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, Stories

#ThrowbackThursday

Oops, I’m doing it yet again, welp I guess this is going to be a semi-regular featured post, but still only when I’m feeling uninspired (or lazy), then I will dig up and share an original post from yesteryear. In honor of consumerism, let’s flashback and look at the “extensive research” conducted by Sheaffer determined that there is a market for a pen designed exclusively for women. I wrote this in the spirt of 1958, yes it could be considered sexist, but I took inspiration from advertisements of the time. Making amends for spelling and grammar issues I present the Lady Sheaffer. Click the Ping Back to read the full story.

The Lady Sheaffer “writes like a dream…refills like her lipstick”

Excerpt

“Results show that women generally considered pens made for them were nothing more than scaled down reproductions of men’s writing instruments while their fashion interests were centered in fabrics, costume jewelry and accessories. The results was a new line of cartridge pens named ‘The Lady Sheaffer’ developed to include all these features. The Lady Sheaffer Skripsert fountain pen debuts in April 1958, offering 19 models with patterns inspired by fine fabrics, like tweed, corduroy, paisley and tulle.”

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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 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 Restoration

Stylograph Black

Stylographic pens, sometimes called “stylos”, have a writing tip made of a metal tube with a fine wire inside to regulate ink flow. Stylos were the first mass-produced fountain pens to achieve broad market success. Duncan MacKinnon, a Canadian druggist patented his “ink pencil” in Canada in 1875, followed by Alonzo Cross patenting his “stylographic pen” which held its own ink in 1880.

Company Back Story

The Inkograph Company aka Ink-O-Graph, is a pen manufacturer founded in 1914 by brothers Joseph and William F. Wallace of New York City. The company produced Inkograph stylographic pens, Leadograph mechanical pencils, and Wallace fountain pens. Their products were retailed primarily by F. W. Woolworth & Co. In the 1930s, the company introduced its own brand of open-nib pens under the Ink-D-Cator brand. After Parker released the “51”, Inkograph followed suit. Inkograph was purchased in 1952 by the Risdon Manufacturing Company of Naugatuck, Connecticut, continuing operations into 1962.

My Pen

Is a black celluloid Model 70-200 dating from the 1940s. It is a lever-fill model with a weighted gravity feed wire. When the wire comes in contact with the paper, it is pushed inward allowing the ink to flow. The wire assembly is weighted at the opposite end and should move freely, but it doesn’t move at all. Spoiler alert, this becomes an adventure.

Infographic 70-200

The pen looks good in this picture, all accents – cap clip, cap ring, and lever are gold plated showing little to no brassing.

Refurbishment

I made an effort to ascertain if it was made of celluloid acetate, celluloid nitrate, a resin, or even ebonite. I’m settling on celluloid nitrate as there is a faint tell-tale odor. Using a Sunshine cloth, the pen received a good surface cleaning. The gold plate polished up nicely without removing any finish.

After a working the cloth, I realized the “stuff” on the pen was still … on the pen. SURPISE! It appears to me that the finish has been damaged resulting in a pitted surface and discoloration. +#$%&*

Since the wire is stuck and protruding from the tube, I removed the tube/nib assembly from the section. Discovering that the weighted wire structure is broken free of the weight which is lodged in the section. It is possible that by removing the tube/nib assembly I am responsible for the damage, but there was no other way. I removed the wire from the tube, it is bent but repairable.

Next, I removed the section from the barrel. SURPRISE! Someone had installed an ink sac that was a fraction of the length needed to reach the pressure bar. Not to mention it was rotting. With the ink sac removed, access to the weight was easy.

Using a thin screwdriver inserted into the section from the ink side I pushed out the weight and SURPRISE! The weight was coated in a plastic shell, which had split repeatedly and now gave off an odor reminiscent of vomit. Fortunately, a little soap and water eliminated most of the odor. I was successful in sanding down the malformations created by the splits in the plastic coating. The weight was not perfectly shaped but almost free-flowing within the section. SURPRISE, a large portion of the plastic covering broke off. @#$%&*

What all this means is I have not finished my refurbishment. I will probably leave the surface issues as is, but I am considering recoating the weight. Here lies my issue. What do I coat it with that I can be comfortable will not damage the writing wire, dissolve in ink, or damage the section? The latter I believe is celluloid acetate or a resin.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 119mm
  • Uncapped length 111mm
  • Barrel diameter 12mm
  • Cap diameter 13mm
  • Weighs in at 16g
COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
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, 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?

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