About Lewis Edson Waterman
Lewis Edson Waterman (November 18, 1837 – May 1, 1901), born in Decatur, New York, was the inventor of the capillary feed fountain pen and the founder of the Waterman pen company.
In 1883, Waterman was an insurance broker in New York City, getting ready to sign one of his hottest contracts. In honor of the occasion, he bought a new fountain pen that he considered much more stylish than the dip pen and ink well. To Waterman's frustration the pen broke and spilled ink all over the contract. Waterman then rushed back to his office to get another contract, but by the time he got back another broker had closed the deal.
After his humiliating contract signing, Waterman then strove to make better fountain pens in the workshop of his brother, Frank Waterman. He used the capillarity principle which allowed air to induce a steady and even flow of ink. Waterman got a patent for his new fountain pens in 1884.
Waterman began selling his fountain pens behind a cigar shop and gave his pens a five year guarantee. He opened a factory in Montreal, Canada in 1899, offering a variety of designs. Following his death in 1901, his nephew Frank D. Waterman took the business overseas and increased sales to 350,000 pens per year.
Waterman was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.