Posted in Pens, Reviews

Not For The Lactose Intolerant – Conway Stewart No. 15

Conway Stewart was a major manufacturer of fountain pens in England for a hundred years, from 1905-2005. During the pre-WWII years, they sold far more pens than any other brand in England; possibly more than all the other companies’ combined.

Model 15

The production of Model 15 spanned a decade beginning in 1952. As with many vintage Conway Stewarts, this model is a fairly small pen (which is preferable, as I have small hands) and often made of Casein. Model 15 featured two versions, distinguished by the existence of a single band, or no cap band. The trim is available in chrome or gold plate and a choice of two clips (long vs short).

In his book “Fountain Pens for the Million: The History of Conway Stewart: 1905-2005,” Stephen Hull writes “during the 1950s the material [casein] was generally used in cheaper models (such as the 15/16/17 and 759) and was typically available in black and three mottled, or marbled, patterns”.

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. More information is available in my post: Casein; “the most beautiful of plastics.”

Identifying casein can be done by appearance and smell. The pen is black, thus identification by appearance is out, let’s rely on smell: rather than camphor, casein smells like antler, ivory, or vaguely like scorched hair. As I am not familiar with the smell of camphor, I don’t feel it would end well if I tried to sniff a deer or elk antler, I don’t have ivory and I am not going to catch my hair on fire, instead, I opted to compare the smell of my Parker Vacumatic (celluloid) with the model 15. SUCCESS! Now I can identify celluloid, casein, camphor, burnt hair, and antlers by smell without bodily injury.

My Pen

I picked up this model 15 from an estate sale. At the time I was interested in it because it was a black pen. When I realized the pen was cherry, and the price was right – a done deal. Only recently did I realize it is manufactured from casein.

The chrome clip is attached to the cap with a chrome ring and a blind jewel. The lever looks more like nickel than chrome. The pen has matching conical ends.

For a pen that is upwards of 70 years old, this pen is in amazing shape, plus it was considered by Conway Stewart to be a cheap pen. The name imprint is crisp, there is no brassing, no scratches or teeth marks, and the nib is smooth.

The space between the tines is a bit too wide. This will make the nib wet resulting in a less than satisfying result on cheaper paper.

The nib is a a medium flex, 14k Conway Stewart 1A. Some model 15s, the imprinted logo on the barrel as well as the inscription on the nib simply said Conway.

The pen came with a new ink sac, whomever installed the sac failed to coat it with talc. Now let’s ink it up and see how she performs.

The ink began flowing immediately, I initially was journaling in a moleskin field journal but the paper is horrible and the ink feathered into blobs. This is a pattern I have been plagued by when using 14k nibs on moleskin. I pulled out a 100 gsm bullet journal experience a completely different result.

The nib could use a little smoothing but otherwise glided across the page with little resistance.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped Length: 126mm
  • Uncapped Length: 113mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 11mm
  • Cap Diameter: 13mm
  • Weighs in at, 14g

Reference Material

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

Waterman Laureat I

In February I asked if you have heard the fountain pen myth “don’t lend out your fountain pen to others because the way a person writes can cause changes to the nib.” At the time I was referring to my Waterman Laureat. The pen wrote well with one exception – the sweet spot. Unless I held the pen at a 45-degree angle to the writing surface followed by a half-turned to the left, the pen tended to skip. Must be some truth to the myth.

The Waterman Laureat was introduced circa 1985, enjoying a 15-year production as a midline pen, not a top-shelf model but not a pen to off-handedly dismiss. The pen is reasonably close in looks to their Le Man series – a top-shelf model from the same era.

My Pen

Is a sleek thin, brass body pen in black lacquer with gold-plated trim. There are 4 equal-sized gold bands on the pen, one at the top. The typical era-specific Waterman clip is attached to the cap just below this ring. Another at the bottom of the cap, one at the end of the section with the phrase “Waterman Made in France,” etched into it, and another at the bottom of the barrel. Returning to the cap, it has a plain gold plate flat top. The clip and the jewel at the post end of the barrel are embossed with the signature “W” logo.

The section is black plastic with a unique design of tapered concentric rings creating a grip that fits well in hand. I was skeptical when I saw the section. After writing with the pen, I was surprised that my fingers did not feel like they were slipping.

The nib is a gold-plated steel nib, writing MEDIUM. An interesting feature is the lack of a breather hole, welp there is a faux breather hole imprinted as a circle on the nib. A breather hole has two purposes, 1) to improve airflow and 2) to relieve pressure at the base of the slit. Be sure to review my post detailing nib mechanics for more information.

Breather holes are sometimes dispensed with firm nibs stiff enough to resist the bending forces imposed during use. Resulting in finer written lines lacking some variation (sounds like a future topic). Anyway, this nib is stiff, just add fins and use it in a game of darts.

Let’s ink it up and give it a go. I spent some time with the nib and a micromesh cloth, trying to smooth the writing surface. I can happily say I was successful.

Final Thoughts

The Waterman Lauteat is a fantastic pen, an equal to the Hemisphere. I know fountain pen users either love or hate the Hemisphere – I love it. It fits very well in my hand and is a lovely writer. If you notice this model at your local flea market or antique store, don’t pass it by.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped Length, 130 mm
  • Uncapped Length, 124 mm
  • Barrel Diameter, 10.5 mm
  • Cap Diameter, 10.5 mm
  • Weighs in at 26g

Reference Material

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

A Little Wine with Your Ink?

One of my absolute favorite things about having fountain pens is the options when it comes to inks. Inks can be pigment or dye based, some are waterproof, some shimmer with glitter, and some are fragrant. There are so many options, so many colors, and shades, the nuances are incredible and some are made from wine. Today, I am highlighting a couple inks made from wine by de Artamentis of Germany. I don’t usually review or comment on inks, don’t be critical.

So Why Wine

Wine has been used in the manufacturing of ink since the Middle Ages. Wine, and sometimes vinegar beer, were used in place of water to mitigate the impurities introduced by water-borne contaminants. Sure, they wouldn’t bathe but they worried about their inks. Wine ink is not particularly popular in these times. A couple of the retailers I’ve spoken once sold wine inks but no more. Be warned, many ink names lead one to believe the ink is from wine when in fact the manufacturer is referring to the color and no wine was included in the recipe.

The Company Line

Wine has been added to ink. In accordance with traditional manufacturing processes. These inks consist of concentrated wine and some other ingredients which, for example, bind residual alcohol and the wine acid, and which improve the writing characteristics. Writing with pure, concentrated wine, no additional water is added to the ink. Furthermore, wine ink has unique writing behavior. It flows in an unmistakable, wonderful Red out of the nib. This Red is dependent on each wine. On paper, a chemical reaction occurs and oxidization occurs. Something very remarkable about these inks is the scent of wine, which caresses the nose. These inks fulfill the greatest demands regarding ink techniques and are suitable for all fountain pens. Writing with wine inks is an extraordinary experience and a symbol of the fine writing culture.

The Inks

  • Chianti –A deep crimson ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of blue-grey along the edges. 
  • Riesling –An ochre-colored ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of yellow along the edges.
  • Brandy –A yellow-brown colored ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of yellow and green along the edges.

In addition to eliminating water contamination, wine introduces alcohol which has two important properties; dries quickly and prevents fungus from growing in the ink.

Reference Material

Chianti
Riesling
Brandy

All three inks were fragrant, the most aromatic is the Riesling. I didn’t notice the aroma so much while using the ink as I did when I opened the bottle. The color of the written words look nearly the same to me, thus I introduced a little water, illustrating the color differentiation. As the ink dried the color stabilized to the shade you see.

I was a little biased towards the Chianti before the sampling. All three inks flowed well. Each feathered substantially on cheap paper so I switched to a 120 gsm paper used with watercolor.

If wine ink tickles your interest, in the US, sample size bottles are available from Vanness Pen Shop; in Europe, order directly from de Atramentis. I am not compensated for these recommendations.

Reference Material

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

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

Last month I reviewed the Kaweco Student Demonstrator. I really enjoyed the pen. I liked the feel, how it writes, and the pen aesthetics but the cap clip worries me. The cap is a screw-on and I’m probably a little overzealous when tightening the cap but each time I remove it the pen clip bends to the left or the right. How easy the cap clip blends worries me.

I’ve mixed up the usual suspects this month. The Pilot Prera and Parker Duofold are still inked. I have rotated out the Monteverde Black Tie. Replacing it with the Benu Skull pen.

For November, I have inked the Benu Skull pen. Look the skulls are smiling. I just published my review, and I’m enjoying it. BTW, 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.
  • Kaweco Student – School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days The Kaweco Student made my 2022 wish list. I stumbled across a Student demo model at a really good price. It did not disappoint.
  • Celluloid – Real, Fake & FIRE! In this last discussion of my favorite vintage pen materials, I am presenting celluloid. Celluloid comes in a variety of formulas, and all are flammable so why would I like it as a pen?
  • Stylograph Black Sometimes things look better in the picture than in person. SURPRISE! And what a surprise it was. Did I mention it also smelled?
  • Happy All Hallows Eve Not all pens are created equally. Some are inspired by our childhood dreams of piracy and adventure. Sound exciting matie?
  • #ThrowbackThursday From time to time when I’m feeling inspired (or lazy). Today it was lazy, so I will dig up and share an original post from yesteryear. This time I am going back 97 yesteryears and presenting a Waterman 52.

In the News

Conid Pens of Belgium is back and selling their bulkfiller fountain pens with the aid of new business partner Penworld who will be operating the retail front and worldwide sales.

Cosmo Air Light paper being discontinued Nippon Paper, manufacturer of Cosmo Air Light, has announced production termination of a number of papers, by March 2023. Demand for these papers has become so small that it is difficult to meet the minimum lot sizes required for production.

Book Banning

Florida’s Official New Book-Banning Council Was Quietly Packed With MAGA Moms. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “curriculum transparency” agenda, the Florida State Board of Education hastily assembled a council to create new restrictions for public school libraries and librarian training. Nominees with years of teaching experience were snubbed for self-nominated candidates including Michelle Beavers, the local chapter of the MAGA group Moms for Liberty.”

GOP candidate slammed at debate for obsession with book-banning. Michigan Governor candidates were asked how they would balance student access to inclusive literature with parental and teacher concerns. GOP candidate responded, “I stand with those parents that want to make sure we go back to the basics of reading, writing, and math in our schools.”

George M. Johnson’s young-adult memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue has become one of the most banned books in the U.S. The book is about growing up Black and queer. At least 29 school districts have banned the book because of its LGBTQ and sexual content. “Any time you write a book where you write about your truth, there are going to be people who want to silence that truth,”

Musings

During this holiday season, I was sneaky. For those of you who don’t understand, my daughter and I enjoy playing Halloween pranks on each other. She got me with spiders last month so I retaliated by decorating a doll to scare her. Dolls and clowns are some of the scariest things.

This year I used a porcelain doll. I placed it in her car, on the passenger floor. She puts her stuff on the passenger seat. I’m adding a before picture of the doll just to appreciate the transformation.

So I ask, would you be startled or scream if you found this doll in your car?

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

Happy All Hallows’ Eve

I just thought this pen is the coolest.  Why? Well I have a fondness for black pens, plus I have a fascination for Día de los Muertos, and who doesn’t like pirates.  There are many “skull” pens on the market but this is the one for me.

The Company Line

Inspired by our childhood dreams of piracy and adventures. Rebellion and daring design is created for those who share the same ideals. Skillfully crafted by hand from glossy resin with its hand-friendly shape and black decorative ring the Classic Black BENU Skull Pen is a member of the Minima line of pens. Use a short international standard ink cartridge. Please note that due to the pen’s miniature size it CAN NOT be used with a standard size converter, only with mini converters that are no longer than 4.0 cm / 1.6 inches.

My Pen

I was super excited when I got this pen, and of course, I found a deal on it (40% off MSRP). I bought it for my birthday and gave it to my wife to give to me as a present (married life is great). This review will sound like I hate the pen and I am ranting, but really, I like the pen. I am highlighting how different this pen is.

Merely stating the obvious, it is a cigar-shaped black plastic pen covered with raised skulls and a screw-on cap. BTW, all the skulls are smiling. Since it lacks a cap clip it is difficult to determine which end is the cap and which end is not. If you take a minute to actually examine the pen, the cap is determined by the shorter distance from the cap band to the end or by the direction of BENU on the cap band. But really, who has time to examine the pen or read the logo each time they remove the cap. I only complain because I want the writing end of the pen in the hand I write with when the cap is removed.

The pen is made of resin which has a different feel and it sounds different. That sounds silly but it is the first thing I noticed when I held the pen – it feels different and when I ran my fingers along the barrel it sounded different. The next thing to note is that the pen is short and the cap cannot be posted, thus if you have a large hand or long fingers you will hate this pen.

It came with a #5, Schmidt, stainless steel nib with iridium tips. I choose the Medium width. Also included is a single short international cartridge. Benu recommends a “Kaweco Squeeze Fountain Pen Converter for the Sport & Liliput lines” if you prefer a converter. Plus Benu also states the pen can be converted to an eyedropper fill.

One final comment, this is a light pen. Benu says it weighs 18g, and with a fully charged ink cartridge installed mine only weighs 17g. I noticed no hand fatigue as I’ve used it consistently for a week.

After inserting the cartridge, it took a moment to start the ink flowing. It is a fairly wet nib, once the ink starts it likes to flow. The writing was initially a little scratchy but quickly smoothed with use.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length: 125mm
  • Uncapped length: 114.5mm
  • Barrel diameter: 16mm
  • Cap diameter: 16mm
  • Weighs in at 17g
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 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 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.
Posted in Pens, Reviews

Esterbrook Jr (‘J Reborn’) Pocket Pen

The Esterbrook JR Pocket Pen is part of the modern Esterbrook’s revival of the brand with the pen being a call back to one of vintage Esterbrook’s most popular pens, the Esterbrook J.

I inked up my pen to start July and it was a bust. The ink simply stopped flowing. I felt I needed to give the pen a fair shake; an honest review and try using it again.

Back in the day (the 40s and 50s) the Esterbrook J series was as familiar as a Bic ballpoint or Pilot G2 gel pen today. They were affordable, dependable, and offered enough variety to be popular. The brand shuttered in 1971. The brand was reborn in 2014, Harpen Brand Holdings, acquired the rights to the “Esterbrook” brand name, releasing a series of pens. Four years later, Kenro Industries acquired the brand, making rebirth a tenant of the company’s vision. The JR Pocket Pen is modeled after the classic Esterbrook J.

Vintage J and the JR Pocket

My Pen

Is mostly a black pen with some noticeable silver swirls deep in the acrylic body and cap. This color is known as Tuxedo. I have a thing for black pens and this color scheme is intriguing to me. I was visiting the Esterbrook/Kenro web site, getting my facts correct when I saw a JR Pocket pen – Pumpkin Latte. I have to admit it is very attractive and worth a look if you have a thing for unique pens.

Writing with the JR is quite a pleasant experience. The lightweight acrylic section has a natural grip area, providing a comfortable place for fingers.

The nib of the pen is etched with the new Esterbrook X logomark upgrading the look, maybe they were inspired by Montblanc? The nib is a JoWo #6 B(road) palladium (their description). I assume it is stainless steel and the tip is palladium.

Esterbrook was known for their interchangeable nib system. The obvious question is “does the JR Pocket Pen have a converter to accept vintage Esterbrook nibs?” NOPE. Apparently, Esterbrook/Kenro has under development an adaptor for the JR Pocket Pen similar to the adapter available for the Estie. The adaptor permits using vintage Esterbrook nibs in the Esterbrook/Kenro pen. The adaptors are not interchangeable amongst Esterbrook/Kenro pens.

The section with the new style exchangeable nibs is worth noting. The section has metal screws to secure it to the barrel which has screws engraved into the acrylic- not sure how well this arrangement will last long term. The new nib screws into the section, protruding aft providing the nipple for the converter or ink cartridge.

Yes I paid a visit to the hobby supply store and they were have a 50% off sale on paper. I’m liking the Paisley – you?

I inked it up the converted with Serenity Blue. It took a little effort kick starting the ink flow but once it started…. I’ll use it for the next 2 weeks and report.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 125.5mm
  • Uncapped length. 118mm
  • Barrel diameter. 11mm
  • Cap diameter. 13.5mm
  • Weighs in at. 18g