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Glossopedia of Pen Terms

(This page revised September 16, 2023)

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Reference Info Index | Glossary of Paper Terms  ]

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Eagle (Eagle Pencil Company) A pen and pencil manufacturing company; founded in 1856 by Leopold Illfelder and Daniel Berolzheimer as the Vera-Bleistift-Fabrik (Vera Pencil Factory) in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany. In 1861, the company opened a branch in New York City. Daniel Berolzheimer had died in 1859, so the New York office was opened by his son Heinrich (Henry). Henry soon partnered with his younger brother Martin and Joseph Reckendorfer. At some time after Reckendorfer’s death in 1883, the company incorporated; but members of the Berolzheimer family retained effective control of it, serving on the board of directors and as presidents until its 1969 merger with several other companies to create the Berol Corporation. In 1890, Eagle introduced a cartridge-filling pen (U.S. Patent No 426,758), a very simple design (shown below, upper and middle) that had a brass nib and used glass cartridges pushed onto a gum rubber nipple that was part of a plug in the hollow section. Eagle continued to innovate, patenting sleeve fillers, spoon fillers, matchstick fillers, and more. At some point in the 1930s, the crush of the Depression led Eagle to introduce a lower line called EPENCO. These pens were very cheaply made and fitted with steel nibs. Some of the EPENCO pens, e.g., Moon & Stars (below, lower) and the Popeye cartoon character, achieved notable success. See also matchstick, sleeve, spoon filler.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen cartridge
Fountain pen
Eberhard Faber  1  (Eberhard Faber Pencil Company) A pen and pencil manufacturing company located in New York City and, after 1872, Brooklyn, New York; founded in 1861 by Johann Eberhard Faber, brother of Johann Lothair Faber of Germany’s A. W. Faber. In addition to its several lines of wooden pencils, the company produced mechanical pencils and fountain pens of mediocre quality, of which the best known is probably the Permapoint line of the 1940s (which in 1947 was judged inferior by Consumer Reports) The Permapoint pen was designed to compete with Esterbrook pens. Like Sheaffer’s WASP Addipoint, the Permapoint had a user-interchangeable gripping section complete with feed, nib, and sac. The company was bought in 1994 by Faber-Castell USA, which later sold it to the Sanford division of Newell Rubbermaid. It is currently an element of the Paper Mate brand.  2  (Eberhard Faber GmbH) A pencil manufacturing company located in Neumarkt, near Nuremberg, Germany; founded in 1922 and purchased in 1978 by Staedtler Mars GmbH.
ebonite (also Ebonite) Hard rubber. When capitalized, a trademark currently held by Ebonite International, Inc. See also hard rubber.
Ebonized Pearl A celluloid color offered on Sheaffer’s Balance pens 1934–1939, made by embedding flakes of abalone shell in black celluloid as shown here. See also abalone.
Color chip
Fountain pen
Eclipse (Eclipse Fountain Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located initially in San Francisco, California; moved some time before 1917 to New York City. Founded in 1903 by Marx Finstone, the company sold three major lines of pens: Eclipse at the top, Marxton in the middle (illustrated below, lower, an uncommon glass-nib pen), and Park Row at the bottom (third tier, with a name probably chosen for its similarity to Parker.). At one time, Eclipse advertising attempted to clip Parker’s wings by pointing out that Eclipse was the world’s largest producer of red pens (below, upper, a rare bandless Eclipse). In 1925, Eclipse set up a Canadian subsidiary which in 1962 bought out the parent company. Beginning in 1929, a “child” company called Monroe sold a more luxurious line. Among Eclipse’s significant accomplishments was Finstone’s development of a method for making celluloid tube by spirally wrapping celluloid strip stock and fusing the seam (U.S. Patent No 1,576,588), thereby greatly reducing material cost and machining time. See also Dual Duty, Monroe, Rex.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Écorce (also Bark; French for bark, as of a tree, pronounced roughly A-korse, rhyming with “bay horse”) Term used by Parker for a deeply incised pattern resembling tree bark on a metal pen (shown below, upper). Illustrated below (lower) is a gold-plated Parker 180 in the Écorce pattern. (This pen may be a prototype; so far as I know, Écorce was not used on production-model 180s.)
Écorce pattern
Fountain pen
ED See eyedropper filler.
Edac (Établissements Edac) A manufacturer of fountain pens and mechanical pencils, located in Paris, France; founded shortly before World War I by Jacques Bonhomme to manufacture mechanical pencils, and located initially in Issy-Les-Moulineaux. The company moved to Paris after the war and in 1920 changed the brand name for its products (but not the company itself) from Edac to Edacoto. In 1922, the company began to produce fountain pens in retractable safety and lever-filling styles. The first Edacoto lever fillers used a peculiar U-shaped spring-metal pressure bar with one end engaged with the lever for filling and the other end formed into a button protruding through the side of the barrel near the section; pressing the button would apply a little squeeze to the sac in order to restart the somewhat unreliable ink flow. In 1930, Edac entered into an alliance with Aurora to market the latter’s pens in sets with Edacoto pencils (the Duo Moderne). During the 1930s, Edacoto pens appeared in celluloid and also in a series called Bijouterie (Jewelry), with bodies of gold-plated brass or solid gold or silver. 1938’s Super Edacoto 200 was essentially a knockoff of Waterman’s Ink-Vue. Edac introduced a Parker “51”-inspired hooded-nib pen in 1955 and a cartridge filler in 1958. Edacoto pens were generally not innovative, but they were of good quality. In 1959, responding to the challenge of the ballpoint invasion, the company joined a consortium with Evergood, Mallat, Gold Starry, Soma, and Walkover to produce the Visor Pen. The pen was successful but not enough so to restore the fortunes of Edac; shortly thereafter, Mallat absorbed Edac, the Edacoto name disappearing in the mid-1960s. See also Evergood, Gold Starry, Mallat.
Edacoto See Edac.
EDC Abbreviation of Every Day Carry. Originally referring to survival items and weapons, the term has been adopted into general usage via social media to mean the essentials one always carries; e.g., for a fountain pen user, EDC would mean pens, ink cartridges, a book for journaling, etc.
Edison  1  (Edison Pen Company, Inc.) A pen manufacturing company located in Petersburg, Virginia; founded c. 1912 with Ford D. Cromer as president, Robert F. Jackson as vice president, and S. West Holden as secretary-treasurer. The company initially did repair work but soon began selling its own pens, which it assembled from parts supplied by jobbers. The young Remmie L. Arnold joined Edison as a shipping clerk in 1914 and rose within five years to the position of general manager, later becoming president. Among Edison’s models was a telescoping pen identical to the one manufactured by the U.S. Victor Fountain Pen Company. In 1920, the company registered EDISON as a trademark and began manufacturing its own pens; but in 1928 its trademark was revoked as the result of a lawsuit brought by Thomas Edison and Thomas A. Edison, Inc., in which the plaintiffs charged that the pen company’s use of the name was causing material financial harm to their business. Arnold left Edison in 1935 to found his own company, and the Edison company, already failing, soon went under. See also Arnold, Artcraft, Victor.  2  (Edison Pen Company, LLC) A pen manufacturing company located in Huron, Ohio; founded in 2007 in Milan, Ohio, by Brian and Andrea Gray. Brian is a self-taught machinist whose passion for fine pens led him to make a few for himself without intending to sell them. When he showed them to others, they encouraged him to begin selling his pens; he left his position as a pharmaceutical sales representative to make and sell pens full time. As of this writing, Edison is a respected American pen manufacturer offering a “production” range, comprising several standard models, and a “signature” range of custom pens.
Eggens-Hambler (Eggens-Hambler Company, Inc.) A pen manufacturing company with offices in New York City and manufacturing facilities in Elizabeth, New Jersey; founded in 1922 by John H. Eggens and William C. Hambler, both of whom were former employees of L. E. Waterman. In 1926, the company offices moved to Newark, New Jersey. Eggens-Hambler produced primarily lever fillers of moderate quality, including some models with sterling silver or gold-filled overlays; a few miniature pens are also known. The company also jobbed pens to other companies, sometimes with nibs imprinted EHCO as were the nibs in its own pens. At some point, Hambler left the company, which thereupon began producing pens of a better quality that were marked with only Eggens’ name. The company failed sometime in the mid-1930s; in 1935, its securities were declared worthless.
EHCO See Eggens-Hambler.
Eisenstadt (Eisenstadt Manufacturing Company) A manufacturer and wholesaler of silverware and fine jewelry located in St. Louis, Missouri; founded in 1853 as the M. Eisenstadt Jewelry Company, purchased and reincorporated in 1883. In 1895 the name was changed to the Eisenstadt Manufacturing Company. During the 1920s and 1930s, Eisenstadt manufactured fountain pens of good quality that featured a unique and very well thought-out “backward” lever filler (shown below) in which the lever lifted toward the back end of the barrel instead of toward the gripping section (U.S. Patent No 1,531,800, by John J. Lynagh). The principal advantage of this lever design was that the lever could not become caught on the edge of the user’s pocket and cause the pen to discharge ink as the user was pocketing it. In 1929, the company added costume jewelry to its product line. It remained in business until 1981.
Fountain pen
Electa See Ceriani.
Elgiloy A highly corrosion-resistant spring alloy containing 39-41% cobalt, 19–21% chromium, 14–16% nickel, 11.3–20.5% iron, 6–8% molybdenum, 1.5–2.5% manganese, 0.6% beryllium, and up to 0.15% carbon. It was developed after World War II by the Elgin National Watch Company, following complaints that Elgin-made U.S. Army Air Forces A-11 watches had frequently failed under field conditions due to broken mainsprings. Elgin introduced Elgiloy in 1949. After its introduction, Parker made an unknown number of prototype “21” nibs of Elgiloy but appears not to have put nibs marked Elgiloy into production. The nib shown here is imprinted 49 / PARKER / ELGILOY / U.S.A. and is gold plated. Today Elgiloy-imprinted nibs are rare. In 1950, Parker introduced Octanium, which is the exact same alloy, albeit with tighter specifications on its composition, under Parker's own trademarked name. See also Octanium.
Elgiloy nib
Elite A name meaning a select, high-class group; used by Pilot for a broad range of models beginning in 1963 and lasting at least to the withdrawal of the Elite S pocket pens. The name was rebooted in 2013 for the Elite 95S, a pocket pen celebrating Pilot’s 95th year in business. Shown here are a top-line full-size Elite and an Elite 95S pocket pen, both capped to show their relative sizes. See also Pilot, pocket pen.
Pilot Elite 95S Pocket Pen
Elysée (Elysée Schreibgeräte GmbH) A brand name used by a jewelry manufacturer located in Pforzheim, Germany, later applied to the company itself. Founded in 1925 by Paul Dummert, the firm produced fountain pens as a minor sideline. When Pforzheim was bombed near the end of World War II, Dummert’s factory was completely destroyed. Dummert’s son Reinhold oversaw the rebuilding of the company, and it resumed business in the early 1950s, although never on the scale of its prewar activity. Purchased in 1970 by the watchmaking firm of Benzinger & Klein, Dummert began in about 1975 to produce lacquered metal pen bodies that it jobbed to high-end companies manufacturing pens for the fashion trade. In 1980, the company introduced complete pens of the same type under the Elysée brand. During the 1980s, models were numbered (60, 70, 80, and 90 series) and are reputed to have been distributed by Montblanc. Staedtler Mars GmbH acquired the Elysée brand and factory in 1991 and set it up as Elysée Schreibgeräte GmbH; under Staedtler’s management new models appeared with names such as Finesse, En Vogue, Epoque, Caprice, Sports, Dynamic, et al. In 2000, Elysée pen manufacture was discontinued due to excessive production costs. See also Staedtler.
emblem  1  When capitalized (Emblem Pen), the name of a top-of-the-line pen model introduced by Waterman in 1946 or ’47 to replace the Hundred Year Pen after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission prohibited the offering of a warranty if a fee was charged unless the fee was described in type the same size as the warranty statement itself and in close proximity to it. The Emblem Pen is unchanged from the last version of the Hundred Year Pen except that it lacks the latter’s 100-year warranty. Shown here (upper) is a De Luxe Emblem Pen in white, intended as a doctor’s pen. See also Hundred Year Pen.  2  When not capitalized, a sign or symbol attached to a pen, usually on the cap. Such sigilia are usually the crests or insignia of fraternal organizations such as the Eagles, Elks, Lions, Masons, etc., and pens bearing them are generally considered to be worth more than similar pens without them. During World War II, Morrison made a pen model called the Patriot; available in versions for the various U.S. armed services, the pen bore the emblem of the particular service it was named for. Shown here (lower) is a Navy Patriot, with the U.S. Navy crest on its sloped cap crown.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
embossing See repoussé.
Empire A strikingly attractive Art Deco cap design used during the 1940s on the Vacumatic-filling version of the Parker “51”; made by layering yellow and rose gold. Also known as Empire State, for the design’s resemblance to the profile of the Empire State Building. Empire caps are rare and highly sought after. See also gold, Rainbow, rose gold, Watermelon.
Empire cap
enamel (also vitreous enamel) A thin layer of glass that is fused to the surface of metal for decoration or protection. Enamel can be transparent (with or without a colored tint), translucent (cloudy, with or without tint), or completely opaque. The Bossert & Erhard pen illustrated here has been finished with enamel in a color called “Arctic Ice” over sterling silver guilloché. See also cloisonné, guilloché, lacquer.
Fountain pen
Endura Conklin’s name for a flat-top pen model introduced in 1924 to replace the short-lived Duragraph. The Endura appeared in variants from a full-sized clip-style model (shown below in Pearl and Black celluloid) to a small ringtop ladies’ model. In about 1930, the Endura became the Endura Symetrik, a streamlined transitional pen whose styling led the way to the Nozac. See also Nozac.
Fountain pen
engine turning See guilloché.
engraved Decorated by the removal of material in an attractive design, generally by the use of a sharp scriber or similar tool. In reference to writing instruments, usually used to indicate the application of a person’s name or initials, or a personalized dedication. The indicia of the Sheaffer’s Tuckaway shown here is engraved with the owner’s name, Zenobia. See also autograph (definition 3), chased, crosshatched, etched, guilloché, hand engraved, indicia, roll engraving.
Fountain pen
Envoy A pen model introduced by Eversharp in 1948 to fill the spot at the top of the company’s new lineup. The sleek and slender all-gold-filled Envoy, shown below, was a break from the then-current styles, and its design might have been the reason for its withdrawal only a year after its introduction.
Fountain pen
epenco See Eagle.
Equi-Poised (also seen in later references as Equipoise or Equipoised) A pen model introduced in 1929-30 by Wahl; the company’s first design to break away from the straight cylindrical “flat-top” mold of the previous decades. The Equi-Poised line featured some of the same celluloids and, at the higher end, the Personal-Point nib and Gold Seal trademark that had appeared a couple of years earlier. Shown here is a Gold Seal Personal-Point Equi-Poised in Kashmir green. See also Gold Seal, Personal-Point.
Fountain pen
Ercolessi (E. E. Ercolessi) A reseller of pens and other stationery items, operating several shops located in Milan, Italy; founded in 1921 by Edgardo Ercolessi and his wife Elvira. The company did not manufacture its own pens; instead, it jobbed them from several of the top Italian manufacturers, beginning with hard rubber retractable safety pens made by Columbus. Lever-fillers appeared later, followed by Duofold-style models produced in colorful celluloids by OMAS. Minerva provided button-fillers based on its own Ellittica range and lever- and piston-fillers based on the Classica. Elaborately decorated overlay safeties continued in popularity, still produced by Columbus. In the 1940s, Ercolessi ended its collaborations with Columbus and OMAS, partnering with Ancora for the Model 62 and 65 piston-fillers. During and after World War II, as the economic climate shifted, Ercolessi introduced cheaper models jobbed from Montegrappa and Radius, most notably the Series 70, based on the Radius Extra. Edgardo Ercolessi emigrated to Brazil in 1955, leaving control of the company to his son Giordano, and in 1987 Giordano’s younger sister Lucia took the reins. E. E. Ercolessi eventually discontinued offering pens under its own name; however it remains in business as of this writing, with a single shop in Milan. See also OMAS.
Esterbrook  1  (R. Esterbrook & Co.) A pen manufacturing company located in Camden, New Jersey. Founded as the United States Steel Pen Manufacturing Company in 1858 by Richard Esterbrook, the company pioneered the manufacture of high-quality steel pens in the U.S.A. and competed with England’s Perry & Co. (Osmiroid) in worldwide sales. Esterbrook developed its first fountain pen in about 1920, but its most famous creation is the Model J family, which appeared in 1944. Using the user-interchangeable Renew-Point nibs that Esterbrook introduced in 1935, the Esterbrook J (illustrated below, upper) became almost a household name and is today among the most popular low-priced collectible fountain pens. Relatively unsuccessful in attempts to diversify into ballpoints and felt-tip pens, Esterbrook was acquired by Venus in 1967 amid the general decline in fountain pen usage, and manufacture ceased in 1972. See also J, Osmiroid, Renew-Point, steel pen.  2  (Esterbrook Pen Company) In 2014, Robert E. Rosenberg purchased the rights to the Esterbrook name and designs and established a new company to produce pens of mediocre quality in styles bearing little or no resemblance to the originals. Initial reviews of the new Esterbrooks were strongly negative, and Rosenberg threatened, but never pursued, legal action against the reviewers. He sold the company in 2018 to Kenro Industries, Inc., a change in ownership that saw a significant improvement in overall quality. Shown below (lower) is an Esterbrook Oversize Estie made c. 2020.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
etched  1  Engraved by the removal of material with acid; the object to be treated is first covered with a layer of a protective substance called a resist (through which is cut the design to be applied) and is then exposed to the acid.  2  Term used by L. E. Waterman to describe pens having a metal overlay decorated with a pattern that is usually either chemically etched or mechanically engraved, as shown by the Gothic pattern on the No 0552V below. See also engraved.
Fountain pen
Eternal  1  A trademark applied to certain Mabie Todd Swan pens. See also Mabie Todd.  2  Term used by one modern ink maker to signify inks that are resistant to fading caused by extended exposure to actinic light (light that is high in ultraviolet, such as sunlight or the light from a welding arc).
Eterno See Uhlmann.
Etiopia A limited-edition fountain pen model produced by Aurora in the latter half of 1936 to commemorate Benito Mussolini’s founding of his new Italian empire after the conquest of Ethiopia. Shown below, the Etiopia is ivory in color, with a thin-wide-thin triple cap band decorated with a Greek Key pattern, and an image of the commemorative medal imprinted on the back side of the cap. Although not intended for use by troops in the field, it is a trench pen, with a pellet compartment at the back end of the barrel. The Etiopia is now very rare; and because of its historical connection with fascism it is to some extent controversial. See also Aurora, Greek Key, ink pellet, trench pen.
Evans  1  (Evans Dollar Pen Company) See Welty.  2  (Evans Pen Corporation) A ballpoint pen manufacturing company located in Hollywood, California; founded in 1947 by former Eversharp executives Harvey Binns and Walter Scott together with Phil Baker, who had been Master of Ceremonies on the popular radio quiz show Take It or Leave It (also known as The $64 Question), which had been sponsored by Eversharp. By 1949, the company had developed and was marketing the full-sized Evans and the pocketable clipless Evanette, plastic ballpoint pens that used perfumed ink, priced at $1.00 and $1.95, respectively.
Everfull (Everfull Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in New York City; founded c. 1950 and operated briefly in the mid-1950s. Everfull’s signature product was a $2.95 lever-filling fountain pen that carried an extra supply of ink within a somewhat elongated cap (U.S. Patent No 2,658,479, by Mendel Fried). The design featured a cartridge that was rigged to swivel automatically into a roughly upright position to serve as a small inkwell when the two halves of the cap were separated.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Evergood A pen menufacturer located in Paris, France; founded probably after World War II and active at least until 1970. In 1959, responding to the challenge of the ballpoint invasion, the company joined a consortium with Edac, Mallat, Gold Starry, Soma, and Walkover to produce the Visor Pen. See also Edac, Gold Starry, Mallat.
Everlast  1  (Everlast Pen Company) A pen and pencil manufacturer located in New York City; founded in the latter half of the 1940s by Theresa Waidlinger (president), Paul Waidlinger (vice president), and Richard Waidlinger (secre­tar­y/­treas­urer). The company operated at least into the 1950s, producing third-tier and novelty fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and mechanical pencils. It was among the first to offer a fountain pen combo whose other end was a ballpoint pen rather than a pencil. Among Everlast’s novelty items were floaty pencils and a Lone Ranger Silver Bullet Pen Set (shown below); the set’s pens wrote in blue (“Lone Ranger,” for secret codes), red (“Silver,” for danger), and green (“Tonto’s Own Pen”).  2  A model produced by the Toledo Pen Company. See also Toledo (definition 2).
Lone Ranger pen set
Ever-Ready A “house brand” of fountain pens produced for the American News Company of New York City. After a successful lawsuit brought in 1897 by William W. Stewart against American News over infringement of his U.S. Patent ( No 378,986), D. W. Lapham received Stewart’s license to make the pen for American News. The Ever-Ready pen continued in production through several updates, at least into the 1920s. See also Lapham.
Eversharp See Wahl.
Excellence Autograph See Sheaffer names.
Excello See Krueger.
expel See mechanical pencil.
eyedropper  1  A tube, usually of glass, that tapers to a small opening at one end and has a rubber bulb attached to the other end; used for dispensing small amounts of liquids in a controlled fashion, i.e., drop by drop. Early manufacturers often used the term filler to refer to the eyedropper supplied with an eyedropper-filling pen. Shown here is a reproduction vintage-style eyedropper of the type commonly used for filling pens.  2  (abbreviated ED) Colloquial term for an eyedropper-filling pen. See also eyedropper filler.
eyedropper filler (colloquially shortened to eyedropper, abbreviated ED) Retronym indicating a fountain pen that has no self-filling mechanism. (Until the advent of self-filling pens, the term was unnecessary.) Operates by direct filling into barrel. Most eyedropper fillers unscrew, usually at the joint between section and barrel (below, upper pen, D. W. Beaumel pen, open and posted), and ink is dripped into the pen with an eyedropper. In “safety” pens with retractable nibs, the ink is dripped into the opening that is left by the retracted nib (below, lower pen, L. E. Waterman safety, capped and posted). When self-fillers appeared, many manufacturers referred to eyedropper-filling pens as regular models to differentiate them from self-filling models. View filling instructions here. See also eyedropper, Jointless, middle joint, Rider.
Filler schematic
Filler schematic
Fountain pen
Fountain pen

Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Ezerite See Dubel-Servis.

  1. The FTC’s original 1945 ruling forbade “unconditional” warranties altogether if there was a fee. L. E. Waterman and Parker challenged the ruling, but Waterman withdrew its petition in 1946. Parker fought on, and the resulting 1948 court judgment softened the ruling, allowing such warranties if the fee was described in type the same size as the warranty statement itself and in close proximity to it. (The prohibition remained on the use of the word “unconditional.”)  Return

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