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Eclipse Fountain Pen & Pencil Company


Maja
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I have a very modest collection of pens and pencils made by the Eclipse Fountain Pen & Pen Company. I only have about half a dozen examples, but I think it's kind of neat to have something made by what many people consider a "Canadian" pen company (perhaps the only Canadian fountain pen company?) since I myself live in Canada.

 

I thought that the company originally started up in 1903 in New York City ( specifically on 42 E. Houston St., and later in the Chrysler building in New York City according to this source) but I have also read about its establishment in Toronto, Canada in 1925. Jonathan Steinberg in his book "Identifying Fountain Pens" lists Eclipse pens under "Canada" in his manufacturers' guide..... To make things even a bit more confusing there is a company called Eclipse Pens that makes advertising writing instruments that is currently located in Toronto, but they don't make fountain pens!

 

Anybody know a little bit more about the old Eclipse company?

Also, did they have any second-tier brands? (I think Marxton is one brand....any others?)

 

Thanks in advance! :)

Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)
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Here's an abbreviated history of the Eclipse Pen Co.

 

There were actually two companies with shifting-across-the-border ownership. Some of this information was taken from various business directories and other pen history books, but most of it came from an article about the company written by Stephen Overbury. It was published in the British "Journal of the Writing Equipment Society" in 1989, issue No. 24.

 

USA Co.

 

Eclipse Fountain Pen Co. (1903-1962), started by Marx Finstone in San Francisco, Calif., 1903, Joseph P. Tully, salesman in Chicago, Ill., 1915-25, bought out Keene Pen Co., ca.1915-20, 161 Grand St., New York, N. Y., 1922, patents received between 1917-27, "Safety" trademark used since 1919 and issued in 1922, gen. office at 42-44 E. Houston St., export department at 200 Fifth Ave., factories in New York and Arlington, N. J. in 1925, also offices at 31 State St., Chicago, 57 Post St., San Francisco, and 21 Dundas Square, Toronto, Ont., Canada, 1925, Marx Finstone dies in 1929, office in the Chrysler Bldg., cor 405 Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street, 1933, Dave Klein & Joseph Tully become co-owners of both the US and Canadian operations in 1933, the US company is bought out by the Canadian company in 1962.

 

CDN Co.

 

Eclipse Fountain Pen and Pencil Co. (1925-present), Canadian office opened in 1925, first factory at 21 Dundas Square, Hermant Bldg., Toronto, Ont., Marx Finstone, two-thirds owner, Joseph P. Tully, one-third owner, h Forest Hills, Toronto, Ont., Marx Finstone dies in 1929, Dave Klein & Joseph Tully become co-owners of both the US and Canadian operations in 1933, Wilford Gregory, gen. mngr., Joe Tully, Jr., sales mngr., Joe Jr. leaves Eclipse to be a Bic ballpoint distributor from 1951-54, Mrs. Tully takes over after Joseph Tully’s death in 1956, the US company is bought out by the Canadian company in 1962, Frank Rice Sales, owner of the rights to the "Ever-Ready", purchased Eclipse in the mid-1960s, sold to Stan Sefton in the early 1970s, an investor group headed by Ron Francisco sets up a holding company, Eclipse Holdings, to purchase Eclipse, Wayne Ferderber, pres., runs the pen division, since then it has been a mere maker of advertising, bank, and hotel ballpoints.

 

George.

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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Also, did they have any second-tier brands? (I think Marxton is one brand...any others?)

I don't know about Marxton, but Eclipse in Canada produced pens with quite an array of names. Tully named some of his company's pens after his daughters, so we have such pens as the "Margie" and the "Mary Jane". But there was also the "Zepher", the "Hooded Knight", the "Monroe", the "Adanac" ("Canada" spelled backwards), and "Tully's Prefer-A-Point". Perhaps this last one was their competitor for the third-tier Esterbrook pens with their interchangeable nibs.

 

Rob and Keith, in their separate thread, are both right about the term "second-tier". It's not a simple matter. You have to talk about tiered pens, and tiered companies, and a mixture of the two terms.

 

There are companies, such as Conklin, that started out as first-tier companies, and become second-tier companies merely by loss of market share, but with no loss of production quality, and then ended by making cheap pens and became a third-tier company. Then there are also the first-tier companies that made second-tier, and even third-tier pens for their economy lines. But most fourth-tier companies stayed within their own little niche market of "cheesy", little, fourth-tier pens.

 

George.

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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Again with this Esterbrook and the third tier thing... hmmmmf!

 

It's not a nice thing to say about a company that sold millions upon millions of well designed, extremely attractive, and very functional pens.

 

You guys are going to make me start an Esterbrook appreciation thread if you keep this up.

 

:lol:

Please visit http://members.shaw.ca/feynn/

Please direct repair inquiries to capitalpen@shaw.ca

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Thank you so much, Rob and George! I am going to copy this info and store it in my little computer "Pen History" folder. I have to agree with Rob about Eclipse pen nibs---it's too bad that they were not a little bit better in quality. Some of the gold-plated machined patterns on the older Eclipse pens are quite nice and deserve a better nib :)

 

As for this whole first-, second-, third- and fourth-tier pens categorization that pen experts use, I find it interesting, but at the same time may be a tad misleading to newbies in terms of collectibility.....which I realize may have nothing to do with sales figures or craftsmanship....

Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)
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Again with this Esterbrook and the third-tier thing...hmmmmf!

Keith, just be glad that we didn't call it a cheesey, fourth-tier company. :sick:

 

G.

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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Keith, just be glad that we didn't call it a cheesey, fourth-tier company. :sick:

 

G.

George, you're lucky you didn't call it a cheezy fourth tier company... ;)

 

Gerry

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Keith, just be glad that we didn't call it a cheesy, fourth-tier company. :sick:

George, you're lucky you didn't call it a cheezy fourth tier company. ;)

Ducking. :lol:

 

G.

rhrpen(at)gmail.com

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Also, did they have any second-tier brands? (I think Marxton is one brand...any others?)

OK, I found some more info about my own question :rolleyes:

There is an Ebay seller whose "About Me" page says that he is writing the history of "Eclipse (the USA branch only), and its sub-brands: Park Row, Marxton, "Safety", Jackwin, Keene (an aquisition), and Monroe"

 

I suspected that Marxton was a sub-brand, but I didn't know about the other ones....Thank you to this fellow Ebayer for the info! :)

Edited by Maja
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)
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  • 4 weeks later...
Also, did they have any second-tier brands? (I think Marxton is one brand...any others?)

OK, I found some more info about my own question :rolleyes:

There is an Ebay seller whose "About Me" page says that he is writing the history of "Eclipse (the USA branch only), and its sub-brands: Park Row, Marxton, "Safety", Jackwin, Keene (an aquisition), and Monroe"

 

I suspected that Marxton was a sub-brand, but I didn't know about the other ones....Thank you to this fellow Ebayer for the info! :)

Maja,

 

Was there more info on Eclipse on this fellow's 'about me' page? If so, could you please provide his info so I can follow up with him re the book?

 

Gerry

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Also, did they have any second-tier brands? (I think Marxton is one brand...any others?)

OK, I found some more info about my own question :rolleyes:

There is an Ebay seller whose "About Me" page says that he is writing the history of "Eclipse (the USA branch only), and its sub-brands: Park Row, Marxton, "Safety", Jackwin, Keene (an aquisition), and Monroe"

 

I suspected that Marxton was a sub-brand, but I didn't know about the other ones....Thank you to this fellow Ebayer for the info! :)

Maja,

 

Was there more info on Eclipse on this fellow's 'about me' page? If so, could you please provide his info so I can follow up with him re the book?

 

Gerry

Hi Gerry,

I can't for the life of me remember that Ebay member's "user ID" :blush:

I do remember that what I quoted above is all that he mentioned about Eclipse pens on his Ebay page (other than that he is writing a book on them). I remembered his name though; it is John Roede, and I believe Daniel Kirchheimer (who posts here on FPN under the name "kirchh") knows him, so perhaps you could PM Daniel and ask.

Sure would be nice to find an article or two on Eclipse pens, wouldn't it? :)

Edited by Maja
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)
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Hi Maja

 

I feel exactly the same about Eclipse (Canadian) and i can't believe I found this thread just now with an astounding wealth of information that simply has not been available collectively. We should trade photo's I've three Eclipses to my name.

 

Mike

 

hang on I'm going to try to find this link in the UK it'll floor you.

 

Yes a beautiful Eclipse set with a first tier price. Looks our Canadian pens are finally getting the recognition they deserve and the stcker price that goes with it

 

 

http://www.fountainpenemporium.com/items/2...store.html#item

Edited by covertpen

The answer to all life's secrets are found in your own creativity.

 

 

                                                                 -unknown

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Hi Maja

 

I feel exactly the same about Eclipse(Canadian) and i can't believe I found this thread just now with an astounding wealth of information that simply has not been available collectively.  We should trade photo's I've three Eclipses to my name.

 

Mike

 

hang on I'm going to try to find this link in the UK it'll floor you.

Hi Mike!

Hey, your name sounds familiar...Do you bid on Ebay, by any chance? ;) (if so, you have great taste in pens)

 

Looking forward to any info you could share with us on this somewhat under-appreciated pen company :)

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Thank you (blushing) I'm afraid I'm a bit of a fountain pen hermit here in sunny Nova Scotia and you may be the first person who has ever complimented me on my foraging. They just don't get it.

 

As for Ebay.... that opium den, far too much time and shekels I'm afraid... but what's a pen lover to do? It's an endless river that hypnotically flows thru my notebook, never exactly the same and lots of gold nuggets of rarity and history wash up on her banks.

 

I re- found that link (at last) check it out. It was the most I knew about Eclipse untill tonight.

 

http://www.fountainpenemporium.com/items/2...store.html#item

Edited by covertpen

The answer to all life's secrets are found in your own creativity.

 

 

                                                                 -unknown

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I re- found that link (at last) check it out.  It was the most I knew about Eclipse untill tonight.

 

http://www.fountainpenemporium.com/items/2...store.html#item

That's the same link where I found out that the Eclipse company established itself in Toronto in 1925 (see my first post in this thread) :lol:

There sure isn't a lot of info on this company, is there? In looking for more info in the Zoss archives, I came across this post which had me all excited...until I saw that no one had responded to the query :(

 

As an off-topic aside, there are a couple of online dealers with some incredible vintage pens who live in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia called "The Elite Penman"( http://vintage-pens.com/ )

I've never bought anything from them, but it's fun to just browse through their wares....

Edited by Maja
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You don't miss a trick.

 

That's Richard Vroom and vastly superior other half Agnes, about 25 min away. Great Guy. Anytime I win from him, most recently a Sr. Mottled Eclipse with a Mottishawed stub, we meet at Chapters/Starbucks sometime that week and do the exchange. :D In CAN $ no less! Saves postage esp. if i don't like it ;-) as if. European pens are his forte but he dirty dances on Ebay.

 

Soooo when you gonna cough up the 900.00? :sick: USD. What's up with that?. :blink:

Edited by covertpen

The answer to all life's secrets are found in your own creativity.

 

 

                                                                 -unknown

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Browsing one of my specialties. Love to add to the scrapbook. Always looking for another Vintage Pen site with wares displayed and description enticing.

 

A very savvy ebay seller is building one as we speak, penultimate. Ebay name Askm963

 

http://home.comcast.net/~askm963/penultimate.htm

 

He deals in high end filigree, overlays, rare variants and solid restorations.

I can't afford any of his stuff; but I crave, oh boy do I Lots of Conklin... my weak spot ... well one of them.

 

 

Part II

 

SOMEONE ELSE"S SYNOPSIS (W.B. BRUCE)

 

I ripped this from pensandwatches.com site..... they really really like Paul Wirt

 

http://www.pensandwatches.com/glossary.htm

 

Eclipse Fountain Pen Co.

 

42 E. Houston St and later in the Chrysler building in New York City - Made medium quality fountains pens in hard rubber and later in plastic, a good percentage of which were oversize flattops. They had a unique clip that was clasped onto a mount. The mount looked like a staple punched into 2 vertically lined up slots in the cap. These clips are missing on many pens. Keene had used a similar clip on their pens and may have changed their name to Eclipse or sold out to them. Eclipse liked to mark the lever on their pens, but they didn’t like to mark the barrels much. When you encounter pens that are marked on the clip and/or lever only, it may sometimes be because the companies were buying parts and only making the levers and clips for the pens. Some have Eclipse nibs, others just have warranted nibs which I believe are correct in some of these pens. Eclipse also had a Canadian plant which may have only taken over the name after the demise of the US plant.

Edited by covertpen

The answer to all life's secrets are found in your own creativity.

 

 

                                                                 -unknown

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<I>Yes a beautiful Eclipse set with a first tier price. Looks our Canadian pens are finally getting the recognition they deserve and the stcker price that goes with it</I>

 

Those guys' prices are just nuts. I can't believe anyone pays them. $80 for a Parker 45? $140 for a Snorkel Saratoga? I'd be more than happy to get half that.

Ther are 10 types of people in the world; those who understand binary and those who don't

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<I>Yes a beautiful Eclipse set with a first tier price. Looks our Canadian pens are finally getting the recognition they deserve and the stcker price that goes with it</I>

 

Those guys' prices are just nuts.  I can't believe anyone pays them.  $80 for a Parker 45?  $140 for a Snorkel Saratoga?  I'd be more than happy to get half that.

 

Hmm, well I didn't want to mention that, but I tend to agree with you, John.

Still, it's better than what some European sellers charge online for vintage stuff...Mind you, I've lived in Europe so I know things are generally much more expensive over there (I'm thinking Central & Western Europe) so that probably explains that...When we lived in the UK in the early 90's my husband and I were always surprised to see that something that costs £20 over there would only cost $20 CDN here in Canada. It seemed like you were paying the same numerical amount ("20") but that it was multiplied by the exchange rate! I don't know why pens from Nova Scotia would cost so much.... :lol:

 

What I am wondering about is if The Elite Penman restores pens or not; I've come across several advertised on their website which require re-sacking :huh:

 

Hope this doesn't come across as dealer-bashing to anyone; people are free to set their own prices for pens, of course :)

Edited by Maja
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)
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Richard Vroom AKA the elitepenman does not do repairs. He farms all pens in dire need to professionals. He does however take and post the pictures. ;-)

 

I concur, Richard's prices are a little on the heavy side; this may be in part due to his preference for, dealings with and knowledge of european pens which could encourage a 'casually" higher price point approach. Then again, when you compare to Penopoly or Vintage Pens perhaps they are not so out of range

 

Probably explains why I've only bought one directly from him, the rest were dueled for on the level playing field of Ebay. The MRHR Eclipse Sr. was a Sumgai event ... 75.00 (reserve). Just about what he payed Mottishaw for the nib work. This is what he wrote to me after hammer fell...

 

"You are making me cry!"

 

Richard Vroom

The Elite Penman

The answer to all life's secrets are found in your own creativity.

 

 

                                                                 -unknown

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