Waterman pens have a long history in the business, the company was founded back in 1883 in New York by Lewis Edson Waterman. This inventor was an insurance broker and there is a story that says that when signing an important contract his pen leaked, he went to get another one but until he returned another person had stolen his client. This is what determined Lewis to make his own pens, he started his new business in his brotherís workshop.
Edson Waterman based his inventions on the capillarity principle, the resulting Waterman pens were so good that he provided a five-year warranty for them. In 1899 Lewis Edson Waterman found a new production center in Montreal, after his death in 1901 the business was taken over by his nephew who increased sales to an impressive number of 350,000 pens sold per year.
It is known that the first fountain pens were created in the 10th century, the problem was that they couldn't have inspire Lewis in the creation if the Waterman pens as none of those historical pens had survived to the 18th century. So the inventor based his research on the classical pen and after years of trial and failures he obtained the patent in 1884.
It is said that the Waterman pens were a great success because of the superior design and a strong and well organized marketing campaign. As in our modern times competition was brutal and despite later stories about Lewis Waterman's golden heart it was concluded that he was a determined businessman and a tough negotiator.
After the death of Lewis Waterman, his company evolved even faster, in a couple of years Frank D. Waterman expanded the company to a world-wide corporation. The business went good especially because of the quality and reliability the Waterman pens offered over the competition. Throughout the 20th century Waterman adopted a conservative position and this was the beginning of the end for them. With no innovative ideas Waterman lost most of its market and small and aggressive competitors won more and more from the market share.
By 1920 Waterman was fighting hard to recover its lost dominance but they would never succeed in doing that again. They struggled until 1954 when they finally shut down the business. Despite the closing of the main production facility Waterman pens continued to be produced, being designed by Waterman's French subsidiary, and they continued to prosper despite the failure of the parent company. The remaining of the Waterman corporation will be finally absorbed by Newell which also engulfed the Parker Pen business.