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(This page revised October 3, 2018)
|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|
(Wahl Company, later Eversharp, Inc.) A pen manufacturing company located in Illinois. Founded as the Wahl Adding Machine Company in 1905 by John C. Wahl, the company in 1915 purchased a controlling interest in Keeran & Company, maker of the Eversharp propelling pencil invented in 1913 by Charles R. Keeran (U.S. Patent No 1,130,741). An enduring legend of modern collecting has it that the Eversharp pencil was invented by Hayakawa Tokuji, the founder of Japan’s Sharp Corporation. Hayakawa did invent a mechanical pencil in 1915, but his invention was the Ever-Ready Sharp pencil, not the Eversharp pencil, and it had nothing to do with Wahl. In 1916, Wahl completely absorbed Keeran’s company, acquiring the rights to the Eversharp name and gaining also the angular Eversharp logo that remained in use into the 1940s. In 1917 Wahl purchased most of the assets of the Boston Fountain Pen Company and moved its operations to Chicago. By about 1927, Wahl had risen to become a premier pen maker and displaced Conklin as a member of the “Big Four” American makers; and in 1940 the company changed its name to become Eversharp. Inc. Perhaps the best known of Eversharp’s pens is the 1940s Skyline (shown below), a streamlined pen designed by noted industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss. During World War II, Eversharp purchased the rights to László Bíró’s ballpoint patent and in 1945 introduced the CA, which was a catastrophic failure. In 1957 Parker purchased Eversharp’s writing instruments division. See also Boston (definition 1), first tier, Skyline, Wahl Pen.
The Wahl Company’s omnibus model name for its pens produced c. 1921 to c. 1928, supplanting the Tempoint. The Wahl Pen appeared in hard rubber and in sterling silver, silver-filled, silver-plated, gold, and gold-filled versions. There were clip-style pens and ringtops, in sizes using Nos 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 nibs. Shown below are a 73 (BCHR) and a 656A (gold-filled, Grecian Border pattern). Read a profile of the Wahl Pen here. See also Tempoint, Wahl.
A line of third-tier fountain pens produced by the Starr Pen Company of Chicago, Illinois, doing business as the Waltham Pen Company. Some Waltham pens, e.g., the Postmaster, carried a lifetime guarantee. Shown below is a typical Waltham pen. These pens, not connected in any way with the Waltham Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts, used nibs made by the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company. On August 24, 1944, Hunt and Waltham were enjoined by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from producing pens or nibs bearing the name WALTHAM; the case went up to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., and was finally closed on December 31, 1952. See also Starr.
|Wardrite||A “house brand” of fountain pens produced by the National Pen Products Company for Montgomery Ward & Co. during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Wardrite pens were of good quality and featured 14K nibs. See also National.|
A mark included in the imprint on nibs made by anonymous makers; indicates that the nib’s gold content is warranted to be as described, usually 14K (below, at left). Used to combat fraudulent marking of plated steel or brass nibs in such a fashion that the term 14KT or 14KT GOLD was visible while the word PLATED or PLATE was concealed within the section (below, at right, a plated brass nib). Many vintage manufacturers used WARRANTED nibs as original equipment in the same way that most modern manufacturers use Bock, Schmidt, or JoWo nibs without custom imprints. Stock nibs are less costly than customized ones and can usually be purchased in smaller quantities. See also 14K, karat, nib.
A clip that is attached to the pen’s cap by means of a ring, or washer, through which a bushing or jewel is screwed or riveted into the cap. The washer-clip design was patented in 1916 by Parker (U.S. Patent No 1,197,224) and was first used on the company’s Jack-Knife Safety pens. Shown below is a clip from a 1920s Parker Duofold Senior (“Big Red”). See also clip.
|Washington||A low-line brand produced by the Franklin Pen Company. See Franklin.|
(also Wasp) A Sheaffer sub-brand (1930s-early 1940s), named using the initials of the W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company. Sheaffer produced several WASP models, including some that were principally testbeds for new design features such as the Vacuum-Fil system. At various times, these pens were imprinted as products of the Wasp Pen Company or as WASP pens made by Sheaffer. The line “shook out” eventually to two primary models: the Addipoint, which featured a user-replaceable steel nib unit; and the Clipper (below, an Oversize Clipper Deluxe). Read a profile of the WASP Clipper here. See also Addipoint.
(Water Pen Company, Inc.) A pen manufacturer located in New York City; operated in the mid-1930s. The company was founded (possibly by Francis K. Werner and Anton Enz) to exploit patents by Eugene K. Werner for a pen that would make its own ink when filled with water. Werner’s design differed from others of the time in that it placed its dried ink component (a stick resembling a short length of drawing pencil lead) in a recess in the feed. Like other ink-making pens, Werner’s fell short of expectations, and the company resorted to making ordinary third-tier lever-filling pens like the desk pen shown here. This pen bears U.S. Patents Nos 1,959,187 and 1,994,261 in its barrel imprint, but it employs the features of neither. See also Camel, Dictator, Grieshaber ink pellet.
|Waterman, A. A.||
(A. A. Waterman & Co.) A series of pen manufacturing companies located in Boston and New York City. Founded in 1897 by Arthur A. Waterman and Edward L. Gibson, the first company was dissolved in 1899 after losing a lawsuit brought by L. E. Waterman alleging that A. A. Waterman was trading on the name of its better-known competitor. ¶ Waterman thereupon formed a new company by himself and, two months later, entered into partnership with Edson E. Dewey. This incarnation of the company lasted until late in 1900, when it was dissolved and its assets transferred to the Colonial Pen company to satisfy a debt. ¶ In 1901, Waterman started again, this time entering into a partnership with William G. Frazer and Hobart W. Geyer. Known primarily for its 1903 introduction of pens using a twist filler invented by Harry W. Stone (U.S. Patent No 744,642), A. A. Waterman produced pens of very high quality, in some cases better than that of comparable pens made by L. E. Waterman. In 1905, A. A. himself left the company under an agreement that named the reduced partnership of Frazer and Geyer as manufacturer and sales agent for the Eastern United States and Waterman as sales agent for the Western region. Some modern accounts state that A. A. was forced out, but the evidence strongly suggests that he was a willing signatory. (This agreement was actually made to protect Waterman, giving him a way to “hide out” while continuing to produce pens right under the nose of the L. E. Waterman Company, and he did so until he retired in 1919.) In 1912, L. E. Waterman sued the A. A. Waterman company (dba Modern Pen Company) over “devious” advertising tactics implying that the two companies were affiliated; after that time, A. A. Waterman/Modern pens were required to bear an imprint stating that there was no such connection. In 1921, the company was renamed the Chicago Safety Pen Company, after which it sold off existing stock of A. A. Waterman twist fillers and also produced lever fillers. Shown here are a mottled twist filler made before the resolution of the 1912 lawsuit and a BCHR twist filler made after the judgment was handed down. Read a history of A. A. Waterman and his pens here. See also Waterman, L. E.
|Waterman, A. O.||
(A. O. Waterman Fountain Pen Co.) A pen manufacturing company founded in Dayton, Ohio. Incorporated on May 16, 1904, by J. Lewis Sievert, a jeweler; Maude E. Sievert, his wife; Andrew O. Waterman, a traveling salesman; Joseph V. Moross, a salesman for Sievert and an auctioneer; and Gertrude M. Moross, his wife. In its December 8, 1904, issue, Geyer’s Stationer printed a warning that neither A. O. Waterman pens nor their boxes bore any indication of where the pens were made, a violation of a Federal court injunction in effect at that time, and that dealers should be very sure of their ground before offering the pens for sale. The company apparently moved to New York City relatively early in its history, as shown by the barrel imprint on the eyedropper-filling pen illustrated here.
|Waterman, I. S.||(I. S. Waterman Pen Company) A fraudulent scheme operated by Isaac S. Waterman, whose original surname was not Waterman. He and his wife Rose changed their surname to Waterman for the purpose of passing off crudely made fountain pens bearing the imprint WATERMAN’S IDEAL FOUNTAIN PEN as the genuine article. With an unknown number of assistants, the couple worked their swindle in New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and possibly other cities, selling their pens to dealers and pawnbrokers. Isaac had business cards reading “I. S. Waterman Pen Co., Isaac S. Waterman, with Waterman Fountain Pen Company.” Rose was arrested in Chicago on June 7, 1907. ¶ As the result of a suit brought by L. E. Waterman, a temporary writ of injunction had been issued against them in November 1906 by Judge Charles M. Hough in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; the writ was made permanent in 1907 by Judge George W. Ray in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. By the terms of the injunction, the couple and their heirs, servants, employees, etc., were enjoined from infringing on L. E. Waterman’s Ideal trademark. They were also enjoined from using any corporate name containing Waterman, Waterman’s, or Watermans’s (whether coupled with the initials I. S. or not) for any purpose associated with the making or selling of pens “unless accompanied by qualifying words which conspicuously, clearly, and unmistakably distinguish such corporate name from that of the complainant.”|
|Waterman, L. E.||
(L. E. Waterman Company) A pen manufacturing company located in New York City. Founded in the early 1880s by Lewis E. Waterman, an insurance salesman, who discovered the channeled feed. Waterman introduced its riveted CLIP-CAP in 1905, popularized the screw-action safety pen beginning in 1907, and in 1915 introduced a lever filler using a boxed lever to circumvent Sheaffer’s lever-filler patent. Waterman was one of the “Big Four” but was slow to adopt celluloid in the 1920s and modern styling in the 1930s, thus entering a decline, and the U.S. company survived only until 1957. Waterman sub-brands included Aikin Lambert (after 1915), Penanink, and Remex. Jif-Waterman of France now owns the Waterman name and remains in business, producing a broad variety of pens. Shown here is a Waterman’s Ideal No 52, perhaps the most widely collected vintage Waterman pen. See also Aikin Lambert, CLIP-CAP, Day, first tier, JiF, lever box, ripple, safety, Signagraph, sub-brand, Waterman, A.A.
|Waterman No 2||(also Waterman #2) See nib number.|
|Watermelon||Term for a rare striped Parker “51” cap, made of yellow and rose gold, with stripes running lengthwise along the body of the cap. See also Rainbow, rose gold.|
|Waterson||1 (Waterson Fountain Pen Company, also Waterson Pen Company) A pen company located apparently in Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts, with a “sales department” in Cleveland, Ohio. Founded c. 1908; beginning in early mid-1908, the company offered pens for 50¢ by mail order through publications such as Collier’s, the National Weekly, and Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, with advertisements asking the customer why he should pay the jobber’s and retailer’s markups. In the May 1908 issue of Popular Mechanics, Waterson was seeking agents to distribute its pens, which were BHR eyedropper fillers fitted with gold-plated brass nibs. Waterson probably ceased operation early in 1910; an agent in Kansas City, Missouri, was remaindering the pens for $1.00 in May and June of that year. 2 (Waterson Pen Company) A pen company located in St. Louis, Missouri; offered celluloid third-tier pens and matching propel/repel pencils from 1927 to about 1929 and then again in 1938, selling them through drug stores with newspaper coupons offering discounts of nearly 90% off the supposed retail price (e.g., $6.02 on a pen described misleadingly as a “$7.00 size pen,” with a pencil in a “silk plush” case available for an additional $1.98). The company’s address did not appear in these advertisements. In late 1929, the company was also selling pens directly by mail order for $1.00 through newspaper advertisements that did include the company’s address. Whether this Waterson Pen Company was related to the earlier one is unknown.|
|Waverley||1 Trademarked name used by Macniven and Cameron Ltd for its turned-up steel pens and, later, on fountain pens. The Waverley name was a tribute to Sir Walter Scott, for his Waverley Novels, of which the best known is Ivanhoe. 2 (Spelled Waverly) A name used in the 1920s by Wahl for its version of a turned-up nib, which the company said offered smooth writing at all angles and wrote well on rough paper. See also Macniven, turned-up nib.|
|W. B. Wilson||See Nassau.|
1 A pattern with an irregular network of colored lines, used by Parker for barrel visulation on black Vacumatic Juniors (shown below, left), or the much more regular rectangular-block pattern used on the “Golden Web” Vacumatic Junior (below, right). Parker referred to the latter color simply as “Brown.” See also Golden Web. 2 Synonym for shoulder; see shoulder.
1 A “house brand” of fountain pens produced by the National Pen Products Company for Sears, Roebuck & Co., e.g., the Skyrocket illustrated below. There is more information on Webster pens in this article on house-brand pens. See also National. 2 (Webster Pen Company) A fountain pen manufacturing company located in New York City; thought by one source to have been founded c. 1903 and to have failed c. 1920. I have seen business listings for Webster from the period 1904 to 1909.
|Weidlich||1 (O. E. Weidlich Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Cincinnati, Ohio; founded by Otto Emil Weidlich c. 1889 to produce gold pens (dip nibs) and holders, stylographic pens, and fountain pens. Weidlich himself patented eyedropper-filling (U.S. Patents Nos 422,474 and 556,522), matchstick-filling (U.S. Patent No 766,560), and sleeve-filling (U.S. Patent No 818,803) fountain pens. The company ceased operation in 1914, and its entire assets were sold to Betzler & Wilson of Akron, Ohio, which moved everything to Akron to expand its own production. O. E. Weidlich was formally dissolved in 1915. See also Betzler & Wilson. 2 (Weidlich & Simpson Pen Company, also Weidlich-Simpson Pen Company) A fountain pen manufacturing company located in Cincinnati, Ohio; founded in 1911 by O. E. Weidlich, H. F. McGee, H. C. Bartlett, Jr., and N. C. Smith, and lasted at least into the 1920s. 3 (O. M. Weidlich Pen Company. Inc.) A fountain pen manufacturing company located in Cincinnati, Ohio; founded in 1913 by David Lorbach, C. Ward, L. Kichbath, A. K. Nippert, and L. A. Carver, with O. M. Weidlich as manager. 4 (Wm. Weidlich & Bro. Company) A manufacturers’ agent and distributor located in St. Louis, Missouri; the company also did business as the Wright Pen and Stylus Company, and in that capacity it sold a rebranded version of O. E. Weidlich’s matchstick filler.|
(Welty Pen Company) A fountain pen manufacturing company located in Waterloo, Iowa; founded in 1904 by William A. Welty, a former pen salesman. The company initially sold eyedropper-filling pens, changing over to self-fillers after Welty developed a reliable hump filler (U.S. Patent No 834,542), which he named the Wawco filler. The company sold its pens under the Welty and Wawco names and also jobbed pens to be sold under other names, e.g., Oliver. Shown below is a Welty-branded pen. In 1915, the company reformed itself as the Evans Dollar Pen Company (to honor Patrick H. Evans, who had provided an infusion of cash after Welty won a lawsuit brought against him by Conklin) and continued selling pens of Welty’s design but of poorer quality. Evans pens have less careful exterior finish, and their nibs are of 10K instead of the earlier 14K gold. ¶ Welty designed a new filling system that he named the Servo filler (U.S. Patent No 1,212,297) and entered into a short-lived partnership with Moore to produce the Servo Fountain Pen. Soon afterward, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, and founded William A. Welty & Co., selling primarily lever fillers. That company appears to have remained in business into the 1950s.
|wet noodle||Colloquialism describing a superflexible nib. Commonly used in reference to the extremely flexible nibs on some vintage Waterman’s pens; hence, “a Waterman wet noodle.” See also nib.|
|wettability||The degree to which a solid can be wetted by a liquid; a higher wettability indicates that the liquid (e.g., ink) will flow over the solid’s surface more readily than it will flow over a less wettable solid. Palladium-plated nibs are more wettable than plain gold ones, and this difference produces better flow in plated nibs; but it also makes the plated nibs more prone to nib creep. Materials that wet easily, e.g., hard rubber, are sometimes referred to as being hydrophilic; materials that do not wet easily, e.g., polystyrene, are hydrophobic. See also capillary action, nib creep.|
|wetting agent||See surfactant.|
|wet writer||A pen whose nib is adjusted to produce a heavy flow of ink (but not necessarily a broad line) that dries very slowly. Extremely wet writers are prone to produce feathering or bleeding; and because of copious lubrication from the ink flow, they characteristically write more smoothly than pens adjusted for less flow. Contrast with dry writer. See also feedback.|
A trademarked identification device applied to certain Sheaffer’s pens beginning in September 1924. The White Dot indicated a lifetime warranty until 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, and in close proximity to, the warranty statement itself. The White Dot has been applied at various times on the end of the cap (shown below), the side of the cap above the clip, the side of the cap below the clip, the side of the barrel, the back end of the barrel or blind cap, and on the clip.
An uncommon feed variant (illustrated to the right on a Rose Glow Sovereign and also at turned-up nib on a Marine Green Valiant); used c. 1939-1940 by Sheaffer, fashioned to Sheaffer’s standard comb-feed design of that period, but made of a white plastic material instead of the usual black hard rubber. See also feed, gray feed.
|white gold||An alloy of gold with at least one white (silvery) metal; has a silver-white color similar to that of platinum. 18K white gold is used decoratively for pen bodies or furniture, and occasionally instead of rhodium- or palladium-plated yellow gold to make nibs for pens with silver-colored bodies or furniture. The most economical white gold contains nickel along with smaller amounts of copper and zinc; but nickel has been linked to allergic dermatitis, and nickel-safe white gold alloys generally use palladium with a smaller amount of silver. See also gold.|
|White Rubber Company||Located in Ravenna, Ohio, the White Rubber Company was from 1919 to 1985 the principal U.S. manufacturer of pen sacs. In 1985, White put its pen sac machinery (built in 1926) and remaining sac inventory up for sale. In 1986, Peter Amis and Bob Tefft purchased the equipment and sacs. In 1987 they set up the Pen Sac Company, which has since been the principal U.S. sac manufacturer. See also Miller Rubber Co. Inc., sac.|
|Whitney-Richards||(Whitney-Richards Company) A fountain pen manufacturing company located in Cleveland, Ohio; founded in 1910 by C. Nelson Richards, Margaret S. Richards, H. A. Hauxhurst, Mary H. Gallagher, and W. C. Saeger. Early advertising cuts suggest that the company’s initial offering was a lever filler (U.S. Patent No 1,005,387, issued in 1911 to Ruel W. Whitney, who had been manufacturing and selling eyedropper-filling fountain pens since the mid-1890s). In 1915, Whitney patented a collar-operated slide filler (U.S. Patent No 1,133,349) whose operation was essentially the same as that of Julius Schnell’s slide filler, which was patented three months later, also in 1915. Whitney-Richards remained in operation at least until 1927; it is likely that the Great Depression ended its run.|
(John Whytwarth, Ltd) A pen and pencil manufacturing company located in London, England, active from 1913 to 1922. Beginning in 1913 as the City Pen Manufacturing Company, the firm in 1916 became John Whytwarth, Ltd, although there is no evidence that there was ever a John Whytwarth associated with the company. Whytwarth specialized in retractable safety pens (oversized silver-overlay example shown below), advertising its product as “the pen with the disappearing nib." Also advertised as being entirely made in Britain, Whytwarth pens were of high quality, and they achieved a certain renown for their reliability. The company offered to “send you one through the post for a week’s free trial to prove their claim to non-leakability.” Whytwarth was among the earliest pen manufacturers to promote the use of a thick pen as a way to relieve hand cramps and writer’s fatigue. See also non-leakable.
|Williamson||(Williamson Pen Company) A pen manufacturer located initially in Janesville, Wisconsin; founded in 1899 by George H. Williamson. Williamson pens were of good quality, and in 1906 Riccardo Amisani, a businessman located in Turin, Italy, began importing them. Business in Italy was brisk, and the pens became well known. Amisani began producing spare parts in a small workshop located in Settimo Torinese, a town seven miles from Turin; and when the Williamson company folded in the late 1920s, he realigned his business to continue production of complete pens under a new name, Penne Williamson-Torino. Through the 1930s, Williamson-Torino produced attractive pens of very high quality, often taking inspiration from the designs of American pens such as the Parker Vacumatic and the Wahl Doric. After World War II, the company changed its name again, to Metron Società Anonima Officine Piemontesi Penne Stilografiche Williamson. The introduction of the Parker “51” had changed the playing field, and many companies scrambled to roll out lookalikes. Williamson’s entry, introduced after the war, was a button filler with a hooded nib, made using the prewar ringed celluloid. The company fell victim to the advent of the ballpoint pen, ceasing operation in 1951.|
(Wilrite Fountain Pen Corporation) A pen company located in New York City; founded in 1924 (as a successor company to a silverware manufacturer owned by William A. Rappeport) by J. Hanks, H. Klosner, and Gustave Rappeport. Some early Wilrite models are identical to A. A. Waterman pens; it is not clear whether these pens were remaining stock that was purchased after the dissolution of the latter company or were made later on the same machines. Shown below (upper) is a typical Wilrite vest-pocket ringtop. Wilrite also sold metal pens (below, lower) that appear to have been made in house or at least purchased to Wilrite specifications; otherwise ordinary, these pens are marked PAT. PEND. and employ for their lever mounting a feature from U.S. Patent No 1,637,202, which was filed by William Rappeport in 1922 but not issued until 1927. Before the end of the 1920s, Wilrite pens were made of celluloid in colors (many of them with metal overlays), and this later production is quite likely to have been made at least in part by David Kahn, Inc., for Wilrite. The company apparently failed during the Great Depression. See also Waterman, A. A., Kahn.
|Wilson||See Betzler & Wilson, Nassau.|
|Winchester||A line of cheap, poorly made syringe- and lever-filling pens produced during the late 1930s and early 1940s by the Starr Pen Company of Chicago, Illinois, doing business as the Winchester Pen Company. Winchester pens had untipped steel nibs (imprinted DURIUM or DURIUM TIPPED) and were not designed to be repaired. It is not unlikely that this name was chosen to suggest a relationship with Winchester firearms; the prospective purchaser might infer therefrom that the pens were of high quality, as were the firearms. In 1948, Starr was enjoined by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from producing pens bearing the name Winchester. See also DURIUM, Starr.|
(also Windowpane) Collectors’ term for a design consisting of a rectangular grid that resembles the panes of a window, used as decoration on metal pen bodies and caps. Shown below is a Window Pane cap from a Vacumatic-filling Parker “51”. (Parker referred to this design as Heritage.)
|Windsor||1 A brand applied to pens manufactured by Raymond & White of Chicago. See Raymond & White. 2 (Windsor Pen Corporation) A manufacturer located in New York City during the 1950s. Windsor’s products (pens, mechanical pencils, and costume jewelry) were priced at $25.00 or less and were sold primarily as gifts (frequently packaged in mixed sets). The company’s advertising tag line was “Useful Gifts for Everyone.”|
A pen model introduced by Chilton in 1935. The name refers to two tabs, or “wings,” on the sides of the nib; these tabs wrap around to the underside of the feed to keep the nib and feed in perfect alignment for proper flow (shown in animation below). Made in plain dark colors such as maroon and black, most Wing-flow pens are ornamented with inlaid gold-filled or sterling silver bars in attractive Art Deco arrangements, as shown here. The winged nib design is brilliant engineering, and Chilton also used it on the Wing-Flow’s successor, the Golden Quill. It is still in use on pens such as the Namiki/Pilot Vanishing Point and the Parker Sonnet. Read a profile of the Wing-flow here. See also Chilton.
Collectors’ term for a very narrow cap band, circular in cross-section (hence “wire”), placed at the cap lip; introduced by Sheaffer at the end of World War II and used on mid-line pen models such as the Sovereign II (illustrated below) and the Craftsman. Caution: Do not be misled by the common but erroneous 1:1 association of the Craftsman name with wire-band pens. See also Craftsman.
A name for Sheaffer’s Vacuum-Fil plunger-filling pens, used internally by Sheaffer employees (notably the repair department); derives from the plunger shaft, which was made of 0.081" wire (primarily stainless steel, but also celluloid-coated mild steel at times). The pen illustrated below has its plunger pulled out all the way to expose the wire. See also Vacuum-Fil.
(Paul E. Wirt Fountain Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Founded in the early 1880s, Wirt was for a time probably the largest U.S. pen producer. Early production comprised primarily overfeed pens in black and mottled hard rubber, with a selection of overlay pens that included gold filled and solid gold as well as abalone and mother-of-pearl. When the company began making underfeed pens, its nibs still resembled those of dip pens in that they lacked breather holes. (Feeds were vented to the underside.) Shown below are two eyedropper-filling Wirt pens, a 19th-century BCHR overfeed model and a later mottled model. Paul Wirt himself was a prolific inventor, with many patents for pens and other items — including a massaging device and a design for a body for stringed musical instruments. ¶ Wirt sold pens both at retail and to the trade; the largest single retailer of Wirt pens was Sears, Roebuck & Company, which retained Wirt pens in its catalog until about 1910. ¶ Wirt had self-filling pens in its catalog as early as 1903, and it eventually settled on lever fillers. Paul Wirt sold the company in 1925, and production later migrated to celluloid. The company ceased production during the Great Depression but remained in business doing repairs and assembling job-shopped components for some time thereafter.
A mixture of red or brown material with black, usually hard rubber, blended so as to resemble the pronounced grain of a wood such as oak. Waterman usually referred to this material (shown below) as Mottled, making no distinction for its woodlike appearance. See also hard rubber, mottled, ripple (definition 1), rosewood.
|Word Gauge||Conklin’s name for a transparent window running the length of the reservoir space in the barrel of the company’s Nozac pen. The window was calibrated in 1000-word increments (1M, 2M,…), purportedly to indicate how much longer the user could continue writing before the pen needed to be refilled. See also Nozac.|
|work hardening||A process that happens in most metals when they are bent, hammered, or otherwise disturbed mechanically, in which the area affected becomes harder than the surrounding area. With reference to fountain pens, work hardening is of concern with nibs, as bending a nib severely enough to crease it will work harden the creased area and make it more difficult to straighten. See also sprung.|
|World’s Smallest Pen||
(also Doll Pen) A tiny cone-cap eyedropper-filling fountain pen made c. 1910 by L. E. Waterman (shown below, with a Waterman’s Ideal No 52 for comparison). Measuring 11∕2" long capped, the pens are fully functional. They were made primarily in black hard rubber; however, a few red hard rubber specimens are known to exist, and there was also a retractable safety version that was slightly larger. ¶ Contrary to a widely held popular belief, the pen in the King’s Library in the Queen Mary Dolls’ House at Windsor Castle is not a Waterman. Made in the 1920s, it is a Mabie Todd Swan whose cap has unfortunately been lost. Reputedly a fully functional eyedropper filler, it is less than half the size of Waterman’s World’s Smallest Pen.
|w.r.||“with ring”: Waterman’s standard designation for a ringtop pen. See also ringtop. Read an explanation of Waterman’s Standard Numbering System here.|
|Wright||1 (Wright Pen and Stylus Company) See Weidlich (definition 4). 2 The “Wright” Fountain pen; advertised as late as 1909 as having a double feed, which “assures at all times a clean working point and a steady, regular flow of ink.”|
|wringer||See twist (definition 1).|
A Parker sub-brand (late 1930s-early 1940s). Writefine pens are well made Parkette-style lever fillers fitted with iridium-tipped steel nibs bearing a WRITEFINE imprint and a Parker date code. (The dark green pen shown here has a nib dated 1Q1940.) The WRITEFINE-imprinted clip resembles that on a Striped Duofold and is secured with a threaded metal tassie similar to that on one of the Thrift Time models. See also Thrift Time.
|writeout||(also write-out) The distance a pen will write, beginning with a full ink supply, until it runs dry. Pen companies use mechanical writing machines to test writeout.|
|writing pad||See sweet spot.|
(Wyvern Stylographic and Fountain Pen Co., Ltd) A pen manufacturing company located in Leicester, England; founded in 1896 by Alfred, Alexander, and David Finburgh. Known for the high quality of its nibs, the company catered during its early years primarily to the trade, specializing in jobbing pens to wholesalers with the purchasing companies’ names imprinted on the barrels. It soon expanded its market to include the general public, through authorized dealers; the brand name was chosen because the coat of arms of the city of Leicester is crested with a wyvern. The company held several patents for pen and pencil designs; among the more significant were British Patents Nos 151,753 (1919, for a lever-filler pressure bar) and 581,290 (1944, for a multistroke pump filler similar in operation to the Parker Vacumatic but mechanically much simpler). Wyvern expanded its product line to include mechanical pencils, and in 1928 the Finburgh brothers themselves received British Patent No 283,677 for their screw-operated pencil design. The company had established offices in London by 1922. After World War II, Wyvern was among the relatively few companies to use aluminum for pen caps. It ceased operation in 1955. Shown below is a typical button-filling Wyvern pen from the 1930s.
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 as described here. (The prohibition remained on the use of the word “unconditional.”)
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