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12, The Vacumatic Precursors


rhr
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Have you ever wondered where the Vacumatic filler idea came from? It just seems to spring full-blown on the pen scene in 1933 with Parker's "Vacuum-Filler", their own precursor to the "Vacumatic", and it just seems to come out of nowhere. Well, that's how it seemed to me at first, until I saw what else was happening on the scene. Sometimes all those other patents don't seem to be related, but they're there in the mix, and they exert subtle influences where you don't expect them to have any effect at all. This post isn't about patents such as 1,980,508, and all the other Parker "Vacumatic" patents. It's about the Vacumatic precursors.

 

Patent no. 208,219 is for an early ink-flow valve for priming the nib, but it could also conceivably be filled with this sort of crude vac-filler device employing a short piece of conical rubber tubing as a diaphragm. Patent no. 825,442 employs a piston to inflate and deflate the bladder-diaphragm, but it's not attached to the bladder, and it has no breather tube because it fills in one stroke. Patent no. 1,287,556 is for a crude bulb filler with an attached button that turns it into a vacuum filler, but it has no breather tube and no blind cap to protect the button. Patent no. 1,596,811 finally supplies the blind cap, but still no breather tube. Patent no. 1,634,618 is another one with piston and detached bladder, and no breather tube required. The piston acts like a blow filler, so I call it a Piston-Blow Vacuum Filler Hybrid. I wonder whether the patentee is related to Olle Hjort. Olle, do you have any relatives in Janesville, Wis.? I'm sure that Parker knew about this patent, because he assigned one of his previous patents to Parker, 1,486,246, an improved button filler for the Duofold. Patent no. 1,647,882 has a small, diaphragm-like bulb under a blind cap, so it seems like it's a simple bulb filler, but it also has a breather tube, so that makes it a sort of external "Vacumatic" without a button. I call it a Finger-Press-Bulb Vacuum Filler. That brings us to patent no. 1,706,751, a simple twist filler with an attached external button, and it doesn't seem to belong here, but it's assigned to Abraham Schlosser and forms the basis for his patent no. 1,910,907, a Twist-Bulb Vacuum Filler Hybrid. So that's where the "Vacumatic" came from. It was the logical consequence and natural outgrowth of the evolution of the twist fillers and bulb fillers with breather tubes!

 

Now, I've distilled this to just a few examples, but there are tens and twenties of these twist-filler and bulb-filler copycat patents out there, and they all help to make the transition from bulb to diaphragm much smoother. There's one more pertinent one, patent no. 1,917,568 for an accordion bulb-diaphragm vacuum filler with a breather tube. And guess who it's assigned to? The Parker Pen Co.!!!!

 

This one's for all the countlessly many "Vacumatic" collectors out there.

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ph34r:

Edited by rhr

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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I guess you should add the British patent

318982 assigned to Dahlberg, Arthur Olans, 145 Iota Court, Madison, Wisconsin. Jan 23, 1930.

This patent number appears on a number of Canadian Vacs. Dahlberg is said to be the inventor of the Vac and to have sold it to Parker.

 

AntoniosZ

Edited by antoniosz
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Like I said, this isn't about Dahlberg and all the other Parker patents for the "Vacumatic" as produced. It's about the Ur-Vacumatics, the pre-Vacumatics. The Vacumatic patents are a foregone conclusion and a dead issue here. They are the ex-precursors, so to speak, the "ex-parrots" of the precursors. ;~) Please pardon the Monty Python pun.

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ph34r:

Edited by rhr

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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We don't pardon Monty Python puns her, or parrots either - it's all too silly. ;)

 

Seriously,

 

An interesting side note to this - George mentioned patent #1,910,907, the twist-bulb vacuum filler hybrid. I believe this is the patent used on most of the Wahl-Eversharp twist-bulb fillers. However, I have one of these, and the imprint on it lists "Patent #1,596,811" :huh:

 

Maybe Wahl licensed #1,596,811 from it's owners and the requirement of the license was that they imprint with the patent number? But they did not need to imprint their own patent? Perhaps this was while the Eversharp Patent was pending? And who was A. Craig, and the other two owners of #1,596,811 anyway?

 

Either way you have answered some of my questions about the relationship between these.

 

John

 

(who still hasn't gotten that &*%# Wahl fixed).

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"

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I seem to recall that there was a Patent Office requirement to list the patent date on a patented article, but not the patent number, which is a real shame for all pen researchers. It would have saved us a lot of time if they had required the number instead. When the patent number does appear, it's usually on their own initiative, or misunderstanding, and sometimes, in my experience, in conjunction with assigned or licensed patents.

 

As for who Albert Craig and the other two assignees were, that may be lost in the mists of history, until someone turns something up in the city business directories, or on the genealogical websites. Some of those surnames are familiar pen inventors' names, so these guys may be the sons of the earlier pensmiths, the second, or third generation carrying on where the first, or second one left off.

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ph34r:

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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Like I said, this isn't about Dahlberg and all the other Parker patents for the "Vacumatic" as produced. It's about the Ur-Vacumatics, the pre-Vacumatics.  The Vacumatic patents are a foregone conclusion and a dead issue here. They are the ex-precursors, so to speak, the "ex-parrots" of the precursors. ;~) Please pardon the Monty Python pun.

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ph34r:

:doh: I better read the text next time :) But you know already, this is the ouzo effect :P

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But you know already, this is the ouzo effect.

Funny you should say that. I was just going to suggest the same thing. ;~)

 

G.

 

:ph34r:

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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  • 5 years later...
  • 10 months later...

George,

 

I am thrilled you posted this as I have always wondered about my Schlosser fountain pen. The imprint reads Multi-suction pen Pat. #1910907- made in u.s.a Schlosser Mfg. Corp. N.Y. Bought it off Dubiel years ago and it is a modified bulb filler with an aluminum knurled twist knob with a brass stop. the barrel is demonstrato and it has a really long breather tube.

 

I will try and post pics if I can. The nib just says 14kt.

 

Sincerely,

 

Fern

post-45669-0-24058600-1345514075.jpg

post-45669-0-68499500-1345514120.jpg

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I am thrilled you posted this as I have always wondered about my Schlosser fountain pen.

Thanks, Fern, I'm glad you enjoyed this thread. Sorry for getting to this so late. I was preoccupied by work, which tends to get in the way of life sometimes.

 

Thanks for posting those images. It proves that at least some of those sometimes-outlandish patents were actually put into production. You should cherish your pen as a memento of Frank.

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ninja:

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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George,

 

Thank you for posting this thread. We all run into odd pens now and again. The patent work you have done is incredible. I hope all is well.

 

Frank was a cool guy. I bought this pen because I asked him what the weirdest pen he had on his table was. He seemed to think it was related to the Eversharps as well because of similarities in their construction.

 

Do you know if theres any significance to the diamond pattern engraved on the top of the clip with "Schlosser" in it?

 

If you are going to the Dallas Pen show I will bring it for you to look at. Always love that show. The Texas group are a class act. :thumbup:

 

Sincerely,

 

Fern

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No problem, Fern. It's my pleasure. I really miss Frank. He was one of the few people at pen shows that I could talk to about obscure fountain pen arcana. He was as gentle as a pussy cat, once you got to know him.

 

I don't know that there's any significance to the diamond pattern on the Schlosser clip, accept as part of a corporate logo design.

 

Wish I could go to the Dallas pen show to meet with you and all the other Dallas collectors, but I can't find the time. The smaller shows like the Texas shows are some of the best ones around.

 

Some of my favorite pen-show memories are from the two times I attended the Houston pen show. The first time I attended, in 1995, I was flying on a free Air-Miles ticket, and the airline forced me to stay one day longer, until Monday, so I asked Stan Pfeiffer whether I could come over to his place to see his collection. He responded with an unhesitating and enthusiastic "yes". I was stuck in the hotel the next day, and while I was waiting in the lobby, I bumped into Frank Dubiel and Susan Wirth, and when they found out what I was doing, they asked whether they could come along. I phoned Stan, and he said "sure", so Frank, and Susan, and a few others piled into Susan's car, and we had a great time getting the tour of his house and of his great collection. He prepared a lunch of donuts and coffee for us, and we sat in his large kitchen and ate and talked.

 

Now, unbeknownst to me, this Houston after-pen-show lunch and get together became an institution. Year after year, the lunch developed into a major pen meeting, by invitation only. Frank was always invited, and the lunch was even named in his honor. Stan would prepare a major feast with a Texas barbeque in his back yard, and afterwards people would pass around some rare and unusual pens for discussion. The attendees would bring special items from their collections, items that wouldn't normally see the light of day often. Well, by 1999 I had enough Air Miles for another free ticket, so again I chose Houston. I heard about the lunch and finagled an invitation out of Stan. This time there were collectors and researchers like Frank Dubiel, Michael Fultz, David Nishimura, and about 8-10 others in attendance, and this time we ate Texas barbeque, either slow-roasted, or smoked beef that was tender and juicy, and other Southern and Mexican foods. And then we sat in a circle and passed around trays of pens that Fultz brought from his Parker Pen Co. safe for our delectation and discussion. What a great end to the weekend. I stayed late at the meeting, but someone else in attendance rushed me over to the airport in his car in time for my flight up to Canada, almost straight north of Houston. Now, that's Texas hospitality!

 

This was one of the first pen shows to be held in conjunction with the inkwell collectors society, and earlier that weekend I visited with an inkwell collecting couple, Scott & Dixie Rodkey, and viewed their collection and had another nice meal. The inkwell-show people had their own auction of inkwells and ink bottles, and there was a beautiful 16 oz. Parker "Duofold" master ink that both Stan and I wanted. Well, we were both stubborn, and the bidding went into the hundreds of dollars, but in the end Stan won out. When he walked past me after the auction, and during the rest of the pen show, we would both smile at one another, and he would call me "Ink Dog!"

 

One of the items on my sales table was the "Waterman's Autograph Album" that is highly prized only when they have famous autographs. Well, mine was almost empty and had no famous autographs, and I was getting sick and tired of people picking it up and throwing it down when they discovered that there weren't any famous people in it. One time when someone threw it down, I looked away in disgust, and who should I see in the booth next to mine but Frank Dubiel. And it was at that 1999 show that I decided to fill up my album with the autographs of famous pen collectors and researchers. I picked up that forlorn, castaway album and walked over to Frank, and had him sign it first of all. I placed the album prominently on my table at that pen show and every other show I attended since then until it was filled up, but that album was no longer for sale. When Stan signed the album for me, he inscribed it with the honorific "To the ink dog". You can see Stan's autograph here in this thread about that album and that special occasion. For those of you who can't open the link, the picture is below.

 

http:// kamakurapens.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=1196

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ninja:

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v71/rhrpen/autographs2.jpg

Edited by rhr

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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Dear George,

 

I am so sorry for the late reply, work is killing me these days.

 

Thanks for posting that autograph book. I see a lot of folks on those pages who like yourself are the gold standard of pen collectors. I am going to miss Stan Pfeiffer for his wit. Ink dog is a cool nickname.

 

I think the after party from the pen show is about the coolest thing ever. The Texas group are just wonderful. We like to tease them that the Dallas Show is the L.A. show meaning Lower Arkansas.

 

 

I keep trying to talk Dad into going to one of the bigger shows like Chicago, or Ohio, but he and mom are taking care of my aunt who has alzheimers.

 

I cannot thank you enough for posting this thread and for your work on pen patents. You da man!

 

Sincerely,

 

Fernando

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I really miss Frank he was just hilarious. The time Suzy drove us to dinner in her Fiero and the back brake was sticking. The rear passenger seat where Frank was started getting appreciably hot and Suzy just waved it off with a "oh dearie the brake is sticking it's no big deal" Frank starts saying over and over "We're gonna die Suzy, your car is gonna blow up! I don't want to die in a Fiero!" I laugh every time I remember it because they just bantered back and forth to the point where I was laughing hysterically. Total high point of that pen show for me. Hanging out with friends always is.

 

Is Howard Kaplan ok? I haven't seen him in years.

 

I look forward to seeing you sometime.

 

Happy Pen Hunting,

 

Fern

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Hi Fernando,

 

I seem to recall Frank and Suzy bickering back and forth about her driving when she drove to Stan's dinner as well. They were hilarious, almost like Laurel and Hardy. I won't say which one was which. ;~)

 

I remember both you and your dad from the second Houston pen show I attended. Say "Hi" to your dad from me. I also hope he gets to one of the bigger pen shows again. He signed the autograph album with this quote from Don Quijote, "Te diré Sancho, que un hombre no es más que otro, si no hace más que otro". The reason I didn't scan that page and place it in that thread was that there was a note just beneath your father's that was a bit risque. A Texan woman with long, wavy, golden hair borrowed my RHR Waterman's #56 to sign the book. She loved the flexy nib and the way it wrote, and added the note, "Who do I have to kill or sleep with to get this pen? I passionately desire it".

 

Your dad also told me a funny story, I think it was in Houston, or LA. He congratulated me on my recent contribution to The Pennant in 1998, an article about the French word for "fountain pen". He said he found it both informative and hilarious. When he first read it he was in the basement of his house, and he was laughing so loud that your mother, who was on the second floor, heard him and came down and asked him what he was laughing about.

 

By the way, I used a pull quote from one of your messages above as one of the epigraphs in the advertisement for my book, here on FPN and on L&P.

 

I'm not sure, but the last time I heard about Howard Kaplan, he was very sick, and I fear the worst.

 

I look forward to seeing you again as well.

 

Sincerely,

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ninja:

Edited by rhr

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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