The C/F should have been the pen to pull Waterman from the quicksand it had been slipping into gently over the previous decade. The shape of the pen is generally attributed to Harley Earl, the chap whose ghost was being used to flog Buicks right around the most recent turn of the century, and until recently I thought that was the case. As it happens, the names on the patents are of Donald Young, Robert Planholt, and Frederick Hertzler; while they worked for Earl’s studio, it was their foreheads rather than his from which the C/F sprung (thank you to the person who set me right on this, by the way). They provided Waterman with a shape that was slightly ahead of its time, more in keeping with the slenderness of pens in the 1960s. It also had an extremely smooth profile, breaking away from the Parker-inspired fascination with hooded pens with a flush-mounted point prefiguring by half a decade the inlaid points Sheaffer would adopt. It also eschewed the silhouette-roughening notion of a filling mechanism, rendering Waterman the first major pen maker to adopt a disposable plastic cartridge; the name of the pen is a contraction of Cartridge Filler, which suggests that Waterman may have extended its corporate imagination to the ultimate in hiring a clever designer to give their pen shape.
Sadly, Waterman ceased to be much of a concern in 1954, although we find production of the C/F continuing in the hands of two different French firms. Bic stepped in to buy Waterman’s US operations, and from what I can discover apparently kept production of their pens, including the C/F, running for at least a few years. The other French maker is of course Waterman-JiF, the autonomous French breakaway, which kept the pen in production until the early 1970s.
|Waterman’s early cartridges were specific to the company; the switch to the International pattern happened about the same time this pen was discontinued. If you find yourself with one of these pens, treat any cartridges you’ve got with care and respect. It is possible to find converters that fit (seek “Lady Waterman” converters), but there are no more cartridges to be had, and the interior details militate against filling the pen eyedropper-style. There is a method of applying international short cartridges, which I’ll let you read about elsewhere.|
Production Run: 1953 – c. 1972
Cost When New: In the first year, depending on the trim level, from $5.95 to $15.00 (for modern value, try this calculator). Later French production saw a complexity of different finishes including full-body gold cladding, for which I have no price data.
Size: 13.4 cm long capped, 14.7 cm posted, 12.2 cm uncapped.
Point: 14k gold (except for the $5.95 version, which had steel), inset.
Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 1.2 ml.
If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.