Once I’ve done the basic restoration on a pen, it’s time for write-testing, and if it’s a lever filler it’s at that point that I start getting especially acquainted with the lever. I fill the pen, I empty out the ink, then flush the pen. That’s a lot of levering, and it’s fair to say that not all levers are created equal. There are good ‘uns and bad ‘uns, and the worst are those specially designed to stab you wickedly under the thumb-nail if you give them the chance. Wyverns are a little dangerous in this respect. There’s the arrow-end lever:

and the straight lever with a flattened end:

Both are pretty stabby! So too is the straight Summit lever:

Swan levers come in short and long forms, but are otherwise quite ordinary, being a straight lever with a rounded end:

In the nineteen thirties, they also used black hard rubber levers, which worked well and look pretty good:

The Waterman box lever is undoubtedly a thing of beauty:

and it was emulated by some British manufacturers, including Conway Stewart and De La Rue. The earlier ones are fragile, though, and can fracture in the middle. They can be repaired, if you don’t need the pen to appear perfect, or replaced, but you have to be careful to get the exact replacement. There are several sizes and they don’t all pivot in quite the same place. Waterman later went for a straight lever with a flattened end, a bit like one of the Wyvern versions, but not so lethally sharp!

Conway Stewart always made a feature of their levers, and over the years they remain variations on the lollipop-shaped theme, with varying ways of displaying the company initials:

Conway Stewart levers have a deserved reputation for fragility. Handle with care!

Finally (in this far-from-comprehensive round-up), the Dickinson Croxley had an exceptionally decorative lever in the form of the flight of an arrow, and it echoed the design of the clip:


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