Saturday, May 11, 2024

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 518

Here's another installment of our virtual show & tell, this time featuring a vintage fountain pen with an interesting filling system, recently acquired by Christopher!

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

Christopher writes: "When the word ‘Rexall’ comes up, most can only think of one thing, and that is drugstores. Still, I am sure a lot do not know the history behind the name. As the story goes, in 1902 Louis Liggett, founder and CEO of the United Drug Company, persuaded all of 40 druggists to invest in a drug company that would manufacture and distribute products in franchised stores. This franchise was branded ‘Rexall’, as were the products sold. The business saw wings and Rexall became a household word with the invention of the drugstore, which spread all over North America

One of the many Rexall products was a quality line of fountain pens, which saw many different models over the years. My Rexall pen is a sleeve filler --referred to on its barrel as a ‘Self Filler’-- and was made by the Samuel Ward company of Boston, but supplied to the United Drug Company by De Witt-La France company of Cambridge, Massachusetts for United to retail under their Rexall branding throughout their extensive line of drugstores in North America."

"The pen in question is an early black hard rubber model, with a beautifully chased finish on both cap and barrel. The cap is long and clipless, but covers a grip section sporting a superb 14K Gold super flexy, high quality Warranted nib. Moving aft, the barrel houses a movable sleeve under which is a nickel-plated tube with a oval hole at the mid point. In this hole is a long flat metal bar under which is the ink sack. By pressing down on the bar --having been exposed by sliding down the sleeve on the barrel-- a thumb can be used to depress the bar expressing the air out of the ink sack. This, in turn, allows the sack (through capillary action) to suck in ink when the pen is inserted into an ink bottle. The system works extremely well, as does the pen to write with.

Personally, I have only come across one other sleeve filler, a Waterman. Subsequently, it is not a stretch of faith to realize that fountain pens with sleeve fillers are somewhat rare. This fine quality vintage writing instrument posts at all of six and a half inches, but caps back responsibly to five and an eighth inches. The overall condition is, for all of its many years of service, very fine and, I am pleased to add, will make a excellent addition to my vintage pen collection."

Congratulations to Christopher on a very nice vintage find, and our thanks to him for sharing it on our club's blog!

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