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By Ron Dutcher
“Jacob Harris and Emanuel Harris, copartners, operating under the firm name J. Harris & Co. and also as Majestic Pen Co., engaged in the manufacturing and assembling cheap fountain pens and pencils and in the sale and distribution thereof, in interstate commerce…”
—Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Volume 29, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940
I have also seen a few pens from the 1920s that had the imprint “J. Harris & Co.” using the brand name “University.” These pens were early black celluloid lever fillers. The levers were steel or brass and had the name “Harris” imprinted onto the lever bar and a capital letter “H” stamped into the lever tab. One of these latter Harris pens that I have seen had an unusal jade colored flat top. It was very similar to some of the same era John Holland “Jewel” brand pens that were popular in the late 1920’s.
I imagine that as the depression started to affect the pen industry, the J. Harris pen company made the same changes that many of the pen companies made at this time. They cut costs by using cheaper materials.
For more information, see the entry for Harris in the Glossopedia.
This article is part of the Manhattan Pen Makers Project, originated by Ron L. Dutcher. Except for typographical corrections, the text is as Ron published it. Ron wanted to include photos of advertisements or pens from each maker; he had some photos, but the gallery was far from complete. Photos here are a mixture of what Ron had and what I have been able to add from my own photo library. As with other reference articles on this site, you should not take this information as absolutely authoritative or complete.