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domingo, 27 de maio de 2012


Postal Fountain Pens

29 W 43rd St., NYC. In the 1920s and early 30s the Postal pen company sold some big pens. They were high quality bulb fillers. They had a clear center barrel so you could see how much ink was in them. But they also had a sales gimmick. The pens sold for $2.50. With the pen you received 5 post cards. You tried to sell the post cards to you friends for 50 cents each. With the post card, they could get a pen for $2. If you sold all 5 postcards, you got your pen for free. If they sold 5 post cards, they got their pen for free, and so on and so on. This was a fountain pen pyramid scheme. Great pens.

Seven different Postal pens. Take a look at the fourth pen from the left with a different streamlined cap top a different clip and also a different imprint.

Detail of the cap's imprint

Detail of the different cap's imprint on the fourth pen from the left.

 Detail of the Postal gold nib


Dunn Pen Company

709 Sixth Ave 1920-1922
71 Fifth Ave 1923-1927
Charles Dunn was listed as a fountain pen manufacturer as far back as 1910, but I have not been able to find out what line of pen he was making. In the 1920s Charles Dunn designed a line of high quality pump filler pens in hard rubber. He died before they ever hit the market in 1921. The pens were a great success. They were easy to spot with their red or orange filling knob at the bottom of the barrel. Their "Tattler" line had a transparent bakelite barrel. They were basically a one pen company, although they offered different sizes and a ladies pen. They did make a few overlays, but these are rare. Their models included the Tattler Hummingbird , Camel, and the Dreadnought. The early Dreadnaught pens were huge oversized models, but later the name proved to be such a strong selling point that they began using it as on a whole line of pens regardless of their size. they offered a 2 piece cap at some point that would allow you to unscrew the top half of the cap and insert the nib and section in ink for filling. Today their main drawback [besides being difficult to fix] is that the red filling knob is usually found with broken threads where it goes into the pen barrel. Some of their sales slogans were: "A regular camel for ink, goes a month without a drink" and "The fountain pen with the red pump handle". Their pens were difficult to repair and their reluctance to switch over to colored plastic eventually put them out of business in 1927. Black pens did not sell well after the Parker Big Red hit the market. They eventually started selling some celluloid pens, but it was too late to save the company.

A giant DUNN pen with a #20 WATERMAN'S pen and a #7 blow filler CROCKER in order you can have an idea of the real size of this pen!

The #12 gold  DUNN nib

Two big Dunn pens the first from the left with a bakelite barrel.
Photos worked on by João Pavão Martins to whom I wish to thank.

Ten different Dunn pens the first three from left with bakelite barrels

Eight more Dunn pens

Detail of the cap's imprint

Detail of barrel's imprint on  one of the bakelite models

 Details of the two different Dunn gold nibs fitted on the largest models


Michael  Eisenstadt , a Prussian native , opened a jewelry in St. Louis in 1853. The business expanded and by the early 20th century , Eisenstadt was selling for the whole US and Europe. One of the company salesman , Nelson W. Hagnauer, covering the Midwest , was in contact with Walter Sheaffer. Under Sheaffer's influence , in the midlle 1920s , Eisenstadt decided to get into the fountain pen business . Offering reverse action lever filler , Eisenstadt pens were of high quality . They were sold  on a word capacity basis with the larger pen , the #8 , advertised to write 30.000 words with one filling! The company dis not survive the depression and seems to have ended in the early 1930s. The Chronicle of the fontain pen - stories inside a story, pag.107 by  J.P. Martins, Luiz Leite and Antonio Gagean, Schiffer publishing 2007.

Posted by Jeff L on June 3, 2012, 2:49 pm ( ON PENTRACE MESSAGE BOARD )

Eisenstadt was a St Louis Jewelry company that got into pens in the mid-1920s, during the boom years of fountain pens. Known for their use of the reverse lever as specified in patent #1531800.

Most of the pens that I've seen appear to have been made within a few years around 1925, although they sold into the 1930s at least. Later pens seem to have been made using Dewitt-La France parts.

Their famous clip design is also seen on Leboeuf and Good Service pens, a mystery that no one seems to have been able to unravel.

Some of their pens have solid gold clips, and occasionally, solid gold levers.

After the death of the male members of the founding family, the company was sold to Lenox and continued as a subsidiary for decades thereafter, but were no longer in the pen business.

Posted by Jeff L on June 4, 2012, 6:03 pm, in reply to "Re: Clips - Eisenstadt"
Message modified by user Jeff L June 4, 2012, 6:48 pm

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Michelis Eisenstadt, who changed his name to Michael, came from Elbing, Prussia and settled in the US in the mid-19th century. He founded the company, which went through a few name changes over the years. Died during the Civil War.

He left two sons (and possibly a daughter) who would run the company, one of whom survived into the 1920s and oversaw the company's research into pens but may not have survived long enough to see the first pens to market.

The name may be unknown to many as the pens are fairly hard to come by. Where collectors can have hundreds, even thousands, of examples from other companies, you seldom see anyone with more than a few Eisenstadts.

Today the 28th of July 2012 I received this email from my friend Paul Bloch:

Luiz -
I have spent the last several hours tracking every lead I could find re: Eisenstadt pens, of which, it appears, you seem to have perhaps the largest collection known. The information below comes from many sources (your blog posts included). Very little of it seems verifiable. I tried to a) piece it together into a coherent narrative, and b) include only material which I believe is probably true. You are welcome to use it if and how you choose.
Eisenstadt was the last name of Michelis, an immigrant from Prussia who changed his name to Michael. He was a jeweler, who in 1853 settled in St. Louis, Missouri. He founded the eponymous company, which went through several name changes over the years. He died during the Civil War. He left two sons (and possibly a daughter) who would later run the company. One of them survived into the 1920’s and oversaw the company's research into pens, although he may not have survived long enough to see the first pens to market.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the company was recognized in the U.S. and in Europe for the quality of its production. The business expanded, and Eisenstadt’s sales were world-wide. One of the company’s salesmen, Nelson Hagnauer, was in contact with Walter Sheaffer. Perhaps under Sheaffer's influence, in the middle 1920’s, Eisenstadt – like many others - decided to get into the fountain pen business. They produced a high quality, difficult to find and beautiful fountain pen, although production and distribution are reported to have been limited. Most of the fountain pens produced were in black or red hard rubber (although they were also noted for an uncommon blue hard rubber model. Today, like most Eisenstadt pens, it is rare and much desired by collectors). Their production didn’t outlast the 1920′s, probably, like so many others, caused by the Great Depression.
The fountain pens manufactured by the company were classified according to their ink capacity. The #8 model, the largest, was advertised as able to write 30,000 words.
Eisenstadt fountain pens are easily identified for their reverse action lever filler (US Patent #1513800), a filler the company considered more effective. Instead of raising the lever towards the nib, it was raised from the section end out. The advantage of this design was that the lever could not catch the edge of a pocket, e.g., thereby causing the pen to discharge ink. This was a unique characteristic of Eisenstadt’s models. Their clip design is also seen on LeBoeuf and Good Service pens. Some of their pens have solid gold clips, and occasionally, solid gold levers. Their logo featured a large “E” and a carpenters square. Their later pens seem to have been made using Dewitt-La France parts.
In 1929, the company, after the death of the last members of the founding family, added costume jewelry to its product line. It was sold to Lenox and continued as a subsidiary for decades thereafter, but were no longer in the pen business. It remained in business until 1981.
The name may be unknown to many as the pens are fairly hard to come by.

From left to right we can apreciate different Eisenstadt sizes ( the first from the left is a #8 size ) , chasing patterns and band configurations ; following the #8, two #6 and four #5

Five #4 Eisenstadt pens with different chasing patterns and configuration bands

Two #2 Eisenstadt normal lenght pens , two #2 short models one of them with a cap top ring, , nice cap bands  and very similar to the Swan black banded models . Finally a ladies size rare gold filled pen with a normal ( NOT reversed action ) lever filler.

Detail of the #8 gold nib

The #6 gold nib

Detail of different #5 nib althought they were also made with the previous imprints

Detail of the barrel's imprint on the gold filled model

The " normal" lever filler

Detail of the gold filled model gold nib

Detail  of the #8  barrel's imprint

sábado, 12 de maio de 2012

Six #22 SWAN emblem pen eyedroppers in black chased hard rubber

Six #22 Swan eyedropper emblem pens in black hard rubber with wide gold filled cap bands from the beginning of the last century . From left: 1 - The Cornell University. Founded A.D. 1865 . Image of Erza Cornell. Red and white enameled. 2 -... Harvard College seal: " Sigilum Academia Harvardiana in Nov Ang". Red and blue enmeled. 3 - Harvard College seal : "Sigillum Academia Harvardiana in Nov Ang." Gold toned 4 - Columbia College seal : " Sigillum Colegii Columbia Novi Eboraci " . Light blue enameled . 5 - Shriner's logo, with small red jewel in star. White enameled. 6 - Elk's head , with small red jewels for eyes. I had the luck of find pen collector Linda who sold me these six pens for a friendly price. Thanks Linda. The other Swan sisters I already have received these ones with great joy.

After this post I received the following information from AdrewC on the Pentrace message board:


regardind the possible meaning of the emblem with Elk's head. Thank you very much Andrew.

Some details of the emblems.

 Another comment ( and  Pic ) to this post this time from my friend Tsachi:
Here is a Parker pen with the Elks emblem. Quite different

Thanks Tsachi for your help with comment and pic. Anyway I think that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE; also often known as the Elks Lodge or simply The Elks) can have other sub or similar organizations ; have a look at the History:

The Elks had modest beginnings in 1868 as a social club (then called the "Jolly Corks") established as a private club to elude New York City laws governing the opening hours of public taverns. After the death of a member left his wife and children without income, the club took up additional service roles, rituals and a new name. Desiring to adopt "a readily identifiable creature of stature, indigenous to America," fifteen members voted 8-7 in favor of the elk above the buffalo.[2] Early members were mostly from theatrical performing troupes in New York City. It has since evolved into a major American fraternal, charitable, and service order with more than a million members, both men and women, throughout the United States and the former territories of the Philippines and the Panama Canal.[3]
When founded, membership in the BPOE was denied to blacks. Because of this policy, an unaffiliated, primarily black organization modeled on the BPOE was formed in 1898. This "Improved Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks of the World" (IBPOEW) remains a separate organization to this day. Membership in the BPOE was opened to African Americans in the 1970s, although the Winter Haven, Florida Elks Club was famously segregated as late as 1985, when Boston Red Sox Coach Tommy Harper protested a Red Sox policy of permitting them into the spring training clubhouse to issue lodge clubroom invitations to white players only. Women were permitted to join in the mid-1990s, but currently atheists are excluded. The opening of membership to women was mandated by the Oregon Public Accommodations Act, which was found by an appeals court to apply to the BPOE, and it has been speculated that the religious restriction might be litigated on the same basis.[4] A year after the national organization changed its policy to allow women to join, the Vermont Supreme Court ordered punitive damages of $5,000 for each of seven women whom a local chapter had rejected citing other reasons.[5] Current members are required to be U.S. citizens over the age of 21 and believe in God.

Anyway I do not exclude the hipothesis that the pen could be ordered by a single person who loved elks  (or  by any other reason ) and not by this organization ; but the more reasonable is that the pen was ordered ( like all the others ) by an organization (and in this case by the BPOE ) ; We will never know!!!

Thank you very much Tsachi for your contribution.

Photo shooted by Linda after I bought the pens from her

Photo with Linda ( Chicago Pen Show May 2012 )