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Maker: Waterman.

From Life Magazine’s 28 August 1950 edition, leaving an air of certainty about the pen’s start date (click to see the full ad)

Right at the end of the US company’s days, the Leader was apparently named in an effort to make the owner feel good about their purchase.  While grandly named, it was in fact a rather low-end product aimed at as broad a popular market as possible.  The advertising made it entirely clear that Waterman aimed at school sales, and one assumes that by offering a pen which had a better pedigree than Wearever and a price far lower than a Parker 21 they hoped to replenish the company’s coffers through volume of sales.

If that were the case, it appears to have been an effort gone astray.  This is almost a non-descript model these days; I mention the previous two pens advisedly, as they are contemporary with the Leader but thick upon the ground.  One doesn’t have to dig a lot to find information about student-level Parkers, Wearevers, and (if one is tolerant of some ambiguity) Sheaffers of the early 1950s, while the Leader is a bit of an enigma.  I honestly can’t offer a reason for this.  It wasn’t quite as cutting-edge in its looks as the Parker 21, and it certainly wasn’t as inexpensive as the Wearevers, but it is not a terrible pen by any means.  The main impediment which it suffers under is the archaic filler; it’s a better version of a lever than that appearing in the Wearever Pennant, but at nearly four times the price it may have been too much for those who were willing to lower themselves to a previous generation’s technology.  It probably also lost out to the late model Parkette through being of stodgy design, despite being a generally better performer.

Production Run: 1950 – c. 1953.

Cost When New: $3.75.  In a set with the pencil, it was $5.95 (for modern values, try this calculator).

Size: 13.1 cm long capped, 15.0 cm posted, 11.7 cm uncapped.

Point: 14K gold.

Body: Plastic, likely polystyrene.

FillerLever, capacity approx. 1.0 ml

Wateman Leader. The pencil is a three-fingered clutch type, for those who take an interest.



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