Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yet another Edward Todd

Here is another example of the creativity of Edward Todd in its heyday. This sterling silver dip pen features pierced work, which gives the effect of a silver filigree overlay over ivory. In fact, the body of the pen is hollow from end to end, and the "ivory" is a lacquer-coated metal tube closely fitted inside.

The construction is effective, and quite convincing -- as the detail above illustrates. The Edward Todd maker's mark is clearly visible next to the "STERLING" imprint.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Don't snap that box!

One thing that I learned young about the handling of Old and Delicate Things was how to close a box with a spring-loaded latch. Press the release button down -- don't snap the box closed.

This beautiful and uncommon fitted Waterman box shows why. Snapping a box closed not only puts a lot of pressure on the latch plate, but also subjects it to the impact of the falling catch -- which itself can break from the repeated shocks. In this case, it was the latch plate that gave way. Subsequent snap closures did further damage, gouging away the leatherette and wood at the latch point.

Good old boxes are becoming harder to find, and the wooden parts of hundred-year-old boxes are typically dry and fragile. So please, hold that button down, and don't snap that box.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More unusual Edward Todd pens

The pen above lacks its cap and nib. It's been sitting forgotten in my parts box for years, noticed only when I had to rummage around to see if I could find some Edward Todd parts for yet another project pen. Fully marked, "The Todd Pen", it is -- most unusually -- a middle-joint eyedropper.

Nearly all middle-joint pens are A. A. Waterman or Sterling products. Likely this pen was made under license, as it appears to predate the expiry of the 1899 middle-joint patent.

The other unusual Edward Todd is also missing a few parts -- the feed and the cap -- but what a nib! It's a fully marked "J" nib, with the "J" stamped in relief just as done with steel "J" dip pen nibs. Very hard to find in gold fountain pen form, and for some reason more often seen on German pens such as early Montblancs.

UPDATE: Here's a picture of a typical base-metal J-nib, marked "WHS" (for W. H. Smith, the English stationery firm, still very much in business).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

State of the Blog

Over 170 published posts now, with several more articles in progress. Over 3000 page views in March. We have some shows coming up soon, along with other springtime activities, so posting may slow down a bit. On the other hand, you never know what interesting items may turn up for a quick profile.