Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Korean fakes: new eBay ID

Korean vintage Parker forger jeffriad/yeujeff now has a new eBay user ID: rttrfb-- buyers beware!
As yet, he does not appear to have any active listings (and all those that appear under completed listings are from July and earlier), but the fact that he has changed his user name suggests that he is planning to start up his counterfeiting business once again.

Previous posts about his fakes can be found here and here. You can see his eBay user ID history here. Quite a few name changes, and no wonder: rttrfb since September 12; yeujeff from June 9; jeffriad from June 28, 2011; koyo6te from March 27, 2011; yeu2002 from November 25, 2009; sasu159 from June 21, 2009; hasu4321 from October 16, 2008; and hasuk4321 from February 13, 2008.

UPDATE: Still no action under the rttrfb ID -- but a fake first-year Parker 51 set has just been listed under the eBay ID sunpawel -- yet another alias for the same crook (more here).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Seal-top English Waterman

Pen books give ample coverage to Waterman's American production, but European-made pens and pencils have not been so thoroughly or systematically illustrated and discussed (a notable exception being the Waterman Safety book by Dansi, Jacopini, and Verduci). This 9K gold English-market Waterman is an example of the sort of pen that leaves many collectors puzzled. Is that seal stone in the cap top original, or is it a jeweler's customization?
Waterman pens with seal-stone tops seem to have been most popular in Britain and France, though they are not at all common. In the USA they were special order items, with one shown in Waterman's 1908 catalog. Nearly all of these, however, were slip-cap eyedropper-filling pens (examples here, here, and here); lever-fillers with seal tops are far scarcer.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quink Concentrate

At just two inches (5 cm) high, this is one of Parker's smallest Quink ink bottles. The instructions on the side of the box state:
Pour the contents of the phial into a 4-OZ. bottle and fill with CLEAN COLD WATER.
In doing this BE SURE TO RINSE out the phial several times to make certain that ALL the content is used.
Quink Concentrate was a WW2-era product, marketed in the UK. The ad below explains more, noting that "the bottle shortage is greater than ever". The need to economize on shipping was a major concern during wartime; another response to this need was "V-mail", in which letters were copied to microfilm and re-printed at the letter's destination. Unused WW2-era V-mail ink is still commonly found in the USA.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A very early Waterman lever-filler

This pen is one of the earliest Waterman lever-fillers I have yet seen. Early PSF-series lever-fillers have the narrow raised barrel threads, but much less common is the form of the lever, shown below, stamped of thinner metal than later examples, with a small end with a narrow margin around the globe logo imprint, and plated rather than gold filled.
The recess for the lever end is also distinctive, and also rather crude compared to later examples. It is flat-bottomed and appears to have been made by milling a simple oblong depression -- basically just two overlapping circular recesses.
Early Waterman lever-fillers with the raised threads normally also have a sprung two-piece pressure bar, as shown below. The J-shaped spring has a T-shaped end, which toggles into a slot in the rigid pressure bar. Unlike later pressure bars, this bar is not toggled to the end of the lever, and the matching lever lacks the necessary tabs or "ears" to engage a later pressure bar.
This pen, however, has an even more unusual pressure bar. It too is two-piece and sprung, but here the spring has a C-shaped base to hold it in the barrel, and its other end is permanently attached to the rigid pressure bar by a single rivet.

Here is a better close-up of the lever box area, which also shows another very early feature: the bent-over tab that serves as a lever stop, rather than the solid crossbar that is seen on all later Waterman lever boxes. At the bottom is a comparison shot of another early PSF with raised threads and sprung two-piece pressure bar, but with the more familiar lever box construction and fingernail groove in the lever end recess.

Friday, September 7, 2012

John W. Greaton, gold nib maker and metallurgist

Several years ago, before the value of gold began to climb, I bought a hoard of gold dip pen nibs. They were clearly early, many bearing dates in the early 1850s, and were all marked "John W. Greaton". They appeared to be new old stock, though some had been "tested" with a file to see if they were indeed solid gold; most of them are shown in the photo above -- note that the ones in the photo are big nibs, what later makers might call #6 to #7-size.

At the time, there was no Google Books, and I did not have the time to dig out information about Greaton by traveling to multiple libraries and sifting through old city directories and microfilmed periodicals. Now, however, basic research of this sort is much easier, so I can share the following about Greaton and his nibmaking career.

As it turns out, Greaton left the gold nib business early, gaining fame in his subsequent career as a chemist and metallurgist. His obituary appeared in The American Stationer, vol. 1, April 1, 1897, pp. 528-29:
John W. Greaton, who was engaged at one time in the manufacture of gold pens at 23 Maiden lane, New York, died at his home, 326 Union street, Brooklyn, N. Y., on March 26, at the age of seventy-four years.

Mr. Greaton was born on January 1, 1823, on Pump street near Shinbone Alley, New York, which are now known as Pearl street and Chatham square. When he left the gold pen business he became a chemist and an assayer. He invented a solder on copper which would not eat through gold, for which he was offered $50,000. When the Government began the manufacture of five-cent nickel pieces Mr. Greaton instructed the men at the mint how to alloy the metal so that the coin would not break the die. He had a laboratory in the rear of his home, where he conducted his experiments, and where, during which, he lost the sight of one eye.

In 1854 he removed to Brooklyn, where he became estranged from his family. This so affected him that he retired from business altogether, and spent the greater part of his remaining life in his library with his books (of which he had a large number) as his companions, counsellors and sympathizers.

He is survived by a widow, one son and two daughters.
An obituary in the New York Herald of March 27, 1897, p. 12, col. 2, also noted that Greaton "took an interest in educational affairs, [and] was a member of the Society of Cincinnati." His bibliophily is also noted in The Library Journal and The Art Collector, but without specifics.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Snorkel springs are here at last!

Rusted Snorkel springs have long been the repairman's bane. Original replacements simply aren't available, and no matter how hard one works to remove the rust, rusted springs never seem to end up smooth enough to prevent the Snorkel mechanism from feeling as if it were full of sand. But now we have newly-made reproductions, which will get your Snorkel operating as smoothly and cleanly as new! They are already listed in our website catalog, and on eBay, three for $18 (and much less in quantity).
At the same time, we decided to make some PFM springs as well. Other reproduction PFM springs have been offered before, but at a retail price of $10. We have cut that price in half, with substantial further discounts for quantity purchases. See them in our catalog and on eBay.