Hi, George, et al.,
In reference to the "strange limitation of the pen's use with a certain color of ink" let's consider a little history. Obviously fountain pens had been growing in popularity from the 1870s onward but I'm not sure that they became truly ubiquitous until the years of World War I, 1914 through 1918. We shouldn't accept marketing to a wide audience as evidence of full acceptance by that wide audience. I would suggest that the primary markets for fountain pens remained people of the more well-to-do classes and those engaged in business activities such as bookkeeping and acrivities that required a lot of writing. A large majority of people wrote with penny pencils or steel dip pens well into the 1920s. If you accept my hypothesis then there's nothing at all strange about the suggestion. Cardinal hard rubber pens were chiefly marketed to those bookkeepers and business people who wanted a handy visual cue for which pen held the red ink and which the black for ledger entries.
And, please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that the general public wasn't buying fountain pens or that millions of fountain pens were not being sold. Rather I'm suggesting that it wasn't until the post-war boom of the 1920s that fountain pens really supplanted wooden pencils and dip pens as the primary writing instruments in the hands of everyone from the farmer on the plains to the office worker in a big city. On that point I'm fairly confident. As for the use of red hard rubber pens, wouldn't their being seen as something of a specialty item help account for their relative rarity in comparison to even mottled hard rubber pens? I'm speculating on that point but I think it makes a lot of sense even as I assure you that the majority of old ink residue I've washed out of red hard rubber pend has been black..
Anyway, I don't find the suggestion that red pens are for red ink in anyway strange given the times and the usage. I'd offer proof but my time machine has been on the fritz lately and seems to only work going forward...one day at a time.
Thanks for the interesting posts.
Rob AstykMember Since 25 May 2005
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