Monday, August 31, 2015

California interlude

We had a fine time at the San Francisco pen show this weekend, and will soon be heading home with our purchases. It may take a few days to catch up once we do get back, but all should be sorted out by the end of the week. Thanks for your patience, as we've not been able to do much correspondence over the past several days.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A unique Moore self-filler

When I first saw this pen at the DC show, I assumed it was a Grieshaber. The knob at the end of the barrel, the chunky cap with a fancy extra-wide band, all are distinctive features of Grieshaber hump-fillers. So much so, that when I was informed it was in fact a Moore, my initial reaction was disbelief.

Yet the barrel imprint leaves no doubt about it, and though the nib seems outsized, it too is Moore-marked.

Whereas the Grieshaber hump-filler (produced under US patent 956895 of 1910) uses an end knob to lock the hump to prevent accidental actuation of the attached pressure bar, this pen's end knob turns in place to actuate a rotating cover plate. This Moore is a sleeve-filler, with a rotating internal sleeve akin to that used by Century, as covered by Mooney's US patent 879,296 of 1908 -- the difference being that Century attached the sleeve to a rotatable section instead of a rotatable end knob. And though I have not been able to track down a patent, I have been able to find a Grieshaber sleeve-filler with the very same arrangement, though with cap and barrel proportioned more conventionally. On balance, it seems certain that this Moore was made by Grieshaber, an experimental venture into self-fillers for a company built on safety pens.


I have collected Moores for many years, concentrating on unusual mechanisms and configurations. Models that others marvel at -- Twistouts, ink-pellet pens, stylographic safeties, safety-like sleeve-fillers with sliding sleeves, cutaway demonstrators -- I've seen and owned them all. This Moore, however, is something completely new to me, and a wonderful reminder of how many discoveries remain to be made in our field of collecting.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A most unusual English-market chatelaine Waterman


This pen recently turned up at auction, fresh to the market. Even at first glance it was something out of the ordinary, a short (11.1 cm) #2-size straight-cap with a silver overlay in a seldom-seen and uncatalogued pattern, with London hallmarks for 1903/4 and FDW maker's mark leaving no doubt about it being a genuine factory-original product.

The side-mounted suspension ring is also clearly original, as there is a break in the straight-line chasing leaving a smooth area for its attachment. Upon reflection, however, this arrangement didn't make much sense. Other early 20th-century pens designed to hang by a chain fastened to a pin -- Swans and Houstons, for example -- had the chain anchored to the cap, so that the pen could be used freely once uncapped. A short chain attached to the pen's barrel wouldn't allow the pen to be used without unfastening the clip. Furthermore, the barrel lacked a posting end, which would leave the user holding the cap in one hand while dealing with a dangling chain and pin with the other.

When something doesn't make sense, it's a good indication to take another look. The only way I could imagine this pen working would be in a manner analogous to the chatelaine pen carriers popular in Britain in this era, with the visible barrel acting as a carrier for a removable barrel inside. And sure enough, there was an inner barrel -- though it took some time and effort to extract it, as it was cemented firmly in place by encrusted ink.

The inner barrel, once revealed, turned out to be finely line-chased in the manner uniformly used by Waterman for the inner components of telescoping assemblies (most commonly, two-part caps). Once removed from the outer barrel the pen does appear a bit ungainly, as the inner barrel is markedly smaller in diameter than the cap. It is entirely functional, however, and the cap can be posted on the barrel end in the usual way.