Harvey Green Craig was born on February 3, 1892 in St. Louis County, Missouri to Robert G. Craig (1866-1936) and Mary Rose Schlemaker Craig (1867-1961) (1). Harvey had four siblings, Robert Steel Craig (1896-1964), Rosemary Craig (1903-1972), and two others who died in infancy. Harvey Craig’s family all worked at the Adams Stamp & Seal Company, started by Harvey’s late step-grandfather, Stephen G. Adams, in St. Louis. His grandmother was the president, his uncle, Stephen S. Adams, was the vice president, and his father was the secretary. In 1900 at the age of 8, Harvey Craig lived with 14 other people in his grandmother’s house. (2)
Harvey Craig attended school at the Central High School District during the day until 1907. After quitting day school, Craig worked for the Brown Shoe Company for approximately 9 months while attending night school. In March 1908, Harvey Craig dropped out of night school. That summer, Harvey worked as an apprentice for the L. E. Waterman Company in New York City, where he learned to sell and repair fountain pens. (3) (4)
When he returned, Craig went to work for the Adams Stamp & Seal Company, where he oversaw the fountain pen department – selling and repairing pens. (3) In late 1908 or early 1909, Harvey Craig met George Kraker, a Conklin Pen Company salesman. Harvey believed the Conklin Pens were inferior to the Waterman pens. He cites that he and Kraker had friendly arguments, and spent the whole evening talking fountain pens the first time they met. Kraker’s “honest, straightforward manner” caused Craig to take a liking to him. Craig worked with Kraker a few times a year for the next several years, placing orders with him, and occasionally having lunch or dinner. (5)
In the summer of 1910, Harvey Craig spent 4 months in Oregon and California, and returned to the Adams Company after. (6) In August 1912, Harvey Craig had a bad cough. By advice of his father and physician, it was agreed he “should get out and rough it so to speak.” So, Harvey moved to North Dakota and worked in a harvest field until late November. (7)
Working at the Sheaffer Pen Company
The day before Thanksgiving 1912, Harvey Craig stopped in Kansas City to speak with George Kraker. Kraker had wrote him earlier and had asked him to stop on his way back to spend Thanksgiving with his family. While in Kansas City, Kraker told Craig that he planned to open his own retail fountain pen store in the future. Then, Kraker asked Craig to come with him to Fort Madison. Craig did not agree at first, as there was always an open job at his family’s store. Craig’s main reason for not wanting to go was on account that he had previously turned Sheaffer’s offer to work for him, and he was unsure how Sheaffer felt about him. Kraker assured Craig that there were no hard feelings and told him that Sheaffer offered the same salary as before, as Sheaffer needed him badly. (8)
The day after Thanksgiving 1912, Craig was in Fort Madison and working for Sheaffer. When Craig started, the W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company was in its infancy. There were only about 10 employees, and they were still a part of the Sheaffer jewelry store. Despite being in its infancy, the company was terribly busy and had been falling behind in orders. Kraker and his colleague, Benjamin Coulson, had made friends with many dealers in fountain pens in their time as Conklin Salesmen. When Kraker and Coulson joined Sheaffer, their connections and their confidence in the Sheaffer pen caused great demand. (9)
A big issue with the earliest Sheaffer pens is that they tended to unintentionally expel small amounts of ink. According to Craig, he initially believed the problem with the pens was an issue with the feeds. He tried many types of feeds but could not find a solution. This caused him to look at other areas of the pen to find the problem. “On or about December 15th, 1912, [Craig] conceived a double spring bar which seemed to [him] would eliminate the trouble [they] were having with the single bar.” (10)
The concept of the double bar mechanism may have been that of Harvey Craig, but the final invention was not done without the help of W. A. Sheaffer. It is for this reason, W. A. Sheaffer filed patent 1,118,240 on February 19, 1913. (11)
On May 16, 1913, the W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company was incorporated. (12) The Sheaffer Pen Company had been growing out of the Sheaffer Jewelry store. So, the W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company operations moved to the 3rd floor of the Hesse Building. During this time, Craig worked at his bench in the assembling room, inspecting pens. Craig would often open the factory in the morning, and he received a salary of $17 a week. (14) (15)
The Beginning of a New Chapter
In January 1914, Kraker came to Craig again with his earlier proposition of starting a pen store. The two men took a trip to Burlington, Iowa, to discuss their plans for business. Kraker promised to help Craig finance filing a patent for the double bar mechanism. Additionally, he promised to share the profits of the sale of pens made with the mechanism. (16)
Craig left the Sheaffer Pen Company around February 12, 1914, and went to Chicago to meet with Rudolph William Lotz, George Kraker’s Lawyer. The next day, Craig signed the application for the patent interference. (17) Craig had met with Lotz the month prior, after informing Sheaffer he would be leaving the company. In this meeting, Craig discussed the situation with Lotz and began the application for the interference. Kraker paid the expenses for Craig’s application. (18)
Following Craig’s short trip to Chicago, he went back to St. Louis and to work at Adams S&S Company. On April 9th, 1914, Craig’s patent for the invention of the double bar mechanism was filed (patent no. 1,242,323). (19)
Drawing by Harvey Craig, presumed to be for his patent.
Starting at the Kraker Pen Company
In June 1914, Craig moved to Kansas City and began working at the Kraker Pen Company with George Kraker’s brother, Joseph Kraker. The Kraker Pen Company office was in the same building as George Kraker’s office. But George was not officially connected to the Kraker Pen Company at the time. Early on, Craig worked in the Kraker Pen Company repairing pens sent to them for repair. (20) For more information about the Kraker Pen Company, read The Beginning of The Kraker Pen Company.
While in Fort Madison, Craig met Elizabeth Simons Tower (born 1886). On November 10th, 1914, Craig married Elizabeth in Fort Madison, Iowa. (21) After marriage, Harvey and Elizabeth Craig moved to Kansas City while Harvey was working for the Kraker Pen Company.
Marriage Record for Harvey Craig’s marriage to Elizabeth Simons Tower. Note the witness – L. Van Valkenburg.
Harvey Green Craig vs. Walter A. Sheaffer
On December 2, 1914, W. A. Sheaffer filed for a case against C. E. Barrett for infringement of his patent no. 1,118,240. C. E. Barrett was a manufacturer of rubber pen parts for the Kraker Pen Company and others. On February 16, 1915, the case against Barrett (No. 38,393) was combined with the case against Harvey Craig into a single infringement case.
On March 4, 1915, Harvey Craig gave his preliminary statement. In summary, Craig stated that he conceived the idea for a double bar mechanism on or about December 15, 1912 and made sketches that day. In the following days he completed a crude model in which he was unable to complete cutting the slot in the bar. He also claimed that he showed this model to several people. He made several other crude models which were incomplete because of “lack of suitable material and tools”. In January 1913, he showed a crude model to W. A. Sheaffer, and on or about January 25, Craig had made a better model to show the invention was practical. Later that day, Craig says that W. A. Sheaffer completed a better working model. This model was then the basis for Sheaffer’s patent.(22) He amended this statement four days later to say that he made the drawings later.
On March 8-11, 1915, Harvey Craig gave his testimony in the lawsuit. Craig’s Testimony spans over 300 questions from both his and Sheaffer’s lawyer. Because of his testimony, we know much about his early life as Sheaffer’s lawyers wanted to use his lack of experience and young age to discredit him. The author plans to go more in-depth in the lawsuit in an upcoming article.
Life after the Kraker Pen Company
In February 1918, the Kraker Pen Company was sold to the W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company for $1.00, by court order. Harvey & wife Elizabeth moved to St Louis, where Harvey worked as the superintendent of the stationary department at Adams Stamp and Seal Co (22) (23). Sadly, Elizabeth Craig died on January 6, 1927 at the age of 40. Elizabeth was cremated and her remains are now held in the Valhalla Creamatory in St Louis. (24)
Marriage Comes Again
Harvey Craig continued his in life in St Louis following the death of his first wife Elizabeth. On September 14, 1929, Harvey married young Marjorie O McBride (born 1907) in University City, Missouri. (25). On July 30, 1930, Harvey and Marjorie had their first child, Marjorie “Margie” Craig.
But not for long…
After 6 and a half years of marriage, Marjorie was not happy with Harvey. On January 4, 1936, Harvey and his wife separated. Not too long after, on January 17, Marjorie filed for divorce citing “general indignities”. She also claimed “her husband would go away for several days at a time without giving her notice or explaining his whereabouts on his return.” (26) Harvey seemed to deny these accusations at first, but on January 22 the divorce was granted – one day before the hearing. (27)
The baby in the mix
Although Harvey and Marjorie were no longer married, they must not have been completely separated. On November 19, 1937, Marjorie gave birth to Viola Craig in St Louis. By 1940, Marjorie, Margie, and Viola lived in Fort Worth, Texas – while Harvey Craig continued his life in St Louis for a short time. (28)
Harvey Heads West
Following Harvey’s divorce and birth of second child, he moved west for a new line of work – leaving the Adams Company. Harvey found a new life in San Bernardino, California as a cattle rancher. By 1942, Harvey Craig married his third wife, Netta “Aimee” Swift. No records exist of their marriage. In 1947, Harvey was in poor health and sold his farm and cattle at auction. Following the sale, Harvey and his family moved back to Missouri in the early 1950s.
After moving to Missouri, Harvey Craig lived a somewhat laid-back life in the town of Imperial, MO as a laundromat owner. On December 24th, 1961, Harvey’s mother Mary Rose Craig died at the age of 94. His mother’s estate was valued several months later at $1,656,903 (over $14 Million in 2020 dollars). Harvey inherited roughly $552,000 (nearly $4.7 Million in 2020 dollars) after the estate was split into between him and his two siblings.
In March 1963, Harvey Craig bought the then Franke’s Twin Pools & Picnic Park in Oakville, MO, which he renamed to Craig’s Twin Pools & Picnic Park. However, Craig would not be able to run his new venture for very long. On July 18, 1963, Harvey Craig passed away due to a cerebral occlusion. Harvey’s wife, Aimee, would continue to own Craig’s Pools for a couple more years, before selling it. The land would later become several things, including a go-kart track. Today, the land once occupied by Craig’s Pools is now empty.
Former Site of Craig’s Twin Pools & Picnic Park. Image courtesy of Madge Doyle.
Former Site of Harvey Craig’s Laundromat. Image courtesy of Madge Doyle.
The author would like to thank the granddaughter of Harvey Craig, Margaret “Madge” Doyle, for providing birth dates, information, and photos. Furthermore, the author would like to thank Zachary Palitzsch, archivist from The State Historical Society of Missouri, for providing information about Craig’s ventures in St Louis. Finally, the author would like to thank the Sheaffer Pen Museum for the use of letters, drawings, and copies of the court transcripts.
- Find A Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52225786/harvey-green-craig. [Online]
- 1900 United States Federal Census.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 59-60, Q. 60-72 .
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 8, 1915, Cr. Rec. 29–30, Q. 18–19.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 64, Q. 108-111.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 67, Q. 123-125.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 62, Q. 85-89.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 63-64, Q. 112-114.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 66, Q. 119-123.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 8, 1915, Cr. Rec. 29–31, Q. 19.
- US Patent No. 1,118,240.
- The W. A. Sheaffer Pen Company Stockholders’ Meeting Notes.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 79, Q. 158.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 11, 1915, Cr. Rec. 83-84, Q. 197–202.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 77-78, Q. 149-153.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 74, Q. 138-141 .
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 76-77, Q. 143-145 .
- US Patent No. 1,242,323.
- U.S. District Ct., Northern District of IL, Eastern Division. Walter A. Sheaffer vs. C. E. Barrett. In Equity. No. 348, March 10, 1915, Cr. Rec. 80-81, Q. 174-180.
- Lee County Iowa Marriage Records.
- 1920 United States Federal Census.
- Gould’s St Louis City Directory (1920).
- Find A Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/186158099/elizabeth-craig. [Online]
- Missouri Marriage Records, 1929.
- Mrs. Marjorie Craig Sues For Divorce. St. Louis Globe-Democrat. January 17, 1936.
- Divorces Granted. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 22, 1936.
- 1940 United States Federal Census.