I don’t usually go in for lesser-known American pens but this pair caught my eye.
The fountain pen industry has had a long affair with the name “Empire”. Parker, Sheaffer, Conway Stewart and DuPont have all used it at one time or another and there are modern examples too, like the Piper and the Conklin. Perhaps the concept of empire reflects their corporate ambitions. Be that as it may, this particular Empire is a sub brand of Eclipse. I don’t think it was around very long but some handsome flat tops were made.
The orange, oversized pen has a Sengbusch nib, probably a replacement for the original. These nibs were made by the Sengbusch Self-Closing Inkstand Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now there’s a name to conjure with!
The black pen with the red top may be black hard rubber but I think it’s more likely that it’s celluloid. It has a beautifully crisp engined chased pattern.
Both of these pens are in superb condition and appear to have been used little if at all. It’s unusual to see pens that some would call “third tier” in such pristine condition. Though they may not be the equal of the Parkers and Sheaffers of the day, they are not all that far behind and they are extremely attractive and useful pens.
Edit To Add: Doubt has been cast on the idea that Empire is an Eclipse product. No indication has been offered as to what else they might be.