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The Wahl Tempoint lever

Roger W.

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Strangely, Wahl make about zero changes to the Boston Fountain Pen from 1917 until late 1921. The greek key engine turning is Wahl and the nib saying Tempoint but minor stuff. Now it is clear that Wahl got the rights to use the patents Boston had been using as the pens are the same except for one point. The Boston lever is the LaFrance lever (pat. filed May 1, 1916 #1,209,978) but the Tempoint uses a license agreement with Sheaffer for their double bar lever (1,118,240). Why the switch? I don't know of an interference from Sheaffer over the LaFrance lever. I am also not aware of any problems with LaFrance on Wahl using the patent as it had been assigned to Brandt but, maybe it came with strings. For some reason this sigular switch is made - does anyone have anything on this?


Roger W.

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Interesting question. But I think we have 2 lines of lever-presser bar mechanism going here and not a single lineagr. While I do not have any news to report about the nature of the License or the Royalties associated therewith, which would be a very interesting element and reason enough for the switch if the cost of the licensing bore meaningfully on the cost of production. But when I look at the lever-presser patent you listed as the LaFrance replacement (the Sheaffer 1,118,240) I see the one that was installed in the Wahl All-Metal Pens. And that mechanism was necessary because of the non-existence of the kind of lever pivot pin used in the Wahl metal overlay pens, which used the hard rubber inner body to anchor the pin inside the metal jacket. That one is the Patent 1,490,686, And that's the one I think went forward beyond the LaFrance. By simple observation of its simplicity of design and potential for lowered assembly and ,maintenance cost would not be hard to understand.


That said, then, if we are now talking about the 2 design s I am, I can think of a few other reason I would want to make the switch, from the LaFrance 1,118,240 to the John C. Wahl 1,490,686 not the least of which was the imputed cost of manufacturing of the LaFrance mechanism with its part #15 - the interlaced and eyed spring - that pulled the presser bar back against the barrel inner wall. That little piece is not an easy one to install, and is an extra part and process when comnpared to the 1,490,686. In addition, the LaFrance mechanism causes friction on the lever pin which could easily cause it to wear out. That could have explained why there was no change for a number of years while the repair of such pens would have turned up. From what I see the continuum from the LaFrance went around the Sheaffer and into the one of Wahl's own creation 1,490,686, where the eared lever and the channeled presser bar served to retrieve the depressed presser bar back up against the barrel inner wall. That design went on into the Hard Rubber and Plastic pens with a change (improvement)in the lever cross pin design going from the clecnched claw to the pin theough bored lever wall design.


What do you think?


Edited by Wahlnut

Syd "the Wahlnut" Saperstein

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Interesting line of thought. So Brandts want to get around Sheaffer and work with LaFrance to get a lever and succeed in getting that done but, only in their last year of production so, they don't have any long term experience with this being a hard lever to make. Wahl is taking over the works for the Tempoint and stop to say "hey, this design stinks". Now here is where I could use greater depth of knowledge with other makers but, perhaps it is common knowledge in 1917 (and maybe that they weren't in 1916) that Sheaffer will license out his lever. It's a lot easier than the LaFrance and is going to save money on a per unit basis no problem. This might be the best explanation, I don't know that any documentation will be found to support or refute why the change was made. It is important as the eyedropper is clearly on the way out. I don't think Wahl makes any eyedropper pens after the Tempoint. Thanks, Syd.


Roger W.

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Roger & Syd -


As you know, several years ago I obtained an annotated 1918 Wahl catalog from the family of Wahl's chief cost accountant. It contains spreadsheets showing the cost of each item of material and each step in manufacturing each size and model of Wahl Tempoint pens. The document shows that Wahl was paying a licensing fee of 5 cents for each lever pen it produced. There is no licensing fee shown for the eyedroppers in the catalog. I assume the fee was paid to Sheaffer, but the document does not state one way or another.





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