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!

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" :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 142

Last June, we featured Stuart's vintage Esterbook model DB 116-L desk set, often referred to as the "eight ball" set, in the more unusual teal color (link to blog post here). 

In November, he added this lovely mint-green version to his growing desk pen collection...

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

Stuart: "I snagged a mint-green Esterbrook 8-ball set on eBay on the weekend, and it’s now on its way from Pennsylvania.  I don’t know if the pen works, Estie’s are 50/50 for having working sacs.  It’s in good shape and will make a great companion piece to go with the Medallion set!"

It was a bit difficult for me to determine the colour of the desk pen from his photo above (is it grey or green?? à la "The dress" debate), so I asked Stuart about it. He replied "The desk pen is green, kind of a sage green, and darker than the one with the Medallion set. I fitted a Fine Stub nib on the desk pen; the one it came with was very scratchy. "

Many thanks to Stuart for the photo of his cool new desk set (and the many other photos he sent in over the past nine months :) Much appreciation to everyone in our pen club who contributed to our virtual "show & tell"!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 141

Today, we're shining a spotlight on this pretty Eclipse overlay ringtop fountain pen belonging to Christopher...

(photo courtesy of Christopher ~ click on image to enlarge) 

Christopher: "It is just such a well made and lovely little pen. Still, when I say "little", for a short ribbon ring top it has some girth and posted sits very well in the hand. Nice 14K gold nib and super gold chasing on the overlay. Once again, a company that produced pens in two very different locations but good quality at the top end in both Canada and the US." 

Many thanks to Christopher for all of his contributions to our online show & tell. VPC members-please keep those photos & write-ups coming!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

National Handwriting Day 2021

Above: Faber-Castell 'Scribolino' ~ a clipless fountain pen originally designed for schoolchildren, but one that can be used (and enjoyed) by anyone, on National Handwriting Day or any day :) 

(photo by Maja)

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 140

Although we're primarily a fountain pen club, we also welcome collectors of other writing instruments, such as these classy Parker ballpoints that Trevor recently acquired...

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

Here's Trevor's write-up about them: 

Parker Classic, The “Rich Man’s Jotter”

"Ever look at something in a terribly taken photo and think, “Hey! I know what that is!”? I did that twice in December. Both times I was expecting a vintage/old/interesting Parker Jotter ballpoint pen. “Vintage Parker pen. Nice condition” the ad stated. $20 seemed fair for what looked like a highly polished gold Jotter. I began to salivate. “I would love a vintage Jotter!" It would be a nice mate for my circa 1970s/1980s Paper Mate Profile and Sheaffer Imperial I’d absconded from my parents desk drawers on a recent visit.

Message sent, deal made. Going to get it on Wednesday after work.

But what’s this… Shanin found a PAIR of Stainless Jotters with gold trim. Hmm… I have one of those already, it’s the one that started my Jotter obse… ahem… interest. But curiously, in the bad photos, they look to have gold flat top buttons… Now I’m really interested. I find out the seller says they are both the same. Ok. Sign me up for one of them.

Fast forward to Wednesday. Work is over, finally! I grab my mask and jump in the car. Shanin and I head to Metrotown to meet the owner of the gold Jotter. I give it a quick look, note that it is a bit different, but pay the man and we head on our way. On the way out of the mall, I stop at little pen/stationary shop, 1912 Amax. I see a Caran D’Ache pen in purple. Made from recycled Nespresso pods. Interesting. I snap a pic to check it out later.

Back in the car I have a look at my new treasure. It’s slimmer. Almost dainty. Interesting. A look online and I find that it is a Parker Classic, aka Parker International Classic, aka Parker Lady. Feels nice in the hand. It fits a standard Parker refill, so out comes the ancient ballpoint refill and in goes my favoured Monteverde Capless Ceramic Gel in Black with Broad point. Comparing to my Jotters, it’s longer and slimmer, but weight is similar. It’s a comfortable writing experience. A really nice surprise, and a great addition to the growing Parker collection.

The next day, Shanin goes out of her way to grab the stainless steel one she found. When I see her next and she hands it to me, I open the original box and lo and behold, it’s the same as the gold one! Well, other than the colour. While the gold one is made in France, the stainless one is made in the USA. Turns out it’s called a Parker Classic Flighter GT. Well! It has the same light weight, comfortable grip as its golden counterpart. The ancient ballpoint refill was removed and a Monteverde like the other takes its place, only in blue this time for some variation.

I’m certainly glad I took the chance on these despite their terrible pictures in the ads. I’m super happy with them and glad to have found them!"
I asked Trevor when these ballpoints were made and he replied "The gold one has date code IIN, which is either 2nd quarter 1989 or 1999 but I’m not sure. 1989 is more likely as production may have ended in 1998. Or maybe 2001… no one seems to know. And the stainless one has code IT which looks like 3rd quarter 1995." 
Many thanks to Trevor for sharing these cool finds with us!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 139

Last month, I got an email from Stuart telling me about his new fountain pen from Namisu, a pen company located in Fife, Scotland.  The company was selling some deeply-discounted prototypes online, so Stuart ordered one of them for himself:

Stuart: "My Namisu Nova prototype arrived yesterday! The company is selling prototype models at 50% off, they may still have some if you’re interested. I like the pen, it’s nicely balanced in hand and the Medium Bock nib is very smooth."

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

He continues: "Unpacking it was a bit messy - the package arrived with the box badly crushed and wrapped in one of those apologetic “this is how we received it” wrappers from Canada Post.  When I opened it, I found the pen, which is aluminum and stainless steel, was in a sturdy clear plastic tube, so it and the separate converter were OK.  When I opened up the pen to flush it out, I got blue ink on my hands!  I looked in the barrel and there was an open, loose ink cartridge rattling around inside - it must have been knocked loose during the package’s travels.

I removed the cartridge and chucked it and flushed out the barrel and cap, and then the nib unit, which I also soaked in water to wash out more ink residue.  When I filled it it wrote fine, so all’s well.  I don’t know if they ink cartridge was left in the pen by mistake or supposed to be in there - as the pen is a prototype, it was being tested at the factory."

"It looks like the difference between the Nova prototype and the production version is that the Satin Black, which I have, is all black in the production version, while mine has a stainless-steel section.  I like the colour contrast, and it’s a good-looking pen in the company’s minimalist style.  

It was DHL who carried the package across the Atlantic, so they may be responsible for the squashed box.  It’s lucky it was only the box that was damaged, although with the pen made of such robust metals it would take a lot to damage it.  In the end the condition of the packaging was not a big deal, it just looked scary at first glance!"

"You might want to check Namisu’s site and see if anything appeals to you. They make a good pen. They now offer Bock titanium nibs as an upgrade, but they’re $86.00 CDN, which is steep in this case as the pen is so much less."

The company sold out of their prototypes very quickly, but I'm glad Stuart managed to snag one in time! It's a cool-looking pen with the kind of minimalist design that Namisu are well-known for. Many thanks for sharing your new pen with us, Stuart :) 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 138

Today's featured newest acquisition is this beautiful American vintage fountain pen, a Mabie Todd 'Swallow' owned by Christopher...

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

Christopher: "Just added a lovely American pen to my collection, a pen I was not actually familiar with. I have a number of nice Swan pens and at least one Blackbird, but the Swallow was a pen I knew nothing of until just recently."

"This is truly a magnificent fountain pen, from its rather attractive golden pearl and jet mottled finish to its 14K gold fittings, it really stands out. Plus the design, in my view, is truly Deco. A lever filler with a typical mid 1930s ball-ended humpback clip. But the nib is the true essence of this pen. As smooth and as even in laying down the ink as they come. I just fell in love with this fine trooper the second I started writing with it. In closing, I think the Mabie Todd Company had a lot to be proud of, and this pen will remain in my favourite category for quite some time."

Christopher notes that "Mabie Todd's 'Swallow' is US-made, not from the British Mabie Todd. Their equivalent pen was the 'Jackdaw', produced in the UK." 

Interestingly, after the American branch of Mabie Todd shut down in 1941, it was resurrected in the very early 21st century and produced a modern version of the "Swallow" fountain pen (which bears no resemblance to Christopher's lovely vintage pen). For a short history of the vintage Mabie Todd pen company, check out this webpage. Many thanks to Christopher for his photo and write-up :)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 137

In early December, I placed an online order for a new fountain pen with the good folks at Charals, an elegant gift shop/pen store located in downtown Vancouver. In less than 24 hours, my order arrived at my home via courier. Wow.

Meet my new TWSBI 'Vac700R' "Iris" fountain pen...

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

(Above: TWSBI 'Vac 700R" "Iris" model with Broad steel nib; notebook from

Capturing the rainbow-coloured iridescent metal trim and nib was a real challenge, so I apologize in advance for the quality of my photos. Funny thing-I didn't notice it at first, but the sunlight's shadows in the photos look like prison bars, which references back to 'Orange is the New Black", a comedy-drama set in a fictional women's prison. Cue "Twilight Zone" music...(lol)

I bought a TWSBI 'Vac700' fountain pen when it first came out in 2012 and was very happy with it, so I passed on buying the re-designed 'Vac700R' model (available only as a plain demonstrator with a monocolour nib and trim) when it came out in 2017.... but when I saw the brand-new (late 2020) Vac700R "Iris" model with its iridescent trim and nib, I couldn't resist buying it...

Both the TWSBI 'Vac700' and 'Vac700R' models are vacuum-filling fountain pens, which means that they only fill from an ink bottle, so if you're looking for a pen that uses ink cartridges, this isn't the pen for you (although you might be persuaded to buy it once you find out how much ink it holds--a whopping 2.4mL !)

The 'Vac700R' was so named because it was a re-design of the 'Vac700'. The re-design was done in order to provide "even more consistent ink flow when (the) valve is opened", according to TWSBI's official website.  "What valve??" you may be thinking. Well, both models have a ink shut-off valve which closes off the ink chamber and prevents the pens from leaking due to pressure changes (for example, in an airplane). To close the valve, you turn the barrel/turning knob clockwise until it's fully tightened. To open the valve and allow for a continuous flow of ink, you simply twist the knob counter-clockwise until it's loosened (do not pull back the plunger, though). It sounds complicated, but it really isn't.

There are some other differences, too. Anderson Pens nicely summarizes all the design changes:  

"The Vac700R fountain pen has been updated by modifying the 2 valves in the older version into one valve in the new model. The grip and feed section of the pen has also been enlarged and tapered, which combined with the valve modification, increased the ink flow of the pen by a small percentage. Because of these changes to the pens and nib units, the TWSBI stainless steel Vac700R replacement nib will fit only the new Vac700R fountain pen, and will NOT fit the older Vac 700 pens. If you own an older Vac 700 fountain pen, then the older style Vac 700 replacement nibs will fit your pen." (underlined part = my emphasis)

I missed the opportunity to acquire a Nemosine "re-entry" nib when they were still being made, so when I saw that the 'Vac 700R' "Iris" came with a lovely iridescent nib (see above), I jumped at the opportunity to purchase the pen (they seemed to be selling out quickly) and decided to "buy local". 

The entire nib isn't iridescent, just the upper part (a/k/a the "mask"); the rest of the nib is the usual silvery steel colour. It's such a cool-looking nib, but as far as I know, you can't buy these "rainbow" nibs separately, just the regular Vac700R monocolour steel nibs. The good news is that if you do want to swap in a replacement Vac700R nib, it's very simple--just unscrew the old nib unit (at the barrel threads) and replace it with another Vac700R nib unit. The plain (non-rainbow) Vac 700R nib units are sold separately and come in EF, F, M, B, and Stub 1.1mm nib widths

The iridescent coating is also used on all the metal trim (clip, cap ring, barrel ring) and even the small metal nib collar inside the section---a nice touch. Because of its iridescence, the metal looks different from different angles. I snapped some quick photos (above & below) showing this. Tip: to see super-zoomed-in versions of the images, left-click on a photo to enlarge it, then right-click & select "view image", then left-click again.

I realize that this bright, multi-coloured iridescent trim and nib might not appeal to everyone, but I like it. Interesting fact: no two Vac700R "Iris" pens are exactly alike in terms of the their trim colours and/or nib colours. I love that :)

The pen comes in distinctive white plastic minimalist-but-sturdy packaging (seen above), which TWSBI uses for their piston- and vacuum-filling fountain pens. These models come with a small metal wrench, two O-rings and a vial of silicone grease (all tucked into the underside of the box) that can be used to take apart the pens in order to thoroughly clean and lubricate them (instructions on how to do this are also included, of course).

I'm very pleased with my new Vac 700R "Iris". In addition to being an eye-catching fountain pen, it holds a ton of ink, and the large Broad nib on mine writes very well. It's a fairly long pen (13.4cm/5.28 inches from barrel end to nib tip; more specs here), so it can be used comfortably unposted. I'm so happy that TWSBI kept the Vac700R's nib size in proportion to the rest of the pen; full-sized fountain pens with small nibs are a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

I paid $120 CAD + tax, including free shipping to my home (via Purolator) for my pen. As of this writing, Charals is still open for in-store shopping from 10am to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 5:00pm on Saturdays. Happily, their webstore is open for shopping 24/7 if you can't make it to their lovely shop. Many thanks to Al and Shelina of Charals for their always-excellent customer service!

~Review by Maja

Friday, January 15, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 136

Back to modern writing instruments now, with this gorgeous modern classic recently acquired by VPC member Rohit, who sent in the photo below and added: "I just wanted to share with you my newest pen, which is a Pilot Custom 823 with a fine nib!" 

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

From the official Pilot website:

"The Custom 823 is the truest 'demonstrator-style' pen with the largest ink reservoir available by Pilot. The smoky amber barrel with stunning gold accents lends an air of distinguished sophistication to this exceptional fountain pen. The pen is refillable for continued use with Pilot's bottled ink through a unique vacuum plunger system to ensure a long lasting and smooth writing experience. Available with expertly crafted 14-karat gold nib in fine, medium and broad point sizes." 

Many thanks to Rohit for his contribution to our club's little online "show & tell" :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 135

Longtime Vancouver Pen Club member Stuart is another big fan of vintage fountain pens, as well as fountain pen desk sets (click on the 'desk sets' tag/label at the bottom of this post and you'll see many of them :) such as this nice example he acquired in early December:

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


Stuart: "Another one arrived last night, it’s been a good week! This one turns out to be more special than I realized.  It look to be in fantastic condition in the seller’s pics on eBay. It’s Sheaffer, 1927-31, with a jade pen fitted with a 46 Special nib.  Lovely marble base and plain swivel pen-holder, the first I’ve seen without a gold band decorating it."


"But this is what’s cool - I wetted one end of a Q-tip to swab the inside of the holder to see what ink had been used, and the swab came away clean, not a trace of ink! Then I wetted the nib and feed with tap water and wiped them with a tissue - same thing, they’re squeaky-clean! The pen’s never been filled. And - when you hold the pen up to the light, the jade barrel is translucent, and you can see the sac and inner part of the feed inside. I’ve never seen this before. The sac is petrified, and the taper won’t unscrew. I haven’t dipped the nib, I’m so impressed by the truly pristine condition."

"There’s a mark left from tape or a label (visible in the 2nd photo, to the left rear). I’m not sure what to use to clean it, but it’s not very visible. I probably will have the pen re-sacced; as nice as it is to have a set that’s never been used, just keeping it around in a “virginal” state seems excessive. It was meant to be used. I wonder where it’s been all these decades, and why it wasn’t put to work? It came from Dearborn, Michigan, home of Ford. So another winner for my collection, lucky me!" 

Congrats on another great vintage desk set, Stuart, and thanks for sharing another item from your collection with us!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 134

Continuing on with Christopher's newest acquisitions (first part posted here)--four vintage fountain pens with four different filling systems!

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


 Christopher: "Parker Short Ribbon Ring top Streamlined Pastel Lady’s Duofold – Quite a mouthful of a description for such a dainty little fountain pen, but finished in the most beautiful apple green colour with 14K gold filled fittings. I did have another of these Parker Pastels in the blue but ended up letting it go and was sad ever since. Subsequently, I am so pleased to acquire this pen and it will be both kept and used regularly. It is a button filler which sucks back quite a bit of ink when filled. Both this Green and the black were late colour additions to the Parker Pastel Duofold line dating this pen Circa 1932. It should be noted that the Parker Pastel model of their Duofold pens in jet and green were only available for a little over one year making this pen a rare Parker contender."


 "Also what just knocked me off my chair was the original Lucky Curve imprinted nib sitting on a Christmas Tree full Lucky Curve feed. Can I add, what a great score!"


"Waterman 12 – I have always found it nice to welcome old Waterman fountain pens into my collection and this No.12 is no exception. If you pick up a BCHR Waterman 12 with a cap clip and screw on cap that is a lever filler you have, in fact, picked up a rather common vintage pen. But, on the other hand, if the number 12 in question is clipless with a slip on cap and an eyedropper filler you really have scored a somewhat rare point, especially if the condition is as good as this one. The nib is an early Waterman Ideal No.2A and also in very fine condition. The chasing is quite nice, but not as deep as I have experienced with some of my other BCHR pens. It is a good length, posting at 7 inches but capping back to 5 inches. The identification No.12 on the end of the barrel and the Waterman imprinting are both clear and sharp. I also inked this pen when I had finished servicing it and found it to be a very nice writer."


"Diamond P.P. (Diamond Point) – This is just a wonderful BCHR pen and of extremely good quality overall. It sports a Jeweler’s 14K Gold filled wide cap band with a company-branded long ball ended steel clip. This is a lever filler pen and the lever is 14 K Gold filled. But the two features which really sold me on this particular vintage BCHR pen was its brilliant forest green hard rubber cap top and its deep, well-appointed and detailed chasing. In fact, the chasing on this pen is to my mind a work of art. The nib is a Number 2 and 14K gold, and in using the pen, it posts at 6 ½ inches but caps back to 5 inches. From what I understand, the Diamond Point Company rebranded its  pen production Diamond P.P. when the Depression hit, dating this fine point Circa 1929.


"Sheaffer Skripsert – What immediately sold me on this pen was its beautiful greyed green colour finish and the short screw on Sheaffer Conical Triumph Palladium nib. I actually remember these pens at our local neighborhood drugstore back in the late 1950s. I had one back then, which as memory serves, was black and as I recall it was the first Sheaffer pen I had with the slightly turned-up nib feature. It was billed as a cartridge filler and a pen I did carry in my loose-leaf binder, which I took into School. The ink cartridges (that were new to me then) seemed to last quite a while even with regular use and subsequently were just great for exam time.  Otherwise, this current addition has a chrome cap with a very interesting vertical straight and wavy line chasing. The clip carries the Sheaffer’s branding but with a large apostrophe ‘S’. The pen also seems to be of reasonably good quality and one I am happy to now have."

                                                        (Sheaffer Skripsert ad Circa 1959)

Many thanks to Christopher for his photos & write-ups of these wonderful vintage finds!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 133

 If you've been reading our little virtual "show & tell" regularly, you'll have noticed that VPCer Christopher is a huge fan of vintage writing instruments. After Christmas, he sent me some photos and information about his newest acquisitions, starting with a lovely vintage fountain pen from his thoughtful wife Chris...

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






Christopher: "Chris always gives me a Journal for my daily entries every Christmas and this year she also gave me the most beautiful and well-appointed short ribbon ring top Morrison gold overlay. I was truly touched with its elegance. What is also very neat about this pen is that it still has its original sales sticker on the cap. Well worn, mind you, but perfectly legible. The nib is great too, a super flexy No.4 14K Gold Warranted. I truly am blessed."

The other new acquisitions are all true antiques (ie. over 100 years old)!

Christopher: "For most, the mention of Rexall can only refer to the drugstore chain which goes back to its inception in 1903. And like so many retail chains, the company did commission pens in support of their marketing and brand identification. This pen, which I have also restored and added to my collection, is a very early clipless, slip on long cap eyedropper with beautiful but unusually-patterned chasing on its black hard rubber finish. The cap also has the early style rounded top and anyone would agree that the 14K Gold flexy nib is extremely impressive. The pen posts at a full 7 inches but caps at 5 ¼. I tried writing several pages with this pen once I had restored it and am pleased to report that it felt like a feather weight in my hand, with the nib just gliding smoothly on every stroke. Definitely a great score and a wonderful addition to the BHCR (Black Chased Hard Rubber) side of my collection"


 "I have several later Harris fountain pens but was pleased to get this early BHCR one. It is a clipless lady’s model capped at only a little over 4 inches, but posting to write at a hand-worthy 5 ½ inches. Still, what makes this pen a keeper in my books is exquisite chasing and a flexy Warranted 14K Gold nib that is just a pleasure to apply to paper."


 "This pen has a lovely woodgrain finish that is reminiscent of an early Waterman with its cap clip. The fittings are 14 K Gold filled and the nib is a 14K Gold Warranted with generous flex. Rene agreed with me, when I showed the pen to him, that it is an eye stopper. It has a lever filler with a black capping top and bottom. It posts at 6 ¾ inches, but caps back to a pocketable 5 ¼ inches The quality of his pen is truly impressive and subsequently, with all else considered, I am very happy to add it to my early pen collection. On the other hand, if anyone has further information on the All Write pen branding I would welcome it."

If anyone has information on any All Write writing instruments, please send an email to our club at Thanks in advance! And many thanks, of course, to Christopher for sharing these wonderful early fountain pens with us :)

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 132

A few days ago, we featured some of Daryl's newer acquisitions, including a red oak pen stand that he made. Today's spotlight is on two more wooden pen stands also made by Daryl, and the writing instruments they currently hold... 

Daryl: "The pen block with the single row of holes (photo directly below) is Douglas Fir, named after Scottish botanist David Douglas, (though the scientific name is in honor of Archibald Menzies, who first described the tree in the 1790s). Douglas-Fir is technically not a true Fir (Abies genus), but is in its own genus: Pseudotsuga." 

"This piece is an off-cut from a recycled beam in a local building. I don't have specific details on the building, where the beam spent its working life, but it was likely a harsh environment as the exposed 'spring wood' is heavily oxidized and was easily removed resulting in a heavy texture."

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

"The fountain pens are fairly common (left to right): a Parker Vacumatic Debutante, a Parker Vacumatic standard (not working), my 2019 VPC pen, a vintage Pelikan 400, and a Pelikan 120N.

-Parker Vacumatic Debutante: The nib is marked "WARRANTED; WING-FLOW; U.S.A" My on-line research doesn't mention anything about this nib, and I'm curious to know more about this downturned nib. I'm not able to read the date stamp; but I think the pen dates to about 1942 based on the single jewel, pocket clip and plastic plunger ( The dimensions are just a hair smaller than Debutante, so might be a sub-Debutante? (

-Parker Vacumatic standard: 1944 blue diamond clip, chased single band. Currently on the waitlist to restore it to working condition.

-2019 Vancouver Pen Club Leonardo "Momento Zero" Limited Edition, pen numbered  #12/26.

 -Pelikan 400 Gunther Wagner; 1956(?), "M" marked on the blind cap but the nib looks like a 0.9 mm Cursive Italic stub. A very relaxing pen to use. Smooth on paper, not dry not wet, "M" is similar to Pilot Cursive Italic. To my hand, the nib is super 'soft'. If I knew how to use it, I expect this would be a 'wet noodle' nib.

-Pelikan 120N: I think (?) this is a 2016 re-release of the mid-50s school pen. The "F" nib writes very smooth, like an M." 


"The pen block with two rows (photo directly above) is 'lacewood'. The name “Lacewood” is used very loosely and can be applied (and misapplied) to a number of different wood species. In its vaguest sense, the term “lacewood” is used to describe any wood that displays figuring that resembles lace.

The pens in the lacewood holder are (L-R): Manuscript, a fountain pen from AliExpress, Conway Stewart Le Tigre No160, Advokat, Hero "LUCKY", Cross Townsend ballpoint, and an AliExpress ballpoint.

 -The Manuscript fountain pen was bought at DeSerres. Heavily discounted as a return, as it was missing one ink cartridge in the set. Turns out the missing ink cartridge was jammed upside down in the barrel, which was really easy to remove. A fun pen, although the F stub nib has really crisp edges (not cursive italic with slightly rounded corners), I have to focus to find and maintain the 'sweet spot".

- Conway Stewart Le Tigre No160 fountain pen: A lever-fill mid-50s to mid 60s pen, 14kt "1st Quality" nib, Conway Stewart manufactured for the Benelux Market. Very comparable to my Pelikan 400.

-Advokat fountain pen: I believe this would be comparable to the 1950s Pelikan 120. It has a Bock B nib. Unfortunately, the pocket clip was missing, but the pen was wonderful to use. Recently the blind cap has jammed and I'm nervous to damage it trying to resolve (when I don't know what I'm doing).

-The Hero "LUCKY" fountain pen is, I believe, an original Hero 100, which in turn is a homage (aka knock-off) of the Parker '51'. The F nib is a little fine for me, but also relatively smooth, or at least smooth enough to be usable for me.

-Cross Townsend: 1960s, 1/20 10ct rolled gold, ballpoint."

Daryl--love your handmade pen stands! Many thanks for sharing them (and the pens in them) with us :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 131

Here's one of the newest acquisitions belonging to honourary VPC member Glenn from Australia - his brand-new Pelikan M600 Tortoiseshell Red fountain pen...

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

Glenn: "This is the latest, and arguably the prettiest, M60X special edition, and it is turning a lot of heads... justifiably so."


"OK, there is no transparent ink window, nor are the barrel stripes transparent when you hold it up to the light, which annoys some. Personally, it’s not a big issue; most of the pens in my collection suffer from the same ‘fault’ and it has never really bothered me... it’s a great excuse to carry two pens so you have a back-up!"


"It’s going in the pen case with the rest of the flock for now, but I may be tempted to ink it in the new year. You can easily find the advertising blurb on any Pelikan retailer’s site, so I’ll not bore you with the specifications, etc.; if you know M600s you already know them anyway."

For an in-depth look at this model (and its kin), Glenn suggests checking out this review at"The Pelikan's Perch", Joshua Danley's excellent Pelikan blog. Our thanks to Glenn for sharing this beautiful new acquisition with us!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 130

Today's featured new acquisition is a colourful modern fountain pen belonging to new VPC member Andy W!

Andy: "The Conklin All American has been around for quite a while...since about the late 1920's. Although I have no reference with earlier models, I can only assume that it hasn't changed much, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Once a model has established a trend and the consumer likes that, why mess with a good thing?"

"I have an attraction with the 70's and what more to remind me than the Conklin All American in Yellowstone finish? I believe the color scheme represents Yellowstone Park with the brown earth and yellow rocks and soil with white being water perhaps. Nevertheless, every time I look at this pen, it reminds me of the 70's and also something that should have been in the Austin Powers movies." 

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

"This pen is not small at all (uncapped) with a barrel diameter of 15mm and length of 5 inches. I do like girthy pens for sure!"


"With it being turned acrylic, it's still lightweight (18g) and a pleasure to write with." 


"The cap and clip add to the overall size and this thing is about as big as a Cuban cigar. The clip is simple stamped steel with stamped lettering and a rocker style clip."


"It is a cartridge converter fill system..."


 "...and the nib is a Jowo #6 extra fine."


 "The stamping of the company name and place of birth is very nice and every time you cap the pen, it lines up with the clip."


"Finally, here is a writing sample and line width chart I've been using which comes in very handy. The chart works and it is exactly what the nib is spec'd at...Western XF at .4mm The pen is inked with Diamine Raw Sienna, a medium dark brown."

(link to nib chart on Richard Binder's site)

Many thanks to Andy for the great photos and review of this "groovy" fountain pen! ;)

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year!

                       (Maja's OMAS new-style 'Bologna' fountain pen ~ click on photo to enlarge)