Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 436

Don't forget our November in-person meeting next Thursday --November 17-- at the Vancouver Pen Shop --all details here!

In the meantime, here's a nice write-up about one of Christopher's newest acquisitions--a handsome vintage British fountain pen--and the presentation box he made for it....

Christopher begins: "I think we can call this one.....’Onoto Just For Fun’..."

He continues: "Quite honestly, I was not that familiar with Onoto fountain pens until just recently. What’s more, at first glance, I thought their manufacturer hailed from France. The name Del a Rue certainly had that ring about it. Still, Mr. Thomas Del a Rue was a master printer who emigrated from Saint Peter Port on the island of Guernsey to London, England in 1821, where he set up a high quality printing business which flourished for many years. In turn, it cornered the local market for the reproduction of currency and postage stamps. With the strength and success of his printing, in 1906 he turned his attention to writing instruments, amongst other things. Above all, though, his focus --as it had been with commercial printing-- was to produce a high quality self-filling fountain pen. To this end, he introduced and had patented an advanced fountain pen pneumatic filler. He also chose a name for his line of pens that was both unique and catchy. The Onoto pen or, as he branded it, ‘The Pen’ caught on and stuck around until 1958. Quite a lengthy run for any line of writing instruments."
"More recently, I stumbled across a Del a Rue Onoto, but a pen produced by the company in its twilight years. Dated circa 1954, with the Del a Rue code number of 16, this pen sports a lever filler. Shiny jet black in colour, but far from a plain Jane, I was immediately impressed with the quality. The fittings are 14K Gold filled and although there is an absence of the original ball ended clip (which I will replace in time), a very attractive Atkin Lambert, Mercantile accommodation clip sits well on the pen’s cap. The grip section is matching in finish and houses an exquisite Warranted Del a Rue branded flexy 14K Gold nib. Admittedly I was a bit confused that a so called Warranted nib would carry a manufacturer’s branding, but found that in the UK this was often the case."

"Now when I labeled this text ‘Just for Fun’, this is definitely where my fun began. I wanted to have a suitable pen box for my new acquisition and to this end, had a mid 1930s pen box that was perfect for my interest. It had no box top label so I sourced a suitable Del a Rue, Onoto label on the internet and printed out a label which just complimented the box top perfectly. For the inside of the box lid, I chose a midnight blue card stock and cut it to fit into the box top but at the same time, I wanted this inside area to house a Del a Rue, Onoto printed piece of ephemera. So I cut matching midnight blue cloth ribbons and attached them in place to hold the Onoto ephemera. I, in turn, used an acid-free book binder’s glue to mount the inside box top insert. Once this was effectively done, I sourced a suitable Del a Rue, Onoto printed piece of ephemera and printed it to size, and folded it to fit into the inside of the box lid. And just to make it more in keeping with the period, I stained the paper stock ephemera with several bags of British Breakfast tea.

Next, I turned to the box bottom and made a insert tie down card with a suitable angle to show off my lovely Del a Rue, Onoto. This I covered with the same midnight blue card stock as the box lid insert. Then, it was simply a mater of punching the holes for the elasticated tie down cord to hold the pen in place. As a final touch I sourced, once again on the internet, a Del A Rue triangle logo and cut and glued it into a complementary spot on the lower right side of the box tie down card insert. Although this pen case is far from original, it is extremely satisfying and sets off and protects my brilliant Del a Rue to perfection. In time, I will enjoy using this pen but, for now, it will join the other vintage pens in my collection." 

Nicely done, Christopher :) Thank you for the photos and review of your latest vintage find!

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