If you spend much time at all looking at vintage magazines from the early 1900′s, one thing you will definitely notice is the quantity of ads for Waterman’s Ideal Fountain Pens.
Fountain pens were used by almost everyone; there were special models designed for students, for women, and for men. In the ad I have posted above, you can see seven different options for the Ideal pen.
I was curious about the line in the ad above that states, “The day of fountain pen jibes and jokes has passed.” I couldn’t figure out why they would joke about fountain pens! But I looked around a bit online, and the best explanation I was able to find was on Kamakura Pen’s Fountain Pen Humor. From that web page is this old joke:
Mrs. Spriggs: Why do you leave such horrid ink blots in the letter to Mr. Kimble, when you are asking him for position in his company?
Mr. Spriggs: I wanted him to see that I am enough of a businessman to use a fountain pen.
-Fort Wayne Sentinel June 21, 1890
So it seems that early fountain pens were quite prone to leakage and blotting, but by the time of these ads between 1907-1909, they had greatly improved and their use was no longer something to be mocked.
My husband actually has an old, golden version of the Waterman’s Ideal, so these really did seem to survive well and continue to be used today. I couldn’t find many actual photo of this pen online, but this website has a current photo of a 1907 Waterman Ideal that you can click on to enlarge.