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osmiroid

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The Ford Pen [Jul. 3rd, 2007|03:03 pm]
osmiroid
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This arrived today. It's a Ford Patent Pen of the early 1930s.
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Tea, Anyone? [Mar. 13th, 2007|12:30 pm]
osmiroid
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Old Hard Rubber Pens. [Feb. 12th, 2007|01:53 pm]
osmiroid
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The Blackbird was one of the no-frills, everyday pens of the Mabie Todd range. This one is slightly faded but otherwise perfect and has an excellent oblique nib. It's a delight to use.

Even I would have to admit that it's a slightly dull pen, so here's a pretty no-name mottled hard rubber vest-pocket pen that's still a work in progress, needing a little more repair before it's good as new.

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There's some colour variation in these photographs. I blame that on the fact that I can never stop playing with PhotoShop.
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Morrison's Patriot. [Jan. 7th, 2007|04:44 pm]
osmiroid
I'm not terribly well up on the slightly lesser-known US pens, but I grab one for a look whenever I can. This is a Morrison's Patriot – not one of the more usual flat-topped ones with a services insignia, but a baguette-shaped example with a machined pattern. So far as I've seen, they're usually in that khaki colour.

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A Wee Shiny Pen. [Nov. 15th, 2006|05:02 pm]
osmiroid
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This little pen (3.8” long) was sold as French and maybe it is. Then again, it may be an export Waterman – it certainly has the look of one, though there's no number on the barrel end. It has “PSF” an abbreviation that Waterman used, on the box-type lever. The nib is warranted 18k with no maker's name.

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Be that as it may, it's in wonderful condition. The mottled rubber has a particularly deep hue and the gold-plated overlay remains perfect.

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The pattern is a series of wavy lines in rectangles and is deeply incised.

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The line variation is impressive for such a small nib. It's often said that 18k is too soft for good flex but this one is fully responsive. For the moment, I can't date the pen with any assurance. Vest pocket pens seemed to become popular in the teens of the 20th century and appear to have remained on the market throughout the 1920s.
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The Swan Transformed. [Jul. 17th, 2006|01:50 pm]
osmiroid
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Around twenty years separate these two pens. Superficially, they resemble each other. They're roughly the same shape, they have domed caps, they're made from chased vulcanised rubber and they're eyedropper fillers. Nonetheless, no other period of twenty years would see fountain pen design go through such a fundamental change.
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Wing Sung 235. [Jun. 30th, 2006|03:43 pm]
osmiroid
There aren't many real fakes out there, apart from the Mont Blancs that flood eBay day and daily. There are pens that look like other pens, though, and not entirely by accident. That's not a new trend. For instance, there were many Duofold clones long ago, and Parker's 51 gave rise to a whole industry of blatant copies.
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Laban Mento Chapter 2 [May. 12th, 2006|04:12 pm]
osmiroid
I posted some pictures recently of a Laban Mento I'd bought. I've had time to use and consider it now and here's a few thoughts on it. Some had reported problems with skipping, others found that it dried out quickly. Maybe the manufacturers have addressed these problems. I didn't experience them, anyway. Despite being big, it's light. Even posted, the weight was never a problem. The balance is, though, for me. There's something a little unwieldy about it, posted, but it's fine without the cap. Much thicker than the pens I usually use, I could nonetheless write with it all day.
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The Laban Mento [May. 2nd, 2006|12:30 pm]
osmiroid
We all have our moments of weakness. I had one last week.

I've never bought a pen for its looks. Ever. Mrs. Pilchard regularly says, “Oh, not another black pen!”. My interests lie with nib characteristics, filling systems and the ergonomics of different pens and black pens are generally cheaper when, as I mostly do, you buy old pens. I have a few colourful ones, true, but only because they formed part of a collection or a spares or repair batch that I bought.
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Filling Systems. [Apr. 19th, 2006|02:38 pm]
osmiroid
In comparing filling systems – or just about anything else – in pens, there's no objective best and worst. Much depends on personal preference. Like everyone else, I think my choices are considered and rational. Like everyone else, I'm probably wrong, but on a one to whatever scale, my choice would be:

1.Plunger fillers of the Onoto, Sheaffer or Wahl type.
2.Eyedropper fillers.
3.Sac systems except the Sheaffer Touchdown.
4.Screw piston fillers.
5.Aerometric/Pressac fillers.
6.Syringe fillers.
7.Bulb fillers.
8.The cartridge filler.

Have I missed any? Probably, but here's the rationale anyway. The plunger filler is technically elegant, most of the space is devoted to holding ink and it's a relatively robust solution. Eyedroppers are just so beautifully simple; they just work. Admittedly, as the level of the ink in the barrel drops, increasing air pressure can quite suddenly make the pen flow too freely but that's not a major drawback. Sac fillers hold variable amounts, of course, and are not especially robust – sacs perish and pressure bars and other parts tend to fail – but they're generally easily and cheaply repaired. I make an exception of the Touchdown filler because it appears unnecessarily complicated and fragile to no particular benefit; my apologies to Touchdown aficionados. Screw piston fillers are pretty good but many of them utilise surprisingly little of the barrel for ink. The Aerometric-type filler is sort of okay, but removing the barrel to access the filling system is getting a smidgen technically inept. Syringe and bulb fillers are a step further down that path; a stage more brain-damaged, and they both have a tendency to suddenly flood because of their inherent failings. I reserve my especial contempt for the cartridge filler. It's a cop-out, a dreadful descent from the ingenuity of earlier days. The pens exist to sell the cartridges.

Going back to the apex of my list, plunger fillers have one distinct problem; through either constant use or neglect, the seals will inevitably fail. If it's a Sheaffer, the repair is a little challenging. You're into power tools and solvents. Onotos, on the other hand, are quite easily repaired without special tools. The Onoto has another advantage: a cut-off valve which not only switches off the ink but allows you to regulate the ink-flow. That said, once competently repaired, either is good for a decade or two. Purely on the basis of the technology I favour the Onoto, but both are great pens. Much as I love my flexy-nibbed Onotos, my little Sheaffer Triumph 1250 rarely gets a rest.

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