An old pen I’m not sure what to do with…

On a drive back from Shropshire this weekend, we ended up stopping off at a little village for lunch. The village were having a summer fair and there were stalls of bits and bobs all out in the street. We were in a bit of a hurry but I just had time to find this pen, which intrigued me, pay the man 50p, and be on my way.

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It says:
The “Unique” Pen
Made in England

I can’t find a huge amount of information about Unique, but from what I have read, they were around from the 1920s to the late 1950s.

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The thing that really intrigued me was this lever on the side, which I now know is the way you fill it. The pen has a sac inside, and in order to fill the sac, you lift up the lever (which depresses the sac) and dip the nib in ink. You then let go of the lever and the extra room created in the sac is filled with ink. That’s how I understand it anyway…

I had a little explore around the inside of this one, but unfortunately when I opened the pen up, it became clear that the sac had disintegrated and pieces fell out, along with lots of ink powder.

I found some instructions of how to replace the sac but then it all started to go a bit over my head and I knew I’d never bother to replace it.

It has an Osmiroid 35 nib:

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It’s not the prettiest pen, it has a plastic body which is a little beaten up and the clip has come off the cap:

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Anyway, it needs a bit of love, and I’m probably not going to give it, so if anyone fancies a restoration project or just wants to challenge themselves to replace the sac and get it working, I’d be happy to post it to you (anywhere!), just let me know!

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Now… A Millionaire’s Pen that You can Afford to Carry: 1930s & 40s Parker Pen Ads

How cool are these old Parker adverts?!

A guy on eBay is selling loads of ads from old Life Magazines and I found a couple of Parker Pen ones that I thought would make good prints to put up in the house.  I’ve scanned them so I can share them with you.

Parker pen ad
This first one; “Now… A Millionaire’s Pen That You Can Afford to Carry and Can’t Afford to Miss” is for the Parker Vacumatic fountain pen, from 1937.  The wording is all so brilliant; “It holds 102% yet is Slenderized for Restful Balance”. I especially love the picture of the “noted Millionaire’s pocket” with Parker Pens in it. Do open up the pictures and zoom in so that you can read it properly.

Parker Quink

This second one; “This is proves pen failures can be avoided!” is for Parker Quink, from 1944.  The selling point of this ink is that it contains “Solv-x… cleans your pen as it writes!”. Again, do zoom in and read it properly, there are some real gems in there – proper Mad Men stuff 🙂

This makes me wish advertising was still like this – they REALLY worked to sell it to you!

 

Kaweco Sport Skyline in Mint Review

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I don’t think I’ve really used a fountain pen since school. I’m not sure why, I’ve just never really felt like I HAD to get one. I think a lot of my stationery choices are design led, and to be honest, I think fountain pens often look quite dated and “luxury” and just not very me. That is until I saw reviews of this pen by The Well-Appointed Desk AND From The Pen Cup, and I had to order one!

I’m afraid I don’t know a huge amount about fountain pens, so I can’t give too much of a technical review, but here’s my attempt.

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I ordered it in a fine nib. I always go for as fine a pen as possible, but I didn’t want to go for extra fine as I know I’m a newbie and I feared it would be scratchy. I also chose not to have a clip, as I wouldn’t use it and I think it looks nicer without.

Firstly, it looks amazing. I love the 1930s design and it comes in my favourite colour, mint. So much of what I own is this colour (kitchen cupboards, bedroom blinds, bed quilt, bathroom walls, the mug on my desk right now… I could go on – in fact, in our house it’s called “Tessa colour”) so that alone makes it a winner in my book. But further than that the design is beautiful, simple, and classic (but not dated!). I especially love the typography on the packaging of the pen and cartridges. I think I especially like the pen box as it looks like it could be make-up packaging!

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Next, to using it. It feels good. I mean, I don’t have much to compare it to as yet… But I know that it’s smooth and I like it. The line comes out a little wider than I was expecting so perhaps I should have gone for extra fine. But I like that it makes me write carefully and neatly. I think I’m being overly aware of it at the moment so I have been holding the pen quite hard, so I’m hoping I’ll relax into it. I think it slows me down a little so it’s probably not a pen for every day use – more for special occasions like writing in greetings cards. It’s small, so great for carrying around, and incredibly light. In fact, so light that I prefer to use it with the cap posted on the end.

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I chose the blue-black Kaweko ink. It has grey and purple tones and I really like the colour. It didn’t bleed through the page, even though I gather ink often does in Moleskine notebooks, which I have been using. 

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For something so good looking, so well designed AND functional, it’s at a relatively low price point. I got it from Fontoplumo for €16.95 (and FYI if you check out The Well Appointed Desk review, there may just be a discount code on there). 

For a first go at fountain pens – I think I’ve chosen well. I look forward to showing this one off on my desk!P1040746