Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Nonproduction Watermans

Over the years I've seen several groups of unusual Watermans come to market from the estates of former Waterman executives and employees. The items shown above have such a provenance, though I bought them only recently, from an older collector. In many respects they resemble a group disbursed by the late Peter Stanton some twenty years ago, which included a number of clipless pencils with nonstandard features, as well as some interesting slender desk pens and a red and black Ripple 94 with a #7-style color band on the cap (which I still have, and need to photograph). Indeed, they may well have come from the same source.

From right to left, the items include: a completely unmarked 42-size safety, with Aikin Lambert-style feed and warranted nib; a slender smooth pencil, clipless; two clipless and unmarked Patrician pencils in black hard rubber; a 14 PSF cutaway demonstrator; and a truly odd pencil, whose oddness only became apparent once I opened it up.

Yes, this is a safety pencil! The mechanism is adapted from a small Waterman safety. It's all hard rubber -- no metal parts at all, and no imprints. The nose cone unscrews from the barrel, and when I opened it up I found a couple of extra pieces of lead inside. There's not really any lead magazine -- they were just floating around inside. The method by which the lead is held is also rather improvised, the propelling shaft being drilled and slotted at its end to hold and grip the lead.

And a bit more on the other items . . . 

The safety has a #2 New York nib, not a warranted as I first wrote. Initially I was under the impression that the packing unit housing had some distortion, as if it had been heated and then clamped, but upon looking more closely it seems the two flat spots may be intentional (when heated, the hard rubber did not spring back as it would if this were the result of pressure and heat).

Perhaps this was an experiment to see how rounded flats would look and feel, and if they would help provide more purchase for disassembly. Also worth noting is the surface of the pen, which looks as if it has a thin coat of opaque black lacquer. There are several spots where it seems to have worn away, allowing the hard rubber beneath to brown slightly.

The cutaway demonstrator is a 14 PSF. It's not all that early, as it has the flat barrel threads; the hardened sac is still in place, so I can't tell if the pressure bar is the later one-piece type -- though odds are it is. An interesting feature is the red-filled barrel imprint, which is likely original. Most standard production pens did not have their imprints filled, but one does sometimes find less common models with infill -- Signagraph pens being one example.

1 comment:

Jon Veley said...

Nice stuff! I think I know why the weird pencil at the end wasn't put into production, other than the obvious lack of refinement - there were several patented designs along those lines.