December 8, 2013 4 Comments
This is a chatelaine. No, not a chatelaine pen; it’s a receptacle that you put your pen in. Does that seem a little redundant to you? It did for me, at first, then I had a bit of a think about it. The later ringtops, the ones with a screw on cap, they were more or less all right, though I believe it was not entirely unknown for them to unscrew themselves in a treacherous way, allowing the delicate pen to fall to the flagstone floor. Like cats which always land on their paws, pens dropped on a hard surface mostly manage to twist themselves into the nib-down position. If they were liable to self-destruction, so much more so must the cone-cap pens of an earlier time have been. I’d be amazed if any of them lasted the week. Swan turned out a few with a bayonet-type cap fitting, but they didn’t seem to catch on to any great degree. All this does make the chatelaine look more practical, if a bit tiring. Pull the cap off the chatelaine, take the pen out. Pull the cap off the pen, post it on the back of the pen. Write note. Take cap off back of pen, slide it back onto the front. Put pen in chatelaine. Put cap back on chatelaine. Do that a couple of times and I’d be done for the day. Makes the pencil behind the ear seem more of a practical solution…
Though it’s made from some base metal it’s quite a stylish and well made thing. Quite plain, though the equally spaced bands with the attachments for the chain give it dignity. I confess to being quite taken with it. If you have to hang something off your clothing for writing purposes, this might as well be it. It could be quite versatile, too. You could stir your tea with it or if any person in the company was becoming irritating you could use it poke them in the eye.
I’m sure they had great fun with all their accoutrements back in those Edwardian times.