Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Waterman pens and dynamometers

Waterman collectors have long been aware of the Signagraph, a form of pantograph that allowed its operator to sign multiple documents (payroll checks, typically) at once. The Signagraph was not the only application in which Waterman pens were utilized for mechanical output, however, as we can read in the ad below.

Popular Mechanics, Aug 1911, p. 107
Railroad dynamometers were typically built into a special-purpose car, which is why we have not seen any turn up at a pen show, or on eBay for that matter. Waterman advertisements continued to make period mention of their pens' use in dynamometers for some years. The ad below ran in Scientific American, vol. 122 (May 1, 1920), p. 500, as well as Collier's, vol. 65 (May 22, 1920), p. 47 and others.

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.

California Constitution signing pen

While looking for something completely unrelated, I stumbled across mentions of a pen supposedly used by Pablo De La Guerra to sign the California Constitution of 1849, now held by the California State Library and viewable here and here. The nib is now missing, but the pen does appear to be of a form early enough to fit that date.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

An early Edson

This Waterman sub-brand straight-cap came our way recently. Edson pens are rather less common than Remexes, and this one has a number of notable features. The barrel imprint reads "PATENT PENDING", and the nib imprint is unusual in its location and incorporation of the size number ("No. 3"). Most of the sub-brand nibs also have a heart-shaped vent hole, whereas this one is round.

Externally, the feed has the usual pre-Spoon Feed narrow profile. On the inside, however, it is a bit different, with an axial hole and added feed channel at the bottom.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Flexible-nib fountain pens on the cheap

Here's an alternative for those seeking fountain pens with nibs that will go from extra-fine to extra-broad -- modifying a new pen to accept a new dip pen nib:

Detailed discussion and photos here.