Vintage Fountain Pens


Mabie Todd Swan Trench Pen

This 1915 Mabie Todd Swan Trench Pen in #2 size (pen #178) is an eyedropper-filled pen in simple black chased hard rubber. When WWI started, soldiers were sent into battle and the pen industry filled the demand for fountain pens that could be used in the trenches. Parker was first to introduce the Trench Pen, but Mabie Todd & Co. followed not long after. The Trench Pen had a compartment in the barrel designed to hold …

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Swan Safety Fountpens

Mabie, Todd. & Co. is a beloved vintage pen manufacturer, having made fine pens, and especially many very pleasant flexible nibs. Their Swan Safety fountain pens were made in a variety of finishes with designs in chased black hard rubber (vulcanite), sterling silver and solid gold.  The smaller E. T. Design even had a ring top for convenient carrying. Some models were quite simple while others rather elaborate. Mabie Todd advertised that their pens that didn’t …

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Desk Sets

Not all vintage pens were made to be carried in a pocket or purse.  Desk pens are long, tapered pens normally held in a base, nib down, and of course are designed to sit on a desk. Many companies made desk sets and designs range from the very simple to extremely ornate. The base is heavy to keep the desk set in place. Below are some Conklin, Waterman, and Parker desk sets.  Other manufacturers include Esterbrook, Sheaffer, …

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Parker Vacumatics

The Parker Vacumatic are some of the most beautiful vintage pens because of their wonderful laminated and striated caps and barrels. They were launched in 1932 and were so popular they soon outsold their predecessor, the Duofold. The name changed twice: from “Golden Arrow” to “Vacuum-Filler” and finally to “Vacumatic.” The pen (not surprisingly) features a vacuum-filling system that took five years to be perfected, at no small cost of $125,000 (in 1930′ dollars!).  The filling mechanism was so popular …

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Waterman Coin-Filler

Waterman has produced several filling mechanisms in addition to the lever-fillers and eyedroppers; for example, there was also the “coin filler.” The coin filler operates with a prop: Waterman provided a special “coin” to use with these pens. In the side of the barrel is an open rectangular shaped slot under which is a press bar.  Once depressed by the special coin (or of course anything else the user might decide to use), the bladder was evacuated …

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Dummy Pens

In addition to demonstrators/Ink-Vue fountain pens for showing customers how the inside of a fountain pen worked, Waterman also made Dummy Pens. They look like a regular Waterman at first glance, but they were not functional pens – they were just “dummies” for display. Since the pens often sat in display cases in shop windows, they were painted black to minimize fading from sunlight exposure. A hard rubber pen sitting in sunlight and heat for …

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Waterman #7 Pink Nib

Pen #20 is a 1921 Waterman in a beautiful Red Ripple. It’s a #7 lever-filler with a “Pink” color-coded nib and matching band at the top of the cap. Waterman produced 10 nib “colors” for the #7 pen: red, green, purple, pink, blue, yellow, brown, grey, black, and white (an example of the “white” has yet to be found). Each “color” corresponded to the style of the nib.  The “Pink” is usually “fine/triple-flexible” with the highest flexibility of …

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Postal Reservoir Pen

The Postal Reservoir Pen could only be bought through mail order – there were no retail stores that carried it. The intent was to offer an affordable pen which performs as well as any higher priced pen. You could acquire the pen through the mail (the “Post”) and, with not needing to pay for thirty days, had plenty of time to try it out. Apparently the pen in the ad below was $2.50 and was advertised to be comparable to pens of $7 or $8.75. …

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Waterman Lady Patricia Sheraton

Here is a 1929 Lady Patricia LF set in gold-filled, in the very rare Sheraton/pinstriped pattern. For those of you that enjoy flexible nibs, this one could be for you. It has a fine flex nib, is new-old-stock, and is mint in the original box. Along with the Sheraton finish, there were many others: the cable twist, Gothic, Basket Weave, BayLeaf, Smooth, in addition to Nacre, Persian, Onyx, Turquoise, Moss Agate, Jade, Grey Lace DeLuxe, …

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On Point – The Parker Duofold

The Parker Duofold is “unecessarily good.” Parker was so certain of their Duofolds that they advertised, “Not one can fail, or we’ll make it good free!”  The nibs were advertised as “ultra-smooth, which relieves writing pressure,” and it “won’t hard start.” In addition, the barrels were improved, no longer made of rubber, but now non-breakable “Permanite.” Combined with an oversize ink capacity and beautiful colors, it is a tempting pen. Check out our Catalog #73 – …

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