The Rubinette (Part Two)


I finally got around to disassembling the Rubinette for repair. It turns out to be a perfectly straightforward button filler, and there were no internal clues to its origin.


It scrubbed up pretty well, apart from some ink traces on the barrel threads which I’ll remove later – I have my methods! Further extensive searching online and in my reference materials found no reference to this pen nor any tie-up with the 1950s Rubidor ball-point.


A Progress Report

My apologies for the lack of updates recently. It’s pandemonium here. Completion of my retail site is, if not quite imminent, well within sight now. I have plenty of restored pens ready, but they all need to be photographed, the photos need edited, written descriptions have to be prepared for each pen – and so on it goes. It has quite worn out my assistant:

And I’m only marginally better myself.

The Rubinette Button-Filler


It’s always been my aim to get a set of all the herringbone pattern colours that Conway Stewart used for their late fifties/early sixties pens. I’ll probably never achieve that but I found a herringbone celluloid that they didn’t use: this beautiful gold-coloured Rubinette button filler.


I have yet to restore this pen, but it’s a lovely piece as it is. The clip and cap ring are patterned and the mount for the button is made of clear plastic. Searching for Rubinette didn’t help me much. It’s a variety of apple and there’s a Rubinette Way in Winchester. Oh, and it’s a seldom-used synonym for “ruby”. Nothing about pens.


So if you know anything about the Rubinette, please share the wisdom!

On another topic, ink’s a useful substance in the bottle or the pen or on paper but anywhere else it’s a messy nuisance. Handling pens all day as I do, there are plenty of opportunities to get inked, so I glove up to work on pens and even to do writing samples. Now, it seems, I need to put on gloves to open the mail:


Please, please drain and flush pens before sending them out…

Summit S100 Cadet

This rose marbled pattern plastic is, I think, unique to Summit. I’ve seen somewhat similar patterns on Stephens pens and on some Parkettes, but they don’t have the intensity of this colour. It almost glows in the dark like the slumbering embers of a rested fire.


After World War II the S100 became the S100 Cadet Model and I think it’s reasonable to assume that this pen was aimed at the school pupil market. That doesn’t imply a decline in quality; this is still a well-made pen, crafted with attention to detail.


The 14ct gold nib is marked “Cadet” now to match the pen. Compared with the more streamlined pens being produced by Conway Stewart at this date, or the hooded-nib Mentmores, the Cadet may be regarded as conservative – and justly so. A case can be made for conservatism in pen design. Streamlining is purely aesthetic; it confers no practical benefit on the writer. Mentmore’s hooded nib was just an ordinary small nib enclosed in plastic, unlike the Parker 51 it emulated which at least had a redesigned ink delivery system to justify its shape. It might be said that sticking with the tried and tested traditional pen shape gave the owner a better writing instrument.

Certainly, enough of them sold for Cadets to be quite plentiful still, though not all are in this glorious colour. This example has survived in near-perfect condition and it’s a comfortable and well-balanced pen in the hand. It writes well with a consistent medium line.

The Mabie Todd Swan 230/60

The range of handsome black hard rubber pens of which this is one were made for most of the nineteen-twenties. For those of you still struggling with the Mabie Todd numbering systems (and I confess there are some numbers that remain a complete puzzle to me) the 2 is the nib size, the 3 means that there’s one band at the top of the cap and two on the barrel and the 0 means there’s no band at the cap lip. I neglected to photograph it but there’s a mottled hard rubber insert at the top of the cap with a white Swan emblem.


The clip is a slightly smaller version of the stepped clip Swan had been using for some years, with the word “Swan” imprinted on it rather than the patent date used earlier. With three bands, a stepped clip and a cap insert, this wasn’t one of the company’s cheaper pens. Though it has the comparatively small No 2 nib this pen probably sat above the middle in the Swan price range.


As is so often the case with Swan pens of this date, the beautifully engraved nib has considerable flexibility. This nib has an ‘H’ designation. Anyone know what that means?


These 1920s Swan have it all for me. They’re light, they have perfect balance in the hand, the nibs are invariably splendid and the filling system, with its long lever, works very well. All in all, this pen must rank as one of the best ever made, by any manufacturer.

The Conway Stewart 475 Forest Green and Other Stories

Sometimes there’s a tantalising serendipity in our lives. It’s almost as if the universe was about to uncover all its secrets for our satisfaction, but actually it’s just the meaningless hand of coincidence at work. Last week I showed you the seldom seen chocolate brown Conway Stewart 475 and that very day I was able to secure an equally uncommon forest green example.


Are these Conway Stewart’s only full-size self-coloured pens from the pre-war period? I don’t mean black or red hard rubber, I mean coloured celluloid. Answers on a postcard to… well, no, answers here if you have them. I’d really like to know.

On a different subject I received this illuminating missive from eBay this morning:

Thank you for writing to eBay Customer Support regarding international visibility of your items.

Deborah, I appreciate your patience and apologise for delay in resolving your issue. As of now you have not listed any item in your account. Meanwhile you can keep listing on your UK site. I am again esclating this concern to an appropriate department and the higher authority. I will rech back to you as soon as I get reply from them.

I trust this information is useful. Please write back to us if you have any concern.
Kind regards,


I can’t begin to tell you how far this drivel is from addressing the problem. It’s enough to make you rech – or is that retch? I don’t know how many times they’ve “esclated” this to a higher authority, which said authority doesn’t give a damn.

Yeah, sure. I might just list a pen or two when I’m assured the problem is solved and I can see the evidence myself, but not before then and maybe not even then.

It’s too little, too late. I’ve had enough. I engaged the services of a company to write me an e-commerce site yesterday, so you can look out for Goodwriters’ pen sales in a few weeks. I note that there are many companies who invite you to put together your own site for rather less money, but I know what my design sense is like. I couldn’t build a dog kennel, never mind a successful online store. To be sure, it’s an investment, but it works out at about three months eBay fees or a bit less. I think it will be worth it in the long run. At least this way I get to run my own show, and I’m not at the mercy of an uncaring international monopoly.

It’s Only Appearances

You may have noticed that I’ve changed the theme for this blog.  I liked the old one better, I must say, but it didn’t have a search facility.  A couple of years ago that wouldn’t have mattered but as the posts proliferate it becomes harder to find what you’re looking for.   Of course, it would help if I kept up with the categorisation…

I gave the search bar a try or two.  It seems to be quite good.