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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Fountain Pen Factory: 1935

Fountain Pen Factory: 1935

Circa 1935. "Sheaffer fountain pen factory, Fort Madison, Iowa. Final act of the pen manufacture." 8x10 acetate negative by Theodor Horydczak. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!


It's hard to believe it, I started school using the old fashioned straight pen and dipped it into an inkwell on the desk to write. Messy? Yes it was.
At least we didn't use chicken feathers!

Actually about 1930

I posted, with attribution, this image on a Fountain Pen page. David Issakson, who knows his stuff, pointed out the image is around 1930, not 1935. Paul A, those pens are easily fixed.

Hey kids ...

and future producers of period films: the man and woman in the foreground exemplify the perfect manner of holding a pen for comfortable handwriting. It also works great with pencils, roller-balls and any kind of stylus. Quills, as well. Try it -- you'll like it!

Those of us who are left-handed

Appreciate modern inks.

These pens are indeed quite beautiful, and I've had several over the years. Still, I'm glad I learned to type (as are those who have to read my writing).

4th Grade

In the 50's 4th grade was the magical time when you were finally to use either a Sheaffer or Waterman fountain pen for your essays.

Vintage fountain pen restoration

These circa 1935 pens are some of the more attractive ones made as advances in materials allowed for beautiful colors and patterns. There are any number of pen collectors/restorers who can bring your grandparents' pens to working order - ink is still available so you will be able to use them. Search on the web and you will find plenty of them to choose from.

Thanks Grandparents!

I actually have all of these models from my grandparents. However, all of them have ink bladders of dust because of their age. Although the cases are quite beautiful.

ADD: Thanks everyone for the restoration input. I found a local restorer and I'm excited!

Logical consequences

So once they get screens it will be OK to toss items out the windows??

Rules & Regulations

"At present we haven't any screens so we are asking that you will please not throw anything out of the windows."

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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