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The Waterman Pen Company was founded in 1884 in New York City by Lewis Edson Waterman, who invented and patented a "three fissure feed" system in that year, designed to prevent leakage and excessively 'wet' writing.
The earliest surviving pens with ink held in a reservoir date from the century before Waterman's founding, but the company's innovative designs and marketing strategy soon made the 'fountain' pen an object of mass desire and mass-production in the USA, and their ink control systems won Waterman a gold medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle.
After L E Waterman's death in 1901, his nephew Frank D Waterman assumed the role of managing director, and the Waterman Pen Co became a world-wide concern. However, the increasingly conservative nature of the company meant that, despite some novel innovations such as the pocket clip, Waterman's was overtaken in the USA by younger competitors.
The French subsidiary - Waterman S.A. - absorbed the remainder of the American Waterman's when the latter closed in 1954. Having gone through a number of ownerships, Waterman is now going strong, and produces not only relatively work-a-day pens but also luxury writing instruments from its French premises.