Tuesday, May 19, 2020

While putting my reference shelves in order, I spent a little time browsing through this 1943 Spors catalog. Spors is best known to American pen collectors as the main prewar importer of cheap Japanese fountain pens, most notably the glass-nibbed crescent-fillers imprinted with the Spors name. With the outbreak of WW2 supplies of these pens were cut off, and this is duly noted on an inside page.

With evident discretion no mention is made of exactly where these pens had been coming from ("present conditions do not permit importations"). One wonders how seriously Spors was actually pursuing the possibility of manufacturing glass nibs on their own. Despite the loss of their Japanese suppliers, Spors managed to find other sources for pens -- which included not just their usual bottom-tier stuff, but also closeout stocks of models prized by collectors today.

Most notable must be the Conklin Nozacs, offered in multiple colors and as sets with matching pencils. The most expensive V-line pens were offered at just $5.95, or $6.90 as a set. By 1943 Conklin lived on in name only, its name affixed to the cheapest of economy pens (some of which appear elsewhere in this same catalog), but these Nozacs were from the company's better days -- and undoubtedly dumped as part of the company's sale and liquidation.

Wahl-Eversharp was still very much in business in 1943, though reorganized under the Eversharp name. They too had liquidated a great deal of older stock a few years before, some of which clearly made its way into Spors' inventory. Though not a top-line model, the Pacemaker shown above was a quality pen with strong Art Deco styling -- not common today, and a collector favorite. In 1943 you could have bought a dozen sets for $42, though for that price you had to make do with a manifold nib.