Early Days: Part The Second

My husband was not unduly put out by being restricted to using a pencil.  After all, it was much easier to control than that horrible dip pen.  Anyway, it was soon after that that he moved to another school, one that was more liberal in every way.  Pupils could write with whatever they wanted.  In those days, ballpoints (or Biros as they were known here, regardless of who made them) were notable mostly for unreliability.  Usually, they stopped writing while the refill was still full.  Others developed the infuriating habit of skipping, but only intermittently, so that you hung on to it a little bit longer in the futile hope that it had cleared itself.  The ones that wrote best tended to deliver a little too much ink.  It gathered around the point and left a sticky blob every sentence or so.

My husband opted for the fountain pen, and his first one was an Osmiroid 65.  It was a great pen and it lasted a whole week before he lost it, as was his way.  The next one was the first of many rock-bottom Platignums, the kind that had a plastic body and a gold-alike plastic cap.  It blobbed and blotted and sometimes refused to write.  It was almost as bad as a ballpoint.  The years went by and he grew out of losing things.  His mother’s Conway Stewart was passed down to him and he began to really enjoy the pleasure of a good fountain pen.  Ballpoints were much improved by this time and most of his classmates used one but they didn’t win him over.  They were characterless, required a vertical grip and downward pressure.  They hurt the hand after a page or two.

Those were just about the last of the days when you could get your pen resacced.  You left it at the newsagents and picked it up a few days later for a very reasonable payment.  A sac lasted a long time, and by time he needed another new sac, the service had disappeared.  It seemed to be the end of the sac-fill pen.  But was it?

(Further thrilling episodes to follow)

4 thoughts on “Early Days: Part The Second

  1. Hi Deb,
    My first fountain pen was a burgundy Waterman, probably a W2, never used it at school, by that time we used very strange phallic like ball points pens. I can remember within the half hour when I lost my first fountain pen, at Murrayfield ice rink, five aside football tournament, all the major teams present Hearts, Celtic etc. On leaving I couldn’t wait to get out and was crossing over the seats when my pen must have fallen out of my jacket.
    Tried writing with a dip pen, seems to me as with your husband it is a bit of a “black art”
    Happy New Year, hope for a better one coming, all the best.

    1. Hubby remembers those strange ballpoints – blue “tail” and grey point, he thinks. They wrote just as badly as the other ballpoints. Happy New Year, Eric. May it be a good one!

  2. Happy New Year Deborah & Eric.

    I well remember the Stephens ink, dip pens and ink wells. My first pen was also an Osmaroid, but one with a screw fill. It too got lost rapidly and was followed by a variety of cheap Platignums, usually with a steel italic nib. I still have the remains of the last two!

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