Saturday, May 30, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 21

More of René's newest acquisitions---two TWSBI 'Eco' fountain pens (one in bright yellow and the other in glossy white with lovely rose gold trim & nib):

(all photos courtesy of René ~ please click on images to enlarge)

René:"I had the TWSBI Eco RG held for me from last year at the Vancouver Pen Shop, and I finally picked it up recently, and, while I was there, I decided to pick up the yellow one as well. The RG is a beautiful pen with rose gold trim and it has a beautiful rose-gold toned nib as well, in medium. I had some major skipping problems with the nib initially, but Shannon at the Shop mostly fixed it (it only skips rarely now)."

"I didn't expect to like the yellow Eco (yellow is my least favourite colour), but something about this one really clicked with me, so I picked one up anyway, in fine. The yellow is the special edition colour of the beginning of the year."

Our thanks to René for sharing his recent purchases with us! (he sent us some more photos of new fountain pens, which will be posted here in June :)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 20

Back to vintage pens we go now! This newest acquisition belongs to Christopher R. and it's a vintage Webster flattop fountain pen:

(all photos courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on images to enlarge)

In his own words:"While doing my due diligence on the Webster Skyrocket (which I did bring to one of our past meetings for show and tell), I discovered that Webster was not the company which made these Webster pens, because they were in fact, house brand pens produced by the National Pen Company out of Chicago for Sears Roebuck. Much like Parker producing some of the Diamond Metal pens also for Sears. What I did not know at that time, was other than the leading pen manufacturers like Parker, the National Pen company did produce quality fountain pens as well as the lower grade third tier contenders."

Christopher's memories of seeing pens in a well-known department store:"Although it was quite a while ago, I do remember going to the local Sears Roebuck department store, which was about 20 minutes from my grandparents house in Short Hills, NJ. I guess the reason why this has stuck in my mind, is due to the fact that my stepgranny, Martha, always would buy me the breakfast cereal of my choice. But I should add that these cereals were not my favourites because of how good they tasted, but more for the premiums that were inside. Sometimes they were plastic toy soldiers, sometimes they were these small underwater bathtub toys like plastic submarines or navy divers, propelled below the surface by baking soda. I just loved these toys, wrapped in clear plastic bags located deep in each box of cereal. But the good news was that the manufacturer usually advertised what kind of premium was inside the boxes, on the outside of the box. But it was on one of those shopping visits to Sears that I also recall seeing their pens. Now to this, what I remember was that the nicer pens were on display for sale in revolving countertop cabinets, while the cheaper pens were in clear divider trays, with maybe twenty or thirty pens in one slot. At the front of each slot was the price and you could just take any one of these pens and bring it up to the checkout to buy. I also remember how nice the attendants were to kids back then. In some of the places that my grandfather took me to, while we were in New York, they would give me a sucker. Definitely a different story these days!"

He continues: "Anyway, back to my Webster. I was surprised with both the quality on the Webster Skyrocket and now on this Webster Big Red. The Webster is longer than both my other senior Big Red style pens. And I should add that my Parker Big Red is a Canadian Parker and somewhat longer than the US one Chris and I picked up back East and sold (see photo below). It is also a tad longer than my Big Red Eclipse also shown in the attached photo of the three pens."

"The actual length (of the Webster) posted is 7 inches, capping back to 5 ½ inches. It’s funny, but when I see these pens together, I realize just how much I like Big Reds! Otherwise, this pen really falls under the quality banner from the National Pen Company. In fact, it took to polish like no body’s business. The fitting are definitely 14K Gold filled and the big Warranted nib, having knocked it out to clean and polish, is most certainly also 14K gold with good flex and my what a great writer! So overall a pen well worth adding to my collection and I will be using it in my pen line up for next week."

Many thanks to Christopher for sharing his memories and pen photos with us!

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 20 (update!)

A day after sending me photos of his new find, Christopher sent me this email and the photo below:

"I do have a final note regarding this Webster ‘Big Red style flattop. For one, I did not tell you that I replaced the cap band on this pen. The original band was not a perfect fit. It seemed to have been applied upside down, so that the curved in end, which should have been on the bottom open end, was at the top. This left a small misfit re the space at the open end, between the plastic cap and the cap ring. It bugged me so much that I tried to reverse it, but it was even worse, with a bigger gap between the band on the plastic cap, at the top of the band. Fortunately, I had just the right size replacement, which fit both perfectly and correctly. Plus, like the original, it was 14K Gold filled. Hmmm, I think that the original cap band probably was lost and whoever had this pen after, just applied another band which didn’t stay on unless it was mounted incorrectly."

(~click on photo to enlarge~)

"But that was not the only concern I felt I had to deal with regarding this pen. I think I mentioned that it had a big 14K Gold Warranted nib. And that the nib seems to be both a good writer and with responsible flex. Still, on studying this point, there seemed to be something off about it! First of all, on closer inspection, about 85% of the tipping was gone. And it seemed like the proportions of the nib were wrong. The tines looked to short in proportion to the nib’s shoulders. Then I noticed the imprinting. It looked scratchy and unprofessional. The engraving was uneven. It matched another Warranted nib I compared it to in font and placement of the text, but just did not look like the manufacturer’s engraving. My feeling is that the previous owner, reground the nib but in doing so, lost the imprinting. Then replaced it with his own copy."

"Fortunately, I had another Warranted 14K gold nib, at one size bigger (a No.6) but in mint undiddled with condition. So I applied it to this pen, and now can say the pen is 100% restored. Not that the original nib cannot be used, since it writes beautifully with responsible flex but my replacement now only looks correct and writes well but has almost twice the flex. I think I should write a book.....’Confessions of a pen restorer’! I know it would be super boring but at least it would illustrate that I am discerning about the pens I restore."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 19

Today's "show & tell" item is a modern fountain pen desk set made by the Platinum pen company of Japan, purchased by Stuart since our last pen club meeting:

(all photos courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on images to enlarge)

In his words: "Here are my pics of the Platinum set, I’m very happy with it. I love the square pen-socket, very cool and elegant. "

Stuart continues: "The nib is good, a Japanese Medium so leaning to the Fine side. The pen is comfortable and not too light. I forgot to get a converter with it, so I’m using the black cartridge that it came with - ho-hum but adequate for now."

This marble desk set was also made in green marble. Both the green and the white marble were used in the production of single- and double-desk sets. These marble sets are not to be confused with the much-lighter Platinum single- and double-desk sets made of ABS plastic.

Our thanks to Stuart for contributing to our virtual "show & tell". Not many writing instrument companies are still making fountain pen desk sets, so it's good to know that they're still out there.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 18

Now, onto a couple of really nice fountain pens belonging to VPC member Louise, who wrote and said: "I’ve been following the Virtual Show and Tell and I got a couple of long-awaited pens the other day!"

(all photos by Louise ~ please click on images to enlarge)

"The first was the PenBBS 492 “Year of the Rat”. It’s a magnet filler demonstrator with rose gold trims, which is a first for PenBBS. It’s got an F nib on it. It’s a numbered edition, another first for PenBBS, as far as I know."

"They took the rat motif seriously, as there are three on this pen: one on the top finial..." on the cap band...
... and one on the tail end. It also came with a matching ink well, which certainly increased shipping prices! I’ve since filled with Ferris Wheel Press Lady Rose."

"The other pen is another Leonardo Momento Zero. This time in Sorrento Blue. I find the material pretty interesting because the pink/purple veins are only really visible in good lighting. Otherwise, it’s a dark blue and grey pen. Pretty neat! It’s got rose gold trims as well."

"I got a broad nib on this one which I had ground to an architect by Fontoplumo’s mysterious nibmeister. It’s a lovely writer."

For a demo of the PenBBS pen's cool magnet-filling mechanism, check out this YouTube video. Many thanks to Louise for sending us photos of her newest pen purchases and telling us a bit about them :)

Friday, May 22, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 17

Next up---Jerred's Delta fountain pen (ca. 1980s) , a pen he calls "one of the weirdest Deltas in my collection... and it wasn't made by Delta."


Read on...

(all photos by Jerred ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Jerred: "This slim little pen is one of the strangest Delta pens in my collection... and it wasn't made by Delta. I have not been able to find out who actually made the pen, but from my research it seems to be German in manufacture. I've also seen this same pen sold under both the Senator and Reform brands. The pen seems to date from the early 80s, so it's entirely possible that this is one of the first, if not THE first pen that Delta sold."

"The engraved logo is certainly the first logo that Delta used on their pens. The other truly strange thing is just how slim this pen actually is - the pen is 6mm wide at it's widest point, including the cap. This puts it in the same range as the Sailor Chalana and Aurora Marco Polo, and the only converter I could find that would fit is the converter made for the Sailor Chalana."

(As an aside, I suggested to Jerred that Elysee might be the manufacturer---they were a German pen company that was around in the 1980s and made quite a few slender fountain pens)
In any case, I love a good mystery, so many thanks to Jerred for sending us photos of this one!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 16

Back to featuring fountain pens again now---three, in fact (plus a matching mechanical pencil). They're some of René's recent finds, so I'll let him tell the story....

"In early March, before the pandemic hit in earnest, we went to Victoria for a music festival. I took the opportunity to visit Mike Case (who lived very near where our hotel was!) to get a replacement for the Sheaffer 444 nib unit that I broke. We chatted, and I picked up a few pens and a mechanical pencil from him (why not?), all restored."

From top to bottom:

(~All photos by René ~ please click on images to enlarge)

"Esterbook Purse Pen, peacock blue (1960s). ($20!) This is from the second generation set, which do not have the pale, pastel colours of the first. The purse pens were smaller than the J pens, which they were related to, and made of flimsier plastics, so cracks aren't uncommon. This one has small cracks on the cap lip, but is in otherwise good shape. It also has matching pale blue jewels. The nib is a #9788, flexible medium (semi-flex, really), which I have never seen before."

"Below that is a Canadian Sheaffer Balance pen and pencil set (#300 is marked on the pencil, but not the pen - not sure what that means) in beautiful gold and black stripes, from the late 30s - early 40s. It is a non-white dot set. The Balance comes with a 5-30 ($5, guaranteed for 30 years) duo-tone gold nib in a firm fine, and a visulated section. I am having flow issues with the pen (the nib keeps drying out while writing for some reason), which I'm hoping to get looked into sometime."

"Finally, a Canadian Waterman 3 in lovely green pearl pattern with red spots (like my grey and red-spots Waterman 94, but green) from the 30s. It has a Canadian Waterman #3 flex nib. It has some hard-to-see but significant melt-marks on the barrel, the lever is stiff, and the clip isn't usable as a clip (it comes off if pulled too hard), but is a beautiful writer."

Congrats on these really nice vintage finds, René, and thanks for sending us your photos and descriptions of them!