The Ingersoll No30

Ingersoll pens can be thoroughly confusing. For a start there were two American pen makers called Ingersoll, one producing the bakelite twist-filler dollar pens, the other Redipoint pens. US Ingersolls not infrequently found their way across the Atlantic and sometimes appear in eBay listings. Then there was a UK Ingersoll pen company, apparently independent of its US namesakes, producing very British-looking pens.

It has to be said that most British Ingersoll pens seem to have been aimed at the lower end of the market, often with steel nibs. I pass on these, but there are also occasional Ingersolls that are very much better quality, like this Ingersoll No30.

This is a big pen – 16.7cm posted – in an especially richly-coloured mottled hard rubber. The shape would suggest that it’s a mid-thirties pen, and it bears a strong resemblance to a variety of no-name hard rubber pens common at that time. The milled clip screw, especially, looks similar.

The barrel and particularly the section, with its pronounced step, look very like those of the MHR Burnham of the time. Perhaps the Ingersoll company bought in its pens from one of the majors, and Burnham looks like a likely candidate to me, though I have seen Wyvern suggested as a possible manufacturer of their later pens. All this is speculation. What is important, I think, is that beauty can appear in the most unexpected of places. It’s a pleasant surprise to find that a company I would normally give little consideration to produced such a gem as this one.

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