4. Watermans Pens - Shop

Lewis Edson Waterman was born in Decatur, New York on the 20th Nov 1836. He was a prolific inventor and, during his lifetime he registered many dozens of patents to protect his products.

Legend has it that Waterman turned his attention to the design of fountain pens when a document for a lucrative insurance deal was spoilt by a leaking pen. This is a nice story but difficult to substantiate, what can be said for certain, however, is that in the years that followed Waterman developed a number of major improvements to the existing designs and the pens that he produced were more reliable than any other pen available. This encouraged him to begin taking the project more seriously and go into full time production, his design for the three channel feed was patented in 1880 and other patents quickly followed.

Thanks to heavy investment in magazine advertisements Waterman ink pens were soon recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the blossoming fountain pen industry. The famous Waterman's globe trademark was no idle boast as the pens were exported to all corners of the earth.

Waterman died in 1901 but left behind a solid and forward looking organisation which was taken over by his nephew, Frank D Waterman. L E Waterman’s improvements on basic pen design and aggressive marketing played a vital role in making the fountain pen a mass-market object and provided a platform for the rapid expansion of the company in the first years of the 20th century.

Waterman produced some iconic pens, especially in the first 30 years of the century, their PSF’s, Safety Pens and the reliable #52 are still easy to find today and are well made. The advent of celluloid in the late 1920’s enabled Waterman to produce perhaps their most famous and sought after pen, the Patrician.

As the 20th century wore on Waterman's conservative design methodology allowed its younger and more innovative competitors to gain market share - Parker, Sheaffer, and Wahl-Eversharp, in particular. By the late 1920s, Waterman was playing catch-up; it continued to struggle through and beyond World War II before finally shutting down in 1954 to be swallowed up by its French subsidiary, Jif-Waterman.

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