A Brace of Wahls

Recently somebody was selling off their collection of overlay and metal bodied pens and I bought a few of them. These are the shorter Wahl Gold-Filled pens, measuring 10.8cm (41/2 inches). They were made between 1920 and 1929, the height of the Art Deco period, and these are often called Wahl Art Deco Pens. That’s odd, in a way, because there’s no individual feature of these pens that relates to the Art Deco Style. They’re restrained and symmetrical. The machined decoration on one – the Greek Key Pattern – is entirely classical in origin and the other, the Diamond Wave Pattern, is without any obvious influence. The overall effect, though, with the shapely clips and the tiny, decorative levers, is, perhaps, slightly Art Deco Mild, as it were, and the fact that the patterning is machined rather than hand-engraved as it would have been in an earlier era, adds to this.


These are quite practical pens. Capped, they’re no longer short at 14.8cm, which is an average size for a pen. Both have the excellent Wahl 3 nib. The Diamond Wave patterned one is semi-flexible, but the Greek Key pattern is fully flexible. Both are a delight to write with. There’s a little loss of plating where the pens have been posted, but at 80 – 90 years old they’re as pretty and useful as when they were made.

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