Sunday, February 28, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 158

Today's installment of our pen club's virtual "show & tell" features yet another handsome vintage desk set recently purchased by longtime VPC member Stuart...

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

Stuart: "A lovely Sheaffer desk-set arrived yesterday, another Intelcom Express delivery.  This one has a beautiful green onyx base with some red-brown veins and patches in it, and a wide pen-groove on the forward edge. "

 

"The base is gorgeous and in excellent shape. It was so carefully wrapped in bubble-wrap, it took me ten minutes to unravel it!  Better too much packing than too little.  It came from Wisconsin and some of the packing was flyers from grocery stores - the prices are much better than what we pay, LOL!"  
 

"The pen has a No. 33 point with a Fine or Medium-Fine tip.  It’s a TD (Touchdown) system, and the O-rings have perished and it won’t fill.  Otherwise the set's all in great condition."

Congratulations on another wonderful find for your desk set collection, Stuart, and thank you for sharing it with us :)

Friday, February 26, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 157

A few days ago, Andy (one of our newer members) emailed me and asked if he could share one of his newest acquisitions with us." I said "Sure!", so here is Andy's write up (in his own words) accompanied by some photos he snapped:

Greetings fellow Pen Pals,

I had some time this evening and was in the mood for some pen talk and photo taking.

The oh-so popular Kaweco line of Sport pens is my go-to pocket pen for everyday carry. I just happen to be carrying this in my pants pocket the past few weeks...the AC Sport Black Carbon Fiber.
Short and compact when capped. And a glorious 5" when posted.


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

 

 

 I have a fair number of AL Sports but this one is my only AC Sport.

I think the carbon fiber looks sharp with subtle contrast against the black anodized aluminum body and cap.
I've tried all the nibs sizes and I find the "fine" nib is always consistent in flow and line width.
You'll see more of this acrylic wood grain pattern PenBBS pen holder in my future posts as it serves as a nice way of positioning the pen for those good photos.

I had some scrap sheets of upholstery leather and decided to make myself a sheath for my Kaweco's.
Not bad for some scrap leather kicking around.

It's been fun getting this together. A quick one but nevertheless worth sharing with you all. Till next time. Take care and I'll see you at the next Zoom meeting.

Thanks

Andy

Though it looks like a modern pocket fountain pen, the Kaweco 'Sport' was launched back in 1935! For more information on the 'Sport' line of writing instruments, check out Jet Pens' excellent article "Kaweco Sport: A Comprehensive Guide"

Many thanks to Andy for his review and the great photos!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 156

In addition to new pens, new inks, new stationery and accessories, our newest acquisitions show & tell also features pen and ink storage solutions. Today we're featuring Graham's new pen nook...

(photo courtesy of Graham ~ please click on image to enlarge)

 


Graham: "Quick picture of my little pen nook you’re welcome to share with the club! The shelf unit I just found downstairs in my apartment building in the giveaway area, and the poster is a repro of a 1937 Pilot ad."

The wooden seven-drawer pen cabinet in the pen nook was handmade in Italy (link to etsy listing here). Congrats on your new find, Graham, and thanks for the photo! (love the Pilot ad, too :)

Monday, February 22, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 155

Continuing on from yesterday's blog post, here's a classic Lamy writing instrument familiar to many - the Lamy 'Safari fountain pen, specifically the brand-new "Terra Red" model, one of two new 'Safari' colours for 2021. This one was recently acquired by Stuart from the Vancouver Pen Shop...

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

Stuart: "I got the 40th Anniversary LAMY Safari in Terra Red yesterday! I like the colour, it’s very distinctive, and I love the black clip and nib to contrast with it. I went with a Broad nib - I usually get the 1.5mm italic on Safari’s, but the italic nibs only come in the standard chrome finish, and just don’t look as good on this pen. The Broad is nice, not too large but gives good depth and shading to inks, and makes a nice strong line that’s not overbearing for handwriting." 

 

"I filled it with Monteverde Fireopal, which as you can see from the pics, is a good match."
 


Stuart: "The shot of the nib is a bit blurry, partly from all the cropping I did to pull it in close, but you can see the big round tip.  I’m happy with this pen, it’s “just another Safari” but looks great and writes well." 

 Our thanks to Stuart for sharing this new purchase with us!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 154

Last month saw the passing of Dr. Manfred Lamy, the son of Lamy's founder Josef C. Lamy, and longtime managing director and owner of the company. At the age of 26, Dr. Lamy joined his father’s company as their marketing manager and in 1973, he became the sole managing director. In 2006, he retired from the operating business and joined Lamy's advisory board.

From Lamy's official website: "Dr. Manfred Lamy, one of Germany's most important design entrepreneurs, has died at the age of 84. Under the leadership of the Heidelberg native, the independent family business developed into a modern and internationally successful writing instrument brand. With the LAMY 2000, he revolutionized the writing instrument market in 1966 and laid the foundation for the Lamy corporate philosophy today."

Under Dr. Lamy's stewardship, Lamy produced many innovative, award-winning writing instruments, including these two recent acquisitions of mine--the Lamy '2000' and Lamy 'Accent':


(top: Lamy 'Accent' fountain pen, bottom: Lamy '2000' ballpoint)

The Lamy '2000' fountain pen is a true classic. Lamy's flagship pen was designed by the late Gerd A. Müller and is, arguably, one that should be a part of any serious modern fountain pen collection. I got mine many years ago and love using it, so I wanted to acquire the matching ballpoint...for a reasonable price. Both the '2000' fountain pens and ballpoints are popular, so inexpensive examples are near-impossible to find. I found a second-hand one in very good condition for a great price a few months ago, and bought it right away.


All photos by Maja ~  click on images to enlarge (and please ignore dust particles on pen & table ;)

I'd also been looking for a Lamy 'Accent' fountain pen with a specific section grip for several years, but I hadn't been able to find it for a good price either, so I waited....and waited...and waited. Finally, I found a used one up for auction on eBay. I put in a very modest bid, expecting to be outbid...but I wasn't, and I won the auction! The pen arrived from Greece, safe and sound a few weeks later.


(The '2000' ballpoint is so well made that it's difficult to see the seam where the barrel unscrews. Can you spot it in the photo above?)

The Lamy '2000' ballpoint is made of the same material as its fountain pen counterpart--Makrolon, a type of polycarbonate resin. Both the fountain pen and ballpoint are matte in appearance when they come off the production line. The ballpoint's seller had noted that his pen had turned shiny after years of use, but I knew (from pen message boards, as well as this video made by Brian Goulet) that this was not unexpected with normal usage (from the friction created between the user's fingers and the pen's matte surface). If you choose to do so, you can restore the original matte look of your '2000' by using a gentle abrasive on it (but please watch the video above for some guidelines!).


(There's that barrel seam!)

The ballpoint takes a proprietary refill--the Lamy M16 refill -- which comes in blue, black, green and red ink. The refills aren't cheap, but they lay down a nice, smooth, consistent line. The Lamy '2000' is a comfortable ballpoint to use, and a very welcome addition to my Lamy collection.


The Lamy 'Accent' fountain pen was designed by Andreas Haug (who also designed the Lamy 'nexx', nexxM' and '4pen') and was touted by Lamy as being "the first customisable premium writing instrument on the market" when it was released in 1998. It originally came in three different models - model 95 (with a palladium finish and steel nib), model 97 (matte black lacquer finish and black steel nib) and model 98 (brilliant lacquer finish and 14K dual-tone gold nib).

My particular "Accent" is model 97, but my second-hand fountain pen came with a silver-coloured steel Lamy nib, not the black one it originally came with. I knew about this before I bid on the pen so it wasn't a surprise, and it was easy enough to acquire a replacement black steel nib (shown in these photos) afterwards; they aren't very expensive and a lot of local pen stores stock them.


The original 'Accent' came with no less than twelve different grip options (all shown in this informative blog post) including the black and white one (called "Edelharz"- German for "high-grade resin") that came with my pen. I love the contrast between the pen's austere, business-like cap, clip & barrel, and the whimsical cow- like pattern on the grip :)

To access the converter/cartridge, you unscrew the pen at the barrel-grip joint, and slide the nib section unit out. This action prevents the grip from getting stained with ink when you are filling the pen from an ink bottle, which can be a problem if your 'Accent' came with a wooden grip.

I knew the 'Accent' used a Lamy Z27 converter or Lamy's proprietary ink cartridges, so I was surprised to see mine arrive with a Parker converter in it! (see photo above) The Parker converter fits perfectly, but I later swapped it out for a proper Lamy converter (not shown).


See the little "fins" on the nib section unit above?



Those "fins" are important because they have be to properly aligned with the grooves in the grip section (shown in the photo above) in order to screw the barrel back on.


The silver-coloured steel nib (model Z 50) that came with my pen was easy to switch out with the replacement Z 50 black steel nib--the nibs slide on and off the feed fairly easily--but be careful not to break the feed when doing so! (side note: the Z 50 nibs also fit the Lamy Safari, Lamy Al-Star & many other Lamy models). My pen's Medium black steel nib writes very smoothly with no skipping or hard-starting. If you want to upgrade your 'Accent's' steel nib to a gold nib, you can buy a Lamy Z 55 two-tone 14K gold nib separately for around $125 CAD. If that's too rich for your blood and you just want a fancier-looking black steel nib, you can swap out the original Z 50 nib for a Lamy Z 52, a polished black PVD-coated laser-etched steel nib; it costs a bit more than the Z 50 nib, but a lot less than the Z55 gold nib. Confused about all these nib numbers? Check out the official Lamy Nib Guide!

Measuring 4 34 inches from nib tip to barrel bottom, I find the 'Accent' is comfortable enough to be used unposted. It does post very securely with a nice "click" (thanks to two little plastic nubs on the barrel end), though, extending the pen to a little over 6 14 inches. This may seem rather long, but the posted pen is very well-balanced, and at 24 grams (without a converter/cartridge inside) isn't heavy. The pen measures 5 1inches with its cap screwed on, and is slim enough to fit in most/all pen cases. The grip section is slightly bulbous, but subtly so, and it has a really nice feel when held. The pen's metal clip is simple in design, but functional and secure.

 
Overall, I'd recommend the 'Accent' fountain pen if you like being able to create your own pen with the various grips and cap/barrel material options, and want a smooth, reliable, well-designed writing instrument. It's more expensive than other Lamy models that take the same nib, but I really like its simple but elegant design, and its customization potential.

 To prevent any (further) confusion, a few words about the newer Lamy "Accent" models now...
The 'Accent' model seemed to drop out of  sight for a few years--I thought it was discontinued by Lamy--but it magically re-appeared
around the year 2014, in slightly different materials. The newer Lamy 'Accents' are made of aluminum (and are lighter than the original 'Accents') and are available with two new grip sections--one made of Karelia wood and the other made of black rubber.  The old grip sections still fit on the new pens and vice-versa, though, so you can mix & match as you please-one of the many things I love about this pen. I also own an 'Accent' ballpoint and it, too, uses interchangeable grip sections---the same ones that fit the 'Accent' fountain pens of both generations.

Wow, I didn't expect my review to be *this* long, ooops. Thanks for reading 'til the end :)
~Maja 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 153

Back to modern pens we go with a new addition to Jerred's ever-growing Delta fountain pen collection!

Jerred: "This is a Delta 'Anni Settanta', a model that was produced in their final few years as a manufacturer.  From what I understand, 'Anni Settanta' translates roughly to '70s' or 'The 70s'.  The apparent intention was to release a small collection of pens that invoked 70s designs and colourways.  The 'Anni Settanta' collection are all acrylic pens in light pastel colours with clear plastic finials without logos.  
 
The model here is listed as the 'Mini" fountain pen in the line, and comes in a light violet colourway that's otherwise quite rare in Delta's collection.  I've really no idea how this is supposed to invoke the 1970's design ethos, but Delta's designs have always been just a little bit on the weird side.  I am unsure if there is a larger version fountain pen in this line, as information is hard to come by."
 
(photo courtesy of Jerred ~ please click on image to enlarge) 
 
 
Jerred: "The nib is Delta's fairly standard #5.5 sized, stainless steel nib.  While unspectacular, it's a reliable, if slightly dry writer.  Since a couple of people have asked about the sizing I'll note it here:  Delta used a nib that was physically larger than the #5 sized nibs you commonly see from Bock or Jowo.  However, it's smaller than a standard #6 nib and still uses a 5mm feed.  Because of this, I just tend to call them #5.5 nibs."

Many thanks to Jerred for sharing his latest addition with us!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 152

Today's show & tell item is a handsome Sheaffer vintage desk set that Stuart acquired last summer...

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

Stuart: "The brass desk-set is here, and it’s quite something!  You can see the finish is oxidized and spotted, but even so this is an impressive piece.  It’s made by a famous firm called Smith Metal Arts - Silvercrest, of Buffalo, NY.  The company still exists as part of McDonald Products, who make desk-pads and such.  Silvercrest things are collected, and they made other desk-set bases for Sheaffer.  This one is bronze with the brass finish over the base metal - Silvercrest Decorated Bronze was the trade name the firm used."


"The restored vac-fill Triumph Lifetime pen writes a nice smooth Fine line, as you can see.  Very typical of those nibs, stiff as a nail but nice-writing."

 

Stuart: "The set took 13 days to get here from Connecticut - there was delay due to the seller being called away from home by an emergency.  So once the parcel got going, it made good time. I used some Brasso on the base, but we didn’t have much left.  It looks brighter than it did, but I think the oxidation combined with wearing-away of the clear lacquer coat can only be polished up - full re-plating would probably be necessary to restore the original look.  I like the patina, it gives it almost an industrial-aged look.  I think the rectangular opening in front was meant for a page-a-month calendar. I’ll try hunting around and see if I can find something that will fit in the opening."

I asked Stuart if the desk base's opening might have had a desk clock or perhaps a barometer in it. He replied: "It isn’t clear in the photos of the brass base, but the open space is a window with a narrow metal pocket or sleeve behind it, so it wouldn’t hold something as deep as a clock.  It would have looked fabulous with a clock or barometer fitted in it!"

Many thanks to Stuart for sharing another nice piece from his vintage desk set collection with us.
VPC members---please keep those photos of your new acquisitions coming!
Thanks in advance,
~Maja

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 151

 Happy Valentine's Day! Here's a fountain pen I bought last month from Staples' eStore--a Cross 'Aventura' in "Fire Engine Red" ...

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

Last month, while checking out Staples' online store (Staples.ca) for deals, I spotted this pen on sale for $14.97 CAD (reg. price $24.98). I'd purchased a black Aventura fountain pen many years ago, but I was a bit hesitant to buy the red one because of an issue with the black version's section (more on that later). 

After much humming and hawing, I finally gave in and ordered it online for in-person pickup. The pen came in "gift set" packaging (a Cross cardboard box) with six black Cross ink cartridges. The cartridges are a $6.99 value, so the pen actually cost me less than $8, according to my "Fountain Pen Math" :D


I really like the Aventura's contemporary look, with its split clip design and angled cap & barrel end. The plastic material makes the pen feel a bit cheap, though, but it seems sturdy enough. The pen measures 5 1 inches from nib tip to barrel end, so it can be used comfortably unposted. It posts fairly deeply and since most of its weight is in the cap and section, it's actually very well-balanced when posted (posted length = 6 inches; capped length = 5 58 inches). According to my digital kitchen scale, the pen weighs 18 grams without a cartridge or converter in place.

Some people might find the metal section a bit slippery, but the transition from the barrel to the section is super-smooth--no sharp edges to cut into your fingers. The clip is strong and secure, and has the Cross name engraved on it in small block letters. One online reviewer claimed her pen's cap kept falling off, but I've had no problems with mine. Her review is from 2015, though, and her pen's nib had the old Cross engraving on it, so I suspect it was an older generation Aventura. 

 


I love the stylized lion engraved on the nib... (click on image to enlarge)

Remember that section issue with my old (black) Aventura that I alluded to at the start of this review? Well, that pen had a two-part section that caused (a) the nib to spin around freely and (b) the pen to leak ink from the section joint :(  I removed the nib and feed and used a strong glue on the section's two components. That fixed the problem, but it was a bit off-putting, to say the least. Anyway, I'm happy to report that my new red Aventura has a one-piece section and, therefore, no nib-spinning and/or ink-leaking issues at all.

The Medium nib and feed on my Aventura look exactly like the ones on the six (!) Cross 'Bailey Light' fountain pens I bought last year. In an earlier blog post , I mentioned that one out of the six 'Bailey Light' pens had flow issues. Turns out that my red Aventura's nib had a similar issue, but after I used some very fine Micromesh on its tipping, it doesn't have any start-up/skipping problems. It actually writes very smoothly--that was never an issue---and although the nib is stiff (no flex), it's fun to use because of its smoothness. The Aventura only accepts Cross' proprietary ink cartridges or a proprietary Cross converter (the "push-in" type, according to one user's comment on this page).


Overall, I think the Aventura is a good deal if you can get it for the same price (~$15) I paid, but I'm not sure I'd pay full price (~$25) for it. The black and blue versions are priced at $48.99 and would get a definite "No thanks, I'll pass" from me. The 'Aventura' is ok as a daily carry pen, but if you're looking for a better-made inexpensive Cross fountain pen, I'd strongly recommend the Cross 'Bailey Light' instead.

~Review by Maja

Friday, February 12, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 150

Happy Lunar New Year! Today we're featuring two colourful Chinese fountain pens that I recently acquired via eBay...

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

(top pen ~ Moonman 'S3' "Autumn Leaves"; bottom pen ~ Moonman 'S3' "Marble Brown")

Moonman is the in-house brand of Shanghai Jingdian, an online (Taobao) retailer/designer located in Shanghai, China. The first Moonman fountain pen was the 'M1', I believe, which came out in 2017. Since then, they've come out with a variety of fountain pen models like the torpedo-shaped 'S1', the pocket flat-top 'N2', the Leonardo 'Momento Zero'- inspired 'M800' and others.

The 'S3' fountain pens are cigar-shaped and made of beautiful acrylics (with matching sections 😊) and very shiny, gold-coloured clips, cap bands, section & barrel rings (note: the trim looks silver-coloured in my photos, but it isn't). The pens weigh approximately 20 grams (with an empty converter) so they're light, but they're well-balanced and well-suited for longer writing sessions. Appearance-wise, they are reminiscent of a slightly shorter version of the venerable Platinum '3776 Century' fountain pen.


At 5.25 inches capped, the S3s are what I'd call "average-sized" fountain pens. If you want to post them, I'd suggest the handy "push & turn" technique that Norman Haase of HisNibs.com recommended for pen caps that are a wee bit "wiggly" when posted (thanks for the tip, Norman!)

 

The "Autumn Leaf" was the first 'S3' I bought, but when I saw the "Marble Brown" for sale, I fell in love with the colours and immediately ordered it from the same seller. The pens are cartridge/converter-fillers and both of mine came with converters. They're lovely fountain pens and well worth the $28-$29 CAD (including shipping from China) I paid for each of them.

By the way, I'd highly recommend the eBay seller "esybuy" from whom I bought the pens (and no, I have no afiliation to the seller) if you're shopping for Chinese fountain pens and want fast, reliable service. The pens came in black velvet sleeves (with drawstrings) and were well-packed in lots of bubble wrap. Mine didn't come with boxes, but I don't need more pen boxes!


The S3's cap band is simple and the overall design of the pen is very clean-looking. Regarding the clip  - one reviewer on Amazon complained that it doesn't rotate, but this is a non-issue for me. The clip is very secure, but (in my opinion) a bit tight--something to consider if you plan to clip the pen onto a shirt pocket or thicker sheaves of papers.



The nibs are made of steel and have "Moonman Super Quality" (in all caps) engraved on them, below a symbol/logo. The nib is gold-coloured like the trim, but the nib is a darker yellow shade (which you can't really see in my photo above).  Both F nibs (0.5mm, according to the seller) on my pens lay down a smooth, fine line. If you're looking for flex, though, you won't find it here!


If you are looking for a well-made, attractive, relatively inexpensive fountain pen, give the Moonman 'S3' a try - they come in several more beautiful acrylics (something to suit every taste!). For more information on Moonman pens and other modern Chinese fountain pens, I'd recommend checking out Frank Dong's excellent pen website FrankUnderwater.com

Wishing you & yours good health, happiness and success in the coming year!
~Maja

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 149

Today we're shining a spotlight on two classic vintage Sheaffer fountain pens--a Sheaffer 'Balance' ('Military Balance' to be specific) and a Sheaffer 'Imperial IV'---owned by Christopher...

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


Christopher: "I had never had a Sheaffer with the over the top short clip, so when this Vigilant model came my way, I was very pleased. It is a very attractive pen, from its striated golden pearl finish to its brilliant 14K Gold two tone nib. Plus, the transparency in this particular pen is simply amazing. But what really stopped me in my tracks was the placement of the Sheaffer ‘White Dot’ on this pen cap, located just below its short clip" 

 

 

Christopher: "I was not familiar with this model of the Sheaffer Imperial until Rene (who is now my go-to person when it comes to Sheaffer wisdom from the 1950s and early 60s) educated me. But in picking up this particular pen, which did need a bit of TLC, I was totally smitten. Just an amazing writer, the Imperial IV. Smooth and lays the ink down consistently without almost any coaxing from the hand. To be honest, I was not big on black pens but with the Gold Filled fittings and beautiful design (much like a smaller version of a Sheaffer PFM) I was sold. Face it, it’s a Sheaffer and what could be more welcome."

For more information on Sheaffer's 'Balance' model, check out this highly-informative article:
Profile: Sheaffer's Balance

Christopher--congratulations on these wonderful vintage acquisitions, and thank you for sharing them with us :)

Monday, February 8, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 148

Today's featured new acquisitions are courtesy of longtime Vancouver Pen Club member Graham, who recently bought two new Cross pens from Amazon. Since some folks like to shop for pens vicariously, I thought we'd let Graham tell the whole story...
                     
Graham: "Having sold a pen I promptly went out and bought a couple more, a Sheaffer Targa 1005 (the lined gold pattern) and a platinum plated Cross Townsend (Amazon also seems to have both the platinum plated and the 10K rolled gold, both of which have 18K nibs, for weirdly low prices, ~$190 and ~$210 respectively, though only in F. I got the platinum because a. it was a little cheaper and b. it has the two-tone 18K nib which I think is a nice design)."

Graham (a bit later): "The platinum one shot up almost $400 right after I bought it so I got worried and bought a 10K one too, haha."

The first pen makes a brief appearance...

Graham: "So I received what was supposed to be my platinum plated Townsend with 18K nib... but I got a Lustrous Chrome Townsend with a steel nib. I am _very_ curious if someone was just hoping no one would notice. I noticed. :P So, they're sending me yet another replacement pen. I'm dying to see what I get in the Townsend 10K box!"

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

The Townsend '10K' arrives...

Graham: "They _did_ manage to send me the 10K first try. It's nice. Quite a bit broader with the 18K F nib than the steel F nib (on the Townsend green PVD pen) as you can see in the writing sample above, and while not what I'd call flexible, definitely noticeably softer."
 
 
 

The Townsend 'Platinum' shows up (finally)...
 

Graham: "They managed to send me the correct platinum Townsend this time! 4 for 4 on good nibs, too..."

As Graham noted above, the Townsend's 18K nib was broader than expected. It turns out it's the same 18K nib that Pelikan uses in their own pens (source). Mystery solved! Many thanks to Graham for sharing these beautiful new pens with us :)

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 147

At the end of this blog post from a few days ago, I listed some tips on hunting for vintage desk sets. One of the tips was watching out for mismatched desk bases and desk pens. I did, however, concede that this type of mismatch might not necessarily bother everyone. Stuart's beautiful vintage Sheaffer fountain pen desk set --featured in today's post-- is a great example why...

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

Stuart: "Yesterday the Sheaffer desk set from Pendemonium came, and it’s a beaut!  The onyx base is lovely, and the pen is a nice writer, very Fine point and smooth.  I like the three gold bands decorating the barrel, very elegant.  It’s a handsome set and a nice compact size. It’s a marriage, with a 40’s base and an older pen decorated with three gold-filled bands."

 

"The nib is a Lifetime, with a serial number, something Sheaffer apparently did for a while and then gave up as the paperwork involved in recording all those numbers became too cumbersome!"

"The hard-rubber taper is slightly warped from age; the material ages differently from the celluloid of the pen barrel. There’s also a shred of label on the bottom felt of the base, but nothing can be read of the very faint printing that shows a little."

 

"I suspect the socket of the set the 3-banded pen originally came with also had three bands, as the drawing (see below) shows. But my set is a marriage, so the later-production socket has one wide band. The swivel fixture is the same - Sheaffer must have used that part for decades."

"If the base dates from the 40’s, the original pen was likely a vac-filler or lever-filling.  The Touchdown system didn’t arrive until 1949, apparently. The base's decal reads “Sheaffer’s”, so it’s right for that time"
 
 

(Drawing by Fred Plewa ~ to see enlarged image, left-click on drawing to enlarge, right-click & select "view image", then left-click again.)

Mismatch or not, it's a lovely desk set, and our thanks to Stuart for sharing it with us :)
Cheers,
~Maja

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 146

Today's virtual show & tell features two classic vintage fountain pens and one lesser-known vintage brand, all belonging to Christopher...

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

Christopher: "Rene got my last good (Conklin) Nozac, but when this one came to me several months back it was definitely a keeper. Nice and big to sit well in the hand, and with the most beautiful finish and a huge ink view window."

"This Eversharp Junior from the Doric family was a complete surprise. I got it with a lot of 30 pens and admittedly didn’t even notice it until I pulled it out to restore it. Still, can any vintage pen collector pass on a Doric? Even their bottom of the line this being one nice pen. The Junior follow the Deco design and sports the rather large Eversharp 14K gold nib. This pen had seen better days when I got it, but with a little elbow grease, it came around nicely."

"Everything about this Everlast pen I admire. It is my type of third tier pen. The overall finish reminds me of a Parker 51 Flighter and it has a most substantial metal sleeve button filler under the barrel. But the nib (Warranted First Quality 14K gold) is better still and just a joy to write with. If I was stranded on a desert island with only one pen and a gallon of ink to fill with, this would be my choice."

Many thanks to Christopher for sharing these acquisitions with us!  For more information on the Conklin 'Nozac' and Eversharp 'Doric', check out these excellent articles on Richard Binder's website:

Profile: The Conklin Nozac
Profile: The Eversharp Doric

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 145

Happy Groundhog Day! Here's a very quick shot of Punxsutawney Phil holding an inexpensive fountain pen I picked up on eBay last June, a model '325A' fountain pen made by Pirre Paul's (and yes, there is an apostrophe in the company name)...

(photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

I didn't know much about the manufacturer before I bought the pen---I was just looking for a cheap white fountain pen on eBay--- but I found some information on their official website after the pen arrived from China (two and a half months after paying for it). Turns out that Pirre Paul's is a Taiwanese company, founded in 1991 (happy 30th anniversary!) that produces a variety of fountain pen, rollerball and ballpoint models (most of which are quite conservative in design, and rather nondescript, if I'm being perfectly honest). 

Nevertheless, this particular pen caught my eye because of its glossy white appearance and the orange ring near the cap top; I'd been on a white-pen-buying kick over the last couple of years but I love the colour orange, so this pen satisfied both of my colour obsessions preferences....all for the low, low price of $4 USD (plus $5 shipping).

 

Being a plastic pen, it's very light (15 grams, according to my kitchen scale) and although it can be used unposted, it's only 11 cm/4 ¼ inches long uncapped, which might be a bit too short for some folks. Posted, it's 15 ¼ cm/6 inches long, but really well-balanced, so I much prefer to use it that way. Also, I think it looks even better when posted--posting the pen creates near-seamless continuity from cap top to section end, as you can see in the photo above.

Aside from the thin orange ring and "pirre paul's" written on the cap, the pen is all white. This colour and the model's clean design and (nearly) unadorned look gives it a space age-y (think "2001: A Space Odyssey") vibe, which I love. The steel clip is flexible yet secure, and is stamped with an "R". The pen caps securely with a soft "click" and unposts with a satisfying "pop". You can't really see it in the photos, but the cap's finial is a small, recessed steel ball that is very smooth to the touch--handy if you need something to fidget with during a boring office/Zoom meeting.

The nib is a simple steel nib (engraved "R" and "P.P" below that) that writes smoothly out of the box. The pen takes short or long international cartridges, and it probably takes a converter, but mine didn't come with one. In addition to white, the '325A" fountain pen also comes in black, blue, blue-black, red and teal (it also comes in rollerball form... at a much lower price, if you can believe it!). All in all, I really like this pen and would recommend it if you're looking for an inexpensive, everyday, knockabout fountain pen to carry around with you.

(~review & pics by Maja)

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 144

Looking for a classy-looking desk set with a ballpoint desk pen instead of a fountain pen? 

If so, you need look no further than the Sheaffer Pen Company.

Sheaffer made tons of desk sets with ballpoints and they are relatively easy to find on eBay and etsy (not to mention local thrift stores, antique shops and flea markets). Here's a nice clean example of one that Stuart picked up recently...

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

 


Stuart: "The Sheaffer set has a beautiful green marble or onyx base, and a dark brown desk BP, with an original refill that still writes.  I’d date the set 70’s-80’s." 
 
 

 
Many thanks to Stuart for sharing his latest desk set with us! Now, here are my personal tips, from two decades of buying desk sets, both locally and online:

Tips for buying a vintage desk set :
  • If you're searching online, make sure you ask the seller about the condition of the base; it's not uncommon for desk set bases to have scratches and/or chipped edges/corners, some of which may not be visible in photos.
  • Desk pens can also be damaged, so look for chewed ends and warping. If you're buying in person, roll the desk pen across a hard surface to test for barrel warping.
  • Unless it's specifically mentioned, ask the seller if the desk pen has been restored-the phrase "Dip-tested" does not mean the filling mechanism actually works!
  • Ask about the condition of the nib. Some online sellers will claim a nib "is ok" if it's capable of laying down a line of ink... no matter how scratchy the nib is.
  • Make sure the desk pen matches the desk base--if the pen won't fit in the socket, it's probably the wrong one. If it does fit, it doesn't necessarily mean it's the correct one for the base. Do your homework (ie. check online) before buying/bidding. There's nothing sadder than spending a lot of money on a desk set only to find the base and pen don't match (if that sort of mismatch doesn't bother you, disregard this tip :)
  • If you're buying a desk set in person, check under the price sticker. Some unscrupulous sellers will attempt to hide flaws and/or damage by placing their price stickers over these areas (I found out the hard way).
Happy hunting!
~Maja

Friday, January 29, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 143

Back to modern writing instruments we go with this handsome Italian fountain pen belonging to Jerred...

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

Jerred: "This is a Delta "Nuova Galleria" ("New Gallery").  The original Galleria used the Delta Dolcevita pattern, with swirled acrylic colours instead of the flaked acrylic/celluloids of the Dolcevita.  This version of the Gallery was created for Martemodena and while it shares the same basic shape of the Galleria/Dolcevita, there are some differences.  The pen is slightly longer and slightly thinner overall, and it uses a much simpler engraved steel cap band instead of the carved cap band of Delta's higher end models.  The quality is still quite good, and feels better in hand than later Martemodena models.  The colour pattern on display here is "Old Ivory".

"The nib is Delta's Fusion nib, in an Extra Fine. The nib was, unfortunately, not particularly good on this model. While it was a reliable writer, it was overly scratchy and required some work."

Sadly, Delta went out of business in 2017, but its DNA lives on in Leonardo Officina Italiana, the pen company co-founded by Salvatore Matrone (who was a designer at Delta) and the Maiora Pen Company, founded in 2018 by Delta's co-founder Nino Marino. Many thanks to Jerred for sharing his latest pen purchase with us, as well as all the others we've showcased in past "show & tells" :)