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Sheaffer Pens history


A few years straight back, Jim Lobb, a Louisville, KY real estate lawyer who gathers early Sheaffer and Kraker pens, said of an appealing breakthrough. He'd already been performing archival analysis, and had uncovered the transcripts associated with bitterly-fought patent dispute between Sheaffer and his previous partner, George Kraker. Pen enthusiasts had very long understood about this litigation, but only by means of Walter A. Sheaffer’s 1937 autobiography. There it's presented while the vindication of a reputable businessman and inventor, protecting himself against the slick machinations of unscrupulous competitors and backstabbing partners. A fairly various photo emerged, however, as Jim dug in to the 2000-odd pages of testimony, online dating between 1914 and 1916. For although the courts fundamentally passed Sheaffer a crushing triumph, a detailed reading associated with the original record raises really serious doubts concerning whether justice was truly supported. At least, the decision appears to be to own owed the maximum amount of into skill of Sheaffer’s lawyers regarding merits of their instance.

About a year and a half ago, Jim determined that he wasn’t very likely to have the time anytime soon to complete a proper writeup of all he previously found. Attempting to understand pen gathering neighborhood take advantage of their work, he introduced his content of transcripts into the 1999 Columbus program, in which Cyndie Schlagel made a number of copies for any other Sheaffer collector-historians to look at. This article is situated upon my reading of just one of the copies. Several more articles follows, due to the fact product within the transcripts casts new-light in plenty issues beyond the patent dispute right.

Many of us are deeply indebted to Jim Lobb for uncovering and making offered these types of an essential source document. This scientific studies are just as much Jim’s as mine; however, any mistakes of fact and especially of points of legislation are my duty alone. I would additionally choose to thank Sheaffer specialists Rick Horne, Dan Reppert, and Cyndie Schlagel with their interest, input, and friendship.

The transcripts start underneath the heading US District Ct, Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C.E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348. 1124 Monadnock Block, Chicago, 11 Feb 1915 [miswritten 1914 on first page] (Notice and Testimony in Prima Facie in Suit), however the skirmishing had already started the earlier 12 months. At issue was the alleged double-bar – the combined springtime and force bar familiar to anyone who has ever before disassembled a Sheaffer lever-filler. The transcripts make it clear that Sheaffer’s initial single-bar lever-fillers failed to work at all really, which the fantastic success of his pencils would have been unthinkable with no introduction around April of 1913 regarding the double-bar, that Sheaffer got patent number 1, 118, 240 on Nov. 24, 1914.

Although Clarence E. Barrett was the initial defendant named, his part ended up being distinctly peripheral: a subcontractor for other penmakers, Barrett had supplied hard rubber hats and drums (“holders” within the parlance associated with time) for the Kraker Pen business, components that presumably infringed n Sheaffer’s patents. Sheaffer’s main goals were the Kraker Pen business itself, and Sheaffer’s previous lover and backer, George Kraker, and Sheaffer’s former employee, Harvey G. Craig, which claimed becoming the double-bar mechanism’s actual creator.

At the time of this lawsuit, the Sheaffer Pen business was only a few years old, plus that limited time had already emerged as an important player when you look at the water feature pen market. The lever filler had turned out to be a smashing success, however it was obvious to all that when Sheaffer didn't protect their patents, he and his backers endured to lose every thing. Kraker and Harvey likewise had all they possessed driving regarding upshot of the situation. It had been a difficult battle with no holds banned, and with so much according to individual recollections, each part brought in as much witnesses as you are able to, exposing each to extraordinarily lengthy and step-by-step questioning. The documents of this testimony are hence a veritable gold mine for the pen historian, keeping because they do the eyewitness accounts of virtually everyone active in the beginning of Sheaffer’s pen company. Moreover, there is the expert testimony of industry insiders such as Julius Schnell, providing a unique window to the rough-and-tumble company of water fountain pen manufacture and advertising and marketing during the early several years of the 20th century. If this weren’t enough, we in addition get an unvarnished look at the characters and power games concealed beneath the whitewash of official business histories – a look that reveals, on top of other things, that Walter A. Sheaffer appears to have made a habit to getting all about partners and rivals by suborning their particular feminine clerks, sometimes by bribery and also at in other cases by seduction.



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