The Manhattan Pen Makers Project

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Lancaster Fountain Pen Co.

By Ron Dutcher

From an article in Time Magazine, in 1925:

In Manhattan, while Frank D. Waterman, nephew of L. E. Waterman, famed fountain pen maker, was being congratulated on having received the Republican nomination for Mayor, an old man sat in a vacant office on Madison Ave. staring at a fountain pen of antique design. He, Warren N. Lancaster, onetime business rival of the famed Waterman, told reporters how luck had undone him:

“That was a buster, that pen. I called it the Idea, after a horse I owned. Eugene Leigh, who brought that French horse over last year, trained him for me.… When I had a place at No. 212 Broadway I sent President Garfield a pen like that. L. E. Waterman had a place a few doors down the street. I used to get my rubber from H. P. & E. Day up at Seymour, Conn. No one could make gutta percha like they could, on a big marble table, you know. Well, one time Mr. Day said he couldn’t sell me any more rubber casings. Said he’d made a contract with Waterman. I put all my machinery on a boat and sailed it down to Baltimore.… I advertised on P. T. Barnum’s first circus program.… When they put up the Flatiron building, they flashed ‘The Lancaster Pen’ against it with a stereopticon machine. Once I printed a Sunday paper to give away.… My wife and I traveled all over; I introduced her to Mrs. Potter Palmer out in Chicago.… It all goes back to the Baltimore fire.” ... Old Mr. Lancaster pointed to a woodcut on a time-stained circular, which showed a Tennysonian gentleman with bushy brown whiskers, gold pince nez. “I looked like that once,” said he. “It was always a fight.…”

Notes:
  1. Ron’s original text has this date as 1920; the article actually appeared on page 102 of Time, Volume 6. Time published its first issue on March 3, 1923, and there were 26 weekly issues in each volume. —RFB

For more information, see the entry for Lancaster in the Glossopedia.


This article is part of the Manhattan Pen Makers Project, originated by Ron L. Dutcher. Except for typographical corrections and the footnoted date, 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.

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