(This page revised January 18, 2013)
|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|
[ Reference Info Index ]
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(Wahl-Eversharp Company) 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). 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-Eversharp purchased most of the assets of the Boston Safety Pen Company and moved its operations to Chicago. By about 1927, Wahl-Eversharp had risen to become a premier pen maker and displaced Conklin as a member of the “Big Four” American makers. Perhaps the best known of the company’s pens is the 1940s Skyline (shown below), a streamlined pen designed by noted industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss. During World War II, the Eversharp company (having by then dropped Wahl from its name) 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, first tier, Wahl Pen.
Wahl-Eversharp’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 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 nibs. Shown below are a 73 (BCHR) and a 656A (gold-filled, Grecian Border pattern). See also Tempoint, Wahl-Eversharp.
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.
|washer clip||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 at right 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 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. In 1905, Frazer and Geyer forced Waterman out through an agreement that named their reduced partnership as manufacturer and Waterman as sales agent. 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 (and, after 1905, Frazer & Geyer, which had retained the A. A. Waterman name) produced pens of very high quality, in some cases better than that of comparable pens made by L. E. Waterman. In 1912, L. E. Waterman sued Frazer & Geyer (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. See also Waterman, L. E.
|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, safety, 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.|
|Waverley||Trademarked name used by the Macniven and Cameron Pen Company (British) 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). See also turned-up nib.|
|web||1 A pattern with an irregular network of colored lines, used by Parker for barrel visulation on black Vacumatic Juniors (shown near right), or the much more regular rectangular-block pattern used on the “Golden Web” Vacumatic Junior. (Shown far right; Parker referred to this 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. Known to me from a single entry in Lockwood’s Directory of the Paper and Stationery Trade, Vol. 34, dated 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.|
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 decribed 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.
|white feed||An uncommon feed variant (illustrated to the right on a Rose Glow Sovereign and also on a Marine Green Striated Valiant at turned-up nib); 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 that year, 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). 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.|
(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.
|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. 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, 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.|
|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. The term “Doll Pen” may derive from the fact that one of these pens, in black, is on the King’s Library table in the exquisite Dolls’ House built between 1921 and 1924 for England’s Queen Mary.
|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.|
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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