Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chapmans vs Waterman: A pen history trove

Trial transcripts offer some of the richest repositories of behind-the-scenes historical information about the pen industry. The dispute itself is often of secondary interest, in comparison to what gets brought out in the testimony. This is very much the case with a volume I recently discovered on Google Books, which records the appeal by Isaac E. and William L. Chapman against the L. E. Waterman Company, heard in 1915 in the New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division. This was the penultimate action in the long-running legal battle between Waterman and A. A. Waterman that was finally settled once and for all in 1917 -- a battle already treated at great length by George Kovalenko, to whom I will leave the task of analyzing the new material and incorporating it into the Waterman vs Waterman story.

What I intend to do instead, is to highlight some of the tangential information brought out in the testimony. This will take the form of multiple posts, so as to maintain a degree of organization by topic. Much of the new information has to do with Waterman, but covering everything from specific designs and models to manufacturing techniques to operational procedures in the repair departments -- plus the odd intriguing anecdote. The post topics are: Ferris' testimony; Safety pen patents; Notable pens; Chasing machines; and Miscellaneous.

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