Thursday, February 26, 2015

An early Plum

"Plum" (a deep purple) is a scarce and highly sought-after color in the Parker 51 -- and indeed, purple was not a color commonly used for pens in the old days. So it was with some surprise that I found the pen shown below: an Eagle glass-cartridge pen with original deep purple lacquer.

These all-metal pens were made from the 1890s on (you can read more about them here), with nearly all sporting a plain black lacquer finish. Similarly constructed Eagles with later filling systems -- coin-fillers and lever-fillers -- are commonly found with other finishes, most often an orange-red but sometimes a multicolor swirled pattern. Such variation isn't seen in the glass cartridge pens, though, and this is the first purple metal Eagle of any model that I've ever seen.

Like the 51's Plum, this Eagle's color is dark enough that it is difficult to photograph, and the richness of the color only comes out in bright light.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What is a stub nib?

In current usage, a stub nib is a rounded italic: its point is wider than it is thick, but its profile is smoothed for easier writing. There are those who object to this definition on historical grounds -- a detailed discussion can be found here -- and as it turns out, the confusion of what "stub" means goes back quite some time.
The passage above appears in Waterman's Circular No. 55-25, which can be dated sometime between the later part of 1898 and 1900.