I was recently asked for a sample of some of the more popular, at least in my view, blue and blue-black inks so I thought I would share them with you. I hope you find these interesting and helpful to your search for the ultimate blue and blue-black ink:
Somewhere in an alternate universe, with the music of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Metallica blasting in the background, the rebels of the London Pen & Motorcycle Club gathered at their Williams on Wonderland HQ to binge on coffee and show off their new ink, like this beauty that Doc showed up with (he’s not a real Doctor, that’s just a name he picked up somewhere):
Well, that’s not exactly what happened … we did binge on coffee and heavy metal, pens that is …if a pen sticks to a magnet, it meets the test!! Bring your flighters, filigrees, overlays, signets, silver, gold (more likely gold-filled), aluminum, titanium, gunmetal, shiny or matte and all combinations and permutations thereof. Some like their pens with a patina (you might say potana) and others like them looking brand spanking shiny new. They could be factory or farm fresh – maybe have a few scratches and dents or even some brassing, we won’t hold that against them. And don’t forget your pens that are part-metal, i.e., they might have a metal cap with a resin or other body; however, metal trim-only is not enough metal, sorry.
To wit, a great collection, in a large variety of makes, models and finishes – Sheaffer Targas and a significant number of Parker:
Anyone for a Parker 75 – just pick your finish:
Some Parkers, at least one Sheaffer (a Targa, I think) and a Pilot Birdie(?):
A Waterman 452 1/2V sterling silver filigree (pierced work) overlay and a bottle of Herbin Vert Olive:
A true classic, the Parker 75 Cisele:
Another Parker 75, a Sheaffer Connoisseur and a Pilot Birdie:
Quite a mixed bag here from L to R – a Montblanc Meisterstuck Sterling Silver Solitaire Le Grand 146, a Dani Trio Phantas aka the “snake pen”, a Sheaffer Imperial and an older model of the Visconti Travelling Inkwell:
A close-up of the Dani Trio Phantas (snake pen) …
… and a close-up of the Sheaffer Imperial Brass engraving:
A couple of one-piece metal pens, i.e., an integrated nib, a titanium Parker 50 aka the “Falcon” and a Namiki-Pilot M90:
Not sure this Stipula/Chatterley Pens Carbon Future Oversized Etruria LE qualifies but it is one sweet writer with that 1.1 mm stub nib!
Remember these Cross pens – graduation presents, wedding gifts, they were ubiquitous:
Can you say vermeil? Rotring 600s, Sheaffer Targas and Imperials and a couple of Parkers:
The old hidden compartment pen … how did that bottle of ink get in the picture?
What – is this a remnant from the alternate universe, a Waterman Harley-Davidson:
A number of Parker Flighters with a couple of 75s for good measure:
We have some Sheaffers, a Lamy Studio and a blue Kaweco off to the side
The pen in focus is an Aurora 80th Anniversary Limited Edition, a brilliant guilloche pattern cut in sterling silver while the pen slightly out of focus is a Conway Stewart “Drake” LE:
A side shot (above) and head-on shot (below) of the Aurora 80th anniversary LE, a Conway Stewart “Drake” LE (this is a massive pen, made from a solid rod of sterling silver, guilloche engraved in a classic wave pattern), a Conway Stewart J. Rake Demonstrator (based on their classic Duro design), a Parker 51 Special Edition (from 2002), a Parker 51 Flighter, a Visconti Spider, a Visconti Skeleton, a Waterman Carene Deluxe, a Waterman Exception Night and Day Gold, and of course, a Waterman Edson:
What about you? We always love to hear what you think of these Heavy Metal Pens as well as about your own Heavy Metal pens. Do you have a particular favourite? Surely you have at least one?
The theme for our Saturday, October 24, 2011 meeting was “Iconic Fountain Pens”.
What makes an item, such as a pen, iconic? When most of us hear the word “iconic” we think of people, places or things that are famous, well-known, widely-known, celebrated, renowned, fabled, legendary, notorious, infamous, illustrious, or perhaps even “the one”. At least, those are some of the words that come to mind when I think of something that is “iconic”.
The theme for this week was for our members to share their thoughts on those fountain pens that were icons from their perspective as well as the reason(s) for their selections. We asked them to think about whether it was a popular or well-known pen? Was it something to do with the pen’s design or looks? Maybe it revolutionized the look, function of pens or even how pens write? Has it developed a bit of a cult following? Perhaps it is not famous but infamous? Is it inexpensive or does it cost a small fortune? Was it made by one of the “iconic” brands or do you have trouble pronouncing or even remembering its brand?
If you were to build a collection of pens based on an “iconic” theme, what would you consider to be the “must-have” pens? These hypothetical exercises are great – there are no limits, e.g., you are not restricted to modern or vintage pens, etc. You don’t have to own the pen, have ever owned the pen or even want to own the pen! Heck, you don’t even have to have any money! Although, I don’t want to suggest that a pen’s cost necessarily influences its status as an icon. I can think of very expensive pens that I would not be surprised if many thought of them as an icon, or conversely, others thinking of one of any number of inexpensive (dare I say, “cheap”?) pens that could easily fit the bill, e.g., Lamy Safari.
Enough of my dribble, here are several groups of pens (with photos) that different members of the LPC view as being iconic and why:
1. Sheaffer Balance. 1930s. The Balance began the tradition of streamlining the shape of pens with tapered caps and barrel ends, along with the use of plastics in colours not seen before.
2. Parker Vacumatic. 1930s. Striped plastics, ink stored right in the barrel rather than a sac, and an “interesting” filling system – the Vac is still what I think of when I think of vintage pens.
3. Parker “51”. 1940’s. A hooded nib. “Writes Dry with Wet Ink” to quote the advertising of the day. Introduced in 1939 and in production until 1972, the Parker “51” sold in the millions and is of the most successful fountain pens of all time.
4. Sheaffer Snorkel. 1950’s. The Sheaffer Triumph nib (also known as the wrap around nib or conical nib) was continued on the Snorkel filler. One of the coolest and most complicated of the filling systems, the Snorkel was made in a multitude of colours and finishes.
5. Sheaffer Imperial/Lifetime. 1960’s. I don’t have a Sheaffer Pen For Men (PFM) so I am including my 1963 Lifetime with the famous inlaid nib. The PFM introduced the now iconic inlaid nib that Sheaffer continues to use on their pens to this day. The Imperial, Targa, Intrigue and Valor models all have the inlaid nib.
6. Parker 75 in Sterling Silver cisele pattern. 1960’s. A classy looking pen. I am still waiting to see one on the TV series “Mad Men”.
7. Lamy Safari. 1980’s. The Safari was first introduced in 1980 and hasn’t changed in 30 years. A great starter or school pen that is available in an array of colours and nib sizes.
Another member’s group of “Iconic Pens”:
Aurora 88. An elegant Italian design that functions perfectly and has a hidden cache of ink, if needed.
Sheaffer Targa. Simplicity and variety. One could spend a lifetime collecting these classic fountain pens with the inlaid nib. Just check out one of the best pen sites on the internet – sheaffertarga.com
Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point. Many people think this pen has a cult following but I disagree. How many people do you know that own at least one Vanishing Point? I would not be surprised if 3 out of 4 pen owners have one – that’s not a cult, that’s a club!
Delta Dolce Vita. Ah, the sweet life! The first time I saw this pen I thought it was a bit much, I mean, who has the nerve to use a bright orange pen like this, especially a conservative business man like me. It did not take too much longer before I owned one. Actually, I have the double desk set as well!
Conklin Crescent Filler. Even non-pen people know this pen, it’s the one that Mark Twain uses – because it won’t roll off of a table.
Lamy 2000. A wonderful example of design and functionality. A simple design, the pen is made of black makrolon and is a piston filler, holding a ton of ink. The flagship pen of LAMY.
OMAS 360. The non-conformist’s fountain pen because of its unconventional triangulated form. It’s the type of pen that you either love or hate. I happen to love it. Unfortunately, OMAS screwed up its original design when it redesigned its line of pens. If you want one of these, get the older “vintage” model.
Pelikan M800 Souverän. I loved this fountain pen from the very first time I saw its green striped barrel at Sleuth & Statesman in Toronto. While I actually bought the black-blue model with silver trim first, I just had to have the original black-green model with gold trim. In my mind, the green striped barrel makes it the quintessential fountain pen!
Parker Duofold. Not a big surprise that the Duofold is on this list, although most people would probably cite the vintage “Big Red” model. Most people would put the Big Red as one of a dozen or so pens in a core collection of pens. I like the blue ones myself, especially this remake of the “True Blue”.
Waterman Edson. A legendary and elegant pen.
Conway Stewart #28 “Cracked Ice”. Colourful plastics have been a signature of Conway Stewart. The names of many of these colours, such as this one in Cracked Ice, have been adopted by collectors over the years. Other personal favourites include Reverse Cracked Ice and Tiger Eye. Truth be told, my favourite models are #27 and #60 – I just grabbed the first Cracked Ice that I came across so please forgive my oversight!
One more member’s quartet of Icons:
From top to bottom:
Parker Vacumatic. Hey, it’s a Vacumatic, what more is there to say?
Sheaffer Autograph. The Autograph has a much wider cap band than the Sheaffer Signature and used to be one of their most expensive models. It has the clip and the cap band made out of solid 14K gold. In fact, you could send the pen to Sheaffer along with your signature and they would engrave it on the cap band. This cap band has yet to be engraved.
Esterbrook. A classic double jewel J (full sized).
Parker 51. This aerometric filler with gold filled cap is Cocoa in colour, while not as rare as Nassau Green or Plum, is fairly uncommon.
A different view of the same quartet:
And finally, the best part of every pen club meeting – writing with someone else’s iconic pen – in this case, a Parker 65 Flighter!
Maybe you agree with these selections, maybe you have your own views. We would love to hear from you! Let us know what your iconic pen is and why?