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Lewis Waterman

AKA Lewis Edson Waterman

Born: 20-Nov-1836
Birthplace: Decatur, NY
Died: 1-May-1901
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Asthma complications
Remains: Buried, Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston, MA

Gender: Male
Religion: Congregationalist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Fountain pen

In 1883 Lewis Waterman, then working as an insurance salesman, patented the first practical fountain pen -- instead of being dipped into an inkwell, the pen held its own ink supply and used capillary action to control ink flow. There had been hundreds of patents for fountain pens before Waterman filed his claim on 12 February 1884, but Waterman's was the first to reliably work. He had spent ten years perfecting his invention, motivated, according to legend, after trying to ink a wealthy client's insurance policy only to have the pen blot the contract but refuse to write, leading the client, who took this as a bad omen, to sign with a different agency. In his first year operating the Waterman Fountain Pen Company, Waterman handmade all the pens, and sold them through his brother's cigar shop. Pens were sold with medicine droppers, which were used to refill the ink reservoir. Waterman also taught shorthand, and invented a process for condensing and preserving grape juice.

Brother: Elijah Waterman
Wife: Mary Allen Waterman (b. 27-Apr-1845, m. 1864, one son, two daughters)
Son: Henry Waterman

    Teacher: Shorthand, University of Virginia

    Waterman Pen Company Founder and President (1883-1901)
    English Ancestry



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