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Shaeffer Pen Company: Iowa Time Machine June 19, 1946

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On June 19, 1946, Walter A. Sheaffer passed away. Born in Bloomfield, Shaeffer developed the first commercially successful lever-filling fountain pen and founded the W.A. Sheaffer Pen Company.

Jacob Sheaffer opened, Walter’s father, moved to Bloomfield in 1854 to open a jewelry store after venturing west to participate in the California Gold Rush. Always an entrepreneur, young Walter worked as a printer's devil, as a grocery boy, and operated a summer peanut stand. Dropping out of school, he went to work at a jewelry store in Centerville before eventually returning to Bloomfield to partner in his father’s store.

In 1906, Walter Sheaffer purchased a Fort Madison, Iowa, jewelry store on 2nd Street and renamed it “The Sheaffer Jewelry and Music Company.” Inspired by the success of other self-filling fountain pens, Sheaffer turned his attention to inventing his own self-filling mechanism.

He received his first fountain pen patent in 1908 for a lever-filler but did not put his design into production until 1912. The new business was incorporated as the W.A. Sheaffer Pen Company at the end of January 1913. Within ten years, the Ft. Madison company became one of the top American pen manufacturers. Sheaffer served as president of the company from 1913 to 1938 before retiring into a role as chairman of the board. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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