Despite a slight prejudice against cartridge-fill pens, I have always admired the Waterman CF, the daddy of all cartridge/converter pens. It’s just such a bold innovation – not so much the use of the cartridge to fill the pen but the futuristic styling which was designed by Harley Earl. Waterman borrowed him from the automotive industry and I don’t think you have to look far to see that influence in this pen. It’s very much of that optimistic era, the fifties. Back then we believed in progress and knew that the solution to all our problems was just around the corner. A science fiction future was almost upon us, and designs like this one anticipate that.
Here’s one or two before shots. This pen was more than a little rough and being one of the more expensive ones it had more décor to get discoloured. Thankfully this one hasn’t suffered the damaging corrosion that has ruined many of these pens.
Restoration required very little. Flushing old ink out of the section took a little time due to complexity of the feed, full of nooks and crannies for ink to cling to. The rolled gold cap and the teal and white plastic cleaned up well. The gold-plated brass areas showed more indications of wear but at least there’s none of the pitting that has afflicted some CFs.
This pen came with a cartridge, a precious thing these days now that they’re no longer made. It can be refilled, but I set my heart on a converter. They’re hard to find now. Amazon used to stock them but no more. I could have bought one from America but by time I paid for the shipping, customs dues and Royal Mail’s handling charge it would have cost several multiples of the buying price of the pen. I finally tracked one down in Penbox and that’s eagerly awaited.
The smooth nib is springy rather than flexible. It’s pleasant to write with but perhaps too slender for me to use it for my magnum opus. The cartridge is big so it won’t need filled very often. The pen closes firmly but the cap wobbles a little. I can’t see an obvious way to fix that. It’s not the worst fault.
This is one of the English-made pens. I see no difference from the American ones. The French pens came in a whole variety of colours. This one is the standard teal and white. I’m pleased that the white cleaned up so well. I’ve seen examples where the white has taken an ivory tinge or even become downright yellow. I’ll ink up this pen now and again so that I can plug in to that future that once was, with personal fliers, transporters and instant meals from machines. We don’t seem to be so optimistic any more.
2 thoughts on “The Waterman CF”
Go for Waterman CF Converters to Parkerpen.nl. They still have new CF converters in stock, for a reasonable price. Take a look under Converter Waterman.
Ben van Halle
Collectioner and seller Waterman Pens era 1955 – 1980
Great information, Ben! Many thanks. It’s nice to be able to keep these old Watermans going.