Thursday, May 7, 2015

Waterman date code?

When pen collectors hear "date code", they think of Parker. Other pen companies used date codes later on, but as far as I know, Parker was all on its own when it added a date code to its imprints from 1934 on. Yet the pen shown above, a Waterman/Aikin Lambert Vis-O-Pen, had what appears to be a date code, "38", on its plated stainless steel nib.

I confess that I have not paid a lot of attention to these economy-line pens, so this may be old news to others. Such codes do not appear on Waterman or Aikin Lambert nibs in gold.

UPDATE: Not a date code after all, it appears. Daniel Kirchheimer has pointed out to me that "38" is the base model number for the Vis-O-Pen line, and the number appears on all Vis-O-Pen nibs.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Another illustration of hard rubber cap manufacture

The cap on this Wirt slip-cap eyedropper nicely illustrates how such caps were made, as discussed here and here. Before vulcanization, the soft rubber mix was wrapped in sheet form around a mandrel. The edge of the sheet is clearly visible in the top image as a longitudinal break in the patterning. The view below shows how the end of the mandrel was covered with a disk of soft black rubber mix.

More painted pens (and pen parts)

More discoveries from the parts storehouse. The ringtop is unmarked, and appears never to have been completed, as neither lever nor pressure bar has been installed. The yellow spots are painted on. The cap may well come from the same source, and it too appears to be unused. The painted decoration is repeated on the other side in identical form.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Pen site upgrades

Posting here has been slow lately, and it's not entirely due to the much-welcomed arrival of spring here in New England. Much of our time recently has been spent on belated website upgrade work, in particular making the most popular pages more mobile-friendly. There's still much to be done, as the structure of some parts of the site goes back to its early days in the late 1990s. Paradoxically, in many cases the old code and the barebones layout of these pages work better on a small screen than do fancier and more stylish sites.

Please let us know if you have any requests or suggestions, and definitely let us know if you see something broken or missing!