How often do you come across a true red ripple pen from the nineteen-twenties that wasn’t made by Waterman? Not often, I’d say, and I’ve never seen a British example before. There are some French overlay pens that emulate Waterman models quite closely and are sometimes made in red ripple hard rubber, but those are the only non-Waterman examples I’ve seen. Until now…
This is a British-made Primo. I have seen slight references to this company as a 1920s manufacturer but I’ve never seen one of their pens before. I suspect that they were one of those companies that didn’t survive for very long. It’s not an especially well made pen. The machining is no more than adequate. It’s hard to judge it in its entirety as some of the parts have been replaced. The plated, crimped-end nib is marked “No 12 London 14ct Gold Plated” and the lettering looks familiar though I can’t place it for the moment. It may or may not be original; the feed certainly isn’t as it’s marked “Swan” and looks like it came from an eyedropper.
The pattern isn’t completely consistent. On the side that carries the broken inserted clip, the cap is red ripple; on the other side it has a wood burl appearance.
Restoration of this pen won’t be easy. The lever is so rusted that I suspect that it will have to be replaced. The inserted clip is held by a very flimsy inner cap, and there’s much encrustation of rust there as well. Repair will be a delicate task, given the thin walls of the cap and barrel.
Not a high quality pen, but an interesting one. If anyone has information on the Primo pen manufacturing company, or on non-Waterman red ripples, I’d love to hear from you.