Fountain Pen Restoration

An Artcraft Wedding

Artcraft Fountain Pens were made in Birmingham, Alabama in the 20s and 30s, until the Company moved to Argentina on or around 1934.  I own a few and have an interest in finding a few more.  When I was alerted to the existence of this Wedding Party Announcement by the owner, I couldn’t  resist the urge to obtain it and take some photographs, do some research and then send it on to a pen friend and very serious Artcraft collector in Alabama.  I suspect he will be able to research the contents of this Invitation/Announcement better than I.

The announcement comes on a four panel fold sheet of very heavy paper.  Quite a production for a dinner in 1919.

Ford Cromer, was the President and Treasurer of Artcraft.  An excerpt from my post on Artcraft (August 18, 2009) reads:

…”research shows that Artcraft first appears in 1930 at 1424-26 3rd Avenue North in Birmingham, AL (this address is now a large Chevrolet dealership).  The President/Treasurer was Ford D. Cromer, James G. Erwin was Vice President, and Lillian Sharpley was Secretary. In 1931, the address changed to simply 1424 3rd Avenue North.  In 1932, Ms. Sharpley was no longer listed and in 1934 Harriett P. Cromer was listed as Secretary/Treasurer and the address reverted to the 1424-26 3rd Avenue.  Artcraft disappears from the Birmingham records after 1934.”…

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Years before this, in October of 1919, Reese Adamson, threw a dinner in honor of Ford and Harriet’s impending wedding.  I am a sucker for history and this piece is certainly filled with it.

Based on the Sheriff’s quote at the bottom of this post, we can assume that Ford and Harriett were married shortly after this Friday dinner.

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I am not sure who the victims refer to – whether they were the wedding party or if they were the close friends, or if they were all the attendees of the evening.  (Edit 2/11/12:  John Hubbard sent me the following vintage post card of the Roebuck Country Club.  Thank you, John for this glimpse of the location ~

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As for What’s Coming, count me in the camp of those that are glad they were not there.  I will defer to Alabama natives as to the popularity of some of these items in the early 1900s, or whether this was just a joke menu, but it is not the most appealing menu to me.  I did not know what Postum was.  For those who do not know, it was a coffee substitute which gained popularity during WWII as coffee was rationed.  Anyway, Mr. Adamson certainly had a lot of fun putting this together.

I did some research on the various attendees.  Without spending numerous hours on genealogical sites and inspecting birth, death, and cemetery records, I found out a few quick pieces of information ~

Ford Cromer was 33 years old at this dinner.

Edwina Thagaard attended Yale University during the period 1917-18.

William Cosby – Bill Cosby?  No, of course not, but most fountain pen fans know that the other Bill Cosby is a huge fountain pen fan and regularly appears on a Fountain Pen Hospital Ad – just a weird coincidence.

Frances Glenn and Harold Bowron -  Frances was 21 and Harold 24 at the time of the dinner.  They eventually married and the Bowron family creates many references today in the Birmingham area.

Cecil Gaston was a prominent Birmingham Proctologist for years and has a patent for a portable sitz bath..

Po Ole Reese Adamson (age 31 at the dinner) was involved in the transportation business, patenting a railroad locomotive five years later in 1924.  Adamson Ford still exists in Birmingham today, descending from his roots.

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I have never run across any photos of Ford Cromer in my limited research of Artcraft.  At least now I have an artists interpretation.

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Below are two offspring produced by Ford and Harriet, about 10  years after the wedding.  Both are discussed in previous Artcraft posts ~

Artcraft Fountain Pens – August 18, 2009

Cromer Artcraft Lifelong Fountain Pen - March 2, 2010

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No fountain pen restoration this week, but an interesting piece of ephemera from before the Artcraft Pen Company got started.  I look forward to any additional information that those more familiar with this Company can provide…

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January 11, 2011 - Posted by | Artcraft Fountain Pens | ,

2 Comments »

  1. Wow, look at the interesting items on the menu… Whale Meat, Liver & Bacon, Limburger, Garlic… I hope they had breath mints on hand. :)

    Comment by ThirdeYe | January 11, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thanks for doing the research and posting that interesting tidbit of fountain pen related history. After reading that menu, I can see why the attendees were referred to as victims. I guess I’ll stick with the hot dog and sauerkraut.

    Comment by Jon | January 14, 2011 | Reply


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