Tag Archives: antique pens

We’ve Struck the Motherlode!

Witness more than 300 vintage and modern fountain pens and writing instruments we have recently acquired for the website! If anything catches your eye, ask and we'll tell you all about it.

Witness more than 300 vintage and modern fountain pens and writing instruments we have recently acquired for the website! If anything catches your eye, ask and we’ll tell you all about it.

It has been a while since we updated these pages, but we’ve been extremely busy putting together 3 huge acquisitions of vintage and modern pens. We have tons of vintage Sheaffers, Parkers, Conklins and Waterman fountain pens as well as preowned pens by Mont Blanc, Parker, Caran d’Ache, Pelikan, Waterman and many others.

You will soon see more than 300 writing instruments available…once we restore them all to their former glory. We have great pens ranging from a Parker 20 1/2 Jack Knife Safety pen to red Wahl-Eversharp Dorics to early wide-bodied Sheaffer TouchDowns to half a set of oversized Sheaffer Balance Lifetimes with their original nib stickers including Extra Fine, Fine, Medium and STUB!

The Mont Blanc pens include a Writer’s Series Agatha Christie and many bargains on the standard Meisterstucks!

Keep checking in to see what is new every day on our vintage pens pages and pre-owned pens pages. Enjoy!

The Skyline’s the Limit for Walt Disney

It only seems fitting that a pen company get the nation’s leading animator to sell it’s pens and pencils. Who wouldn’t trust Walt Disney when it comes to picking a new writing instrument?!

Walt Disney famously became a spokesperson for Wahl-Eversharp and its line of Skyline pens. The way Disney discusses the responsiveness of the nib, we figure he must have been given one of the famous and rare flex nibs Eversharp made.

Walt Disney famously became a spokesperson for Wahl-Eversharp and its line of Skyline pens. The way Disney discusses the responsiveness of the nib, we figure he must have been given one of the famous and rare flex nibs Eversharp made.

Walt Disney famously pitched the futuristic looking Eversharp Skylines in the 1940s. This great ad comes from 1942 or early 1943, hot on the heels of the hit movie “Bambi.” It is difficult to think that anybody today doesn’t know this film about a young orphaned deer growing up in the woods with his friends Thumper and Flower.

Likewise, it is difficult to believe many pen collectors aren’t familiar with the iconic art deco designed Eversharp Skylines. Made right here in Chicago, the Skyline also was supposed to be one of the first pens engineered to handle the altitude pressure changes of flight. It had a nifty breather tube leading from the section into the sac, unlike most lever fillers of the 1930s and ’40s. However, the Parker Vacumatic already added that feature in the early 1930s, and the 51 kept it. So the Skyline wasn’t the only pen equipped to handle something as exotic and romantic as commercial aviation. Even then, many frequent fliers would have been dubious of the consistency of mess-free flight claims.

 

 

 

This is the first resurrection of the Eversharp Skyline made in a limited edition dedicated to Walt Disney.

This is the first resurrection of the Eversharp Skyline made in a limited edition dedicated to Walt Disney.

Disney and Eversharp are so well linked in the public imagination that when the Eversharp brand was first resurrected in the late 1990s or early 2000s, a new Skyline was introduced in a limited edition collectors’ run. These pens switched from the original lever-filling design to a cartridge/converter system that was accessed by unscrewing a seemless blind cap in the tail of the pen. The Disney pens were numbered, and featured his autograph engraved on the golden cap.

ThePenMarket.com is excited offer one of these limited edition Disney Skylines on its preowned pens page. We also have a great collection of Eversharp Skylines in our vintage pens collection.

Meet Us at The Chicago Pen Show

This is our home pen show, and we are excited to host a table at The Chicago Pen Show

Come to Chicago for the 2015 Chicago Pen Show! We have the latest details about the show, which runs at the Sheraton O'Hare from April 30 through May 3.

Come to Chicago for the 2015 Chicago Pen Show! We have the latest details about the show, which runs at the Sheraton O’Hare from April 30 through May 3.

For your pen enjoyment, we will have more than two dozen fully restored vintage pens and preowned pens not currently for sale on the website. From old Waterman hard rubber to obscure Danish pen makers to gently used Mont Blanc pens, we will have a cornucopia of competitively priced pens.

We also will have ample bottled ink.

And, of course, we’ll have all of the pens you see on our website available to touch, test and love.

If nothing else, swing by the Sheraton O’Hare on Saturday or Sunday and say hello. We love meeting our online customers in the flesh!

Great Finds @ Atlanta Pen Show

It has taken us nearly a week to recover from the awesomeness that was the Atlanta Pen Show. It was that good. The show was packed with collectors on Saturday and Sunday. We got to meet hundreds of people, and we saw more awesome pens than we could afford.

I did come away with a handsome Sheaffer PFM in maroon with a factory italic nib. It is wonderful, but I otherwise restrained myself.

However, along the way we met some great folks at businesses who are tied to our inky world. They weren’t other pen dealers so much as writing enthusiasts.

Cursive Logic is a new way to help teach kids how to write in cursive, when it is no longer being taught in many schools!

Cursive Logic is a new way to help teach kids how to write in cursive, when it is no longer being taught in many schools!

You might recall my series of blog entries about the demise in cursive writing education in America. Well, we met a woman who is as concerned about it as you and I are. More so, in fact. She has started her own cursive-writing teaching system called Cursive Logic. It is for kids who want to learn to write cursive outside of the classroom. I highly recommend checking out her website! www.cursivelogic.com

The folks at Candy Spotting make really incredible laser-cut cards with witty slogans and puns!

The folks at Candy Spotting make really incredible laser-cut cards with witty slogans and puns!

Another cool business we encountered is a new greeting card company called Candy Spotting. They make specialty laser-cut designs in cards, such as this one with a fountain pen nib! Many of their other cards are similarly witty. I highly recommend checking out their website at www.candyspotting.com!

Of course, there were many wonderful collectors and dealers with whom we got to talk and swap stories. It was wonderful seeing everybody again from last year, and I cannot more highly recommend the wonderful Southern hospitality. Visit if you can next year.

In the meantime, we are only a week away from the oldest pen show in the country: the Chicago Pen Show! Please come and say hi to us there!

Atlanta Here We Come!

We can't wait to see the Atlanta skyline again as we head south to meet our good friends well below the Mason-Dixon Line at the Atlanta Pen Show!

We can’t wait to see the Atlanta skyline again as we head south to meet our good friends well below the Mason-Dixon Line at the Atlanta Pen Show!

We are heading back to the Atlanta Pen Show this weekend. We had so much fun meeting our Southern customers last year, we can’t wait to see them again.

If you are planning on attending, we’ll be there with a table all day Saturday and Sunday! With us will be more than 200 pens that are fully restored and ready to write. We might even have a few fun extras that fit with a pen-themed weekend.

Be sure to swing by and say hello!

Quirky Pen Collections

One of the coolest parts about owning a pen business is learning about people’s “other” pen collections. Every pen collector has their collection of daily users and museum pieces often built around brands such as Sheaffer, Parker, Mont Blanc and all of the others. But many collectors have special side project collections, too.

I love collecting pens inscribed with some reference to Christmas 1926, such as this senior Parker Duofold. Please let us know if you have any. What quirky traits do you collect in pens.

I love collecting pens inscribed with some reference to Christmas 1926, such as this senior Parker Duofold. Please let us know if you have any. What quirky traits do you collect in pens.

Mine is built strictly around a single day. I love keeping an eye out for pens that were given as gifts on Christmas day 1926. Why that Christmas? I have no idea. I just found myself one day with a curious handful of pens that all happened to have some inscription on them from 12-25-26. The photo is of my favorite, a black senior Parker Duofold. The full inscription reads, “P. M. Curtis 12-25-26.” There was an Eversharp Doric that read “X-mas 1926.” Ever since acquiring those two pens, I’ve been on the hunt for more.

Friend of ThePenMarket.com, Elizabeth J., has two odd-ball collections. One is for any sterling filigree pen with an engraving. The other, my favorite, is a collection of pens with really weird names engraved on them. “Sam Jones” will not impress her. “Gladys Oleander Gardner” or “Aloysius P. Frankenheimer Jr.” will win her over every time, even on a junker Wearever.

Keith L. loves green pens. Vintage, modern doesn’t matter, as long as it is a clean, distinctive green.

Francis B. zeroes in on pens made in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area in the 19teens and ’20s. Tommy U. does the same with oversized pens made in Chicago during that time period.

What quirky collection do you have? Please tell us, so we can help you keep an eye out for those pens.

And please, let us know if you have any of the pens listed above. We’d be very interested in buying them!

Pen Ads of World War I

Today, essentially, marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. It is still one of the most savage wars the world has ever known. It left nearly 2% of the world’s population dead: 23 million. There is a good reason those who fought it were called the Lost Generation.

Sealed button-filling pens and take-anywhere ink tablets were revolutionary new creations for sailors and doughboys hoping to write home during the first world war.

Sealed button-filling pens and take-anywhere ink tablets were revolutionary new creations for sailors and doughboys hoping to write home during the first world war.

Yet, there’s no reason wholesale slaughter shouldn’t prevent the tide of marketing.

Parker had a particularly fascinating line of pens aimed directly at servicemen in the trenches. These pre-Duofold pens were considered “sealed” and leak proof. Best of all, you no longer needed fragile glass bottles of ink, which would not withstand the rigors of combat.

Parker sold special ink tablets. These dried tablets could be dropped in a cup of water or any other small container for a nearly instant supply of ink to fill a pen and write your family or sweetheart back home.

These ads come from around 1917, when the United States officially entered the war, which ended Nov. 11, 1918.

Enlist the safety-sealed button filling Parker pens for your needs at school or while fighting in the trenches in this classic WWI Parker ad.

Enlist the safety-sealed button filling Parker pens for your needs at school or while fighting in the trenches in this classic WWI Parker ad.




Please note the artillery is being moved by horses in the ads. This would be the last war to see horses used with any widespread practical regularity. It also would be the last to see swords and lances issued with actual intent for battlefield use. (Yes, the Japanese issued swords in WWII, but they were strictly weapons of last resort.) Cockades and spikes also saw their last use on helmets. Battlefields would be dominated by machine guns and the newly invented tanks. Oceans were devastated by submarines. And for the first time, aircraft could fly over enemy territory to observe movements, attack with machine guns and drop bombs. Cars and trucks came to play vital roles. Motorized ambulances saved countless lives. And chemical warfare would devastate countless people with agonizing pain and misery…if not death.

Getting back to the ads, I love that a pack of more than 30 ink tablets cost only 10 cents. Do any of these tablets still exist? I would love to see some and try one.

Make Your Own ‘J’ Pressure Bars

See how the needle nose pliers have started making a box in the end of the brass flashing as I restored this Sheaffer 5-30.

See how the needle nose pliers have started making a box in the end of the brass flashing as I restored this Sheaffer 5-30.

When I first learned the art of fountain pen restoration, there weren’t as many readily available modern replacement “J” pressure bars to fix most standard lever-filling vintage pens. You could try to scavenge J-bars, but they were so old and brittle, they were prone to breaking.

Fortunately, the man who taught me the art of pen repair was a master of improvising repair work. He taught me a lot about do-it-yourself repairs and engineering. As our goal was fully restored pens that worked as good as new, instead of featuring only all original parts, we had a lot of leeway.

Probably the best and cheapest trick he taught me was to fashion a J-bar out of brass flashing that sells for about a dollar a foot at your local hardware store.

Insert the new pressure bar J first, and make certain the length of the new spring is resting on the lever. Pulling out the new J-bar can risk damaging the lever-filler assembly, so try never to pull the new J-bar if possible.

Insert the new pressure bar J first, and make certain the length of the new spring is resting on the lever. Pulling out the new J-bar can risk damaging the lever-filler assembly, so try never to pull the new J-bar if possible.

I suppose you could use steel flashing, but brass has the advantage of not rusting. Either way, be sure to select a very thin piece that has a lot of flexibility. You will also need scissors that can cut it and a pair of needle nose pliers. Once you get everything together at your work bench, follow these steps.

1. Cut the flashing to be the same length as the barrel of the pen you are restoring.

2. Trim the edge of the flashing along its length to get it to fit in the pen barrel. Remember, keep it wide enough to be engaged by the pen’s lever. Some levers don’t push straight down. Some slip to either side. Make sure you cut the flashing so it is wide enough to accomodate this deviation.

3. Test the flashing by inserting it–still straight/unbent–into the barrel to see if it fits well and gives the lever enough space to manuver.

4. Slip the flashing back out of the barrel.

5. Using your needle nose pliers bend one end of the flashing into an arc. You will only want to bend the last 1/4 inch to 1/2. I like to bend the flashing into 2 90-degree angles. This makes a boxy J. It is perfectly fine to make an arched J.

6.  Test to make sure the J is just wide enough to slide into the barrel, while also providing enough resistance against the barrel walls to anchor it.

7. MOST IMPORTANT: Before final installation, remember to line up the J-bar J first into the barrel with the outside portion of the pressure bar against the lever.

8. Insert the new pressure bar assembly into the pen with your needle nose pliers. Push it all the way into the tail. Be careful not to push the pliers deeper than they are meant to go into the pen. They can easily split or shatter the barrel.

9. Insert the resac’d section, and make sure it all fits okay. If it doesn’t you can either trim down the sac or pull out the new J-bar with care and trim it to make room. *** It is important to note that many lever fillers have a pin or pin-ring that holds the lever in place. Pulling out the new J-bar can snap or ruin that thin piece of metal holding in the lever, and that is a lot harder to fix.

It is always best to make sure you got all of your cuts measured correctly the first time.

Your new J-bar will likely never be as effective as the old one, but it will fill your pen reasonably well. Plus it will also have saved you plenty in parts and labor. Believe it or not, you’ll feel a lot closer to your pen once you’ve restored its guts on your own.

‘Out of Africa’ into the Pen Blog

This still from the 1985 movie "Out of Africa" shows Meryl Streep holding a gold pen given to her by a character played by Robert Redford. Is it a Waterman 52? A Wahl?

This still from the 1985 movie “Out of Africa” shows Meryl Streep holding a gold pen given to her by a character played by Robert Redford. Is it a Waterman 52? A Wahl?

Last week we had a request from loyal reader Karen P. to find a picture of the pen used by Meryl Streep in her Oscar-winning movie “Out of Africa.”

Finding a picture of the pen was relatively easy. Identifying the pen is a different story.

For those of you who are not familiar with the film, it is based on the true story with the same title by Danish baroness Karen Blixen, who initially wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Autobiographical, it is the saga of Blixen, played by Streep, marrying for convience and title, moving to Danish colonial Kenya, establishing a successful coffee plantation and ultimately having an affair with a big game hunter played by Robert Redford. (As her husband has slept with half of Africa, she’s owed Robert Redford.)

The film was directed by Sydney Pollack and earned 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Most remarkable are the sweeping shots of Africa. Few movies will make you want to book a flight to Africa faster.

Anyhow, after their second encounter, Redford’s character gives Streep’s character a beautiful gold or gold-filled fountain pen. It looks like a clipless lever-filler that looks to be about 13 to 15cm when capped. Sadly, there are no close ups on the pen, as Blixen writes in the film. Therefore, I cannot fully I.D. the pen.  It might even be an eyedropper pen, as it is given in 1914, and this movie has paid close attention to the details on vintage everything.

This is the closest vintage pen we currently stock that looks like Streep's pen. It is a lever-filler by Hutcheon.

This is the closest vintage pen we currently stock that looks like Streep’s pen. It is a lever-filler by Hutcheon.

Taking the easy way out, I could recommend that it might be a Waterman or Wahl, as they made plenty of slender gold-fill pens. The closest pen I have for sale is a faux gold Hutcheon lever filler that looks to be from the 1920s.

If anybody has a better idea of what the movie pen is, please write in and help Karen. Thanks.