Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Waterman's first screw-cap pen

While any collector who has been around for a while is familiar with Waterman's POC-series screw-cap eyedropper-fillers, few are acquainted with their much rarer precursors, the Chatelaine pens. The Chatelaines were barely mentioned in Waterman advertisements, though they are listed in the 1908 catalog, as seen here. The narrow raised barrel threads are every bit as prone to damage and wear as one might think, though the long section does help keep the writer's fingertips away -- just as well, since the cap is not furnished with an inner cap.

How late Waterman continued to offer the Chatelaine remains an open question. One might think that it would have been replaced by the better-designed POC, with its stronger threads and tight-sealing inner cap (the Chatelaine lacked an inner cap), and yet none of the early mentions of the POC include a ringtop version. The introduction date of the Chatelaine can be determined with rather more certainty, thanks to the article below from the American Stationer of August 20, 1904, p. 48:

Initially the Chatelaine was offered in only two sizes, 12 and 14. This was still the case at the time of the ad below, from the Ladies' Home Journal, June 1905, p. 23, though by the time the 1908 catalog had been compiled sizes 15, 16, 17, and 18 had been added.

These larger sizes seem outscale for hanging from a pin, yet examples survive. The pen below is a 17, and enormous.

At the other size extreme, I have had at least two or three slender 12 1/2 Chatelaines -- a size not mentioned in any source I have found to date. Not that Waterman was averse to mixing things up, as the pump-filling Chatelaine below indicates.

I have never seen a Chatelaine in mottled or red hard rubber, though they are found both chased and smooth.

The Waterman POC

I've been meaning for some time to do a write-up on Waterman's Chatelaine series -- the company's first screw-cap pens, which appear almost as an afterthought in the big 1908 catalog but which were advertised at least as early as 1905. The recent appearance of a possibly unique factory-made man's screw-cap (8-size, with clip and without suspension ring) using Chatelaine components, however,  has raised the question of exactly when Waterman began offering screw-cap pens for pocket carry -- so here is a quick post about the introduction of the POC line.

After a bit of searching, I found the blurb shown above, which ran in the American Stationer of March 29, 1913 (vol. 73), p. 34. No mention of the line appears in earlier issues, and indeed mention is sporadic in following years as well. The standard tag line in Waterman advertisements remains "Regular, Safety and Self-Filling Types", with "Pocket" only occasionally included -- as in the ad below from Geyer's Stationer, February 18, 1915, p. 27.

The POC line was short-lived, at least under that name. With the 1917 change in Waterman's model numbering system, the "POC" suffix was dropped and "7" was added in the tens place. The 12 POC became the 72, the 15 POC became the 75, and so on. 

Although the POC suffix was always imprinted all in capital letters on the pens, in advertising it was typically rendered as "Poc." as shown above. Interestingly enough, the most common POC model shown in ads was the 412 POC with silver filigree overlay.

POC models haven't attracted a great deal of collector interest, yet they mark a turning point in the evolution of Waterman pen design. All subsequent Waterman pocket pen designs, no matter the filling system, followed the POC template, with a screw cap, inner cap, and flared section, while the older slip-cap models gradually disappeared from the lineup.