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Glossopedia of Pen Terms

(This page revised September 22, 2022)

Introduction  A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  Numbers

Reference Info Index | Glossary of Paper Terms  ]


J The best known and most popular family of pens produced by Esterbrook, made in four sizes ranging from the diminutive C and CH “purse pens” through the SJ (Short J), LJ (sLender J) to the J itself (illustrated here). Read a profile of the J family here. See also Esterbrook.
Fountain pen
Jack-Knife Safety   Parker’s name for its screw-cap pens; introduced in 1910 as an eyedropper filler (upper illustration below), fitted with a button filler in about 1915 and a washer clip in about 1916 (lower illustration below), and phased out beginning with the introduction of the Duofold in 1921. Read a profile of the Duofold, in which there is some information on the Jack-Knife Safety, here. See also Duofold, Turban Top.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Jade A celluloid color offered on Sheaffer’s pens 1924–1932 and on Parker’s and other makers’ pens during the same general period; a marbled or mottled semitranslucent green as shown here. Sheaffer’s Jade underwent changes during the period; the earliest version (illustrated below, left) was noticeably less vibrant than the final version (below, right), and there is thought to have been a third version that fell between the extremes.
color chipColor chip
Jaroslavl See Yaroslavl.
Jaxon A sub-brand of the Conklin Pen Company. Absent actual documentation of dates, I believe that early Jaxon pens were ordinary screw-cap eyedropper fillers and that later, Conklin added its Conklinette filler, illustrated here, to the Jaxon line. The filler comprises a ring with a keyhole-shaped slot that mates with a groove on a stud projecting from the barrel to lock the stud against accidental depression. See also Conklinette.
Fountain pen
J-bar See pressure bar.
Jefferson See Kahn.
Jet Flighter See the historical note at Flighter.
Jet-O-Matic See Ventura.
jewel A decorative bit of metal, plastic (as shown here, a celluloid Vacumatic jewel), or (rarely) semiprecious stone applied to one or both ends of a pen; frequently surrounded by a tassie. See also bullseye, cabochon, tassie.
Celluloid jewel
Jeweler’s band A cap band designed to be used on pens that were intended for sale by jewelers rather than the usual pen and stationery stores. The most common jeweler’s band has several closely spaced parallel grooves around its circumference, with a blank rectangular area on one side for use as an indicia; other designs lacked the indicia or had the grooves oriented longitudinally instead of laterally. The band illustrated here is on a Sheaffer Balance Mercury; the grooves on this band are oriented longitudinally surrounding an indicia engraved with the script initials C. J. See also indicia, milled band, Stacked Coin band.
Jeweler's cap band
JiF Jif-Waterman, a French company founded in 1926 (and named for its founder Jules Isidore Fagard) for the purpose of manufacturing L. E. Waterman pens locally in Europe. JiF became the sole holder of the Waterman name when Waterman’s English plant shut down in about 1970. See also Waterman, L. E.
Jiffy  1  (Jiffy Fountain Pen Company) A fountain pen manufacturing company located in Sioux City, Iowa; founded in 1916 to produce, job, and retail pens, with William A. Houston assuming the presidency. Jiffy was one of several companies in which Houston was involved until his death in 1935. See also Houston.  2  (U.S.A. Jiffy Fountain Pen Company, Inc.) A fountain pen manufacturing company located in Dover, Delaware; founded in 1925 by C. E. Craig, J. M. Townsend, and A. L. Raughley. The company is known to have been in business through 1930 but probably failed shortly thereafter during the Great Depression.
JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) A set of standards for industrial activities in Japan, promulgated in 1946 to supersede inadequate older standards, and enacted into law in 1949. Beginning in 1949, the JIS symbol has been applied to Japanese products to indicate certification, although some manufacturers did not begin marking their products until the early 1950s. Because certification is not free of cost, some manufacturers have never marked products not intended for export. ¶ The left-hand of the symbols below was the official mark until October 1, 2005, at which time the right-hand symbol replaced it. Manufacturers were given a three-year grace period for the changeover; thus, use of the older symbol was permitted until September 30, 2008. The current standard for fountain pens and nibs, JIS S 6025:2002, superseded JIS S 6616:1994 on January 20, 2002.
JIS symbols
job In reference to pens or other manufactured goods, the production of an item by one company (a jobber, or job shop) under contract to another company for sale by the second company, usually under its own name. The term is used as a verb, and it applies both to completed products and to parts for assembly by the second company. E.g., the National Pen Products Company produced pens by jobbing parts from manufacturers like C. E. Barrett and assembling the pens. National then jobbed the completed pens to Sears, Roebuck & Co. for sale under Sears’ Gold Medal, Tower, and Webster brands. Today, dozens of pen companies job nibs from JoWo. See also job shop.
job shop (also jobber) A company whose primary (or only) business is the manufacture of item that it sells to other companies for retail under their own names, either as complete products or as parts to be included in the buying companies’ products. See also job.
John Hancock See Pollock.
Johnson  1  Paul W. Johnson. See Bay State (especially definition 2).  2  (August Johnson & Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Chicago, Illinois. Founded c. 1891 by August Johnson, the company produced gold pens (dip nibs) and fountain pens. Before 1905, the company’s fountain pens were ordinary eyedropper-fillers; in that year, Johnson patented a well-designed sliding-barrel sleeve filler (illustrated below, top three). In 1921, Johnson, the only principal, decided to quit the pen business and sold his company’s plant and assets to the newly founded Utility Pen Company. See also Utility.  3  (E. S. Johnson & Company) A pen manufacturer located in New York City; founded in 1848 by Ephraim S. Johnson. The company was later incorporated, but Johnson succeeded his own company in 1897 and was in turn succeeded a year later by his sons E. S. Johnson, Jr., and D. W. Johnson. E..S. Jr. withdrew before the end of 1898, and D. W. continued the business with the same product line. The original company was founded to produce gold pens (dip nibs) and holders, later expanding into the manufacture of jewelry. It remained in business at least as late as 1921. Shown below (fourth) is a pre-1900 E. S. Johnson dip pen.  4  (Johnson Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Rockford, Illinois; founded c. 1923 by Clifford N. Johnson. Produced high-quality lever-fill flat-top pens in plain red or chased black hard rubber, or in Jade celluloid, between 1923 and 1929. Before starting his own business, Johnson had worked for J. G. Rider in Rockford; Grieshaber and C. E. Barrett in Chicago; and Conklin in Toledo, Ohio, where he was the factory supervisor. While at Conklin, Johnson filed for two patents for mechanical pencil designs. U.S. Patents Nos 1,494,424 and 1,508,795, the latter being the final iteration of Conklin’s metal pencil design, were issued after he left Conklin. Returning to Rockford, he set up his company to produce and sell pens through independent agents as well as directly to other businesses for use by their employees. The company used a stylized map of the United States (below, bottom) in its advertising, claiming that its pens were all “Ink Tested” and the “Greatest Values in [the] U.S.” Johnson established accommodation offices for two sub-brands that appeared as independent companies: the Maywood Pen Company (c. 1925–c. 1928) in Maywood, Illinois, and the Rockford Pen Company (1926–1930) in Rockford; he appears also to have bought the Paris Pen Company from C. E. Barrett at some point and moved at least the brand from Chicago to Rockford. The last information I can find on Johnson indicates that the Paris company survived until at least 1936. See also Maywood, Paris.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Dip pen
Manufacturer logo
jointless Term for an eyedropper-filling pen with no removable nozzle (gripping section), typified by the Jointless models that Parker introduced in 1898 (U.S. Patent No 622,256). Shown below is a Parker Jointless No 020 that is imprinted for use as a promotional giveaway. To fill a jointless pen, the user removed its nib unit (an assembly comprising nib, feed, and a hard rubber collar holding the two together). The design’s purported advantages over ordinary eyedropper fillers (with nozzles that unscrewed for filling) were that there was no exposed joint to leak onto the user’s hand or clothing and that there was less risk of breakage during removal and reinstallation of the nozzle. See also eyedropper filler, middle joint, Rider.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Jotter A ballpoint pen introduced by Parker in January 1954 and still in production as of this writing. Parker’s engineers had learned from others’ failures, and the $2.95 Jotter (first-year model shown below) was an instant success. It had a much greater capacity than its competition, it was offered with a choice of point sizes, and its mechanism rotated the refill turn each time the point was extended in order to equalize wear on the ball tip. In 1957, Parker created the T-Ball Jotter by fitting the refill with a textured ball made of sintered tungsten carbide for better ink transport and longer life. See also ballpoint, BiC, CA, Rocket.
Ballpoint pen
JoWo (JoWo Berliner Schreibfeder GmbH; pronounced YO-vo) A nib manufacturer located in Berlin, Germany; founded in 1852 as Heintze & Blanckertz to produce linoleum cutters (for linoleum block printing) and steel pens (dip nibs). The company was the first German manufacturer of steel nibs, and beginning in about 1913 had its own rolling mill. Partially destroyed by the bombing of Berlin during World War II, the factory was rebuilt and the company nationalized as VEB Berliner Schreibfeder in 1949. In 1953, VEB began producing butterfly nibs for fountain pens, and in 1955, tipped nibs. In 1994 the company went bankrupt but was reconstituted by two long-time employees, Joachim Hildebrand and Wolfgang Lemme, using the first two letters of each man’s name to form the company name. Today JoWo produces both steel and gold nibs of high quality. Many JoWo steel nibs are marked IRIDIUM POINT GERMANY; but this mark has been tainted by being used in a deceptive fashion on Chinese copies, and it is less used on authentic German nibs than it once was. See also Bock, butterfly nib, IRIDIUM POINT GERMANY, Schmidt.
Juco See Ullrich.
Jumbo The Jumbo Pen, a grotesquely fat Japanese eyedropper-filling pen of normal length and somewhat poor quality, made by the Jumbo Pen Company, apparently with competition from the Nine Fountain Pen Company. The pen illustrated here is made of hard rubber, with a black urushi coating; these pens were also produced in attractively colored celluloids. It is unlikely that the Jumbo Pen was originally intended as an assistive device for people with hand disabilities; an Internet legend to this effect began to gain currency in 2008 but has since been debunked by Japanese experts. In the 1930s, Jumbo pens were sold in the United States by Frank Spors, among others, with a suggested retail price of 99¢. (Spors wholesaled them for $2.95 a dozen, or $33.00 a gross.) Production of the Jumbo Pen was halted by World War II but resumed after the war and lasted at least into the 1950s; by that time, the design was torpedo shaped instead of flat-topped. In 1989, Tombow introduced the Zoom 828, sometimes called the “Egg.” This high-quality cartridge/converter pen was as fat as, but somewhat shorter than, the traditional Jumbo Pen. See also Spors.
Fountain pen
Jungblut (Jungblut Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; founded in 1923 by George M. Jungblut. Having worked for both Parker (in development and repair) and Sheaffer (as a factory superintendent), Jungblut had acquired a superb set of knowledge and expertise, such that a 1929 biographical sketch described him as “the only practical man in Milwaukee.” He set up his company together with a combination gift and pen store called the Jungblut Fountain Pen Shop, where he sold a broad selection of pen brands, including his own, and offered a full repair service. Jungblut pens were high-quality lever fillers made of celluloid and came in a full range of sizes from a slender No 2 ringtop to an oversize No 8. The company remained in operation until 1950.
Junior A pen model, sometimes but not necessarily smaller in size than the “standard” version, featuring reduced trim and a lesser price. Sheaffer’s Balance Junior was smaller than many of the more expensive Balance models and had chrome-plated furniture instead of gold filled. Parker’s Vacumatic Junior was in some cases smaller than other models but was most notable for having two narrow cap bands instead of the three narrow bands of the Vacumatic Standard or, later, the single wider band of the Vacumatic Major. Shown here are a 1936 Vacumatic Junior and a 1934 Vacumatic Standard. See also Sheaffer names.
Vacumatic Junior
Vacumatic Standard

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