Posted in Refurbish

#ThrowbackThursday

Oops, I’m doing it again. I had a different topic planned but I’m not feeling inspired (or maybe it is lazy). I’ve dug up and am sharing an original post from yesteryear. Don’t worry, I’ve corrected the spelling and grammar issues, plus I polished up the story a bit but only just a bit.

This Throwback Thursday post is going way, way back. I’m presenting my Waterman Ideal 52 vest pen – it is 97 years old. (Click the Ping Backlink to read the full story.)

Waterman Ideal 52 Vest pen

It is made of black chased hard rubber (BCHR) and shows significant signs of sun damage plus the nib appears to have some damage. The nib is an oddity, the pen came with a #2 Mabie Todd opposed to a Waterman #2 nib. The nib is over a Waterman feed with what appears to be the letters “ST” above the numbers “17 16.” I determined that this design is detailed in patent 1,201,951A and the mysterious markings are the patented date Oct 17, 1916.

It looks really ugly above, but it cleaned up nicely. Just click the link to read all about the process and see the refurbished pictures.

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COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Pens, Stories

Celluloid – Real, Fake & FIRE!

In this last discussion of my favorite vintage pen materials, I am presenting celluloid. Why do I like celluloid you ask. Unfortunately, that is a detailed answer you see. There are two kinds of celluloid; one made with cellulose nitrate and another made from cellulose acetate. I have both but I prefer the cellulose nitrate. It has a warm feel, much like ebonite, and a pleasant camphor fragrance. It’s much easier to generate vibrant colors and interesting patterns.

Cellulose nitrate (Real Celluloid)

The primary ingredient of celluloid is cellulose nitrate. Cellulose is the most abundant organic polymer on Earth. Obtained primarily from wood pulp and cotton to produce paperboard and paper. Nitrating cellulose through exposure to a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid produces highly flammable cellulose nitrate.

Parker Vacumatic and Duofold in Celluloid

It was initially used as guncotton, a replacement for gunpowder. Cellulose nitrate was also used as a low-yield explosive in mining. So naturally, it should make a great medium for manufacturing pens – once it is plasticized with camphor, celluloid’s other essential component.

Spontaneous combustion is always a possibility; however, the most common failure of celluloid occurs as it ages. Exposure to the environment allows the camphor to sublimate at room temperature, reverting the celluloid to Cellulose nitrate. Another sublimation associated with exposure to excess heat affects nitrate.

Cellulose acetate (Fake Celluloid)

“Cellulose acetate is most commonly prepared by treating cellulose with acetic acid and then with acetic anhydride in the presence of a catalyst such as sulfuric acid.”

Onishi Seisakusho Celluloid Acetate pens photo credit Jet Pens

Cellulose acetate was made by dozens of companies with different brand names and formulations. According to Lambrou’s Fountain Pens of the World, there are four different cellulosic plastics used in fountain pens:

  • Cellulose Nitrate (real celluloid)
  • Cellulose Acetate
  • Cellulose Propionate
  • Cellulose Acetobutyrate

I ask, is cellulose acetate, etc. real celluloid? It is still being manufactured and called celluloid. Or is the determination of celluloid made because of cellulose?

Now for the bad news, both nitrate and acetate are classified as flammable substances, and subject to transportation restrictions plus storage and handling regulations. For this reason, contemporary celluloid pens are very uncommon; however, Italian companies, Montegrappa and Visconti manufacture pens from celluloid as does Onishi Seisakusho in Japan.

Fun Facts

  • Early billiard balls made of cellulose nitrate were known to explode occasionally.
  • Cellulose nitrate-based film has spontaneously ignited and that which has not burned has in a large part decomposes to red powder.
  • Allegedly a prisoner explodes a deck of celluloid playing cards to facilitate his escape.

How can I tell?

The simplest way to determine if celluloid is real is to take a whiff, it is all about the fragrance. Wet the pen and rub hard creating heat. It will not smell like plastic but like camphor. Honestly, I have no idea what camphor smells like but I can tell you a celluloid pen does not smell like a petroleum product, or a solvent.

You can also test by burning shavings. Acetate will have a vinegar smell and burn yellow while nitrate will smell of camphor and burn white. Yellow vs white seems like an inconclusive test.

For those with access to a microscope, place a shaving and lace on a glass slide. Add a droplet of acetone. If celluloid, it will promptly dissolve; casein, Bakelite, and acrylic will be unaffected. This test won’t tell us if the celluloid is real or fake.

Waxing

Waxes have not been shown to benefit hard rubber, while they can damage celluloid by preventing the escape of the acidic gas by-products celluloid naturally produce. The wax seals the celluloid, preventing the nitrocellulose gas from escaping, it is retained in the celluloid hastening decomposition.

In conclusion, I test by smell. I like real celluloid because it has a warm feel and it smells good. To me, the aroma is earthy with a medicinal undertone.

Reference Material

COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Pens, Reviews

Kaweco Student – School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days

The Kaweco Student made my 2022 wish list, though my interest was in the Student pen with the green cap. As we all know, I am a sucker for a deal and stumbled across a Student demo model at a really good price. I couldn’t say no.

Company Backstory

Kaweco is a German brand of writing implements, originally introduced by the Heidelberg Pen Company for its dip pens line in 1889. Kaweco became a public limited company in 1921, with an annual production of 130,000 fountain pens.

The company went bankrupt in 1930, Knust, Woringen & Grube (KWG) purchased the Kaweco company name, machines, stock, and patents. After the death of Frederik Grube, the company languished indeterminate until another bankruptcy in 1981. The brand was acquired in 1994 by the cosmetic company H&M Gutberlet Gmbh.

My Pen

As mentioned I purchased a Kaweco demo Student pen not the green one on my wish list. The pen is made from polished injection-molded acrylic with brass metal parts that are chrome plated, a stainless steel iridium-tipped nib, and accepts standard universal cartridges or converters. The pen is inspired by a design from the 1920s and ships in a retro gift tin. Ok, it’s not vintage but it is vintage-inspired.

Why demonstrator, welp the transparent design lets you see the internals, how much ink is left inside, and I think they are cool.

The clear acrylic barrel is crisp and clear while the chrome trim makes it pop – setting off its beauty. Not everyone likes a chrome or metallic section, that includes me but this demonstrator is the exception.

The barrel is not straight, it slowly tapers out to about mid-way then tapers inward to the end of the barrel.

The pen comes with 2 ink cartridges, of which only one is full. Good thing I have a syringe to refill the cartridges. I did find a converter at a really good price but I have put it off until refilling the cartridges becomes a problem or I simply get fed up. The pen accepts standard universal cartridges or converters but I’ve read reviews claiming this is not true. So make sure the converter is clearly approved for the Student.

The Kaweco logo is found on the end of the cap, the nib, and the feed.

The nib is stainless steel iridium-tipped nib. It is decorated with an etched scroll, the company logo, and the nib size, BB.

Time to insert the Royal Blue ink cartridge and give it a go. Compared to the Pilot CM nib the Kaweco BB is a pleasure and I like the CM nib.

Der Kaweco Student Demonstrator ist ein wunderbarer Stift. Ich habe einen neuen Favoriten und eine Lizenz zum Schreiben.

Vitals Statistics

  • Capped length, 131mm
  • Uncapped length, 119mm
  • Barrel diameter, 13mm
  • Cap diameter, 14.5mm
  • Weighs in at 26g

——————— Reference Material —————

Posted in Restoration

WTH Happened – Beware of Your Ink Choice

Back Story

The Waterman Expert was introduced circa 1995, as a lightweight plastic-bodied pen featuring a distinctive two-tone, beveled steel nib. The Expert I nib has a little piece of plastic going through the nib which maintains the nib in relation to the feed. The trademark “W” is aft of this plus “Waterman Paris” is engraved on the underside of the nib diameter.

On the cap between the trim rings is their trademark script “W,” with “Waterman Paris” on the opposite side. The jewel atop the cap is solid plastic embossed with “W”. The first generation of Experts had a much more robust and durable snap cap system than its predecessors.

Circa 2000, Waterman introduced the second-generation Expert. The body is now made of lacquer over brass much like the Hemisphere which dramatically increased the pen’s weight. The Expert II also sported a redesigned yet inferior nib. The clutch was also redesigned in the cap however, it failed to engage the barrel securely.

My Pen

Is Bordeaux in color (sounds so much better than burgundy) with gold trim accents. When I acquired the pen the nib was heavily crusted with dried ink, but the barrel and cap were free of scratches and tooth marks. Plus, there was no brassing of the cap rings or the clip.

The feed used in generation 1 Experts is unique. There is a small piece of plastic that protrudes through the nib, henceforth known as an anchor block. This piece of plastic sits atop of the fins of the feed. In this picture, the anchor block is facing in the wrong direction. It is so small I could not determine which direction it was facing. It is very easy to lose, especially on a carpet – experience speaking x2. The anchor block is about the size of an uncooked grain of rice.

Now things get interesting, where do I begin? I bought the pen knowing the tines needed some TLC. The tines bowed outward yet coming together at the tips. This I could correct and I did.

But when I removed the nib and feed from the section – SURPRISE! The diameter portion of the nib was heavily damaged. It appears the owner was an ignoramus having inked the pen with some sort of gallic ink and failed to clean the pen.

Damage caused by Gallic Ink

Welp iron-gall inks should only be used in dip pens, they contain gum arabic or maybe Ferro-gallic to increase the permanency of water-based ink. These chemicals are corrosive and both increase the already corrosive level of the ink. Resulting in damage to the nib and pen. I’m now looking for a gently used Expert I beveled steel nib and a feed.

With all this damage, I suspect the pen will have issues holding a vacuum inside the ink reservoir. However, I am considering making a go at repairing the nib using silver solder – what do I have to lose? The lesson to learn is this, Gallic ink is bad, while the pen is good. The previous owner used the wrong ink, did not clean the pen, and welp I now have one or two new topics to blog about. I look forward to the day when I can use the pen.

Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup?

Last month I reviewed the Monteverde Black Tie. I liked the feel and enjoyed how it writes but hated the pen. The cap would not stay securely attached resulting in an accident whereas I bent the tines. It’s a nice writing pen that cannot be trusted.

I’ve mixed up the usual suspects this month. The Pilot Prera is still inked and in use but I have rotated out the vintage Esterbrook J, and the Scrikss 419. Rotating in the Black Tie and the Duofold.

For October, I have pulled out the Kaweco Student Demonstrator. This pen made my Wish List for 2022,

Did you miss any of the past month’s blog posts? Welp, here is your chance to catch up…

  • It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup? Let’s see how I started September with a review of August. It’s a new month and time to shelve your current choice of pens in favor of new pens or those that may be long forgotten and feeling neglected. Also, let’s review how the pens from last month fared and recap the month’s postings.
  • Conklin Crescent Model 50 My pen is a Crescent Model 50 (aka S5) with a #5 nib and surprise it was in working order when I purchased it. The pen dates from 1918-1920. Looking good for her age.
  • “Black Tie” Optional I decided to delve into the Monteverdi catalog of pens finding the Black Tie. Unlike many pens, this one is made of carbon fiber and lots of chrome.
  • Casein “the most beautiful of plastics” Casein is a milk-derived plastic used to manufacture pens in the 1920s. It was very popular in England but never found an audience in the US.
  • Fountain Pen Ancestry, A Story Waiting to be Told I am highlighting the ancestry of 3 pens inscribed with their owner’s name. Maybe I have an overactive imagination or am hopelessly sentimental, each holds a story waiting to be known.
  • #ThrowbackThursday From time to time when I’m feeling inspired (or lazy), I will dig up and share an original post from yesteryear. This time I am going back 90+ yesteryears and presenting a pen by George W Heath – bet you haven’t heard of him?

In the News

Beyond the keyboard: Fountain pen collectors find beauty in ink, The Washington Post sends a Philistine to the DC Fountain Pen Super Show. “Billed as the world’s largest. Display areas … teemed as pen enthusiasts made their way along aisles, testing nibs with calligraphical flourishes and holding the barrels of pens carefully in their hands….”

‘Oh God I hate this’: King Charles expresses frustration over leaking pen, “The new monarch was shown signing a visitor’s book in front of cameras at Hillsborough Castle, near Belfast. He reacted after the pen he was using leaked on him….”I can’t bear this bloody thing … every stinking time,” Charles said as he walked away.”

Book Banning

Featuring book banning stories on Books of Brilliance.

Book Banning has Gotten Out of Control in the United States

“Book banning has been around for a long time but over the past year or so, it has increased tenfold. Many parents don’t want their kids to be reading certain books in school or libraries…. From July 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, 1145 books have been banned in school districts all over the United States”

LeVar Burton is not a fan of Book Banning

“I’ve been very, very, very clear about my position. And I’ve been very vocal. Read the banned books, ya’ll. If they don’t want you to read it, there’s a reason why. So read the books they don’t want you to read…”

Girls Who Code Founder Shocked By Book Being Banned

Pennsylvania’s Central York School District banned Girls Who Code without providing a reason for the ban. “They don’t want girls to learn how to code because that’s a way to be economically secure.” Reshma Saujani, the book’s author.

Musings

I have been searching for a vintage Conway Stewart casein pen and I may have found a couple. One includes the original manufacturer’s instructions which clearly specify “do not soak the pen in water,” but the color is meh. Another has colors that are impressive but the clip is heavily brassed. The search continues.

The Fall Equinox has come and gone thus begins the “holiday season.” The other morning I awoke to discover our kitchen had fallen victim to an infestation of plastic spiders. Last year I put 100 plastic spiders in our daughter’s bed – between the sheets. I did this one night when she working late at the hospital. We enjoy the Halloween season.

Also during the previous “holiday season,” I made up a doll to resemble Annabelle.

I crept into her house and strategically placed the doll on the back edge of the tub so that when she looked into the mirror she would see the doll behind her in the reflection….

COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Pens, Stories

Fountain Pen Ancestry, A Story Waiting to be Told

Good morning, yesterday.
You wake up and time has slipped away.
And suddenly it’s hard to find.
The memories you left behind … -Paul Anka

Tomorrow (27 September) is Nation Ancestor Appreciation Day – yes there really is such a thing. To commemorate, I am highlighting the ancestry of three of my pens. Maybe I have an overactive imagination, or hopelessly sentimental, both I’m sure, but each holds a story waiting to be known. So without further delay allow me to present the ancestral story of each pen.

1928 Parker Duofold Jr. (1921-1934)

Ellwood Arthur Leupold was born in 1906 to Gustavus & Paulina (Padorf) Leupold (first-generation German immigrants) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

When Ellwood landed his first “real” job as a draftsman for the telephone company he also invested in a decent writing instrument. He bought a Parker Duofold Jr (circa 1928). This investment cost him $7, equivalent to $105 today – a significant investment for a 22-year-old.

Ellwood subsequently accepted a job clerking at the Corn Exchange National Bank; I’m sure his Duofold followed. In 1945, Ellwood (39) married Mary T. Cuta (31), the daughter of Basil and Stella Cuta of Poland. The couple set up house with his parents in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia, where they remained for the remainder of their lives. By 1950, Ellwood accepted a new position, this one with the Bureau of Water as a draftsman. Sadly, the couple did not have any children. Ellwood died in August 1985; Mary survived him by 31 years, passing in 2016 at the age of 102.

1950 Philadelphia Census

Esterbrook Dollar Pen (1934-1942)

Doris Isabelle Stirratt and her twin sister Donna, were born in 1922 to Chauncy & Theresine Stiratt of Crookston, Minnesota. As the Great Depression drew to a conclusion so did her days in high school. Doris landed a job as an assistant teacher in the Beltrami County, Minnesota school system as part of the “New Deal” National Young Administration School Project.

You can’t start your first professional job and not be prepared, around this time Doris purchased an Esterbrook “Dollar” pen.

But teaching was not her thing, in 1947, Doris accepted a position with the Beltrami County government. A couple years passed and she met a charming young doctor just starting his practice (Grant “Bob” Garlock, MD), they were married in May of 1950. The couple managed 3 children before Grant was recalled to active duty in the US Army, commissioned a Lieutenant, and deployed to Korea.

Doris had artistic talent, to supplement a Lieutenant’s pay, Doris agreed to illustrate a science textbook for Professor Alfred M. Elliott, of the University of Michigan. Zoology was published in 1952, crediting Doris Stirratt Garlock for her wonderful drawings and unbound patience with him.

Of the many drawings in the textbook, this one caught my fancy as it included a slide rule. I’m sure everyone knows what a slide rule is.

After Grant’s return in 1953, their 4th child is born and Grant accepts a position at State Hospital for the Insane in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. This apparently did not go over well with Doris and Grant remained in Beltrami. He announced his intent to take the position in Fergus Falls the following year but this also did not happen (happy wife, happy life). In the summer of 1969, two of the Garlock children join or took over the medical and surgical practice their father was associated with in Beltrami.

Doris is elected Beltrami County Treasurer in 1965, a position she holds until her retirement in 1977. This is where things get odd. At her retirement, the local newspaper quotes Doris as saying her husband “Bob” died in 1976 yet he clearly did not. He was living in California.

It appears Bob moved to Ojai, California in 1969, hence the reason their children entered his practice? After her retirement, no more Minnesota winters for Doris, she joins her husband in California, living first in Napa County before heading south to Ventura. Her husband dies in December 2009, and Doris survived him by 6.5 years.

Sheaffer Snorkle (1952-1959)

Iris Imo Simmons was born in 1904 to Erwan & Rosa (Banner) Simmons of Le Roy, Illinois. Unfortunately, she never got to know her mother, as her mom died several months after her birth. Subsequently, the family moved to Missouri, thus beginning her Odyssey. Imo, as she preferred to be known, attended school in both Livingston & Linn counties. Imo, her sisters Bebe and Edith left Parson Creek, Missouri by 1930 for Le Roy, Illinois where Bebe and Imo taught in the school system while Edith finished high school. Imo completed 2 years of college by 1940. She remained in Le Roy until the early 1950s, moving to Bloomington where she enrolled at the Illinois State University, graduating in 1956, having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education.

Bursting with pride, deserving a reward for all the hard work or maybe it was a gift. Either way, Imo became the owner of a Sheaffer Snorkle fountain pen.

She remained in Bloomington until the early 1970s whence she retired to Memphis, Tennessee. Thus, reuniting Imo with her sisters, Bebe and Edith.

After her sisters passed, Imo moved to a nursing home in Wheeling, Missouri in 1992. A year later during the Christmas holiday, she passed. At the age of 89, Imo had outlived all her siblings (4 sisters and 1 brother). She was laid to rest in Meadville, Linn County Missouri.

Old stuff is not so boring after all.

COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Pens, Stories

#ThrowbackThursday

Oops, I’m doing it again. The good news still – this isn’t going to be a regularly featured post, only when I’m feeling inspired (or lazy) I will dig up and share an original post from yesteryear. I opted for an unusual pen, from a manufacturer not known for their pens. They made beautiful overlays. Corrected the spelling and grammar issues, plus I polished up the story a bit but only just a bit.

This Throwback Thursday post is going way, way back. I’m presenting my George W Heath lanyard pen. It is 90+ years old and there is a lesson to learn. Click the Ping Back to read the full story.

Geo W Heath before I “restored” it

This pen has the phrase “Blue Bird Ring” prominently imprinted above the company logo. In the 1920s, Stein & Ellbogen of Chicago used the trade name “Bluebird Diamond” to market their bridal line of rings. Could this pen belong to the Stein & Ellbogen company? Can’t you just imagine a salesperson helping some nervous young man pick out the perfect engagement ring. Afterwards using this pen to write up the sales receipt?

Comments have been turned off. If you feel so inclined please comment on the original post. Thank you!

COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Material, Pens, Stories

Casein “the most beautiful of plastics.”

Casein aka Galalith (from Latin caseus, “cheese”) is a milk-derived plastic, susceptible to moisture. A synthetic plastic derived from 80% of the phosphoproteins in cow’s milk, and formaldehyde. It is rarely seen in American pen production; however, it is more commonly found in UK pens.

Identifying casein can be done by appearance and smell; rather than camphor, casein smells like antler, horn, or ivory, or vaguely like scorched hair. It appears more dull than celluloid and the curing process creates wavy striations. Alternatively, try the feel and color test. Is the pen a Conway Stewart model, highly colored and has an irregular colorful pattern? If the answer is yes to all these, it could well be casein. Hold the pen in your hand, does it feel warm to the touch? Yes – chances are it is casein.

Casein has been described as “the most beautiful of plastics.” It takes a wide variety of colors including delicate pastel shades, pearls, and mottles, and can imitate tortoiseshell and horn.

Do’s and Don’ts

Never, ever, never soak a casein fountain pen in water to remove ink stains or dried ink. Casein will expand by about 10% and become very soft losing its shape in as little as 2 hours = damaged beyond repair.

In his memoir, Walter A. Sheaffer recounts how Sheaffer once produced a line of colored casein pens which proved quite popular until the Midwestern summer caused the casein to swell and the sections fell out. The heat was identified as the cause. But I’m willing to bet the high humidity was most likely the cause.

Casein does not seem to be the ideal material to make fountain pens but it does produce BEAutiful pens. How about these three?

Photo credit: MVBurke.com
Photo credit: Peytonstreet pen

Conway Stewart is the manufacturer most often associated with casein pens. They only recently (by 2010) shuttered their casein pen production. Their remaining casein pen blanks were sold off to independent pen manufacturers.

Photo credit: Peytonstreet pen

Make you own

There are people who make their own pens. Some do this for fun, while for others it is a vocation. Both invest in equipment and supplies. I have found casein “blanks” as well as casein look-a-like blanks for pen manufacturing.

Some of the Conway Stewart casein blanks are absolutely stunning. The point is if you make pens, you can use this material (I would really enjoy owning a casein pen – just saying).

Casein is a “compressed form of the primary protein from milk,” what should the DIY pen guys consider when working with this material? I found a very informative thread on the International Association of Penturners (IAP) website, which I will summarize.

  • Working with casein is not always the easiest, it is not very strong.
  • At all times keep the material cool, use a spray bottle of cool water with each step.
  • Do not drill or turn at high speed – use a slow speed.
  • Use sharp carbide tools.
  • Slow-speed sanding or the casein will burn (turn brown) and smell like burnt milk!
  • The most important word of advice… be patient…take your time.

If you have small kids and enjoy home science projects, welp, I have a project for you. Make your own casein.

Owning a casein pen comes with responsibilities. As an owner, it is imperative you gain an appreciation for the qualities that make this pen unique. I do not own one but one day I will find a Conway Stewart casein pen that wins me over.

If you own one please chime in, I’d love to learn of your experiences.

————————-Reference——————-

COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Reviews

“Black Tie” Optional

Company Backstory

Monteverdi is a US pen manufacturer that was purchased by Yafa which owns Conklin, Monteverdi, Marlen, Stipula, Maiora, Tibaldi, Diplomat, Pineider, Yookers, and Delta pen brands. Yafa has a very polarizing effect on pen users, either they love them or hate them – there is a very little grey. I happily am one of the few in the grey. The Monteverdi is my second pen within their portfolio. After a quick review of my blog, you will see I have written about the Yafa Conklin brand – sometimes good and sometimes not.

I decided to dip my toe into the Monteverdi catalog of pens. The Black Tie pen appealed to me. I researched, read some favorable and not-so-favorable reviews, and decided on the Black Tie. I got lucky and found a used Black Tie, agreeably priced so I took the plunge.

My Pen

The pen is a Monteverdi Invincia Black Tie made of carbon fiber surrounded by a clear lacquer finish. So what is Carbon Fiber? Welp, according to Wikipedia, it is the product resulting when carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals creating a fiber’s long axis with a high strength-to-volume ratio (in other words, it is strong for its size). Several thousand carbon fibers are bundled together and woven into a fabric. Carbon fibers are often combined with other materials to form a composite.

The carbon fiber that makes the barrel color scheme is achieved by weaving black and white ribbons of carbon fiber fabric.

Back to the pen, all accents (clip, section, end caps, barrel/cap rings, etc) are mirror chrome and sporting a medium stainless steel nib. The lacquer finish makes the pen feel cold and slippery. The cap is a snap-on.

The section unscrews providing access to a removable ink converter. The converter is made of semi-translucent green plastic thus making it impossible to know the color of the ink in the reservoir.

I inked up the pen and the ink started flowing immediately. The nib is a bit scratchy, (one of the reasons I laugh at the iridium claim) but otherwise writes well, for the price.

The Issue

As I mentioned, the cap is a snap-on, which I don’t feel securely attaches to the barrel. The slightest pressure will force the cap loose.

I was seated on the patio as I reached for the pen, securing hold of it by the cap, and weeeeeee the pen went flying across the patio. The result was a bent tine which I did correct with some effort using dapping tools.

I haven’t detected any damage to the writing surface on the tines.

I have been applying multiple coats of shellac to the inside of the cap in the hope it will result in the cap becoming more secure. So far I am still hoping.

After fixing the bent tine, I was feeling a Dilbert moment. As you can see the pen wrote well.

The Opinion

The bottom line is this, the pen cap does not securely attach to the barrel and it will come off. Possibly resulting in damage to the nib. This is very disappointing as I like the pen.

Vitals

  • Capped length: 135mm
  • Uncapped length: 124mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 13.5mm
  • Cap Diameter: 14.5mm
  • Weighs in at 47g
COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Pens, Refurbish, Reviews

Conklin Crescent Model 50

Company Back Story:

Roy Conklin’s patented the design for the first self-filling pen in 1897, his company to thrived and gained the approval of author Mark Twain, who became the official spokesperson for the Conklin brand. His great innovation was the distinctive crescent filler. This model is renowned for being the first mass-produced self-filling pen as well as the first mass-produced pen to use a flexible rubber ink sac. Patents for the pen were granted in 1901 and 1903. Production continued until 1930ish when the design was retired in favor of a lever-filler design.

Early pens dating to 1907 have unmarked crescents while pens made up to 1920 have the crescents marked “CRESCENT-FILLER/TRADE MARK” on one side only. Pens dating from the 1920s have crescents with marks on both sides.

My Pen:

My pen is a Crescent Model 50 (aka S5) with a #5 nib and surprise it was in working order when I purchased it. Someone replaced the ink sac but didn’t bother to clean the crescent, the pressure bar was highly oxidized. The nib we’ll talk about later. The pen is black chased ebonite (hard rubber) and is in excellent shape – for its age (it’s like 102-104 years old). There are no cracks, the chasing is distinct and the logo imprint is crisp. There is some brassing at each end of the cap clip and the crescent. The pen color was black originally but has an ever so slight brownish tint. I don’t believe it has been chemically treated to return the black color.

The crescent only has markings on one side, establishing the pen as the second model (1908-1920). The cap clip contains the patent date May 28,1918, thus dating the pen between 1918-1920.

The nib is a semi-flex gold #5 Toledo, it writes Fine. I tried removing the nib and feed from the section but they are held fast. I polished the top as best I could but the underside is still a little dirty and the feed is misaligned. I’ll get to those soon.

The pen was dirty when I purchased it but nothing a Sunshine cloth couldn’t handle. The haze of dirt was quickly removed producing a typical ebonite lacquer-like gloss.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length, 143mm
  • Uncapped length, 132mm
  • Barrel diameter, 12mm
  • Cap diameter, 14mm
  • Weighs in at 20g

Ok time to ink it up and give it a go! The nib is flexible. A little scratchy as the ink starts to flow but that stops after a letter or two. It is a wet nib, the ink likes to flow.

COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.