Tuesday, February 18, 2020

An overmarked stylo

Quite a few penmakers offered stylographic versions of their standard fountain pens. Such pens tend to be uncommon, since nibbed pens were much more popular, so I was happy to add this big and colorful flat-top to my stylo collection.

Adding to its interest is its imprint -- or rather, imprints. The barrel was originally marked "WEIDLICH PEN CO./CINCINNATI, O. U.S.A." and was then overstamped "SWENSEN PEN CO./LOS ANGELES, CALIF."

There weren't a lot of West Coast pen companies back when this pen was made in the late 1920s or first part of the 1930s. Swensen is a company I've been meaning to look into for some time. It is listed as a Racine, Wisconsin company up until 1919. It had relocated to Los Angeles by 1921, and remained in business at least into the 1950s. "Venus" was one of Swensen's trademarks from an early date, but there does not seem to be any connection with the American Lead Pencil Company's yet earlier trademark for "Venus" wooden pencils, nor is it clear what happened when American Lead Pencil began making "Venus" fountain pens in the 1940s.

Like many smaller regional companies, Swensen likely did little if any manufacturing of their own.

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