I love old catalog ads such as this one because they go far to help me identify old pens, their sizes and their design alternatives.
I am forever stumbling upon hard rubber Waterman’s from the 19-teens and 1920s, and I am never quite certain which ones were given sterling silver or gold filigree by the factory or by a local jeweler plying his artistic talents to a basic black pen–as was a frequent occurance during that time.
These ads also help to establish various sizes of pen models and their original pricing. For example: The top pen in the ad comes with the exact same gold mounts in sizes 12 (small) through 16 (large). I now know how many pens I will have to hunt down and find if I want that same model in all sizes with those gold mounts.
After daydreaming for a minute, wishing I had a time machine to go back to the early 1920s to buy gold and silver pens for less than the price of a cocktail in downtown Chicago today, I have fun with the advertising copy.
This ad was very challenging to make in 1924ish. There were no computers or Indesign programs to pop it together. Intricate artwork, cutting, pasting and more went into this very expensive ad for its time. However, you can’t help but wonder who the copy editor was.
“Prices vary according to size of gold pen contained”…???
Even then wouldn’t it have been easier to say, “Prices vary by the amount of gold in each pen”?
I guess I can see why Sheaffer always beat out Waterman. According to our last ad post, Sheaffer pens come with a “cunning” box. Waterman’s pens only came with a “neat” box. Who wouldn’t prefer a pen box that can play chess and carry a conversation with wit?