Tuesday, December 27, 2022

A Waterman 412½VPSF with a surprise inside

Waterman's first lever-fillers have been a longstanding focus here, but it is only recently that I have started to look into the chronology of the vest-pocket size ½V models. Paradoxically, collectors often take the most successful designs for granted.

In the case of Waterman's small full-overlay ringtops, no one seems to have asked when these seemingly ubiquitous models were introduced -- and it's not a question that is easily answered. The first ½VPSF overlay models had exposed hard rubber barrel ends and were the same length as their non-overlay equivalents, unlike their smaller and shorter covered-end successors. The first ads that I have found for the smaller covered-end models are from December 1916, yet while they are prominently displayed they are not described as new nor in any way singled out.

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. The "End Covered" or "E. C." series story will be the subject of a future post. Right now let's take a look at what must be a very early example of one of these "E. C." ringtops that came to me via Myk Daigle. For the most part it differs only in small details from later versions, but not so inside. This is not the usual PSF sprung pressure bar -- it is the distinctive design used for Waterman coin-fillers.

Could this be an old replacement? Possible, but improbable. Though my sample size is limited, all of the other small PSF "E. C." overlays I've handled have retained their original two-piece sprung pressure bars, suggesting that the sprung bars were quite robust. And a coin-filler pressure-bar assembly is a pretty esoteric spare part for the typical repairman to have lying around. On the other hand, why would Waterman have shipped out a lever-filler without a proper sprung pressure bar? This pen has a typical PSF lever that does not toggle into the pressure bar, so if the sac started to take a set, there would be nothing to prevent the pressure bar from rattling annoyingly inside the barrel. All in all a mystery, and not one likely ever to be answered definitively.

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