Macniven & Cameron 308

Plagiarism has always been rife in the fountain pen industry. Sometimes it was mere emulation, but often the copying was close enough to lead to litigation. Perhaps no pen gave rise to as many copies as the Parker Duofold, both in the USA and abroad. Here’s a strange example:

This is a Macniven and Cameron Waverley 308. It ticks just about all the Duofold boxes – size, proportion, milled clip screw, cap ring placement, even a Duofold-type blind cap on a pen that doesn’t need one because it’s a lever filler. Closed, it’s almost a lapis lazuli two ring Duofold of around 1928. Once you see the nib, of course, the game is up!

It’s strange that they should have copied the Duofold so closely, then made it instantly clear that it was a Macniven and Cameron by using their unique and characteristic leaf-shaped nib. They did make pens with more conventional nibs but chose not to use one here.

The biggest surprise about this pen is that M&C would choose to emulate anyone else. Always an individualistic company, they usually did things their own way, with little reference to what the rest of the industry was doing. Perhaps the chance to cash in on the Duofold’s popularity was too tempting, but pride made them use their own nib.

I came very close to keeping this pen. I admire lapis lazuli, the quality was impressive, the size and balance was right. And I love that Waverley nib! It was the nib that decided me against it, though, in the end, Unlike all the other Waverley nibs I’ve had, this one was rigid, perhaps in the best Duofold tradition. I couldn’t write well with it, so it had to go.

My apologies for the quality of these photographs. When I took these I was experimenting with artificial light and reflective metal foil. You can see how well it worked – all harsh contrast and heavy shadows. Oh well.


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