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Of equal significance was the part played by overt commercialism in pen production. This commercialism was generated by American marketing principles.

The world pen marketing business was always by design or default American driven. After pen companies had spent the forty years between the 1880s and the 1920s emphasising quality and functionality in their products, as has been mentioned, ultimate attention was accorded to complexity of mechanism; the public was undecided as to whether this was really an advance, so lifetime guarantees were offered with the products. Soon without a lifetime guarantee, pens could hardly be sold.

As volumes increased, individuality was lost. Of even more fundamental interest to the companies producing these pens was the necessity of making huge profits, often at the expense of all else.

Thus there is discernable in the pen field a distinct life cycle of pen companies which militates heavily against continued production of products of beauty such as those depicted on this site.

The first part of the cycle involved the setting up of a company competing with other companies by producing a product of high (hopefully higher) quality, and the establishing of a reputation based on that high quality. This is followed by a period of increased pen production during which the company produces pens in large numbers at slightly lesser quality. After this, there follows a period when those running the company realise that they can maximise profits by trading on the reputation without necessarily following the tenets of quality at all. This period is then characterised by times of huge profits, which get huger as the company moves relentlessly downhill in quality. In short the pens get worse but the marketing and the hype gets better. Then suddenly, over and over again, but always taking the management by surprise, the public realises
that the products are no good, the company finds itself without sales, and ultimately goes bankrupt. At this stage the amazed management cannot understand why their hype is no longer working, and they have to be taken over by one of their competitors who are themselves still at an earlier stage in the cycle or by one of their overseas subsidiaries, who never believed the hype anyway. Backed by the banks, the new owners move the accountants in and eventually someone realises that they cannot revive the company without reviving the quality image at high sales levels.


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