batch of pens becomes “Swarna”. But the same batch of clips when supplied by the clip company to some other similar firm in Andhra Pradesh, that batch also becomes “ Swarna”!. Now we have 2 different pens with the same name! But most of the time get clips with out name- that’s our luck. In Chathoor,( Chennai state) nibs are still being made as hand made items. In Thanjavoor , specialist calligraphic nib grindrers were shut down, who used to custom modify nibs. Though the firm have been restarted, they have not come up yet. That on Left is made by makers at Chennai, while right by makers at Andhra. Original article written for the book “ Kozhikkodinte Charitram” ( History of Calicut) in Malayalam language. Briefed, translated and edited for FPN by my wife’s brother Nighil Mohan ( mohan in FPN). Thanks for reading. Sreekumar
  4. peroride

    Cliff Harrington

    https://www.houmatimes.com/obituaries/clifford-cliff-harrington/ https://www.delhommefuneralhome.com/obituaries/Clifford-Harrington/ Rest in Peace Mods: Please transfer to another forum, if not appropriate but Cliff was a well respected dealer at Pen Shows
  5. The-Thinker

    Sailor Specialty Nib History

    Is anyone aware when did sailor start making specialty nibs ? And did they introduce the whole lineup of nibs or did they do it gradually ? References are always a plus !
  6. The-Thinker

    Sailor Anniversary Pen

    When did sailor start their anniversary pens ? How often did they produce one ? Did they all have specialty nibs ? Pictures and references are always a plus !
  7. nick2253

    Sailor Model History

    I have acquired a small collection of Sailor pens, and I'm looking for some information on the history of Sailor pens in order to identify them. I know that a lot of their pre-40's information was lost during the war, but I'm amazed at how little information I can turn up about their models from the 60's to the present. I've been able to find historic catalog pages and blogs about Pilot and Platinum, but I'm struggling with Sailor (apart from the 1911 model). Does anyone have any catalogues of vintage Sailor pens (particularly from the 60's, 70's or 80's)? Or suggestions for a blog/website with more info?
  8. I've decided to try to collate the information found on the internet and my knowledge on Blackbirds. The guide is pretty basic and many statements are based on assumptions and guesses. Hopefully someone finds it still interesting. https://www.penexchange.de/forum_en/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6332
  9. https://youtu.be/P582srfq_14 Fantastic fun chemistry! I enjoyed that Brian uses red wine as an anti-microbial putting a different spin to the term vintage ink I want what he's drinking, err.. writing
  10. AAAndrew

    Harrison & Bradford Steel Pens

    George Harrison and George Bradford were Birmingham-trained tool makers brought to the US to start up the Washington Medallion Pen Company factory in NYC in 1856. In 1862 they bought the dies and stamps and machinery from the Washington Medallion Pen Co. and started making the pens under contract. They also formed Harrison & Bradford and started making pens under their own name as well. In late 1863 they realized the original design patent for the Washington Medallion Pen had run out so in 1864 they started making the Harrison & Bradford Washington Medallion Pen, and were promptly sued along with Eberhard Faber, their sole distributor. They lost. They continued to make Harrison & Bradford pens together until 1875 when George Harrison left the company to join John Turner, another Birmingham-trained steel pen tool maker who had helped start up Esterbrook's first factory, to found Turner & Harrison Pen Company. George Bradford continued producing Harrison & Bradford pens by himself in their Mt. Vernon, NY factory until about 1880 when he started marketing his own 1879 patent pen design under his own name. In 1881 he sold the factory and his patent to Miller Brother's Cutlery who wanted to get into the pen business. Bradford stayed and was given the role of Superintendent of Pen Production for Miller Brothers.
  11. AAAndrew

    Milton Bradley Pen

    I have the house to myself for a time and so I'm taking this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spread out and go through my collection of steel dip pens and update my inventory. (a Herculean task). I'm coming across pens I have forgotten all about. Here's one with a semi-interesting story I thought I might share. Most people know Milton Bradley as the famous board game manufacturer. That was their first main product and is still their main line of business. But over the years since their founding in 1860, they have produced other items at various times. One line of goods, which was near and dear to Milton himself, was a series of school supplies and educational aids geared toward the new Kindergarten movement in the late 1860's and onward. Milton became interested in the ideas behind early education and began making a whole line of educational supplies which he mostly gave away. This line continued from the 1870's up to about WWI, when it was reduced in scope. The five pens I have are Milton Bradley No. 2 School Pens. They're a little rusty and rough, but I've never seen any others. (cue five other people posting whole salesman's sample kits and advertising posters). The pens themselves are nothing to write home about, but the story and their rarity make them something interesting to me and I thought I'd share.
  12. Due to senior "forgetfulness", memory issues, I was thinking of making copies of letters before I send them out (snail mail correspondence) so that I remember what I've written, and help me write more thoughtfully. How many of you make copies of written letters to keep track of what was sent? Or do you just, "remember". Do you have a system for snail mail writing? Thanks everyone for your help.
  13. Last winter I wrote an article about the Gimborn firm. It was published in the journal of the Writers Equipment Society this spring. You can find the article here. I hope you'll appreciate it. Allard Borst.
  14. "The eyes of the world are upon you." -Dwight Eisenhower's message to the troops of the invasion force This year marks the 75th anniversary of the historical day that was the turning point for the Allied forces in World War II. Made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day at Normandy. This pen is limited to only 5300 fountain pens, signifying the number of ships that crossed the English Channel on the dawn of June 6th 1944. The body is crafted from a gorgeous military green resin with gold vermeil trimmings. This Omas D-Day Fountain pen c.1994 is in exceptional condition and has been vault kept. It comes with authentic documents and presentation boxes. It has a Fine gold plated nib. It is NOS (New Old Stock). The pen has NOT been used and is in exceptional condition. The clip has light patina and the display box does have some light discoloration which is shown in the last image. We currently have two Fountain Pens of these, one with a Medium Nib, and another one in a Fine Nib. Please feel free to contact us for more inquiries, or if you are interested. orders@airlineintl.com
  15. Another neat tidbit from the Pelikan tour from Goldspot Starting at 07:27 from Jens Meyer, the Global Marketing Manager of Pelikan Whole thing:
  16. Cyber6

    Noodlers Monkey Hanger !

    New and exclusive Bright Blue Bulletproof Ink in 3 oz glass bottle (Approx 90ml) at PUREPENS.CO.UK !!! In October 2015, Ross and his father Ray, visited Nathan in Massachusetts to see where Noodler's is made and the man behind the brand. Over lunch, with Nathan's parents, who help with the ink production and packaging, we discussed a new Bulletproof Blue ink for the UK to compliment the best selling Bulletproof Black and exclusive Prime of the Commons Dark Blue ink. We tried colours that would give the right characteristics and loved the bright Blue that has become Monkey Hanger. The name... Nathan is a history buff and loves a story behind a name - You may have seen the great names behind some Noodler's inks and pens with a their historical, political and local links to his home town area. An unusal story came up, which occured in Hartlepool in the North East of England during the Napoleonic Wars. A french ship was wrecked off the coast and all the crew were lost (or fled). When the local fishermen boarded the ship, they found a monkey in a naval uniform, dressed as such for the amusement of the French crew. Because England was at war with France and because the fishermen had never seen a Frenchman, or a monkey apparently, they took the 'French Spy' into custody and arranged an impromptu criminal trial on the beach. Extremely unfortunately for the monkey, the locals found it guilty and sentenced it to... well, the name gives the end of the story away. A very sad casualty of war, but it is unfair to criticise the ignorant locals from a different time in history. The story is so unusal that it ignited Nathan's interest and he began imagining label designs almost immediately. A few short months later, the ink arrived and is available now! Love me some NEW ink..
  17. I've finished a new post on individual pen makers. The first one was Peregrine Williamson, who've I've written about before. He was most definitely first. Charles Atwood came second-ish, but not much is known about him. The one I just finished was Josiah Hayden, maker of Hayden's Premium Pens in the early-mid 1840's. Hayden also made gold pens for a while before selling those works off to Dawson, Warren & Hyde who made a lot of gold pens up until the 1860's. I find this lost history of early industry quite interesting. And Hayden was another of the early makers who were forgotten not that many years later when the first histories of the US pen industry were first jotted down. I'm trying to bring their stories back when possible. I've also added a helpful Table of Contents that helps find the topics you're interested in on the blog. You can find it by clicking on the link on the left, or just go here.
  18. b8amack

    Diamine Inks In The 80S-90S

    Does anyone know which inks Diamine was producing in the 90s (red inks in partcular)? Novel research. I had a character writing in Syrah, but that's wrong. Inks from the 80s which were still being produced in the 90s would also be awesome, but honestly, any inks at all definitely produced in the period would be great to know.
  19. According to the Birmingham Daily Post in 1865. Not sure I quite believe it, considering how little hesitation the manufacturers had to come out with new designs. Perhaps some of the innovations were difficult or expensive to make. That was known to happen with some designs, and until someone could figure out how to manufacture it more cheaply, they never were built. And for those like me not familiar with the old English money system, Shilling = 12 pence Half a Crown = 2 Shillings 6 pence, or 30 pence (2.5 shillings) So, they went from 2.5 pence a pen, to .083 pence a pen. When they were going for 2.5 pence a pen in England, Williamson in the US was making pens in Baltimore from 1808 to about 1820 and selling them for $1 each. A generation later, in 1857, Washington Medallion was selling their mass-produced pens for 1.04-cents each ($1.50 per gross). 15 years later, Esterbrook sold their Falcon for half that cost.
  20. After having re-read the Jean Esterbrook thread, I was inspired to do some delving of my own back in the Old Country. I reached out to the fine folks at the Liskard History Museum in the town in Cornwall where Richard was from and asked if they had any information. I received a nice note back with some interesting tidbits which I thought I'd compile into what else I've figured out and share it with you all here. The first thing that pops up is that the Esterbrooks really liked "Richard" and "Mary" as names. The Richard Esterbrook who was the founder of the company here in the US, is often called Richard Esterbrook Sr. and his son, who was first to the New World and brought his dad over, is commonly known as Richard Esterbrook Jr. The confusion begins to set in when you realize that there was a Richard Esterbrook before "Sr." and another Richard Esterbrook after "Jr." who was also often called "Jr." So, let's start in Liskeard Cornwall. A small town in Northeast Cornwall, just about a 30 minute drive west of Plymouth. In 1778, the first Richard Esterbrook was born in the parish and married Mary Anne Oliver. At some point he moved just down the road to the small hamlet of St. Austell. It was here that Richard (Sr.) Esterbrook was born in 1813. At some point they moved back to Liskeard where Richard (Sr.) married Mary Date from Travistock in West Devon, (where the Esterbrooks are first found in the 17th-century). By 1841, Richard Esterbrook (Sr.) was running a Bookshop/Stationer at 20 Pike St. in Liskeard. The building, just down from the museum, is currently a travel agency. He was still there in 1851, but gone by the 1861 census, though he still owned the bookshop. In the collection of the museum are posters dated 1844, 1848 and 1850 showing Esterbrook as the printer. This means that Esterbrook was like most stationer/bookshops of the time, he also did printing. He eventually sold the bookshop in 1866, the same year in which he dissolved the original partnership with Cadbury and Bromsgrove, and formed R. Esterbrook & Co. with his son, Richard Jr. who had just turned 30 that year. (Sr. also voted in local Liskeard elections in 1861 and 1863/64. So, he hadn't completed severed ties with this home, despite becoming an American Industrialist.) Speaking of Richard Jr., he was born in Liskeard in 1836. The nice person at the museum found the deed of sale for the shop in 1866 and said that someone, no identification of who or when, had placed a note in along with the deed which says, "Richard junior was apprenticed to a well known pen and nib manufacturer and eventually emigrated to America and set up business on his own account ….with great success.. The firm he founded, still in existence, the Esterbrook Corporation, is a firm of international repute but particularly in the USA of the standing of the Parker Pen and Shaffer Pen companies." The reference and comparison to Parker and Sheaffer tell me that this was a 20th-century, fountain pen reference, perhaps in the 40's? There's no indication where the info on the apprenticeship came from. But it leaves a key question unanswered. Was that Richard (Sr.) who was really a Jr, or Richard Jr. who was really Richard the Third? (can understand why you'd not want to be known as that) If we look at the date, apprenticeships traditionally started when one was 13 or so. That would have been c. 1826 for Richard Sr., or c. 1849 for Richard Jr. My guess is that it was Richard Jr., not Richard Sr. In 1826, the pen industry was in its real infancy in Birmingham. Only a few years earlier, Gillott was tempering his pens in a cast-iron skillet and selling them in boxes he packed personally. It's highly unlikely that someone would have come all the way from Cornwall to do an apprenticeship with a relatively new and small industry way up in Birmingham. But by 1849, the industry is growing tremendously, and it's much more likely for this to happen. This could also help explain why Richard Jr. would have left instead of sticking around to take over the family business. It was not uncommon for apprentices, after finishing their proscribed time, from taking off and seeing other ways of doing the same work, or looking for fresh fields away from where they did their apprenticeship. John Turner, later founder of Turner & Harrison, and possibly one of Richard Esterbrook's skilled workmen from Birmingham, went to France after his apprenticeship. So, Richard Jr., assuming he actually finished his apprenticeship, would have completed his time around 1855. Just in time for him to come to Canada and the US and try and get his father to come over. Fortunately for us, his father left his shop behind, but, prudent man that he was, he didn't sell it right away. He kept a second basket for some of his eggs until it was clear the new venture was going to work after all. By 1858 they had their factory in Camden and offices and warehouses in Philadelphia. The rest is history, that has been told elsewhere. I just wanted to fill in some of the early history that has been so foggy up to now, at least for me. There are still many gaps, like how Richard Sr. ended up with a bookshop, or if Richard Jr. did finish an apprenticeship, and if it may have been some of his friends who were the skilled workmen his father supposedly brought from Birmingham? I always assumed that being in the stationery business, Richard Sr. had contacts in Birmingham, which is how he got the workmen. Now, it's possible that Jr. came to the US to find out how pens were made here, realized that we didn't really know what we were doing, and that there were only a couple of people making pens here, so had the idea to bring Birmingham here and start their own factory along "modern lines." If I find out more, I'll let you know. Andrew
  21. I just put up a page on my blog listing research resources for Philadelphia, including a ton of links to online Philadelphia Directories. Something I thought y'all might find interesting is a diagram of the Esterbrook factory in Camden, NJ from 1885. It's from a Sanborn map used by insurance companies. The red buildings are made of brick, and the yellow ones are wooden-framed. The location is currently a parking lot across Cooper St. from Camden City School District Office. It was in the middle of the block, along Cooper, between Front and Delaware, on the south side of the street.
  22. I've finished a new post on individual pen makers. The first one was Peregrine Williamson, who've I've written about before. He was most definitely first. Charles Atwood came second-ish, but not much is known about him. The one I just finished was Josiah Hayden, maker of Hayden's Premium Pens in the early-mid 1840's. Hayden also made gold pens for a while before selling those works off to Dawson, Warren & Hyde who made a lot of gold pens up until the 1860's. I find this lost history of early industry quite interesting. And Hayden was another of the early makers who were forgotten not that many years later when the first histories of the US pen industry were first jotted down. I'm trying to bring their stories back when possible. I've also added a helpful Table of Contents that helps find the topics you're interested in on the blog. You can find it by clicking on the link on the left, or just go here.
  23. As far as I can tell, the British patents are not as accessible as the US patents. I may be missing some great resource, and if so, please tell me. Otherwise, I've gathered the following resources from Google Books. I am focusing on British patents to about 1860, but have gathered resources for up to 1850, then 1852 - 1869 and 1881. Unfortunately, these indices get you the patent number, date and patentee, but no real details around the patent. If anyone knows of a way, short of visiting the British national archives in person, to get the details, or even a good summary of these patents, please let me know. So, for patents up to Oct1852 start with these two indices of titles. "Pens" are under "Stationery" so they're in volume two. I'm going to list the patents I've found from this volume related to pens (I'm focused on metallic pens, but I've included others that may be of interest on FPN). Titles of Patents of Invention, Chronologically Arranged: From March 2, 1617 (14 James I.) to October 1, 1852 (16 Victoriae) Vol 1 up to 5th june 1823 Titles of Patents of Invention: Chronologically Arranged from March 2, 1617 (14 James I.) to October 1, 1852 (16 Victoriæ), Part 2, Issues 4801-14359 For those patents for 1852 on, they were published in yearly pamplets. The patent numbers changed to be the year+number. Google books has some of the indices for these years after Oct. 1852. Here are some of the resources on a year-by-year basis. Look in the front to find on what page the pens, pencils etc.. category is found. There are some gaps in the years. I have not found the subject matter indices for 1862, 1865, 1870-1880 yet. They may be out there, if so, let me know. Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1852 https://books.google.com/books?id=OA1HAQAAMAAJ Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1853 https://books.google.com/books?id=n_bHSOv4E0MC Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1854 https://books.google.com/books?id=kQX501VYA2AC Subject-Matter Index Of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted For the Year 1855 https://books.google.com/books?id=cq05AQAAMAAJ Subject-Matter Index Of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted For the Year 1856 https://books.google.com/books?id=c605AQAAMAAJ Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1857 https://books.google.com/books?id=8n1w3mAER1IC Subject-Matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted, for the Year 1858 https://books.google.com/books?id=7K05AQAAMAAJ Subject-Matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1859 https://books.google.com/books?id=Ca45AQAAMAAJ Subject-Matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted for the Year 1860 https://books.google.com/books?id=ia45AQAAMAAJ Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1861 https://books.google.com/books?id=156Fj-WntwcC Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1863 https://books.google.com/books?id=Tf8VGpFN-4MC Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1864 https://books.google.com/books?id=PsfuvWKnbuQC Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1866 https://books.google.com/books?id=0uomv_waIGsC Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1867 https://books.google.com/books?id=IvPMOMGbLt8C Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1868 https://books.google.com/books?id=_ltMtuunDScC Subject-matter index of patents applied for and patents granted 1869 https://books.google.com/books?id=M9bJzZjzuc4C Subject-matter Index of Patents Applied for and Patents Granted 1881 https://books.google.com/books?id=56NkqczPHOUC I'm cross posting this list, and will keep it updated, out on my steel pen blog. https://thesteelpen.com/
  24. I thought this book might be of interest to those who are into the history of things related to fountain pens. https://www.fullersbookshop.com.au/event/ossie-nic-haygarth/ On the Ossie Tasmania and the global fountain pen industry! For a time in the early 1900s The Waratah and Adamsfield districts held the world monopoly on osmiridium. An alloy more valuable than gold (and used to tip gold nibs), Tasmanian osmiridium became a signatory to startling world events as well as making household fortunes.
  25. Last week the Boston Globe published an interview with Crane & Co. creative director John Segal, who mentions a 30 year old Montblanc pen his father gave him. http://postscript.crane.com/paper-habits-boston-globe/ Happy reading, and may this inspire ...

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