Speedball is the current name of the company producing the dip pens which were originally offered by the C. Howard Hunt company. Hunt established a pen factory in Camden, New Jersey, in 1899. “Speedball” was a line of points they produced, starting in 1915, following the patent of an engrosser named Ross F. George, and were a set of four differently-shaped points each in six different sizes with an attached brass reservoir which extended the time between dips.
The Hunt company grew progressively through the 20th century, suffering rather more of a set-back from the metal-use restrictions of the Second World War than from the Great Depression; they weathered the war by offering silver pens, since the brass and steel they regularly used were nearly unavailable. After the war, they went back to the usual lines of artist and office supplies. In the late 1950s the company moved to Statesville, North Carolina.
In 1997, as part of some kind of corporate buy-out and restructuring, the company was renamed Speedball, and some of the more office-related lines were shed to concentrate on artist supplies. They do, indeed, still produce the calligraphy dip points they’re named for.
[important]While I am a fan of Speedball’s products in a general way, I want offer a general caution; none of their bottled inks, at least as I write this in late 2011, are appropriate for fountain pens. Marvellous in dip pens, but a deadly poison to fountain pens.[/important]
Models I’ve examined: