Sunday, March 3, 2019

A pristine 1920s Aikin Lambert

Totally mint pens from the 1920s don't turn up often, and it is a certainty that as time passes we will be seeing far fewer. So when I acquired this mid-1920s Aikin Lambert in red hard rubber, I knew I would want to document how I found it, fresh from the wild.

One detail I especially wanted to record was the orientation of the lever. Most of us line up the lever with the top of the nib when reassembling a pen after sac replacement. As shown above, this pen was set up rather differently, either at the factory or at the dealer's where the owner's name was engraved.

The nib is a #2, though the cap and the barrel are #5-size. This pen dates to a time when Aikin Lambert was essentially a Waterman sub-brand, and appears to make use of Waterman parts that may not all have passed inspection for assembly into Waterman-branded pens.

In the case of the cap, there is a pinprick flaw in the material of the lip: what appears to be an inclusion, perhaps a speck of pigment or a grain of ground ebonite that wasn't ground quite all the way to dust before being mixed into the "dough" prior to vulcanization.

The pen showed no sign of having ever been inked. The red hard rubber feed was spotless inside and out, as was the interior of the cap. So we can be confident that the hardened sac found inside was original and factory-installed. Note the typical ribbed exterior and longitudinal seams, indicating that the sac was made in a multi-part mold, and not made by dipping.