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On the early years of the Eisenstadt Co. and their pens By Silviu Pincu – Jun 11 2016 Version 2 – Jun 18 2016

Details of clip & nib of my No. 6 LBHR Eisenstadt pen

After purchasing an Eisenstadt pen, I began searching for information on the Eisenstadt company and pens. The available information on online or hardcopy sources was pretty scarce, the major sources being, to the best of my knowledge: 1. The article in the Nov – Dec 1992 Pen World vol. 6 no. 2 pages 2831 written by Judson Bell about Eisenstadt pens by the name of "Meet me in St. Louis". Thanks to Uri Orland for bringing the article to my attention 2. Luiz Leite's blog: Old Fountain pens just for fun – on Eisenstadt pens


3. Richard Binder's Glossopedia of Pen Terms After reading these sources I felt that there had to be more to the story of the Eisenstadt company and its pens, so I tried to dig a bit deeper in order to uncover additional facts and information about the company and the people involved in it, prior and during the fountain pen period of this Watch & Jewelry firm. The major sources of information were the local St. Louis newspaper "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" and several books on St. Louis and the Jewish community of St. Louis. For a detailed list of all the sources see the reference section at the end of this article. After locating and reading a few dozens of items from these sources, I found answers and information on the following subjects and more: 1. Who were the major figures involved in the company beside the Eisenstadt family? 2. What happened in 1883, the year the company was reincorporated? 3. Who came up with the brand name of the Eisenstadt pens: "Incomparable"? 4. A few private-life details of Samuel and Morris Eisenstadt


Early years: 1. Michael Eisenstadt established the M. Eisenstadt jewelry Co. in 1853. It seems Michael had a partner named Adolph Jacobs. Here's an entry from the "St. Louis City Directory 1860" in which we can see Adolph was a salesman for the company:

2. Michael marries Mary Meyer. On Nov 22 1857 the twins Samuel and Morris are born. 4 years later on Apr 15 1861, a daughter named Jennie is born 3. Michael passes away in 1863 and the business is continued by Adolph Jacobs 4. In The book St. Louis – The Fourth City (ref 6) it is mentioned that in 1873 Morris joined the Eisenstadt company as an office clerk. 5. Feb 1880 – 19 years old Jennie marries Benjamin Altheimer, which in 1881 becomes a director of the Eisenstadt company 6. The June 1880 St. Louis city census shows that the profession of Morris and Samuel is "dealers in jewelry", while Benjamin deals in wholesale clothing


Mary Eisenstadt is listed as "keeping home", but from the following excerpt from the St. Louis city directory it seems she was active and involved in the business together with Adolph Jacobs, as we shall see later in the 1883 occurrences.

7. On Jan 1881 an item on Morris and Samuel was published in the St. Louis Dispatch-Post. It announces firm changes where the twin brothers are being admitted to the M. Eisenstadt &Co. I believe this announcement means that they have taken position as junior managers with the company

1883 – A new Eisenstadt company is incorporated: 8. 1883 is mentioned as the year when a new Eisenstadt company was incorporated. The information that appears in books and articles about the company and in the biographies of the Eisenstadt family tend to be rather obscure about what happened that year, or not mentioned at all. After searching the local newspaper – St. Louis Post-Dispatch for Eisenstadt related items in 1883, I've located the


following items which help unveil the truth: the company was sued by several major watch and clock makers for the substantial sum of more than 10,000 USD. Following these suits an assignee was appointed and all company stock was sold in order to cover the debts: Jan 1883: Attachment suit against Mary Eisenstadt, Adolph Jacobs and Morris J. Meyer who worked as a salesman for the company. This shows that Mary probably continued to be involved in the company business after her husband death:

Business failure announcement day after the suit was filed:


Jun 1883 – Assignee sale of the company valuables in order to cover the debts:

9. But ‌ only a few weeks after the sale, a certificate for a new company is issued in Jefferson City: The M. Eisenstadt Jewelry company raises from the ashes of the late M. Eisenstadt & Co. with a capital of 40,000 USD. Who said miracles cannot happen!

Involved in the new company are Meyer J. Friede (president) and apparently the two brothers, but in the book "The Industries of St. Louis"


(Ref 3), we see that only Samuel is mentioned as VP and Edmond Achard as the Company secretary.

But the history is not always sharp clear, as we can see from the following passage in the book "Zion in the valley 1807 - 1907" (ref 8). Here it is mentioned that Meyer joined Morris and Benjamin Altheimer, while Samuel is not mentioned at all:

10. Another loss and new beginning in 1883 were the birth of Selma, Jennie and Benjamin daughter and the loss of Jennie who passed away a short time after giving birth


11. On Dec 17 1888 Meyer Friede passes away, but his son Joel M. Friede joins the company and eventually becomes Vice President. From the following item dated Mar 1891 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we learn that Edmond Achard became president, Morris secretary, and Samuel is mentioned as a member of the company management but without any title

12. Now, we saw that Morris and Samuel were twins, but the following item from the Jan 1888 St. Louis Post-Dispatch reveals that they were probably identical twins. This amusing item is from a column named "Prominent citizens who are mistaken for each other":

Here's the picture of Morris from the book "Portraits of prominent Saint Louisans in 1916" (ref. 26):


13. The following item from the Jul 7 1895 shows us that Samuel Eisenstadt's leisure time was dedicated to bicycle riding in the company of other business friends

14.

:

15. On May 16 1896 the square ruler & E trademark was filed by the M. Eisenstadt Jewelry Company and given the registration number of 28,469:

16. Following Samuel's death in 1905 Morris becomes president of the company. The date is mentioned in the following entry from the book "Zion in the valley 1807 - 1907" (ref. 8):


17. From the above entry we learn that Morris recreation activity was "automobiling". Evidence of this costly hobby can be found in the following item from Dec 1910 St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Here's a 1910 ad for a Stoddard – Dayton car, priced at 1600 USD – about 2 and a half years of the average annual income back then!


18. Morris was a bachelor until the age of 62 when he married his late friend's wife on Mar 1920:


19. In 1922 Joel M. Friede (son of Meyer Friede) passes away and from the following item in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch we can get a glimpse at an amusing although macabre agreement:


20. On Jul 29 1923 Morris passed away at the age of 65. Here's the item in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch announcing his funeral:

Morris was buried in the New Mount Sinai Cemetery, St. Louis – the Eisenstadt-Altheimer mausoleum:


Eisenstadt and pen manufacturing: 21. I have not found any other information about the beginnings or reason of Eisenstadt going into the fountain pen manufacturing business, other than those presented in the Pen World article (ref 12):

22. The Eisenstadt pens featured a "reverse lever", filed for patent on Mar 8 1924 by John J. Lynagh, assignor for the Eisenstadt MFG. Co. (Us Patent 1,531,800). The patent mentions 2 major benefits:  An improved collapsing mechanism that allows to fully decompress the sac, resulting in allowing a larger amount of ink to fill the sac  A reverse lever that prevents accidental staining of one's shirt, as the lever quote: "cannot be caught and unintentionally actuated when the pen is being put into the user's pocket" What I did succeeded was to discover a few additional facts about the management and marketing stages for the Eisenstadt FP: 23. It seems that the Eisenstadt company prepared itself during the second half of 1924 for marketing its fountain pens: 24. In a Google snippet from the Jul-Dec 1924 American Stationer and Office Manager (vol. 95, page 16) the following item states that Samuel Applestone was appointed as manager of the Eisenstadt Pen Department. We can see that the slogan chosen for the Eisenstadt FP "Built like a fine watch" clearly tries to link the FP to their main


business: Watches & Jewelry. It is a pity that this specific issue is not yet available fully online, because it certainly holds more information

25. In the Dec 1924 Des Moines Register newspaper appears the following ad for a specialty salesman of FP for the Eisenstadt company:


26. The earliest FP ad I've located is dated Sep 9 1924 and appears in the Indianapolis Star newspaper. No logo or slogan in this minimalistic ad

27. This ad from the Pittsburgh-Gazette dating from Nov 1924 presents the name "Incomparable" alongside the complete sac compression and larger ink capacity. No slogan yet ‌


28. If we are asking ourselves who came up with the FP's name "Incomparable", this snippet from Jan 1925 Office Appliances (Vol 41) holds the answer: a certain Kenneth D. Stern, who won the contest and the 100 USD prize for the Eisenstadt FP name:

29. Later ads from 1925 are found in great numbers in the local St. Louis newspaper: St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It seems that the company marketing strategy was to distribut their first pens outside the city of St. Louis and even the Missouri state, as they were probably not sure about their success and did not want to compromise the company's good name with an unsuccessful product in their town of origin No. 6 Eisenstadt fountain pen

No. 6 Eisenstadt fountain pen in LBHR from my collection


30. The following pens belong to Luiz Leite and appear in Luiz blog on Eisenstadt pens. I wish to thank Luiz for the permission to include them in this article.


Two red hard rubber Eisenstadt fountain pens

Pictures of the RHR Eisenstadts are from the Irving Goodman auction in 2007


31. A later ad from Dec 1925 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch - here the capacity advantage is gone, but the comparison to fine watches, Eisentadt craftsmanship in jewelry and the word capacity are present:

Word capacity table from the PW article (ref. 12):


32. Ads dating after mid 1929 (the great depression) show signs of trouble, as the pens are offered for 1/2 and eventually for 1/4 of their original price. In an ad from 1930 the Eisenstadt pens are sold together with watches:


33. The latest ad I've found is from Nov 1932. It shows a sort of liquidation sale for 1/4 price. It seems that Eisenstad had ceased its FP production somewhere in 1930 – 1931 and terminated this line of business somewhere in 1932

34. Eisantadt continued with its watch and jewelry business until Jun 1984 when after 131 years (Michael Eisenstadt established the company in 1853) it "closed its doors":


Special thanks to:  George Kovalenko who revised the initial draft and contributed valuable thoughts and ideas to improve the article  Uri Orland who brought to my attention the PW article on Eisenstadt  Luiz Leite who allowed to use pictures of Eisenstadt pens from his collection  Paul Bloch who contributed in Luiz blog on Eisenstadt pens and shared with me his opinion on the article

References: Luiz Leite blog – Eisenstadt post http://oldfountainpensjustforfun.blogspot.co.il/2012/05/eisenstadt-pens.html

1. St. Louis, the fourth city, 1764-1909 http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/walter-barlow-stevens/st-louis-the-fourth-city1764-1909-volume-2-vet/page-101-st-louis-the-fourth-city-1764-1909-volume-2-vet.shtml

2. The Industries of Saint Louis http://twain.lib.niu.edu/islandora/object/niu-twain%3A10933

3. The book of St. Louisans 1906 https://archive.org/details/bookofstlouisans00leon

4.

The American Stationer - Jul-Dec 1924 (vol. 95) Google snippet

5. St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri December 18, 1910, page 65


https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/139073927/

6. Office Appliances: The Magazine of Office Equipment Vol. 41, 1925 7. Zion in the valley – The Jewish Community of St. Louis 1807 – 1907 https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=SICMMh8Stc8C&pg=PP3&lpg=PP3&dq=zion+in+the+ valley&source=bl&ots=CX7JGnc8gn&sig=gw0NbkqAbHK1tmhJXCOpcyMHg4&hl=iw&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJv8zw6MDMAhVG0RQKHfJuDWQQ6AEIPTAF#v= onepage&q=zion%20in%20the%20valley&f=false

8.

Eisenstadt Manufacturing Company Collection – only a

few tables available online. Other information and pictures only in hardcopy. http://collections.mohistory.org/resource/140332.html

9. St. Louis City Directories -1868 http://www.digital.wustl.edu/cgi/t/text/textidx?c=cty;cc=cty;rgn=div3;view=text;idno=cty1868.0001.026;node=cty1868.0001.026%3A6.1 53.4

St. Louis City Directory 1860

10. http://www.rollanet.org/~bdoerr/1860CyDir/1860CD-J.htm

11.

Portraits of prominent Saint Louisans in 1916

https://archive.org/details/portraitsofpromi00sain

12.

Pen World Nov – Dec 1992 vol. 6, No. 2, pages 28 to 31

article by Judson Bell: Meet me in St. Louis

Eisenstadt & Pens  

On the early years of the Eisenstadt Jewelry Company and its fountain pen production period

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