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History

Somewhere, the spirit of C. Howard Hunt must be beaming with pride, because the pens his company began to manufacture in 1899 are still being produced. What’s more, the company, now called Speedball® after its famous dip pens, is alive and healthy.

A new chapter to the history of Speedball® began November 14, 1997 when our CEO Walt Glazer led a buyout of the Speedball® division during Hunt Corporation’s restructuring.

Speedball® Art Products is much more than pens. The associates produce a complete line of block printing and screen printing supplies, drawing pens, acrylic paints, watercolor palettes to keep mixed paints fresh between sessions, and Speedy Stamp™. Whatever fine Speedball® products you buy, you can expect top quality, because the people who make them apply the same dedication to their manufacturing as you do in using them in your creative pursuits!

Glazer also credits the success of the company to its dynamic management team, The smiles you see remain when they are hard at work in their offices or interacting with other Speedball® associates. The atmosphere from one end to the other of the Speedball® facility is truly one of respect and camaraderie.

But just because Speedball® continues to make a product after a century doesn’t mean they are behind the times. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Over the past 32 years, Speedball® has added to the dip pen line with Elegant Writer® Calligraphy Markers, Panache® Calligraphy pens, Speedball® Super Black India Ink, Speedball® Pigmented Acrylic Inks, Hue Based Acrylics a complete line of screen printing, block printing and calligraphy products, Red Baron™ tools, and most recently Speedball® Ceramic Glazes.

All of us at Speedball® Art Products are proud to have the opportunity to continue the age-old tradition of offering the “highest quality art products” and services second to none.

How our incredible journey began...

 

 

 

Most every person who has gone through elementary school in the United States of America has sharpened a pencil, and for many, many years the ubiquitous BOSTON pencil sharpener was made by the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company of Camden NJ. Prior to the advent of the ball point pen, the Hunt round point pen, and more famously, the Speedball® pen were known and used worldwide. The Hunt Company also published books to aid people interested in lettering and cartooning, and sponsored scholarships in the arts and crafts.

A PEN IS ONLY AS GOOD AS IT'S POINT

 

 

Hunt Pen, with offices at 652 State Street and a plant at 701 State Street in North Camden, was a fixture in North Camden up until 1958, when factory operations were moved to Statesville NC. The offices of Hunt Pen left Camden in 1963. During its time in Camden, notable events include the company's arranging for the immigration of expert pen makers from England, and its sponsorship of sports teams in Camden's amateur and industrial leagues. The 1936-37 championship softball team won 62 out of 71 games over two years. 

 

 

Hunt's Centennial Historical Tour

Hunt Corporation invites you on a fascinating trip through time. Your ten minute journey will take you back to 1899 and The Foundations – followed by Hunt's Response to Change, Acquisitions and the strategic planning for New Growth that will enable Hunt to answer the challenges of a new century with energy and imagination.

 

 

 

FOUNDATIONS - (1899-1927)

This section depicts important milestones during Hunt Corporation's first 100 years. Hunt has always valued its employees, customers and community and as it prepares for its second century, looks for inspiration to the many innovative people who have contributed to its past successes.

 The Founders class

In 1899 C. Howard Hunt formed his own company, which he incorporated in 1901. George E. Bartol, a Philadelphia grain and commodities exporter and founder of the Philadelphia Bourse, a merchants exchange and business center, was among the first 28 shareholders. In 1903, Mr. Bartol was elected president and a director of the Company and served until 1917

 

 

 

The Making of the Round Pointed Pen

The C. Howard Hunt Pen Company invented the smooth gliding round pointed pen, which required about 15 operations in the manufacturing. Expert cutters used cutting presses to produce almost 45,000 pens a day from rolled sheets of steel. Pictured from left, workers imprint, grind and ship 25 pens per minute.
 

 

 

 

The Original Factory

The C. Howard Hunt Pen Company began in this building in Camden, NJ. The factory moved to Statesville, NC, in 1958. The office moved from Camden to Pennsauken, NJ, in 1963 and then to Philadelphia in 1965. Also pictured here is Benjamin Newman, one of the expert pen makers C. Howard Hunt brought to Camden from Birmingham, England, in 1899.

 

 

 

 

 

The Speedball® Pen

The Speedball Pen was developed and patented by sign letterer Ross F. George of Seattle. His square-tipped pen could make broad and thin lines. George took the patent to the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company in 1915. They manufactured the pens in six sizes and published the Speedball Text Book written by George, shown here in his Model T Ford..

 

 

 

 

 George Bartol, Jr.

In 1916, George E. Bartol resigned as President of the C. Howard Hunt Company. His son George Bartol , Jr., succeeded him and was elected Vice President and then Chairman of the Board in 1926. He led the Company for 50 years. George Bartol, Jr., retired in 1969 and died in 1972 at the age of 80.

 

 

BOSTON® Pointer

In 1925 the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company purchased the Boston Specialty Company, manufacturer of Boston Pencil Pointers. In the 1926 report to stockholders, this was called one of the most important steps in the history of the Company. The series of advertisements pictured here appeared in issues of the Saturday Evening Post during 1928.

 RESPONSE TO CHANGE - (1928-1956)

Because of the ingenuity of its employees who responded to market needs and discovered creative uses for available materials, Hunt remained viable through wars and the great Depression. The values rooted in this period of Company history remain important components of today's Hunt Corporation.'

 

 

 

Linoleum Block Printing

In 1936, Hunt became America's first large manufacturer of inexpensive accessories for linoleum block printing, a popular school craft. Henry Frankenfield, printmaker and art educator, developed this line. In 1937, Hunt began to sponsor the National Scholarship Award, for categories such as linoleum block prints, lettering and pen and ink drawings, and still sponsors talented young artists.
 

 

 

 

Difficult Times

Throughout the Depression, Hunt reduced operations, recovering with the development of the gold-plated stainless steel pen, which was boosted by the Company's invention of a special patented tip. In 1942 regulations on stainless steel stopped production of pencil sharpeners and specialty metal items. The sale of silver alloy nibs kept the Company viable during World War II.
 

 

 

 Spotlight On People

Hunt employees have worked hard for the Company and also have participated in many special events. The 1936-37 championship softball team won 62 out of 71 games over two years. In 1950 Bert Eadon became the first employee to commemorate 50 years of service, having joined the Company in 1900 to work on a rolling mill.

 

 

 

The Hunt Pen-Nant

First published on February 15, 1947, and issued monthly, The Hunt Pen-Nant featured articles about Company products and events, world conditions affecting the business and employee news. In 1973 the newspaper went quarterly and became The Pen-Nant. In 1977, to reflect increasing diversification, the newsletter became Hunt Happenings. Today periodic newsletters highlighting special Company initiatives are published.

 A Tradition Of Values

Hunt has always valued its people, providing liberal employee benefits, a safe workplace and community support. A particular source of pride is the annual award of scholarships to children of employees, a practice begun in 1956 with the establishment of the Hunt Foundation.

 

ACQUISITIONS - (1957-1989)
Over the years, Hunt expanded its product line and markets through acquisitions such as Bienfang, Lit-Ning, Bevis and Data Products. Even though some of these acquisitions are no longer part of the company, they do represent an important chapter in the Hunt
 

George Bartol, III, joined the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company in 1946. He apprenticed in the Company's manufacturing department, and succeeded his father as President in 1956. In 1969 he also became Chairman of the Board. Bartol's leadership transformed the small, family-owned C. Howard Hunt Pen Company into the publicly held Hunt Manufacturing Company.

 

 


Statesville

In 1957 Hunt moved its expanding manufacturing business to Statesville, NC, a progressive city with available labor, excellent living conditions and a reasonably priced site. Governor Luther Hodges welcomed Hunt to the state during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in 1958. This is where Hunt  had two plants and a distribution center in Statesville. 

 

 

 

 

On November 14th 1997 Speedball® Art Products Company was born.

A new chapter to the history of Speedball® began November 14, 1997 when our CEO Walt Glazer led a buyout of the Speedball® division during Hunt Corporation’s restructuring.

Speedball® Art Products is much more than pens. Still located in the heart of Statesville North Carolina the associates produce a complete line of block printing and screen printing supplies, drawing pens, acrylic paints, watercolor palettes to keep mixed paints fresh between sessions, and Speedy Stamp™. Whatever fine Speedball® products you buy, you can expect top quality, because the people who make them apply the same dedication to their manufacturing as you do in using them in your creative pursuits!  But just because Speedball® continues to make a product after a century doesn’t mean they are behind the times. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Over the past 32 years, Speedball® has added to the dip pen line with Elegant Writer® Calligraphy Markers, Panache® Calligraphy pens, Speedball® Super Black India Ink, Speedball® Pigmented Acrylic Inks, Hue Based Acrylics a complete line of screen printing, block printing and calligraphy products, Bienfang Paper Line, Red Baron™ tools, Pottery Wheels and most recently Speedball® Ceramic Glazes.

All of us at Speedball® Art Products are proud to have the opportunity to continue the age-old tradition of offering the “highest quality art products” and services second to none.
 

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