Picasso Red Flower


I confess that I am sometimes drawn in by the allure of Chinese pens, but in my defence I maintain that they are much improved – or at least some of them are – and some, it seems to me, are not all that far behind much more expensive European and American pens in terms of quality and presentation.  A case in point is the Picasso Red Flower which I bought recently.

It’s extremely well presented.  It comes in a cardboard outer box decorated with a tiny image of a Picasso painting.  Inside is a hard case containing the pen, a quality inspection card and a well illustrated Picasso booklet.  Every bit as smart as any of the European pens I bought lately.
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My one complaint about the pen would be that it is enamelled brass construction and therefore quite heavy, though so far I haven’t found that to be a great disadvantage in use because it’s quite well-balanced.  The pen is very pretty, black with splashes of red in a fairish imitation of urushi.  The clip is two-toned with an image that I can’t quite make out – maybe it’s a pen nib above an ink bottle, but maybe not.  Have a look – see what you think.
The push on cap fits very securely with a satisfying click.  The black plastic section has an embossed pattern which gives a good grip.  The nib is 22k gold-plated stainless steel, and is as smooth as any pen I have ever tried.  The ink flow is generous and after several pages of writing it hasn’t skipped yet.  Unscrewing the barrel exposes a twist converter which works well and of course the pen will take international cartridges.
This is a lot of pen for under £20!  I’m not saying that it rocks the foundations of Mont Blanc or Visconti, but it does make one wonder about the prices that they are set at.  Undoubtedly, they are better pens but are they several hundreds of pounds better?


Montblanc Meisterstuck 144


I confess that I bought this pen with the intention of sneering at it.  I’ve had several Montblancs over the years and I haven’t been unduly impressed with them.  At the same time, I have been very aware of the ridiculous hype and the even more ridiculous prices that are charged for Montblanc Meisterstucks.  They are status symbols, something that I despise, but I have to admit that they are something else as well – a very nice pen!
This is the smaller Meisterstuck.  I believe it’s called the 144.  The plastic has kept its shine and the gold plating is nice.  The pen has a pleasing tapered shape and it evokes several vintage pens, to my mind, much more than it does any of the other modern pens.  It has a press-on cap which slips firmly into place without any drama.  It posts well too.  The gold nib is instantly recognisable as a Montblanc by its shape.  The nib is engraved “4810 MB 14 K Montblanc 585″.
Unfortunately the 144 is a cartridge/converter filler, not a piston filler like it’s a bigger brothers.  However, once filled, the pen more than lives up to its reputation as a splendidly smooth writer.  This particular example is not flexible though I believe quite a few are.  Quite small for a modern pen, it nonetheless fits my hand very well and I find it very pleasant to write with.  What more can I say?  That’s all a fountain pen is required to do.  I don’t need it to boost my ego, nor to elevate my standing among my peers, so I can only judge it as a writing instrument and it is a very good one.
All in all, I’m very pleased with it.  I would quite happily pay £100 for a pen like this.  Of course, I know that it costs more than that, but that is what I would regard as a reasonable price for such an excellent pen.

A Late Summit


This Summit pen turned up in nearly unused condition – when I flushed it there was ink in the feed but it showed no other signs of having been used.  It’s a little unusual in that there is no barrel imprint, so I can’t say what model it is. Everything about it suggests that it is a late model, perhaps among the last range that Summit made before the company closed in 1955.  The “over the top” clip is a late feature.
The machined pattern is very crisp and the chrome plating is immaculate.  The box, too, is in very good shape, though there is a little scribbling on the top.
I suppose one might say that this is a fairly basic pen but it’s interesting in that it appears to be quite an uncommon model.  It is also unusual to find one in such good condition.


Blackbird BB2/39


Lately, time has been running away with me, with the result that I’ve done few blog entries.  I was determined to make up for that tonight, despite the fact that I had only a few minutes to spare.  Quick photos done under strip light don’t give the best results.  I know that, and yet I still continue to do it.  These photos don’t do justice to a rare and beautiful pen.
It’s a Blackbird of the BB2 range and I believe that this grey, red, bronze and black marbled pattern is the one that is coded 39.  I’ve seen one occasionally but I’ve never had one in my hands before.  It was issued without a clip and an accommodation clip has been fitted later.
It’s quite unlike any of the other Swan patterns that I have seen.  The individual patches of colour are small and the effect is like the fragmented colouring that you see in some geological samples.  It may be that this is one of the patterns that also appears in Visofils.
As if that wasn’t enough, the small nib is a flexible stub!

Pens Uploaded

Would you care for a Swan, or a Water-man, or perhaps a Waverley Camer-on?
Flexing with grace, they may sell apace, so come and be the first in the race!
Such colours were made!  Even russet and jade, and one with a beautiful leafy-like ‘blade’.
They await your decision, these tools of precision, so come have a look - all in grand condition!

Waverley Cameron Eyedropper Filler


These Waverley Cameron pens were made in the immediately post-war period by Burnham, I believe.  They were intended for the subtropical market (where sacs deteriorate very quickly) but, for some reason or another, were not exported and appeared, boxed, on the market in great numbers here some years ago.
I hadn’t had one of these for quite a while and I’d forgotten what a good quality pen it is.  Everything fits together nicely, and the Macniven and Cameron leaf-shaped nib is often pleasantly flexible, as I believe this one is though I haven’t write tested it yet.

There is much to be said for a relatively modern eyedropper filler.  It’s never going to need a sac, diaphragm or seals and it doesn’t need filled very often.
This model is quite visually attractive with the stepped clip, blue clip stud and deep engine chasing on the barrel.  There is a lever filler which I have written about before that was probably made around the same time, also by Burnham.  It is quite similar and shares the blue clip stud.
The leaf-shaped nib is, in reality, no different from one of the more usual shape.  It’s part of the Macniven and Cameron tradition and harks back to their Waverley dip nib.
These pens were quite common for a while but appear rather less often now.  More’s the pity, because they are pretty special pens.

A St. Michael Pen


This must be the brightest pen I have ever seen, with the possible exception of the Chilton Clown.  The barrel imprint tells me that it is a St Michael pen, made in England.  Anything with a St Michael label was made for Marks & Spencer, a leading high street chain store.  Marks & Spencer still sell pens today but no longer use the St Michael label.  The current offering is a no-name pen which seems to be of moderate quality.  I can’t tell with certainty when this pen was made or who made it.  As to date, my best guess would be late 30s.  The maker could be any one of the major pen manufacturers, or any number of jobbers.  It has a Mentmore look but that is probably a red herring.
It’s a pleasure to see such a cheerful pen, especially when you consider that black seems to have been the default choice among British pen buyers for several decades.  It has a nice warranted 14 carat gold nib.  The clip looks a bit weatherworn but I’m sure I can do something about that.  There is a shallow incision running around the bottom of the cap which might imply that there was once a cap ring there.  On the other hand, many pens were issued with that incision but no cap ring.  Considering that the cap screws onto the barrel very well there seems to have been no shrinkage which would cause a cap ring to fall off.  Given all of that, I think the pen is in the same condition now as when it was manufactured.

I think that we may be too serious, at times, about our fountain pens.  We need more bright, cheerful, multicoloured pens like this!


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