(This page revised March 10, 2017)
|Introduction A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z|
[ Reference Info Index ]
If there is a magnifying-glass symbol () next to an image, click the magnifying glass to view a zoomed version for more detail.
|Da Book||Collectors’ nickname for FOUNTAIN PENS THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO REPAIR AND RESTORATION, by Frank Dubiel. Da Book is an essential reference for anyone who repairs or maintains fountain pens; but readers should note that, as with almost all technical reference documents, it is not without error.|
|Damascened||Precious metal decorated with undercut grooves, a style made famous by the swordsmiths of Toledo, Spain, and sometimes referred to as Toledo decoration. Frequently combined with inlaid enamel or lacquer. See also Toledo.|
|Dart||A chasing pattern used by Wahl on chased hard rubber and metal pens, with groups of three longitudinal lines bridged by chevrons in pairs with a longer space between pairs. Modern references often mistakenly ascribe the Dart name to the pattern that Wahl called Unique. See also Unique.|
|Day||(H. P. & E. Day, Inc.) A hard rubber manufacturer located in Seymour, Connecticut. Founded in 1846 as the Austin G. Day Caoutchouc Company and renamed in 1876 for its then owners, Day’s sons Henry P. and Edmund, the company produced hard rubber pen parts for L. E. Waterman beginning c. 1884, and members of the Day family sat on Waterman’s board of directors. This close liaison, which continued until Waterman purchased the company in 1946, was in part responsible for Waterman’s reluctance to abandon the manufacture of hard rubber pens in the late 1920s. See also Waterman, L. E.|
|Day and Night||(also Night and Day) See Moderne (definition 3).|
|Deb||(also Debutante) A designation indicating a pen model smaller than the standard size, e.g., the Parker Vacumatic Deb.|
|Deco||(also deco) See Art Deco.|
|Decoband||Name for a pen bearing a Deco band. See Deco band.|
A broad cap band pierced with an attractive design, often with an Art Deco character or a Greek Key motif. The Wyvern pen shown here features a Greek Key Deco band. See also Art Deco, Greek Key.
Chased, engraved, or repoussé bands encircling the barrel or cap, or both. Frequently gold filled, but sometimes made of solid 9K or 14K gold, sterling silver, or plated steel. Shown below are an 1890s “Rival” eyedropper with two gold-filled repoussé barrel bands and a 1942 Sheaffer “TRIUMPH” with a single gold-filled roll-engraved band on its cap. See also repoussé, roll engraving.
|Defender||The model name that Sheaffer assigned in 1941 to a full-length standard-girth non-Lifetime Balance fitted with a military clip and priced at $5.00. See also Commandant, Valiant, Vigilant.|
|Degussa||(Deutsche Gold und Silber Scheideanstalt, German Gold and Silver Extracting Company) From 1932 to 1970, a major nib manufacturer for German pen companies. Founded in Frankfurt am Main in January 1873, it quickly established itself as a successful company in the fields of precious metals and chemical products. Degussa had a plant in Pforzheim, a major center of jewelry manufacture, supplying jewelry and writing instrument makers with the precious metals they needed. In 1932 Degussa bought Osmia’s nib production department and set up a new factory in Dossenheim, thereafter supplying Osmia with gold nibs. In 1936, when the Nazi government declared a total prohibition on the production of gold nibs, Degussa developed a palladium-silver alloy called Palliag; when the government also banned the use of palladium in 1938, Degussa switched to a high-quality stainless steel alloy called V4A-Supra. In 1943, as Germany was beginning to collapse, Degussa’s nib quality suffered. After World War II, Degussa resumed the production of high quality nibs and continued until 1970, when the firm shut down its nib production to concentrate solely on the chemical industry. See also Osmia.|
|Delaco||See De Witt–La France.|
|De La Rue||(Thomas De La Rue & Co.) A pen manufacturing company founded by Thomas De La Rue in 1821, in London, England, as a printer, stationer, and fancy goods manufacturer. De La Rue’s principal business was, and still is, the manufacture and printing of paper currency, postage stamps, and similar high-security instruments. In 1906, the company bought the rights to an innovative pneumatic filler, invented by a mechanical engineer, tinkerer, and sometime vaudeville performer named George Sweetser, and embarked upon the production of pens. Continuing to use its plunger filler into the 1930s, the company also expanded its offerings to include lever fillers. See also Onoto the Pen.|
|Demi||(“Half”) A designation indicating a pen model smaller than the standard size, e.g., the Parker “51” Demi.|
|demi-oblique||A term indicating an oblique nib that is ground at 8°, half the usual 15° angle. See also nib, oblique.|
A pen that is made of clear material or has slots or holes cut out of it to expose the internal parts to view. Demonstrators were made so that dealers could show the features of standard pens to prospective purchasers. Modern clear pens, although they are usually called “demonstrators,” are intended for sale to the public and as such are not true demonstrators. Shown here are a 1930s “Regal” cutaway lever-filling demonstrator, a 1948 Parker “51” clear Vacumatic-filling demonstrator, and a 1952 Sheaffer Snorkel clear demonstrator.
|depression pen||A pen made during the Great Depression; usually of low quality but frequently brightly colored.|
The hemispherical part at the closed end of the cap on pens such as the Eversharp Skyline and Waterman Philéas, as illustrated here.
A rectangular desk pad, 18"×26" or a similar size, designed to hold one or more sheets of blotter paper. Generally decorative, often made with leather panels as shown here. During the dip-pen era, frequently used in conjunction with an inkstand. See also advertising blotter, blotter, inkstand, rocker blotter.
|desk set||A set comprising one or more desk pens together with a desk base (of glass, metal, stone, or wood) with trumpets into which the pens are inserted point first. See also desk pen, trumpet, tulip.|
|Detroit||(Detroit Fountain Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Detroit, Michigan; founded c. 1903 and operated in the first decade of the 20th century, possibly failing as early as 1906. The company produced ordinary eyedropper fillers branded COMPETITOR and sold by mail for $1.00. Nibs were imprinted SOLID 14K GOLD.|
|De Witt–La France||(De Witt–La France Company) A pen and pencil manufacturing company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts; founded c. 1918 by William P. De Witt and David J. La France. The company produced pens and pencils in both hard rubber and metal. Early production came from the Samuel Ward Manufacturing Company of Boston, Massachusetts, and was branded SaWaCo. Later, the company produced its own pens and pencils under the DeLaCo and (more frequently) Superite brands. During the early 1920s, De Witt–La France made Signet pens and pencils for the United Drug Stores coöperative, which sold products under the Rexall name. The company may also have acquired a contract to produce pens for the Laughlin Pen Company, which failed sometime in the mid- to late 1920s. In 1926, when Carter’s Ink Company began selling pens and pencils that appeared to be made from Laughlin parts and bore levers and clips made to patents belonging to De Witt and La France (U.S. Patents Nos 1,490,735 for the lever and 1,350,412 for the clip), De Witt–La France ceased production of its DeLaCo brand, but it continued producing Superite instruments until about 1929. After 1929, all trace of De Witt–La France writing instruments disappears, probably because Carter’s had purchased the company’s writing instruments division. However, De Witt–La France had by 1924 diversified into the manufacture of the (for its time quite excellent and today highly collectible) Superadio radio, which it continued to produce into the 1930s.|
A “house brand” used for pens sold by Sears, Roebuck & Company. Diamond Medal pens were made for Sears by more than one manufacturer, including the National Pen Products Company (1920s-early 1930s, example shown below, upper) and Parker (later 1930s). The Diamond Medal pens produced by Parker (below, lower) are styled like the Parker Deluxe Challenger; they are imprinted VAC-FIL and fitted with Lockdown Vacumatic fillers. See also Lockdown, Vacumatic.
1 (Diamond Point Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in New York City. Founded some time before 1892, Diamond Point initially sold mediocre stylographic pens and eyedropper-filling fountain pens that it bought from a job shop. When it began making its own pens sometime after 1910, quality improved markedly. The company’s own pens included not only plain hard rubber pens but also gold-filled and sterling overlays (some including abalone and mother-of-pearl mountings). Shown below (upper) is a ringtop model of The Security Pen, a Diamond Point product. In the 1920s production transitioned to lever fillers of even better quality; by then, a change in management had brought a change in the company’s name to the New Diamond Point Pen Company, and a corresponding change in marking, as pens began to be imprinted NEW DIAMOND POINT. As happened to many other pen makers, the Great Depression caused a deterioration in quality as the company strove to produce pens that the increasingly impoverished population could afford. At some point, Diamond Point appears to have resumed the practice of buying job-shopped pens; these pens are marked DIAMOND P.P. (below, lower). The company continued as a third-tier pen vendor into the early 1950s, apparently taking its last major order in 1953. 2 Term used c. 1835 to c. 1900 for a gold pen (dip or fountain pen nib) that was tipped with iridium, iridosmine, or osmiridium. The technical literature of the 1860s calls the tipping process “soldering,” and that is what it was initially; but beginning in 1851 it was actually micro-torch welding, using a process invented by Leroy W. Fairchild. See also Fairchild, iridium, iridosmine, osmiridium.
|Diamond P.P.||See Diamond Point.|
|diaphragm||A rubber part in the filling system of a Parker Vacumatic or Vacumatic-filling “51” pen, shown here in a cutaway illustration. Pushing the filler’s plunger distends the diaphragm (the brown part) to force air out of the pen, and releasing it allows the spring to return the diaphragm to its normal position, drawing ink in.|
|Dictator||(Dictator Fountain Pen Company, Inc.) A pen and pencil manufacturing company located in New York City; founded in 1920 by J. Hendricks, W. Burress, and E. A. Paulton to bring to market a fountain pen that used a refillable cartridge containing sufficient ink concentrate in paste form to last weeks or months, requiring only filling with plain water. (The design was based on British Patent No 178,406, one of several related patents issued to Arthur Winter, mostly in the United States.) There was a matching Dictator pencil that had storage for 18 spare leads, and this pencil was also claimed to go a year without refilling. In 1921, ownership of the corporation was transferred to Arthur Winter, who apparently dissolved and reconstituted the company; by late 1921, the officers were F. S. Betts, J. D. Turner, A. Winter, and E. A. Paulton. U.S. records of Dictator do not appear to continue past the end of 1923, from which it can be inferred that the pen design was a failure. See also Camel, Grieshaber, Water.|
|differential||A type of piston mechanism. See piston.|
|ding||A dent, crease, or other accidental indentation in a metal cap or barrel. The Parker “51” cap shown here has a serious ding that was made by the clip ball. (The clip has been turned on the cap to expose the ding.)|
A pen with a nib but without a feed or an ink reservoir, the immediate precursor of the fountain pen. Used by dipping the tip into an inkwell every few words. Dip pens can have nibs of steel or gold; based on the original 19th-century usage, the nib is properly called the pen, and the body is the holder. Illustrated below is a 19th-century Aikin Lambert gold dip pen. See also crow quill, dip-less pen, fountain pen, gold pen, holder, nib (historical note), offset pen, quill, steel pen, stylographic pen.
A dip-style pen with a feed that serves as a small ink reservoir, allowing the user to write a paragraph or two without dipping. This type of pen is obviously not truly dipless; rather, you dip it less than an ordinary dip pen. A dip-less pen set comprises the pen and a desk base containing an inverted bottle or other large-capacity reservoir, arranged so that the contents of the reservoir can pool safely within the base, to replenish the pooled ink as it is used. When the pen is inserted into its holder, its nib and feed are immersed in the ink pool so that the pen is always ready to write. Illustrated below is a Morriset dip-less set (Bert M. Morris Company) from the 1940s. See also dip pen.
|Diplomat||See Merz & Krell.|
|dip test||To evaluate the writing characteristics of a pen’s nib by dipping the nib into ink before writing a few words; a valid testing method for dip pens but generally not as effective for fountain pens, which cannot control flow properly when dipped and therefore tend to write wetter and more smoothly than when filled properly. See also wet writer.|
|disappearing||Term referring to a pen with a retractable nib (and a screw cap); early synonym for safety, used before the advent of screw-capped pens with fixed nibs (e.g., the Parker Jack-Knife Safety pen). See also safety. Read a discussion of safety pens here.|
|Disappearing Clip||A Parker design featuring a clip that was flush to the cap when the cap was not on the pen. Capping the pen forced the clip out so that it could grasp a shirt pocket.|
A change in color, usually for the worse. Hard rubber oxidizes, crazing and turning brown or even olive green; the process is greatly accelerated under the effect of actinic light. (See below, an oxidized Waterman’s Ideal No 452.) Celluloid discolors by turning brown when exposed to the sulfurous exhalations of rubber (e.g., from the pen’s sac, illustrated here by the discolored barrel of a Parker vest-pocket Duofold). The effect on celluloid, chemically speaking, is also oxidation; and clear celluloid exhibits a less rapid (and usually less disfiguring) oxidation referred to as ambering. See also ambering, crazing.
|Dixie||A brand used by George M. Kraker; made in Grand Haven, Michigan, and later in Libertyville, Illinois. See also Kraker.|
|DJ||See double jewel.|
A pen designed for use by a medical doctor. Early doctor’s pens were eyedropper fillers with space in the barrel for a special mercury oral thermometer of shorter than usual length (first produced by the Crown Pen Company under U.S. Patent No 590,262, by Augustus P. Hafner). On the pen shown below (upper), the knob at the barrel’s end provides a grip for unscrewing the cap of the thermometer compartment. Later, pen companies began manufacturing sets comprising a pen, a mechanical pencil, and a case for the thermometer. These sets were made in white material, as shown by the Waterman Emblem doctor’s pen below (lower). Some doctor’s pens bear an enameled red cross. See also nurse’s pen, thermometer case.
|Doll Pen||See World’s Smallest Pen.|
A pen that was manufactured to sell for $1.00, principally during the Great Depression; Esterbrook’s (illustrated below) is the best known Dollar Pen. (In colors other than black, this pen sold for $1.50.) Read a profile of the Esterbrook Dollar Pen here.
|dolphin nib||A unique nib design that Sheaffer used on some of its Imperial pens in the 1960s as a lower-cost alternative to the company’s Inlaid Nib. So called because of its resemblance to the facial profile of a dolphin, the design uses an ordinary nib whose body is buried in the section, leaving the tines exposed. A V-shaped metal trim part applied to the top of the section creates the illusion of the Inlaid Nib. See also hooded nib, Inlaid Nib, nib, open nib, “TRIUMPH” point.|
A pen model introduced by Wahl-Eversharp in 1931. The Doric is a 12-sided faceted pen, a feature it shares with the Omas Paragon (also introduced in 1931). The Doric’s advertising played up the pen’s elegant blending of classical good looks with Art Deco elements. Produced in versions that spanned the company’s range of prices and sizes, the Doric is today one of the most collectible of Wahl-Eversharp’s pens. Shown below are Gold Seal Dorics in Cathay (upper) and Burma (lower), two of the original Doric colors; the remaining original colors are Morocco (burgundy pearl), Kashmir (green pearl with darker chunks), and Jet. Additional colors were used beginning in about 1935, along with Wahl’s adjustable nib (Personal-Point or fixed), and ink shutoff. Read a profile of the Doric here. See also adjustable nib (definition 1), Airliner, Doric Junior, Gold Seal, Personal-Point, Popular Doric, and Safety Ink Shut Off.
The lowest-priced model in the Wahl-Eversharp Doric line, distinguished by its “chain filigree” cap band, which consists of two narrow bands joined at intervals by narrow longitudinal strips (illustrated below). See also Doric, Junior.
|double feed||See over-under feed.|
(abbreviated DJ) Term for a pen with two jewels, one on the cap crown and another at the end of the barrel. Either or both jewels may or may not have tassies. Illustrated below is a double-jewel Parker “51”. See also jewel, single jewel, tassie.
|double action||A type of piston mechanism. See piston.|
|doughnut||See lock ring.|
|DQ||A Parker pen model introduced in 1926; plain black in color and engraved with longitudinal lines, the DQ was based on the Duofold Special, a slender version of the standard Duofold. To imply that the pen was of high quality, Parker chose the name “DQ” by taking the initial letters of the words Duofold Quality.|
|drawing ink||See India ink.|
|Drew||(Drew Pen Company) A pen company located in Chicago, Illinois; operated in the early 1920s. Known from an advertisement in a 1922 issue of Popular Mechanics Magazine, in which the company offered a prize of $1000 for the best solution to a puzzle picture, Drew sold pens jobbed from the Michael George Pen Company. See also Kraker.|
(also DRGM) The acronym for Deutsches Reichsgebrauchsmuster, meaning “German Empire (Reich) Usage Pattern,” similar in purpose to copyright protection. Used on pens and other manufactured products from 1891 to 1949, D.R.G.M. indicated that the design or function of the item was officially registered in all of Germany, not merely locally as had formerly been the case. Protection was for a period of three years; thus, the mark can appear on objects made as late as 1952. Some people quote this acronym as the grammatically incorrect Deutsches Reich Gebrauchsmuster, which omits the letter s after Reich, altering the pronunciation in such a way as to imply that the mark has something to do with Hitler’s Third Reich, which is categorically false. The Reform Rekord No 18 pen shown here bears the D.R.G.M. mark in its barrel imprint:
|drippy nose||See blotting.|
|dry writer||A pen whose nib is adjusted to produce a light flow of ink (but not necessarily a fine line) that dries very rapidly. Because of limited lubrication from the restricted flow of ink, dry writers characteristically write less smoothly than pens adjusted for more flow. Contrast with wet writer. See also feedback, skipping.|
Eclipse’s name for its combo, shown below. The barrel imprint read Dual-Duty / TWO-IN-ONE / Pen-Pencil. See also combo, Eclipse.
|dual feed||See over-under feed.|
|Dubel-Servis||(Dubel-Servis Corporation) A pen manufacturer located in New York City; founded in 1924 by John Maynard Gilliam, a moderately successful Nashville, Tennessee, businessman who had created a pen/pencil combination that was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office but did receive U.K. Patent No 222,868. It is possible that the company’s Dubel-Servis (“Double Service”) combo and Ezerite (“Easy Write”) and True-Point pencils were actually manufactured by De Witt–La France, whose offices were in the same building. Dubel-Servis Corporation failed in 1934. See also combo, De Witt–La France.|
1 A name Parker used during the 1920s in marketing a Duofold pen/pencil set (the Duofold Duette). 2 A low-priced pen model produced by Parker in the U.S.A. from 1932 to 1934, one of the models known as a group to collectors as Thrift Time pens. The Duette appeared in two sizes, the Duette Jr. (shown below, featuring a low-profile gold-plated brass cap-top clip screw) and the Duette Sr. (with a plastic clip screw matching the pen’s body color). See also Moderne (definition 2), Premier (definition 1), Thrift Time.
|dummy||A pen body made for display purposes, consisting of a completely finished cap and barrel that are glued together without a section or internal parts. Vintage dummies frequently have holes drilled on the side opposite the clip so that they will not be mistaken for real pens whose caps have become stuck.|
(Dunn-Pen Company, Inc.) A pen manufacturing company located in New York City; founded in early 1921 by a group of investors who were members of the Dudley Sales Organization, a New York venture capital group, to manufacture the Dunn-Pen, which was based on Charles Dunn’s 1920 patent for an elegantly simple high-capacity pump filler (U.S. Patent No 1,359,880). The company seems to have been embroiled in frequent internal squabbles but continued to conduct business as usual, opening branch offices in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco before the end of 1921. A prolonged employees’ strike drove the company into receivership by mid-1924. It is possible that someone might have purchased the company whole and attempted to revive it; Marketing/Communications, by the Decker Communications Corporation, recorded that the Dunn-Pen Company let advertising contracts for 1926. The company produced innovative pens of excellent quality. Initially using hard rubber, Dunn-Pen tried both clear and ruby Bakelite for barrels on a model called the Tattler, and eventually changed its production over to the much less fragile celluloid. Like LeBoeuf, Dunn-Pen was selling celluloid pens before Sheaffer’s 1924 introduction of its Radite models. The Dunn-Pen is distinctive in appearance because of the “Red Pump-Handle” with which the user operates the filler. Many of these pump knobs are made of casein, but some, on early pens, are hard rubber. Shown below are four views of a large Dunn-Pen Dreadnaught, a model known for its screw-apart two-piece cap that permits filling without getting ink on the section (fourth view). Read a profile of the Dunn-Pen here.
|DuoCraft||(DuoCraft Company; also Duo Craft or Duo-Craft) A pen company located in Brooklyn, New York; founded by Albert Carson, DuoCraft operated from c. 1933 until at least 1957. Among other products, during the 1930s the company sold the DuoCraft Music Writing Fountain Pen (“Designed to Meet the Demands of Composers – Arrangers – Copyists”), a relatively ordinary third-tier lever-filler fitted with a WARRANTED music nib in the purchaser’s choice of two- or three-tine styles and priced at $3.50, or $5.00 with a double-ended (red/black) mechanical pencil.|
A pen model introduced in 1921 by Parker, possibly the best-known pen from the 1920s. Patterned on the No 26-size Jack-Knife Safety pen, it flouted convention by being made in a very large size and of brightly colored red hard rubber (later celluloid). The pen could be fitted with a taper and used as a desk pen; this duofold use, however, is not the source of the name, which Parker chose simply to suggest that the pen was twice as good as its competition so that the customer was receiving duofold (doubled) value for his pen dollar. The Duofold remained essentially unchanged until the late 1930s, went through major design revisions in 1938 and again in 1940, and was withdrawn in 1948. It was reintroduced in 1988, with a shape strongly reminiscent of the original 1920s design. Shown here is a first-model red hard rubber Senior Duofold. Read a profile of the Duofold here. See also Big Red, Chinese Red, Jack-Knife Safety.
|duo-point||A nib whose tip is shaped so that it can write when the pen is held inverted, with the nib facing downward toward the paper, as well as when the pen is held normally, with the nib facing upward. The line produced with the pen held inverted is finer than the line when the pen is held normally. The tip design was patented by L. E. Waterman in 1915 and marketed under the name “Duo-tip.” Contrast with ball point. See also Duo-tip, Feathertouch.|
|Duo-tip||L. E. Waterman’s name for its reversible nib design (U.S. Patent No 1,154,498), which was copied by other manufacturers after Waterman’s patent expired. See also duo-point, Feathertouch.|
|Duracrome||Esterbrook’s trademark for its untipped Renew-Point nibs. These nibs were numbered 1xxx and 2xxx. See also Esterbrook, Master Series, Renew-Point. Read a page with a (nearly) complete listing of Renew-Point nibs here.|
|DURIUM||Term imprinted on untipped nibs used by third-tier manufacturers during the 1930s and 1940s, an exotic-sounding marketing name for ordinary stainless steel. Some untipped nibs were even imprinted DURIUM TIPPED, a designation intended to deceive purchasers by its resemblance to IRIDIUM TIPPED. See also iridium, steel.|
|Duryea||(Duryea Safety Clip Company) A manufacturing company located in New York City; founded probably c. 1905 by William F. and Moses H. Duryea, date of closing c. 1922. Duryea offered to the trade a wide assortment of pen-related “novelties” such as the Wire Coil Safety Clip (U.S. Patent No 799,038), a more ordinary accommodation clip, caps with clips for all makes of pens, a desk-mounted pen rack (U.S. Patent No 826,233), etc. The company also sold eyedropper- and matchstick-filling fountain pens; their pens were probably assembled from purchased parts. William and Moses Duryea also held interest in the Duryea-Hoge Company, a manufacturer of mechanical pencils and fountain pens that was created in 1909 by merging the Duryeas’ company with the Hoge Specialty Company. (Both companies were located at 108 Fulton Street, New York City; Hoge had sold postal scales, check protectors, thumbtacks, and other office appurtenances.)|
|Dynamic Obsolescence||(also planned obsolescence) A concept attributed to General Motors head Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., who in 1923 or 1924, to maintain unit sales, borrowed an idea from the bicycle industry and suggested annual model-year design changes to convince car owners that they needed to buy a new replacement each year. He termed the concept Dynamic Obsolescence, but it is more commonly known as planned obsolescence. Pen manufacturers, never slow to adopt good merchandising tactics, picked up the idea, and soon annual styling changes appeared at the pen counter.|
The information in this Glossopedia is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative. If you have additions or corrections to this page, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information.