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
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:
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