C. Howard Hunt

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C. Howard Hunt Pen Co.
Former type Public
Industry Stationery
Fate Defunct
Successor(s) Speedball Art
Founded 1899
Founder(s) C. Howard Hunt
Defunct 1997
Headquarters Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
Area served United States
Key people George E. Bartol (President, 1903-17) [1]
Products Dip pens

C. Howard Hunt was an American company that manufactured Dip pens, now commercialized under the brand Speedball.


The beginning[edit]

1915 Hunt advertisement

In 1899 C. Howard Hunt formed his own company and established it in Camden, New Jersey. The C. Howard Hunt Pen Company invented the smooth gliding round pointed pen, which required about 15 operations in the manufacturing. Expert cutters used cutting presses to produce almost 45,000 pens a day from rolled sheets of steel. Workers imprinted, ground and shipped 25 pens per minute.[1]

Hunt Pens[edit]

Product Number Type Description Action
22B Extra Fine Used for Ornamental Writing and Fine Ruling. Medium
56 (School) Fine Used as a Drawing Pen and Writing. Stiff
99 (Drawing) Extra Fine Used for Drafting and Lithography. Flexible
100 (Artist) Very-Fine Used for a Very Delicate Line. Medium
101 (Imperial) Extra Fine Used for Ornamental Work, Very Flexible. Very Flexible
102 (Crow Quill) Very Fine Used widely in America for Artwork, Very Flexible. Very Flexible
103 (Mapping) Very Fine Used for mapping and Fine Line Work. Medium
104 (Finest) Finest Used for the finest hairlines and the smallest details. Flexible
107 (Hawk Quill) Very Fine Used for Long Even lines and Cross-Hatching Details. Flexible
108 (Flexible Quill) Fine Used for Cross-Hatching, Flourishing, and Lithography. Medium
512 (Bowl Pointed) Fine Used for Ruling and Lettering. Medium
513EF (Globe) Extra Fine Used for Industrial Arts. Flexible

Speedball pen[edit]

The Speedball pen was developed and patented by sign letterer Ross F. George of Seattle. His square-tipped pen could make broad and thin lines. George took the patent to the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company in 1915. They manufactured the pens in six sizes and published the Speedball Text Book written by George. In 1925 the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company purchased the Boston Specialty Company, manufacturer of Boston Pencil Pointers.

In 1936, Hunt became America's first large manufacturer of inexpensive accessories for linoleum block printing, a popular school craft. Henry Frankenfield, printmaker and art educator, developed this line. [1]

Difficult Times[edit]

A vintage "Speedball" art kit, manufactured by C. Howard Hunt circa 1958 to 1978

Throughout the Great Depression, Hunt reduced operations, recovering with the development of the gold-plated stainless steel pen, which was boosted by the Company's invention of a special patented tip. In 1942 regulations on stainless steel stopped production of pencil sharpeners and specialty metal items. The sale of silver alloy nibs kept the Company viable during World War II.

Over the years, Hunt expanded its product line and markets through acquisitions such as Bienfang, Lit-Ning, Bevis and Data Products. Even though some of these acquisitions are no longer part of the company, they do represent an important chapter in the Hunt Story. [1]

George Bartol, III, joined the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company in 1946. He apprenticed in the Company's manufacturing department, and succeeded his father as President in 1956. In 1969 he also became Chairman of the Board. Bartol's leadership transformed the small, family-owned C. Howard Hunt Pen Company into the publicly held Hunt Manufacturing Company. [1]


A new chapter to the history of Hunt began November 14, 1997 when CEO Walt Glazer led a buyout of the Speedball division during the company restructuring. [2] Subsequently, Hunt pens are currently commercialized under the "Speedball" brand. [3]


Hunt pens have been widely used by a legion of comic book artists to ink their pages. Some of them are Walt Simonson, Dale Keown, Bob McLeod, Kevin Nowlan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Joe Sinnott and Andy Lanning (#102 pen users), George Pérez (#100) and Joe Rubinstein (#100, 103). [4]


External links[edit]