Friday, July 30, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 232

Inspired by the beautiful Benu fountain pens acquired by my fellow VPCers over the past few years (most recently, Jessica and Jaime), I finally decided to purchase one for myself. I looked up the different Benu models (and their eye-catching finishes) online, and chose the lovely clipless Benu 'Briolette' fountain pen in "Luminous Amber". I didn't see it in stock on any local pen shop websites, so I ordered mine from Inky Paw's online store. It arrived from Ajax, Ontario in a few short days, safe and sound (UPDATE - April 22, 2022 --- I just found out that a lot of folks have been having problems with -- e.g. no communication at all, items not shipped, etc. I don't know what's going on, but I felt like I should update this post as soon as I heard about this as their webstore is still open as of this writing ~Maja)

About the company....

Benu was co-founded by Alex Semanin (who is also the Chief Designer) and Kate Dmitrieva, and its head office is located in Moscow, Russia. The first series of BENU pens was launched in October 2016.

From the Benu website: "Each and every BENU product is one of a kind. Handmade production and our proprietary methodologies and processes ensure that every single item has unique patterns and colour combinations that can never be repeated.

We produce the material for our products in-house, creating it from scratch. Unlike many other manufactures, we neither sell our material nor buy it from third parties. This means that you won’t find such finish and material in any other brand except BENU."

(to see their design process and production methods, check out this page on their website) 

Where did the company name come from?

"The Benu is an ancient Egyptian deity associated with the sun, creation and rebirth. The Benu bird is also one of the oldest known names of the phoenix, a majestic and divine creature that dies and is reborn throughout time." 

The company's reasons for choosing the name "Benu" are three-fold---its affiliation with birds and thus quills (symbolic of writing instruments), its relation to the verb "weben" (wbn) which means “rise in brilliance”, and the bird's association with "constant change, recurrence, and renovation."

Ok, enough background material---let's see the actual fountain pen! 

(~please click on images to enlarge~)


The name "Briolette" refers to a teardrop-shaped gemstone cut with elongated facets, typically triangular or hexagonal. The facets on a 'Briolette' writing instrument serve the dual purpose of showing off the colour(s) and brilliance of the materials, and -more practically- helping to prevent the pen from rolling off a desk or table. The facets on my fountain pen are very smooth (and nice to the touch :), line up perfectly when its cap is screwed on, and definitely show the "Luminous Amber" material (an off-white-to-amber gradient resin embedded with sparkly gold-coloured particles) to its best effect.
I fell in love with this material as soon as I saw photos of it online... and when two online reviewers compared its colour to coffee with as-yet-unstirred cream, I was sold...and I didn't even know the pen also glowed in the dark! Not all of the 'Briolettes' have this neat feature, but the six "Luminous" ones do. They will glow in the dark (and semi-dark) with a light orange glow for up to 12 hours, after being exposed to light for an hour. Sunlight and incandescent bulbs produce the strongest glow, but the heat generated by these sources could damage and/or degrade the resin material, depending on the amount of exposure.

At 13.8 cm/5.4 inches capped and 19.5 grams in weight, the 'Briolette' fountain pen is a nice size and weight---it's light, but not unsubstantial.

I knew its uncapped length (12.7 cm/5 inches from nib tip to barrel end) and also that the pen wasn't postable, so I did some "pre-purchase" research at the University of YouTube to see if it would be suitable for my hand and grip. Several YT reviewers remarked on how comfortable the pen was to hold, but I was still a bit concerned because (a) there *is* a significant drop-off from the barrel to the black resin section and (b) I tend to hold my fountain pens a little higher up the barrel. I decided to take a chance on the pen, though, because I loved the material so much....and oddly enough, it turned out to be perfect for my grip when I held it a bit closer to the nib end! (I'm wondering if the subtle lip at the end of the section is the reason for this). It's also a very well-balanced fountain pen, although that really wasn't a surprise, given its light weight.

The pen comes with a gold-plated #5 size steel Schmidt nib that is available in several nib widths; mine is a Broad that writes super-smoothly. The only thing I'd change in terms of the pen's design would be to put a slightly larger nib on it (for aesthetic reasons); I know the black resin cap band is a deal-breaker for some, but I'm fine with it. The 'Briolette' fountain pen takes either long or short international ink cartridges, or a standard international converter (mine came with a converter). If you like the look of the pen, but don't like fountain pens, it comes in rollerball form as well.

If you wish, you can get a cool-looking crystal-shaped glow-in-the-dark Benu pen stand for your 'Briolette' ; they come in two different colours and actually fit all Benu pens. They're usually sold separately, although some Benu dealers have sold the stand & 'Briolette' pen together for a discounted price (the official Benu online store currently has a store-exclusive pen stand & matching 'Briolette' pen).

The tiny-but-mighty crab holding my new Benu pen was also purchased from The Inky Paw's online store. It was designed by a Mr. Tanaka, a Japanese artist who originally designed the crabs to hold drawing tablet pens. According to the Inky Paw, they're made of PVC plastic and hand-painted, so no two are alike. I chose the so-called "Horror" crab, named so because of the human eyes painted on it (which make it sound really spooky, but it's actually not).

All in all, I'm very happy with my first Benu fountain pen...and I don't think it'll be my last :)

One last thing I forgot to mention earlier -- all of the packaging the pen came in is recyclable, which is welcome news for those who don't keep their pen boxes. Many thanks to for the Benu pen and the adorable crab pen holder!

~Photos & review by Maja ~

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 231

Last October, we featured Stuart's Graf von Faber-Castell "Guilloche" fountain pen in "Gulf Blue". Today, we're featuring another handsome light-blue fountain pen made by that company -- Stuart's  Faber-Castell 'Ambition' "OpArt Blue Lagoon"!

From their official website: "The elegant models of the OpArt serie are based on a lovely idea: it is a tribute to optical art, a stylistic art form from the 1960s....(The) barrel (is) made of precious resin featuring a fine guilloche pattern of geometric lines and colors for a three dimensional effect."

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

Stuart writes: "The resin barrel gives it a great, warm grip that’s easy to hold, and the steel nib is typical of F-C’s - super-smooth and a pleasure to write with.  The barrel’s patterning gives visual texture and interest to it, making for a sophisticated overall look."

I fully agree with Stuart re: Faber-Castell's steel nibs - they are very smooth and a joy to use. Thanks for sharing your new fountain pen with us, Stuart!

And, as always, many thanks to all of our pen club members who have sent in photos and reviews for our virtual "show & tell"; your contributions to our blog have been very much appreciated (and please keep 'em coming!)

Monday, July 26, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 230

Today's post is an in-depth review of a vintage German fountain pen that Anthony recently acquired in an eBay lot of NOS pens and pen parts (he wrote about the parts pens here) ...

(review & photos courtesy of Anthony ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Collectors Review of Kaweco VP6 S ca. 1960 - 65

First Impression 8/10 

This pen was one of six Kaweco 1960s pens I came across that were part of an auction lot on the German eBay site ( They were new-old-stock with boxes and papers. This example has a polished Cobalt Blue plastic barrel which push fits to a matt-silver metal cap. It’s simple, slim, lightweight, and evocative of the Sixties in look and feel. The pen is well balanced when un-posted, I rarely post myself, I do feel confident that those who do, will find this pen comfortable.

                 Early sixties prices for the series ranged from 8.20 to more than 11 deutschmarks – this example: 8.75 dm

Appearance 8/10
The barrel has a small window on either side of the blue plastic barrel so the user can see if there is a spare cartridge on board (ideal feature for students). The barrel and grip use plastic threads. The Kaweco logo on the end of the barrel is a simple K embossed in plastic rather than the familiar circular logo – makes me think this is an early Sixties example. The only metal parts are as follows:
1) The bright ring that the barrel screws against is bonded to the grip ahead of the threads.
2) The gold-plated steel nib.
3) The steel cap.
4) The clutch ring – see below.

V means hooded nib. P (Patron) means cartridge filler. S means steel cap. Some VP models in this pen series (the VP & V range) have plastic caps. The least expensive pens in the VP range are grey plastic (body & cap) with a bright clip. Despite the simple design and lack of ornamentation, the VP6 S pen feels sturdy in its construction. I’m sure some students managed to either lose or destroy their V & VP pens -- however, a replacement would have been reasonably priced (around 8 dm at the bottom of the range). The VP6 S appears more appropriate for a teacher, or at any rate a senior student.

Design/Size/Weight (Rating 8/10)
Some serious Germanic thinking went into the design of this series of pens. They were likely the least expensive pens in the Kaweco lineup at the time (i.e., during the Sixties and Seventies). They appear specifically tailored to students and local education authorities in Germany and nearby Germanic speaking countries. At the time Kaweco was primarily competing against Pelikan (the Pelikano for example), and still struggling to revive from the post-war period of austerity. Very little innovation was done by Kaweco during this period. Nevertheless, the VP and V range seem well designed to meet the needs of their target market. A professor for example could choose a VP model in all black with gold trim and a 14c gold nib. Nib options were extensive, all nibs were gold, either plated or 14c. The pen weighs about 17 grams when inked and with a spare cartridge in the barrel. At 134 (5¼ in) x 12 mm (½ in) dia., the VP6 S is about the same size as other popular full-size pens of the period.

                                                                             clutch ring - corroded

Unfortunately, the review VP6 S example suffered damage in storage. The pen must have been stored for decades, but not in a dry environment. The cap clutch ring consists of a spring clip attached to the inside of the cap. The ring is made from what appears to be spring steel. The ring suffered from corrosion -- when the cap was removed for the first time in a very long time, the corroded surface of the ring scraped “tram lines” down the grip. Not immediately noticeable unless you rotate the pen near a light source. Possibly it could be buffed out, I’ve left it as it is.  

Nib (Rating 10/10)

KF nib, which means (Kugel Fein) or Ball-tip fine. An exceptionally well-made nib that is a pleasure to use. The nib allows the user to write on various angles, more so than a regular nib – it’s versatile and rugged enough for use in school.

Filling System (Rating 8/10)
Standard international cartridges and converters fit this pen, not a tight fit in my example, but in those cases, a tiny spring can be placed at the end of the barrel behind the spare cartridge -- (if desired) to prevent the inked cartridge from working loose.

Cost and Value (Rating 9/10)
My early Sixties example has an original price label of 8.75 deutschmarks (dm) and cost me around $15 cad (as part of a large lot). I regularly see similar pens for sale in the $50 to $100 usd range described as mint NOS – I expected to have to clean ink from the feed, which I did, but otherwise initially found the pen in as-new condition.

Conclusion (Total Rating 8/10)
I removed the clutch ring and replaced it with three layers of “precision” cut masking tape placed inside the cap. A hack to be sure, but it does work to keep the nib wet and ready to write. I’m happy to periodically change out the tape for the privilege of using this attractive well-designed student pen that has a fantastic nib. Why are “Kugel Feins” not an option today? I believe my VP6 S is an early example, perhaps around 1960 or 1961. Screw-on caps appear to be more common than push-fit on other/later pens in the series. 




Many thanks to Anthony for this excellent review of his new vintage Kaweco fountain pen!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 229

Today we're featuring this beautiful Parker Sonnet Accession SE Fountain Pen recently acquired by honourary VPC member Glenn G. from Australia...

Glenn: "The Sonnet was introduced in 1994 as the replacement for the iconic Parker 75; as such, it was, intended to be a ‘classic’ Parker, timeless and well-proportioned, with a generously sized nib and excellent writing performance. 18 designs were introduced, ranging from premium to budget models, differentiated by 4 different nib styles, ranging from two-tone 18K solid gold highlighted with rhodium plating, through engraved 18K solid gold, 23K gold plated stainless steel to plain stainless steel. In 2003 the Sonnet line was reduced to 12 models and got a face-lift in the form of a flatter clip screw and a broad cap band."

"The Sonnet is arguably a worthy successor to the Parker "75", even though some have been found to have problems with the ink feed and drying out if left uncapped for a while, mostly pens with the F & EF nibs. This issue has given Sonnets a bad reputation among collectors and a common joke to the effect of “if your Sonnet always starts without a problem, it’s probably a Chinese counterfeit.” Indeed, there are many counterfeit pens in circulation, which of itself attests to the popularity of the model… there’s little point copying one that isn’t going to sell."

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

"Despite its fancy engraving with a crown and E II R, the gold plated nib (M only) clearly puts this 2002 Special Edition of the Sonnet in the 3rd of the 4 tiers, which surprised me; I thought a solid 14k nib would have been more appropriate to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. I haven’t used it yet, but I have read that the nib is smooth and a bit springy."

"There is no date code, but the satin finish cap is imprinted with “Accession The Queen’s Golden Jubilee”, and that most definitely was in 2002. The barrel & section are finished in Royal Purple lacquer, and the cap has a purple jewel. This shade is very dark, and needs to be viewed in good light to appreciate its true colour; in low light it is easily mistaken for black."

"Personally speaking, it’s an attractive pen and I’m delighted to have got it after quite a wait and a lot of looking. Conversely, I am not a fan of most more recent Parkers, Sonnets included; their patterns are just not to my taste… the term ‘overblown’ comes to mind for many. Consequently, this particular Sonnet, #34 in my collection, is likely to be my last… unless, of course, an especially nice and affordable ‘vintage’ one turns up

Glenn - congratulations on the latest addition to your wonderful Parker 'Sonnet' collection, and many thanks for sharing it with us!  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 228

Today we're featuring a couple of items that Stuart picked up in downtown Vancouver recently. The first is a metal-bodied, cartridge-filling fountain pen sold by the Japanese store Daiso (on Granville Street) which he acquired for the princely sum of $2.25:

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

Stuart: "The Daiso pen has a very stiff nib, and the ink flow isn’t great, although that could be my particular pen. It’s an ideal no-worry pen as it’s so cheap!"

Stuart's other new acquisition is an interesting piece of ephemera relating to a handwriting method developed by a Canadian educator in Victoria and used by millions of Canadian schoolchildren from 1921 until the mid-1990s:

From the Creston Museum website (link to article):
"For decades, the leading guide in teaching and learning penmanship was The MacLean Method of Printing and Writing. It was developed in 1921 by H.B. MacLean, a school principal, as a way of addressing teachers’ complaints that they couldn’t read the sloppy handwriting of their students. He devised a “scientific” way of teaching handwriting, starting with fundamentals like how to position the paper and how to sit in the chair, and going all the way up to precise formation of every letter in the cursive alphabet. Students could earn certificates documenting their success every step of the way – at the upper levels, they could even send samples of their penmanship to MacLean himself for grading!"

Here's one such MacLean Method certificate that Stuart found at a second-hand Vancouver bookstore:  

Stuart: "I’m just guessing about the MacLean certificate, but I think it was issued prior to the Second World War. But it could be from the early post-war era. As the student was working with pencil, they would have been in the early stages of learning the method, before graduating to using a dip-pen and an inkwell, which their teacher would have filled at their desk! That the certificate has survived in such good condition indicates it was something the student prized and kept carefully."

Some further reading ~ Article in the "British Columbia Historical News", the journal of the B.C. Historical Federation -"H.B. MacLean’s Method of Writing" (pgs 8-12 of PDF)

Stuart--many thanks for sharing these latest finds with us :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 227

From A counter pen is a pen designed to be affixed to the counter or table of an institution, such as a bank or a post office, typically by a chain, ball chain or plastic cord, making it less likely that the pen will be accidentally or purposefully removed. A 1938 issue of The Bankers Monthly describes the concept: "The pen also gives a better write than the ordinary counter pen. The ink stand cannot be stolen, for it is fastened to the counter or desk. Besides, a chain between pen and stand prevents anyone from wandering away with the pen."

Today we're featuring a vintage counter pen belonging to VPCer Stuart, who initially didn't realize who its well-known manufacturer was...

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

Stuart: "Among the desk-sets that Joe Cocker gave me, and that Christopher Robertson kindly drove over from Coquitlam, was this one, which I first thought was a no-name set. But it’s actually not!”

"I discovered while browsing Sheaffer desk-sets on eBay today that the “generic” set I have in the kitchen is actually a Sheaffer, and dates from the late 50’s, so much older than I thought! One on eBay (with a presentation plaque dated 1959) has an intact label on the bottom - mine has no label, so I didn’t bother examining the pen closely. When I did, the faint imprint revealed it’s a Canadian Sheaffer production. So the lack of a label and the different style of the pen holder and socket fooled me! Mine has a Schmidt Parker Jotter-style refill in it - when that eventually dies, I’ll put a Sheaffer one in, a new one should fit."

There's an advertisement for a set like Stuart's (minus the chain) in the 1957 Sheaffer's "Handbook for Secretaries" on the PCA website (link to handbook- see page 14). There's no model number for the set in the ad, but Stuart says the set he saw on eBay had model number D395 on its sticker.

Update: Stuart found his desk set in the 1955 Sheaffer catalog (which was uploaded after this blog post was made)! It's on the third-to-last page and it's called the "Sheaffer Fineline Ballpoint Desk Set".

Our thanks to Stuart for sharing his photos of this cool "blast from the past" with us!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 226

Back to fountain pens we go with a brand-new acquisition belong to honourary VPC member Glenn G. in Australia --a lovely Pelikan M605 Green-White Fountain Pen!

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

Glenn: "The ‘New Style’ M60X was introduced in 1997, and the latest version, released this month (July 2021) is the M605 Green-White special edition. Its quietly sparkly green cellulose acetate stripes are accented by white resin and the palladium plated stylized beak clip, two cap bands, two trim rings at the piston knob and one at the section.

The barrel lacks a definite ink view window, which personally is not a problem, but it does upset some; on the other hand, it is moderately translucent when held up to a light source. The white contrasts nicely with the green, although some users have concerns that it might stain; I’ve not had that problem myself. Nevertheless, both factors may combine to discourage some Pelikan fans from buying this particular issue."

"The usual nib widths of EF, F, M, and B are offered in 14K/585 gold, rhodium plated to match the trim. The box style introduced with the M600 Pink (oblong with green laces to match the pen), is surprisingly smart.

I read recently that the Pelikan parent company has had financial issues in recent years, not helped by the pandemic, and this is perhaps reflected in its higher price vs its predecessors. However, it will only be available while supplies last and my flock includes the others in the series, so I have opted to keep the set going, buying mine from Appelboom at the best price I could find.

Despite the price, I do not regret buying this beautiful pen; it is much prettier than the advertising photos, which few people trusted anyway, and which make the green look pale and bland… in reality, it is anything but."

Many thanks to Glenn for sharing the newest member of his Pelikan flock with us :)

Friday, July 16, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 225

       (please click on images to enlarge)

The newest additions to my Parker 'Dimonite' writing instrument and pen pin collections ... 


I posted about the other four Parker 'Dimonite' writing instruments I own here back in May. This newest one is a ballpoint in the "Blue Mint" colour, which means I only have one more colour to collect---"Preussian blue" (or "Prussian blue"??). As they were only manufactured for three years (2002-2005), Dimonite' pens don't come up for sale very often, but I remain hopeful...


The pen came from an eBay seller in Serbia, but it was shipped from Northern Macedonia! It took a while to get here, but it arrived, safe and sound. I'm not sure if that's the pen's original box, but it did its job protecting my beautiful new ballpoint on its long journey here (I apologize for the photo quality--the pen's colour is actually more muted... and I think it looks much nicer in person)

The two Waterman pins above came in a lot of four pins from an eBay seller located in France. The little ink bottle spouting ink (Waterman "South Sea Blue", perhaps??) says "Encre Waterman" so the pin might have been made after Waterman’s English plant closed (around 1970), leaving just the French factory in Saint-Herblain (which opened in 1967). The calligraphic "W" on the other pin is the current Waterman logo. The little lavender fountain pen on it, however, isn't a Waterman model I recognize ;) 

I don't know when the pins were made and I don't know if they're contemporaneous, but I got them for an excellent price (<$6 CAD) and they're now in my budding pen pin collection, along with my little Parker 'Quink' pin (which I posted about here, back in March).

~Photos & write-up by Maja ~

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 224

Today's featured item is the newest addition to Jerred's amazing Delta fountain pen collection!

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

Jerred: "This interesting little pen is a Delta 'Astra'. Unlike many other pens made by Delta over the years, the Astra very clearly takes its design cues from vintage pens, notably 1920s-era Parker pens like the Duofold Jr. and Lucky Curve. Like those pens, the Astra is made of ebonite (hard rubber), has a flat top design, and a double cap band. It also has a fairly intricate blind engraving that I've highlighted in the picture below. Ebonite was not a common material for Delta to use in pens, but it was used in a few other models such as the Roma Imperiale as well as the 'Return to China' set that commemorated Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule from the British. The particular version pictured below is polished black ebonite, but the Astra also came in green swirl and red wood grained ebonite as well. The Astra was released in 1995."

"Another interesting feature is that the Astra is a lever-filled fountain pen. Believe it or not, Delta made lever-filled pens on a regular basis and it was a point of pride for the company. There are a number of Delta 'Celebration' series pens (their top finish for limited edition sets) that are lever-fillers, and they were made right up until the company went out of business. Unfortunately, Delta also had a habit of making their lever-fillers little bit difficult to use as the nail knicks were often just a bit too small. Unfortunately, this also extends to the Astra; the lever is usable, but somewhat fiddly."

"The pen comes with a Delta early #4 sized, 18k gold nib with the stylized "D" logo. The nib has a bit of give to it despite being relatively small, and it's a lovely writer." 

As always--our thanks to Jerred for his fine photos and write-ups about his newest finds :)

Monday, July 12, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 223

Last year, we mentioned how pens with rose gold trim appeared to be trending. Another popular trend is the all-black fountain pen, often referred to as a "stealth" fountain pen. Today, we're featuring one of them on this blog, namely Lawrence's handsome Visconti 'Michelangelo'...

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

Lawrence: "This Michelangelo was one of my first "all black" pens. I went through a phase where I collected a whole bunch of black or dark coloured pens. I have a few red / burgundy inks that I have been waiting to try a pen with (e.g. Diamine Syrah) and so black pens are perfect for this." 

"This pen had a magnetic cap with the Visconti logo on it, I believe it comes off and you can customize it ("my pen" system or some gimmicky thing like that...not my thing really as it's fine the way it is)."

"The clip has spring function on it and it seems Visconti has a similar look to all their pen clips. It's supposedly an homage to a famous bridge in Florence (???)." [Ed. note--Yes, the Ponte Vecchio :]

"The nib is black coated and writes very nice. It's a fine point but it writes like a medium...which is unusual for a Visconti. Apparently Visconti nibs are not very consistent so maybe I got an odd one. Regardless it writes well and does not skip. It is on the dry side of things, but it improved with wetter inks like Pilot and, in this case, I used the Ferris Wheel Tanzanite Sky (I did it to test the ink out, but this pen will eventually be inked with Syrah)."

"I like that fact it is decidedly "not flashy" being all black. Very stealth in a way. My other black pens have flashy parts, but this one is all black. The nib finish is durable enough (I have an MB pen with this finish and it flaked off...). It's not a regular member of my "grail pen posse" but it does get used ever so often. It's quite reliable." 

Our thanks to Lawrence for sharing another of his pen-related acquisitions with us on our club's blog!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 222

Now, here's a fountain pen model we've never seen at a Vancouver Pen Club meeting before (as far as I know) - a vintage Waterman that VPC member Anthony discovered in an online auction...

(all photos courtesy of Anthony, except where noted ~ please click on images to enlarge)

                                                       (Unknown pen parts - photo source)

Anthony: "I scored six 1960s Kaweco NOS (new-old-stock) pens in a recent online auction – but I’m not going to discuss the Kawecos this time. As part of that haul, there were some NOS pen parts that I couldn't easily identify. Once I had them in my hands, I found identifying attributes. The caps have the name Waterman stamped on the clip. The barrels are faceted in a very pleasing cobalt blue colour. The nib-sections house a hooded nib. Behind the nib there is no feed. I did my homework and found I had parts from several Waterman WATs (X-Pen series). Unfortunately, I lacked the capillary tube that the pen uses to "feed" the nib. A pad of felt-like material is bonded behind the nib and is supposed to contact the open end of the capillary tube. These pens are designed to ink themselves. It is on the face of it a simple design. You immerse the nib in ink and wait ten minutes or so, and the pen fills itself. The filler mechanism consisted of the capillary tube which should contain a compressed roll of a type of muslin which readily absorbs fountain pen ink. Here is how the capillary tube looks:"
                                                            (Capillary tube - photo source)

                                                           (Necessary parts - photo source)

"These capillary tubes are almost impossible to find without paying for a complete and rare near-mint Waterman X-Pen or WAT. I believe the end of the capillary tube touches the felt material near the nib. I soaked my nib sections for a few days until the water ran through clean (using a pear bulb and a flushing cartridge). While doing this I noticed that when I pushed the cartridge into the nib-section it readily held in place without using undue force. Readily removable as well. You might guess what I did next. Yes, I topped up (with distilled water) a circa. 1998 Rotring turquoise cartridge I had handy. I pushed it into the nib-section. Re-assembled the barrel, hey presto – It writes!

Since that revelation I’ve discovered that the experience is very similar to a regular cartridge/converter pen, albeit with a slight increase in wetness. The nib used in my experiment is an F. I also tried a PF nib (Pfannenfeder – Pan spring nib), but that did not perform nearly as well. The PF nib required a higher rate of ink flow and would write a third of a page-paragraph or so before skipping dry. It needed a few sharp taps on a blotting pad before continuing for another paragraph. I had two fine nibs in the haul, so from the available parts, I assembled two complete pens and filled one with Rotring Royal Blue - and passed it to Paulette my wife, so far, she’s very happy with it. The other I kept Rotring Turquoise in, and I'm finding it can be left for a few days at least and then starts up again without hesitation. Calculating what I spent for the pens relative to what I paid for the entire lot, I estimate around $15 each. Yes, it is a hack, but I don’t feel guilty about that, the pen works great so far."

                                                                   (Fully assembled)

                                                                       (The hack)

                                                                 (How it writes)

"If you’d like to know more about the history of the Waterman WAT pen you can look here."

Anthony--great job with the filing system hack (and for identifying the Waterman model, in the first place). Many thanks for sharing your finds on our pen club's site!

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 221

Today we're shining a spotlight on another lovely Italian fountain pen recently acquired by Jerred (and it's not a Delta!).....

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

Jerred: "This is a Pineider 'La Grande Bellezza' (The Great Beauty).  Pineider is a pen company that was founded (or resurrected) by Dante Delvecchio, one of the original co-founders of Visconti.  The current Pineider pens share a lot of design features with some Visconti pens, including a magnetic capping system, metal section, spring-loaded clip, and the use of bright acrylic resins.  This particular pen is part of the 'Gemstone' series, which supposedly incorporate marble dust in to the acrylics used to make the pens.  This particular finish is the Lapis Blue."
"There are certainly some interesting features.  I've mentioned the magnetic capping system already, but this pen will also post magnetically as well, something not present on Visconti pens.  The magnetic also uses di-pole magnetics, meaning the pen will only cap in certain orientations.  The front end of the grip section is textured and the section is deeply indented, likely to ensure that the pen won't slip while writing."
"By far the oddest feature, though, is the cap band.  It contains the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" in its entirety, in relief.  This is an example of a pangram, or a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet.  It's also commonly used as a way to test the writing qualities of a fountain pen.  I could understand how it would appeal as a design motif, but having it written in its entirety is a bit strange.  Parts of the pangram are visible in the photo above."

"This pen uses one of Pineider's 'Quill' nibs, which are 14k nibs tempered and shaped to provide some give when writing.  While the nib is certainly on the soft side, I'd refrain from calling it a flex or semi-flex nib as the feed doesn't really provide sufficient inkflow for constantly writing under pressure.  Unfortunately, the nib on this pen was complete trash out of the package.  Despite being sized as a fine, it writes as a wet medium.  It was also so badly overpolished that it would skip on every second word.  Not a difficult issue to fix, but not something you want to see on an expensive purchase."
Many thanks to Jerred for sharing his thoughts and photos of this beautiful writing instrument with us!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 220

A few days ago, longtime Vancouver Pen Club member Christopher asked me if I could post these photos, along with his write-up, to " tribute to the chap that was the catalyst regarding my interest in this pen collecting hobby." I said "Of course!", so without further ado...

Christopher: "There is little if any tribute to a great and dear late friend of mine, Mr. David Howes. For those of us who knew him, it was all about his love and collection of the Parker 51. In fact, if you visited his home on Point Grey Road and were lucky enough to see his huge collection of Parker 51 pens covering most of one wall of his basement, it would stop you in your tracks with amazement. David definitely had other vintage pens, but the 51 was by far his most favourite." 

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

Christopher: "I met David in early 1980 when he was called upon to incorporate my company and in turn become my company’s accountant and controller. And right from the get go, I noticed that he carried a full complement of Parker fountain pens in his breast pocket. In the years that followed, I often visited him at his house where he would show me this pen and that as his great scores of the day. On one such visit he brought out an ‘Old Store Stock’ first year 51 set in its original box and assured me that it never had been used. So, as a tribute to David, I decided to select some of my favourite Parker 51 vintage pens and in inking them up use them in my pen round up for the week up and coming. Needless to say I am sure he would most definitely approve."

Christopher: "Thank you David for this wonderful pen collecting hobby."

And thank you, Christopher, for sharing your memories of your late pen mentor (and a photo of the classic vintage pen model he loved so much :)

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 219

A few weeks ago, we featured some of Stuart's Parker ballpoints--both vintage and modern--in our National Ballpoint Day 2021 blog post. Since then, Stuart acquired two more nice ballpoints--a vintage example made in the U.S. (and no, it's not a Parker!) and a modern classic made in Switzerland...

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

Stuart:"The first is an uncommon Lady Stratowriter that Sheaffer made in the late 40’s (the pen on the right in the photo above). It’s shorter than the full-size model, and clip-less, like the Lady Sheaffer’s were later on. It’s from Bob Speerbrecher, and he modified the current Sheaffer refill to fit in the pen - it works fine. The finish is gold filled over brass- it’s very solid. There’s a blank cartouche panel where engraving could be done. And there’s a pattern of alternating straight and wavy lines, very elegant. The pen reminds me of the Kimberly Pockette, a simple compact bullet shape."

"And also today, my VP (Vancouver Pen Shop) purchase - one of the flamboyant Caran d’Ache 849 “Claim Your Own Style” pens. They’re selling them at 30% off to clear them out. I love the vivid yellow of this version, with the bronze clip and red button, very sexy!"

Congrats on the new acquisitions, Stuart, and many thanks for the write-up and photos of these cool pocket ballpoints (and your two "Summer Reading" posts from earlier this month)!

A big 'thank you' to everyone in our pen club who has contributed to our online "show & tell" over the past fourteen and a half months - your photographs and reviews (short or long... it doesn't matter!) are all very much appreciated. We're going to keep the virtual "show & tell" going until we meet again in person (whenever that is). Until then, stay safe, stay cool, and have a great summer!

Best wishes,

Friday, July 2, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 218

During our ongoing virtual "show & tell", we've featured several Moonman fountain pen models---Jerred's full-sized M800, my two mid-sized S3s, and Daryl's pocket-sized N2. Today, we're featuring Trevor's new Moonman S5 !

Something a little different: The Moonman S5

Trevor: "I’ll be transparent with you, after trying a Moonman replacement nib for my vintage Parker 45 with feed problems, I wasn’t sure about the Moonman brand. However, Shanin and I were browsing Amazon one evening, trolling for interesting pens, when we happened across the Moonman S5. I was awestruck. Shanin said, with an unclouded mind, that she could see through my attempts to be coy. My eyes had gone glassy and glazed over. Clearly I needed this pen. The multicoloured section and gold nib were definite attractions, but the crystalline body was the star of the show! The kit included 2 extra nibs and an eye-dropper. I was sold. Trigger pulled. Now we wait."

(all photos courtesy of Trevor ~ please click on images to enlarge...and see more clearly)

"The hours felt like days and the days like months, but finally the package arrived 4 days later. The tin box was a nice touch. The words upon it: “Moonman, feel the temperature of writing!” spoke to my soul. Yes Moonman, I can clearly feel the temperature."


"Opening the box I am greeted by the eyedropper with the bright red squeezy part, and the extra nibs in medium-ish and Italic/Broad. I almost didn’t see the pen itself as it camouflaged itself well against the white of the inner box. But I knew where to look and found it quickly."


"The acrylic body is really light, fits the hand nicely and is comfortable to use. The taper of the back of the pen helps make the angle of the nib to paper seemingly perfect. The Fine nib is smooth and the italic one is just wide enough to give my less than stellar penmanship a touch of flair. I have yet to try the third one. The cap posts reasonably well, but why would you do that? The crystal clear nature of the body makes the chosen ink pellucid and the quantity remaining is easy to gauge. I filled it right away with Monteverde Caribbean Blue and was stunned to see how dark the ink is despite how light it looks on paper."

"My faith in Moonman has been restored. I clearly need to have a look at some of their other offerings and give them a try."

LOL! Trevor, many thanks for the photos and write-up; your review, um, clearly demonstrates how much you love your new pen! 😉