Thursday, December 31, 2020

For whom the bell tolls...

It's not a new pen-related acquisition, but it's the 80th anniversary of these two classics, so here are some photos of them, courtesy of longtime VPC member Stuart...

Stuart: "Here’s a couple of shots I just did for the heck of it - two classics from 1940.  The pen is a Sheaffer Balance with the military, or service, clip, in Golden Brown Striated celluloid.  It’s a marriage of a White Dot barrel and nib with a Feathertouch's cap, used in place of the damaged original of the same size and colour."

(please click on photos to enlarge)

Stuart: "The book is a first edition 1943 printing - the book appeared in 1940.  As you can see the dust-jacket is well-worn but it’s all there, and the book is a good reading copy.  The second shot shows the cover’s reproduction of Hemingway’s great signature!"


What is a military clip, you ask? Well, it's a type of clip that allowed its user to carry a pen or pencil in the shirt pocket of a military uniform while adhering to the following regulation:

Soldiers will ensure that articles carried in pockets do not protrude from the pocket or present a bulky appearance. — U.S. Army Regulation AR670-1, paragraph 1-9a(1) 

"Sheaffer’s military clip (U.S. Patent No D123,485), used on Balance models, is an inspired piece of design. By extending the clip and wrapping it over the top of the cap so that it mounts on the back side, Sheaffer maintained the streamlined look that had characterized the Balance since its inception a little over a decade earlier. The new clip, because it is not attached to the front of the cap at all, allows the pen to sit lower in the pocket than any competing design."

The book's title was inspired by these lines by John Donne (1572-1631) from "Meditation 17" of "Devotions upon Emergent Occasions":

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Donne is, of course, talking about the interconnectedness of humanity, something that's often forgotten as we go about our busy lives... until a global crisis like COVID-19 comes along. This year will be remembered primarily for that terrible pandemic, but 2020 is (finally!) drawing to a close tonight. Let's hope the New Year 2021 is kinder to us all.

My heartfelt thanks to my fellow Vancouver Pen Club members for their enthusiasm, support and contributions to our meetings and online "show & tell" this year--this club wouldn't be what it is without you!
Warmest wishes,
Vancouver Pen Club President

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