Marshall & Oldfield: Pen Repair Third Edition

I bought the first edition of this book, skipped the second and now I have the third.  There are many changes.  The third edition is much larger, 280 pages to 194.  Though there are some new sections, most of this increase in size comes from expansion of the chapters that were there in the first edition.  The inside front page is a detailed contents list and there’s a useful index at the back.

Though the book now has a smart outer cover, it retains it spiral-back format, which means that it lies flat on your bench if you need to consult it during a repair.  It’s not for repairers alone, though, there’s a mass of fascinating information about, for instance, different filling methods and about British pens.

Having only received the book today I can’t give a thorough review but I thought it was important to write about it right away.  If you want one, now’s not the time to hesitate – go and get it, because the last new edition went pretty fast and a lot of people were disappointed.  It will be £30 well spent.


Conway Stewart 85L Blue With Gold Veins


I wrote about the 85L before, back here:, where I suggest that the 85L is a successor more to the 84 than the 85.  Be that as it may, the 85L is a pen that stands out among the other models of its time (late fifties early sixties).  It a little longer and slightly more slender than the other Conway Stewart pens of  the period and it comes in some outstanding colour patterns like this bright blue with gold veins.  Judging by the numbers that turn up nowadays it was a very popular pen back in the day and it remains so with buyers today.
I’ve been going after boxed pens and pen and pencil sets whenever I can.  The prices can be a little steep but they’re worth it, especially when they and their box are in such good condition,  It’s almost like getting a nineteen-fifties pen new.  In comparison with real new pens of similar quality, they’re very cheap, in fact.
And, of course, they write better…

A Copper And Brown Marbled Kingswood


At 12cms capped, this is a shorter than average Kingswood.


It’s also unusual in that it has a single broad cap ring giving the appearance of a narrow/medium/narrow set of rings, something I have occasionally seen elsewhere but not, to my recollection, on a Kingswood.  Posted, it’s a respectable 15cms so it isn’t so short as to be uncomfortable in the hand.  The plating has just about gone from the trim, but that’s usual with these pens.  The rich copper and brown marbled celluloid more than makes up for it.
This pen doesn’t have the usual Eversharp nib but a warranted 14ct nib which may or may not be a replacement.  In any case, it’s a superb nib as the writing sample above shows.
My guess would be that this pen is a product of the Langs factory.  It’s a lovely pen, in appearance as in the pleasure of writing with it.

Aurora Auretta


I only bought these because they are stylish in a sixties sort of way, and so that I could say I own a couple of Auroras.  Accepted, they’re not quite the the three thousand-odd quid creations of today, but all the same…
These are inexpensive cartridge pens aimed at the school market.  There have been many Aurettas over the years, all rather different from each other.  I’m not sure when the version I have was made – it looks like sixties styling but I’ve seen it dated to the eighties.  Either way, it makes a memorable pen.  The attachment of the clip to the cap reminds one of the accommodation clips of the early twentieth century.

IMGP5085The nib is quit unlike any other, though it has the nearly flat profile of the Parker 180 or Classic.  The colours are bright and strongly contrasting.  Adults who manufacture things often assume that bright, contrasting colours will attract young people, but I’m by no means sure that that is true.  It’s more than a little condescending.  We know that babies appreciate bright colours but by time that they’re in high school they might well want to put that behind them and go for something more subtle.  But who am I to criticise corporate designers?  Actually, I like the colour schemes very much, but then I’m just a little kid at heart.
They’re eye-catching, comfortable to write with, cheap and that strange nib writes well.  I approve!

Mea Culpa!

I’ve had a couple of people kindly inform me that the last pen I wrote about is not a Parker 180 but a rather later Parker Classic.  This only goes to show that I can get things wrong too!  In fact, I get things wrong quite often, but my trusty readership usually sets me on the correct path, for which I’m duly thankful.

As people search these pages for information on pens they’re interested in, I think the best thing to do is go back and completely edit the article.  Otherwise I’m going to be unintentionally misinforming people.  But I’ll do it tomorrow, because now I’m going to go and put my feet up and watch a movie.

The Parker Classic


It may be a slight eccentricity, but I like the Parker Classic.  I like all those pens that show an edge of experimentation, especially where nibs and feeds are concerned, and there can be little doubt that the Cl;assic was an experiment – one that succeeded rather well, especially from a marketing point of view.  The rather space-age nib/feed/section unit caught the eye of buyers and the pen was surprisingly popular.  It came in a wide variety of finishes, some quite expensive.  This rather more humble brushed steel Flighter GT was introduced in 1993.
The nib is almost flat, having only the very slightest curve that you see on normal pens.  Part of Parker’s idea was to make a very robust nib, as writers used to ballpoints were bending fountain pen nibs left, right and centre.  It’s quite effective, I think.  They seem to have survived in quite large numbers, anyway.
The Classic is the successor to the Parker 180 and there are considerable similarities both in the shape of the nib and in the style of the pen as a whole.
The Classic Flighter GT went out of production in 1994 and this pen appears to have worn quite well through the intervening years.  The gold plating does have a spot or two of wear but otherwise the pen is in very good condition.  It has the Parker syringe type of converter.  All in all, I like this odd pen with its radical nib.


Thank You!

Many thanks to those of you who answered my question yesterday.  I’m pleased to say that the responses were much along the lines I imagined they would be, and that writing samples are actually useful.  It would be well worth while going to Fountain Pen Board to see what Christoph does for a writing sample!