A Waterman Ideal 513 Set


Here’s a very handsome Waterman 513 set.  It’s in a striated version of the Tiger’s Eye colours, an exceptionally beautiful combination of honey and brown.  The 513 is a standard-sized pen, 13cm capped.  It’s paired with an equally attractive and (to me) unusual pencil.  It’s part of Waterman’s less expensive range – you’ll not that it doesn’t have a lever box.
There’s quite a bit of confusion over these pens with the Art Deco stepped clip.  They end up being called Stalwarts, 513s or W3s.  They’re made to slightly different specs in the USA, Canada and Britain.  To be absolutely precise this particular Canadian pen is just a Waterman Ideal with no number or name assigned to it, but as it meets the specification of a 513 we might get away with calling it that.  The 513 is the 1948 version with two cap rings and a 2A or W-2A nib.  Nibs give rise to alot of confusion and this pen isn’t an exception in that.  It has an Ideal No 2 nib which is certainly a replacement.  It’s actually an older nib, commonly found in the Waterman 52.  I’ve also seen 513s bearing W3 nibs and that’s wrong too.  The W3 nib is fitted to the W3 pen, a much later though not dissimilar pen turned out in 1955, so that nib’s a replacement too.  Why so many replacements?  I don’t know.  The 2A nib has always seemed a perfectly good nib to me, as robust as any other Waterman nib, and coming in the full range of nib types from flex to nail, with the occasional stub or oblique.
If all that hasn’t made your head spin you now have the story on these post-war Watermans.  The 512 is a slightly cheaper version with a single cap ring.  The 515 is a bigger beast with an impressive, often flexible nib.  The W2, 3 and 5 are later pens.  Some people try to find an equivalence between these pens and the Stalwart.  If it doesn’t say Stalwart on it, it isn’t a Stalwart.  Simple as that.  I don’t know why people want to insist that these are Stalwarts – perhaps they prefer names to numbers.  There is enough similarity to allow for confusion but it’s important not to run them all together.
Anyway, I’ve had this pen and pencil set for quite a while and I’ve written with the pen quite a bit.  The nib isn’t flexible but it’s smooth, making it a nice pen to write with.  The pen and pencil came in the leather case and I assume it’s original.  It’s the right age.



5 thoughts on “A Waterman Ideal 513 Set

  1. Deb

    I’ve always wondered this, do you know the difference between a 2A and a 2B nib? (I toyed with a bit of Hamlet here but couldn’t make it work – “that is the question?”).

    The nib in the picture is a Manifold nib – used to write through several layers of carbon paper and hence no wonder there isn’t any flex. I guess it could easily have been swapped in when it was first sold if the user needed a manifold for their job.

    You seem to have been lucky with your 515s / W5s – all of mine have very hard nail like nib – I’ll have to keep on looking for these now.

    Thanks for the blog


    1. Hi Simon,
      The reason I say that the Manifold nib is a replacement is that it’s a No 2, not one of the No 2 derivatives that were being used in the forties. This old fellow must have come from a Waterman 52. It’s possible that the retailer who sold the set fitted the Manifold from old stock he had lying around but that wouldn’t be regarded as good practice, as the No 2 is a slightly larger nib than the 2A or 2B. It’s noticeably wider. I think it was a later replacement for a damaged nib.

      All I can say about the difference between the 2A and the 2B is that I’ve never had a 2B that wasn’t a nail, but then I’ve had quite a few 2As that were equally firm. You’re right, most of the “5” nibs are pretty unyielding but there are pleasant exceptions.

  2. I’m confused as ive only seen commandos that would state that on the pen, but the stalwarts don’t state as such in the barrel imprint even in the vintage old ads indicate that only imprint would be the company name and region, usually it is the color of the clip and ring band and the number of rings such as Canadian vs. US region that denotes whether having a stalwart and even the flare or narrowness of the grip section (mine isn’t flare but more narrow tapered and saw it exactly same style and model in vintage life magazine, came out in August 1948). For instance, stalwarts in the United States have one ring often and if gold plated or colored, then it is a stalwart while silver or chrome colored would be considered a starlet while the Canadian version would consist of two bands

    1. Hi Effie,

      Your confusion arises from expecting this British pen to fit in with American or Canadian models. It doesn’t. It’s a 513, no name, only a number. Between 1940 and 1960 The British branch of Waterman produced several pens identified only by a number.

  3. Awe, no sorry should’ve clarified those meant those that don’t state 513 or made in England as from what I know stalwarts are either from Canada or the United States but don’t state stalwart on the barrel imprint, they are usually also signified by their number and color of the rings and barrel section grip I think alongside the nib. Usually I never attribute any barrel or nib or pen of 513 or w3, or made in England as stalwarts as never seen one from that region, again stalwarts are mostly from the U.S. or Canada. Thank you 🙂
    I guess to be more clear my confusion is the when you stated “if it doesn’t say stalwart on it, then it isn’t a stalwart” as I never seen this on any old ads or those that posted their stalwarts on the fountain pen network. I have seen 513, w3 imprinted as well as commando etc so these shouldn’t be confused as stalwart, it I think that is what you meant. While pens that are stalwarts won’t state that on the barrel imprint.

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