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FP Ads in the Tech: Part IV The roaring twenties


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There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the decade 1920-1929 was the most vibrant in the FP history. New materials, colors, designs ... fountain pens rule.After all, this is the "Roaring Twenties". I copy verbatim from Wikipedia: "The Roaring Twenties refers to theNorth American time period of the1920s, which has been described as "one of the most colorful decades inAmerican history." The decade encapsulates a fascinating story, beginning with the return of youngsoldiers from the fronts of theWorld War I and emergence of a new and confident face of modern womanhood, and ending with the sad note of theBlack Tuesday, harbinger of theGreat Depression. The years of the Roaring Twenties were marked by severalinventions and discoveries of far reaching consequences; emergence of unprecedentedindustrialboom and accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, coupled with significant changes in thelifestyle; and a series of events, national as well as international, which shaped a large part of the history of the 20th century."

In October of 1922 this interesting advertisement appears in the Tech. Not for fountain pens but for Ford automobiles.It is not that the automobile is a new technology, but the fact that has now become accessible enough even to "poor" students that makes this advertisement interesting.s_Page_17_Image_0001.jpg11-12-1923

In 1924 no Parker pen ads appear.  A year later Parker marks its presence with 3 ads. The big red duofolds are still at the same price, while a bandless/small nib D.Q. model is priced at $2.75, while with a larger point and a gold band it is priced at $3.50



From all big four Wahl is my favorite. It started as the Chicago based Wahl Adding Machine Company (a maker of ... adding machines) and in 1915-16 acquired the Eversharp Pencil Company (see more on the early Eversharp history in this link by D. Nashimura). In 1917  they acquire the Boston Fountain Pen Company. This transaction was seminal for the company as soon it changed its name to Wahl Company and sold the adding machine part to Remington Typewriter Co. Pens from late 1910s early 20s bear the name TEMPOINT and they have usually awesome nibs. Ads for Wahl pens appear in the Tech in 1923 and 1924.  The early ads were showcasing hard rubber pens but soon the focus shifts to all metal pens - gold filled and silver with prices anywhere from $1 to $10.  An interesting data point is the reference of one of the ads to the Wahl Toronto factory.

 s_Page_18_Image_0001.jpg10-8-1923s_Page_18_Image_0002.jpgOct. 5, 1923


 s_Page_19_Image_0003.jpgs_Page_21_Image_0001.jpgOct. 3, 1924

s_Page_21_Image_0002.jpg10-08-1924s_Page_22_Image_0001.jpgOct. 10, 1924



There are only few ads of Waterman products in this decade in the pages of Tech.  They all refer to black hard rubber pens. The locking lever, the spoon deed and the "quality" of the hard rubber are their focal points.  These ads are not representative of the range of Waterman pens and their acceptance in the market. This is the decade of the ripple hard rubber in red, olive, blue, etc. This is the decade of the coveted (today) "color" nibs (the famous pink, red, yellow, blue, etc.)  Of course much of our "image" of the 20s Waterman pens is formed by our modern collection preferences.  Overall, although Waterman products are well established in the market, they are no longer the dominant force of the earlier two decades (1900-1920).  

s_Page_24_Image_0001.jpg(Feb. 7, 1927) s_Page_25_Image_0003.jpg(Feb 9, 1927) 


A barrage of Sheaffer ads appears in 1929 in the Tech and is clearly associated with the appearance of the Sheaffer Balance.  The 20s were good for Sheaffer. The earlier radite pens, the jade flattops were definitely&nbsp and the undesputed marketing success of the lifetime guarantee of the White Dot had placed Sheaffer among the top four manufacturers. The ads here focus on the newly introduced Sheaffer Balance and it is ironic that they coincide chronologically with the stock market crash of October 1929.

 s_Page_27_Image_0001.jpg(10/23/1929)s_Page_27_Image_0002.jpg(10/16/1929) s_Page_27_Image_0003.jpg(10/7/1929)s_Page_27_Image_0004.jpg(9/30/1929) s_Page_28_Image_0003.jpg



The Chilton is a relatively unknown pen brand to most newcomers to the hobby but it is well known and highly coveted among the "elders".  It is a pen with interesting history. Seth Chilton Crocker was the president of the Chilton company and he was the son of Seth Sears Crocker of the Crocker Pen company.  The Chiltons were pneumatic fillers, where a tube (similar to the much later Sheaffer Touchdown) is pushed down and makes a rubber sac to collapse and subsequently suck ink in when it expands. The company started in Boston during the 20s and then moved to Long Island NY and perhaps in its later stage moved to New Jersey. The Chilton pen ads in the Tech emphasized their large ink capacity. The ads span 3 years from 1927 to 1929. The most interesting ad is the one from 9/26/1928 that shows a leather covered Chilton.You can find many Chilton pen pictures in http://www.chiltonpens.com of Rick Krantz, who has posted 4 of the Chilton ads shown below at L&P on 1/18/06 [ed(az)6/17/06)] . Pens with elephant, ostrich and crocodile skin were among the products of this company.

s_Page_25_Image_0001.jpg(9/27/1927)s_Page_25_Image_0002.jpg (9/23/1927)s_Page_26_Image_0001.jpg (9/26/1928)s_Page_28_Image_0001.jpg (10/16/1929)s_Page_28_Image_0002.jpg (10/9/1929) s_Page_28_Image_0004.jpghi res(9/30/1929)

I am closing the discussion to the 20s ads by presenting first an ad that references another Boston pen company - the Carter's

http://www.mediamax.com/azavalia/index31.gif June, 4, 1929

as well as an unknown to me fountain pen - the Bauer Fountain Ruling pen, and another ad for the Higgings ink.


- to be continued -

Edited by antoniosz
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Antonios, many thanks.


One thing I notice is that the D.Q. pens are ring-tops and the ring is advertised as a special gizmo for attaching to a notebook. We usually think of ring-tops as women's pens, with a few exceptions like the rather butch big Sheaffer ring-tops that are presumably meant to be attached to a watch chain and kept in a vest pocket; but maybe there was a wider preference for pens without a pocket clip. I can't tell the size of these pens from the ads -- any info?





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Micheal, the ads show both a ringtop and a pen with a clip.

I dont own a DQ to give exact dimensions.

Here is a photo from http://www.parkerpens.net/parker/dq.shtml that might be helpful:



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Hi Antonios,


Wow! I just love this series! Thank you very much for all the time and effort you are putting into it!


Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever

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Micheal, the ads show both a ringtop and a pen with a clip.

I dont own a DQ to give exact dimensions.

Here is a photo from http://www.parkerpens.net/parker/dq.shtml that might be helpful:

Hmm, these are mostly plastic, so we don't know from this whether the early ring-tops as advertised were Junior size or Lady size or both. Hmm, sounds like a time for empirical methods. Anyone got one?





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My understanding is that early ring-tops (1900-1920s?) were widely used by men as "Vest Pocket Pens". I don't think they became "ladies pens" until later.


The Baur ruling pen is a fascinating concept. Ruling pens were drafting pens - the nib consisted of two metal pieces that were held together at an angle to create a little wedge-shaped ink pocket between them, often with an adjustable screw. I think they have been in use up until the 60s or so - My dad had a small drafting set from his college days (1966?) that had one in it - maybe even up till today. They are still used by some calligraphers to get interesting effects.


Here are some ruling pens at John Neal Booksellers, a major calligraphy supply business, as well as the publishers of Letter Arts Review.


An article from the Pennant on-line on a Mont-Blanc fountain ruling-pen also lists several patents and fountain ruling pens from the US, but none of them a "Bauer".


Apparently their were articles on fountain-ruling pens in the November-December 2000 and Jan-Feb 2001 issues of PenWorld.



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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Thanks John,


Yes now I know what a ruling pen is :) In fact I knew but I had no clue about the English term and I did not pay enough attention to the ad.



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Thanks once again for the latest update!


One quick note, however, since I have a particular interest in early Eversharp history: Wahl only gained control of Eversharp at the very end of 1915, and took it over entirely later in 1916. The Eversharp pencil did not exist in 1912 -- and as this article explains in detail, it had nothing to do with the later pencil invented in Japan by the man who later founded Sharp Electronics.

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I can't help but notice the Chilton ad stating that it holds 81(!! :ltcapd: ) drops of ink compared to the 38 of it's competitors. I don't have any experience with Chiltons (maybe some day) but is this a crazy boast, or am I wrong on this? I know pens like the Dunn could hold vast quantities of ink, but not a pen with a sac.


These ads are the best.



"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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Definitely a curious point. Even the 38 drops is too much in my mind. I do not know (and I do not own a Chilton either :( ) Even modern piston fillers (M800, Omas etc.) would have 15-20 drops max. I am not sure how much the droplet size varies but I can not imagine 81 drops capacity :)

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  • 4 months later...
Definitely a curious point. Even the 38 drops is too much in my mind. I do not know (and I do not own a Chilton either  ) Even modern piston fillers (M800, Omas etc.) would have 15-20 drops max. I am not sure how much the droplet size varies but I can not imagine 81 drops capacity 


I don't think that 81 is necessarily unrealistic - or at least I don't anymore. I was playing around with a "big red" Ingersoll twist filler, and after a good fill I was able to slowly squueze out something in the range of 75-80 drops of ink. I wouldn't believe it if I had not seen it myself. A Good Service lever-filler I just tested, with an incomplete fill, put out 48 drops with a Noodlers Iraqi Indigo/Diamine Royal Purple mix. However, when I tested it with water it put out fewer drops, and the drops seemed much larger in size. I suspect different inks would give different results.


If I ever am really bored I will take a video clip and post it.



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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My guess is that a high surface tension will give you smaller droplets.

It is also possible that the interaction of ink and nib/feed might play a role too.

You are right for some inks and a very large pen it may be possible :)



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