Sunday, February 21, 2016

A fine silver filigree safety

For those who study and collect Waterman pens, Aikin Lambert products have a special appeal. Following Waterman's takeover, many Aikin models shared essential design elements with their Waterman counterparts. The differences, however, are often striking, with some Aikin pens resembling Waterman pens from an alternate universe.

The pen shown here is a fine (silver) example of this. It is in essence an unmarked Waterman 12½ VS safety, with an Aikin Lambert #2 nib and a narrow rectangular Aikin Lambert feed. The turning knob is not threaded, and the nib does not twist as it is extended and retracted, indicating a date no earlier than 1912. The overlay, however, is electroformed fine silver, in a filigree pattern familiar from earlier Waterman pens but no longer offered by c. 1908 -- let alone 1912.

The photo above is yet another good illustration of the telltale signs of electrodeposition. The silver deposited over the cap lip groove is characteristically lumpy. Likely a thin line of resist was painted on halfway through the process, and the nodules are the result of lifting or porosity of the resist. The vertical line from the cap lip which appears at first sight to be a scratch is in fact the surface echo of a nick cut into the underlying hard rubber to improve adhesion of the deposit layer.

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