A Green Marbled Croxley

I was going to write about a different pen today but it was uncooperative and wouldn’t come apart for me, so that’s for another day. It takes time, patience and an absolute determination to have one’s way. In the end I will prevail and that uppity Wyvern will surrender to my will (cue evil laughter here).

I’ve had a lot of Croxleys lately, which is a good thing. They’re great pens with extremely good nibs, sometimes oblique, generally at least semi-flexible and often more. There are a couple of other Croxley models, but it’s this, the most common one that interests me today.

I suspect that these pens were made over a lengthy period. At first glance they’re all the same but on closer examination they’re not. There’s a noticeable difference in capped length between the longest and the shortest. To a degree, that’s almost universal in older pens. Measure twenty Waterman 52s and you’ll be unlikely to get two exactly the same. The difference I’m seeing in the Croxleys is greater than those minor variations, though.

Not infrequently, I take the clip screw off so that I can clean the cap and trim properly. Turns out there are two types of clip screw, one with an extremely long thread and the other much shorter. As the clip screw acts as an inner cap and determines where the pen will close firmly, there’s probably a relationship between pen length and which clip screw is used. Duh! I’ve been seeing this for a while without coming to any conclusions. Note to self: Try to be a little more observant!

And (you’re not supposed to start sentences with “and”. But I defy you, Syntax Police, and I might even start a sentence with “but”) here’s another thing. I haven’t missed this one by leaving the brain in neutral, I’ve just never seen one before: a two-tone 14ct gold Croxley nib. Two-tone nibs are uncommon in high-quality British pens, though plated ones are sometimes seen in low-cost pens. I would take them to be later rather than earlier, but perhaps that’s because they’re so common today. Regardless, it seems there was a period when Croxley nibs were plain gold and another time when they were two-tone. Whichever came first, there’s the possibility of a dating sequence there, which may combine with the long and short clip screws to give us a better idea of how this excellent pen developed.

My suspicion that the two-tone nib is later is immediately contradicted by the condition of this pen. It has some of the most worn plating I’ve seen on a Croxley, which would suggest that it had been around longer. Or maybe they scrimped on the plating on the later models. I don’t know, but I think some of these questions may ultimately be capable of being answered.

Anyway, I like the dark, almost bottle green in this pattern. It’s a nice pen and it will be a little nicer by time I’m done with it.


4 thoughts on “A Green Marbled Croxley

  1. When you take off the clip screws on these, do you ever find any kind of cement or adhesive applied? Any problems you find common with Croxleys? Just got one, hoping for the best.

    1. Hi aburamiMatt ,

      No problems unique to them. They’re pretty much the “Standard British Pen” in design. I haven’t found clip screws glued in but it’s not impossible that some misguided repairer might do so. What’s more likely is that a lot of old ink has got in among the threads. Dry heat will often loosen it. If it doesn’t, trickle some water into the cap up to the first breather hole.and let it sit for a while. That should do it. Don’t immerse the cap in water as that can cause your black hard rubber clip screw to fade.

      1. Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. Probably an idiotic observation, but I’m still pretty new to this hobby and I’m consistently surprised at the amount of ink in caps. Seems some pen owners just kept refilling with the same blue-black year after year without ever rinsing the cap out once. In terms of dry heat, do you think a standard hair dryer would be sufficient? Always paranoid that a pen will have survived decades only to land on my desk and be promptly destroyed in a well-meaning attempt to improve things.

      2. Hi Matt,
        A couple of generations ago, a fountain pen was just another tool like a screwdriver or a hammer. Nobody cared if there was some ink in the cap. Actually, as long as it stays dry, which it usually does, it rarely poses a problem. It’s only when you have to get a clip screw or inner cap out that you become aware of the ink, and it’s easily got rid of.

        I use an ordinary hair dryer and it has never failed me yet. It’s better for disassembly and reassembly than a heat gun – gentler heat more slowly applied. That’s not to say it can’t melt celluloid – it can, but if you work in 30-second applications of heat, trying your pen in between, you’ll be quite safe. The one time I distorted a pen I gave it about 90 seconds of heat with, shall we say, disappointing results…

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