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Prince's Protean: The Ne Plus Ultra For Writers


antoniosz

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The quiz was solved by Nom de Plume - Well done!...

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Prince's Protean Fountain Pen - the first commercially successful FP in the US.

 

We have not had one of these for a while. So here it is:

Which pen was advertized as "The ne plus ultra for Writers" ?

 

Edited by antoniosz
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We have not had one of these for a while. So here it is:

Which pen was advertized as "The ne plus ultra for Writers" ?

I can not promise quick reaction but post your answers/guesses and I will respond as soon as I can :)

 

Wow, Antonios!

 

That's one that fools every search engine I can find... (and my poor little pea brain too!) <_<

 

Great Question!

 

I'll take a W.A.G. at one:

 

OMAS Arco Brown Paragon

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Wow, Antonios!

That's one that fools every search engine I can find... (and my poor little pea brain too!) <_<

Great Question!

I'll take a W.A.G. at one:

OMAS Arco Brown Paragon

 

 

Hey, didn't I say no Google :) Oh, I did not, but I guess it does not matter. :lol:

This should be a clue about that pen....

Also I just did a search on FPN and this pen is mentioned in 6 threads :)

 

Keep guessing...

 

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hi Antonios,

 

How about the Conklin Crescent filler, the original one that Sam Clemens advertised not the modern one?

 

Just an idea in passing.

 

cheers, John

 

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Oh heck, that is soooo easy. It was a super rare and protected from the elements, personally made by Mr. Parker, with only one clip and a new radical ink guessing hooded nib fountain pen. He made 21 of them in non traditional colors, like red and green and blue for our favorite collector, Mr. BENZ.

Edited by jd50ae

Please visit my wife's website.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_763_-2kMPOs/Sh8W3BRtwoI/AAAAAAAAARQ/WbGJ-Luhxb0/2009StoreLogoETSY.jpg

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No Conklin and no Parker. Try again. As for Benz, I think he does not deserve the attention he is getting.

But it is interesting to discuss at some point how much that pen would be bring in the market today:)

 

So here is another clue that might help with the time frame. In another part of the advertisement, it says:

 

"I am so pleased with this contrivance, that I Am desirous to procure another"

 

which clearly indicates an FP adict :)

 

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So here is another clue that might help with the time frame. In another part of the advertisement, it says:

 

"I am so pleased with this contrivance, that I Am desirous to procure another"

 

This makes me think early L. E. Waterman Eyedropper, or perhaps Mabie, Todd, and Bard since the dialect seems somewhat British.

 

Other guesses:

Aiken Lambert

John Holland

 

Tom (still hunting in the dark :rolleyes:)

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This makes me think early L. E. Waterman Eyedropper, or perhaps Mabie, Todd, and Bard since the dialect seems somewhat British.

Other guesses: Aiken Lambert, John Holland

Tom (still hunting in the dark :rolleyes:)

 

You are definitely moving closer to the proper time period. But no on Waterman, Mabie Todd or Bard, Aiken Lambert and John Holland.

One hint... The maker of this pen had 3 patents on FPs which you can find in here :)

 

 

 

 

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Correct, NdP :) This is it! The first commercially successful fountain pen in the US.

In addition to Ron's post here are some other interesting sources of information about this interest pen.

 

- The article of M. Fultz: http://www.penbid.com/Auction/showarticle.asp?art_id=111

- Per rhr the Fall 1999 issue of Pennant contains an article for this pen. I am waiting to get it from PCA.

- Prince's patents are: 8, 399 (9/30/1851), 12,301 (1/23/1855), and 13,995 (12/25/1855)

- David Nashimura pointed out that this photo http://www.vintagepens.com/images/perm/Lancaster_cat_1.jpg

which has a photo of Prince's Protean pen. It is the pen depicted horizontally with the subtitle "The original Self-Filling Fountain Pen, Piston suction and tongue feed".

He also has on his web site a very early ad of the pen (Jan 1856): http://www.vintagepens.com/images/perm/Pro...Jan_1860_sm.jpg

 

The earliest reference to the pen that I have been able to find is from the April 1855 issue of the Knickerbocker (!), a New-York Monthly Magazine p. 437 shown below.

Apparentely the offices of the Magazine were just next to Prince's office at Number 8 Appleton Bldg, 348 Broadway, in NYC.

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p1.jpg

 

Another early advertisement is from January 1856 in The American Journal of Education and College Review.

This ad is very interesting because it gives a hint for the origin of the name of Protean. Some people think

that the name was chosen to suggest the notion of versatility from the adj. protean (org. greek semigod Proteus

which would transform), but this ad says that the pen is "made by protean under the patent of Goodyear" which refers

to vulcanized rubber. Or course a play of words is always part of the game also...

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p2.jpg

 

In the Annual of Scientific Discovery: Year-book of Facts in Science and Art By David Ames Wells, George Bliss, Samuel Kneeland, John Trowbridge, Wm Ripley Nichols, Charles R Cross, published in 1856, it is clarified that "Protean was a word coined in Britain to designate one of the forms of hardened caoutchouc". Also it describes that the pen can be used as a piston filler or can by filled by suction through the mouth :)

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p3.jpg

 

The article that I posted above without the name is from "The Employments of Women: A Cyclopaedia of Woman's Work" by Virginia Penny, 1863

where suggested job #316 for women is to be a sales agent :)

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p4.jpg

 

The "NE PLUS ULTRA" reference comes from this ad below. The pen is also called "The pen of the Ready Writer", a biblical reference

(Newell Anderson Prince was a congregational minister). Notable is that in this ad, Prof. S.F.B. Morse (Columbia U.), the inventor of telegraph, is

among the people that recommend the pen (did he get a "kickback"? :o )

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p5.jpg

 

A more ... objective review of the pen comes from The Christian World: The Magazine of the American and Foreign Christian Union By American and Foreign Christian Union, p. 157 May 1956, where it speaks of some of the difficulties with regulating the flow of the pen :)

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p6.jpg

 

The pen is showing up in literature few years later. The text below is from "G.T.T: Or, The Wonderful Adventures of a Pullman" Edward E. Hale, p. 11.

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p7.jpg

 

Finally here is a biography of Prince from the "History of Bowdoin College: With Biographical Sketches of Its Graduates, from 1806 to 1879", By Nehemiah Cleaveland, 1882

 

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b325/azavalia/p8.jpg

 

Thanks for participating :)

 

AZ

 

PS> Ah,... and if you have a Protean please let us know :D

Edited by antoniosz
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This is great! Before this thread I had no idea there was a Protean fountain pen. Reading through the scans was quite fun. It's definitely a novel way to spend a Sunday morning. Thanks so much for the quiz. :)

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By the way, that should probably be "the April 1855 issue of the Knickerbocker", unless of course you mean "the latest reference to the pen". ;~)

 

If you're interested in Prince's Protean, take a look at the Fall 1999 issue of "The Pennant" for a great article on the "Protean" by Ed Fingerman. Four examples of the different models are illustrated there.

 

George Kovalenko.

 

:ph34r:

 

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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It's been a while since I've looked at the other known examples, but as far as I recall all of them are syringe-fillers, and not readily convertible to suction-filling by mouth (I say "other", because I own three examples, all syringe-fillers). Will have to take a closer look at the patents, and at the other surviving pens when I get a chance.

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