– When the Walter A. Sheaffer Pen Co. developed the in-house “Skrip” for its own fountain pens in 1922, it labeled it as “Writing Fluid” rather than “Ink.” In a mid-century example of crafty product branding, Sheaffer veered away from the negative association of the word “ink” with the corrosive qualities of that period’s acid/iron inks. The use of aniline dyes enabled it to proclaim itself the “Successor To Ink.”
The Skrip bottle was ingeniously designed with a top well, or ink trough, inside the mouth of its cylindrical barrel. This was claimed to minimize the mess and waste in filling up a pen.
A 1954 advertisement in the Philippine Free Press highlights Skrip’s sterling qualities – faster starting, freer flowing, quick drying – plus a few subtle hyperboles.
(featured photo: The two leftmost specimens, with the classic top well feature, but using different bottle designs, were likely produced in the 1990s and 2000s, respectively. The labels in these bottles still indicate “Fort Madison, Iowa,” so they were pre-2008 containers because the Sheaffer plant in Iowa was shut down by its new owners – Societe Bic S.A. of ball pen fame – in 2008. The rightmost specimen is the current cone-shaped bottle but without a top well, which Sheaffer developed after customers complained that the ink trough design required tight capping to prevent leaks, and which made it difficult to open them.)
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