Waverley Cameron Eyedropper Filler

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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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.
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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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It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?
.
Goodwriters’ doors are opened wide,
And I invite you in;
The pens are there, the prices, fair:
The buying may begin.’
.
Apologies to Coleridge

Conway Stewart 27 Tiger’s Eye

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I’ve always wanted to own one of the Conway Stewart Tiger’s Eye pens, just to see if they are as beautiful in reality as they appear in the various photographs I have seen.  Well, I can tell you that the Tiger’s Eye is more beautiful than it appears in any photograph, including, sadly, my own.  What photographs don’t seem to pick up is the light that shines within the pattern – this thing would almost glow in the dark!
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This is the Conway Stewart 27 version and it is in perfect condition without so much as a micro-scratch.  Where do people get these perfect pens?  It cost quite a lot but I think it’s worth every penny and I’m delighted to have it.  Of course, I won’t hang onto it for ever and it will appear on the sales site in due course.
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I wish the photographs were better so that they would give you more of an idea of how beautiful this thing is.  Excuse the dust which I never seem to be able to get rid of.  Anyway, enjoy the pictures!

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The Platignum Stylo

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I found this oddity among a mixed lot of pens I bought last week.  It’s a Platignum stylographic pen.

Stylographic pens were most common in the early years.  In fact they beat fountain pens to the market by about 10 years.  Given, in those days, a more rounded point, they were used for general writing right up to World War II.  Since then they are mostly technical pens for drafting, technical drawing and artist’s use.
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This Platignum one is a bit of a mystery.  The only reference I can find to Platignum stylographic pens refers to one of 1935.  My guess is that this one is quite a bit later, probably post-war as the cap and barrel are made from injection moulded plastic.  Strange that they should make this kind of pen so late, when the market for technical pens was dominated by companies like Staedtler, Rotring and Faber Castell.  Perhaps it was intended for school pupils learning technical drawing, at a guess.
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Anyway, it has not worn well over the years.  The plastic has not distorted as much as it commonly does on cheaper Platignum fountain pens but it has shrunk enough to lose a cap ring.  The clip rotates and there is no method of tightening it.  Otherwise, it functions as it should, writing well and screwing closed well.
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Considering that many people nowadays buy firm-nibbed pens that lay down a consistent line, one would think that now is the time when stylographic pens might come into their own and regain the popularity that they had before World War II, but there’s no sign of that happening.

Another 1910 Mabie Todd Swan Chatelaine

Just a smile, just a smile
Hold me captive just a while
I can’t explain why I’ve become
Miss Chatelaine.
(Thanks to K D Lang)

Châtelaine, a woman who owns or controls a large house (a feminine form of Châtelain).
Chatelaine (chain), a set of short chains on a belt worn by women and men for carrying keys, thimble and/or sewing kit, etc.
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I’ve written about this chatelaine model from Swan previously and I don’t have a lot of general information to add to that (http://wp.me/p17T6K-oN).  This example is the best I’ve ever seen.

If I used such a term as “mint” (which I don’t) this would be where I would use it.  This is a 104-year-old pen in pretty much the condition that it came from the shop.
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Apart from being very pretty with its rolled gold trim and machine-chasing, this pen is significant also for the secure, bayonet-style closure which, so far as I know, was never picked up by anyone else.  Unfortunately C. Haines is just too common a name for me even to speculate about the identity of the pen’s first owner.  Suffice it to say that she was a very fortunate lady, doubtless from a wealthy background – a true chatelaine!

So there it is.  Enough said.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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‘Tis Halloween, there are spooks about,
Ghoulies and ghosties without a doubt
But if you’re a-feart, and need distraction
Try our pens – guaranteed satisfaction!
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Who is the character in the image – or rather, who was he before I turned him into a witch?
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