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FP Ads in the Tech Part III: 1900-1919 (others)


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In this article I present the advertisements for fountain pens in The Tech which run from 1900 to 1919. These are for all pens except Moore pens. Advertisements for Moore pens dominated the newspaper (which isunderstandable, since they were local). The Moore ads were posted here. As I said before, my pen history knoweldge is realtively limited. So jump in with corrections or discussion.


The new century begins and a proposal to merge MIT with Harvard is averted after stron objections from MIT's alums :o .But let's focus on pens. The first advertisement is for Crocker Pens. This ad was the subject of our quiz few days ago. A truly "modern" pen that fills itself :) The famous Boston company established by Seth Sears Crocker. The company made "blow filler" (the user blows into a hole in back of the pen to make the sac to collapse) and "hatchet filler" pens. His son was the founder of the Chilton company. The blow filler pen is the "mother" of the Chilton pneumatics, the "grandmother"; of the touchdowns, and the great-great grandmother of the Sheaffer Legacy.


This ad shows also the value of ephemera. Many web sites today site 1902 as the year that the company began making pens because the patent was issued in 1901. It looks like the company was active before that and what more fruitful ground than the innovation-hungry geeks of MIT :)



high res (Dec. 20, 1900)


On January 7, 1901 an ad announces the availability of Waterman pens in the Co-operative bookstore.



high res (Jan. 7, 1901)


The new Century is 5 years old when this ad for Conklin pens appears. A "self-filling pen under you thumb".. Interesting is that the company's address

is given as Toledo O. (not OH...)




high res (April 10, 1905)


Soon Waterman ads appear The "clip cap" is a focal point of the ad, which features eyedropper pens. The second ad also warns: "beware of spurious or fraudulent imitations" (fakes for ever :))



high res (Sept. 27, 1905)



high res (February 17, 1907)


And as pens are bought some are lost.  The lost and found are full of announcements for lost pens such as a brown Waterman pen - is this an early reference to an oxidized pen? :)




high res


high res (Sept. 27, 1905)


In 1908 the Parker pens appear full force. In the first ad "agents wanted" while in the second ad entrepreneurial freshman are already in charge of sales.



high res (Oct. 2, 1908)



high res (Oct. 30, 1908)


The Higgins ink begins to advertise and it will continue for many decades to come. Other ads promote ink-pellets.



high res


high res



high res


Low cost pens appear in the market (from overseas?)  in "pain and fancy styles"



high res


A single ad for Boston Safety Fountain pen in 1915 is notable, and perhaps a bit late as my understanding is that the company bit the dust in 1917. An informative article on this company was printed in Pen World vol 16, no 5 (Apr/May 2003) by L. Michael Fultz & Patricia Lotfi.



high res(Jan. 13, 1915)


Waterman's ads mention the spoon feed (an older feature I understand from as early as 1903) and the availbility of regular (eyedropper), safety and self-filling types.



high res(November 2, 1914)



high ress_Page_13_Image_0003.jpg

high res


Last but not the least is an advertisement for a building company, on November 19, 1917 The relation to pens? They use as a showcase the reinforced concrete factory that they built for CARTER'S INX (the link is to a posting on the history of Carter Inx by R. Astyk at Lion and Pen), "the largest ink manufactures in the world" </p>



high res



On December 10, 1917 in the lost and found section, there are 5 Waterman's fountain pens listed: 1 Crocker, 1 gold fountain pen and 1 Sol Satin fountain pen. Sol Satin? What is this? A quick web search shows that in the Federal Trace Commission report of 1919 Complaint No. 97 is "Federal Trade Commission v. S. M. Hexter & Co." Cause: Stifling and suppressing competition in the sale of cotton fabrics by offering its cotton fabric to the public under the trade name of “Sol Satin,” which simulation is designed and calculated to, and does, deceive the public and cause purchasers to believe that respondents’ fabric is composed of silk, in alleged. Any relation with the fountain pens? Another sub-footnote of the fountain pen history awaits for explanation...


- To be continued -

Edited by antoniosz
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Great stuff. A bit much to say that Boston "bit the dust" they were somewhat forcibly acquired by Wahl. Patricia and I are planning a new Boston article for the Pennant in the near future.


Roger W.

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A fine contribution you are making with these posts -- I know how long it takes to assemble all that material.


Regarding Boston Safety, it did not "bite the dust". Though the company had cash flow problems, it was doing rather well and had a great product -- which is why Wahl ended up buying out its owners and taking over its line and renaming it "Tempoint" (other companies ended up with pieces of Boston Safety as well, but that's another story).


Waterman's "spoon feed" was the later feed, patented just at the turn of the century (exact intro date still a matter for further investigation).


Collectors have retroactively named the Crocker long lever filler (or end lever filler, if you prefer) a "hatchet filler", but it really doesn't look much like a hatchet and is subject to confusion with the Holland filler that really does resemble a tomahawk. So for now, "long lever" or "end lever" is preferred.

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Yet another great post. To think that people back then actually minded getting ink on their hands! :lol:



Edited by weepstah

"My shoes were reasonably clean, my rent was paid and I had two boxes of cereal and plenty of coffee at home. The world was mine, and I had plenty of time."

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