The Jif-Waterman Duo 7

$_57

The first to introduce glass cartridges to the public was the Eagle company way back in 1890.  The idea was not a resounding commercial success and it was not until 1936 that it was revived by Waterman, France.  The first glass cartridge Watermans were converted American-made pens but later Jif-Waterman went on to produce designs of their own.  World War II halted production of these pens but it was resumed after the war, one example of the new models being the Duo 7.

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It was advertised as being “the most perfect pen in the world”, but goodness knows, that’s been said often enough about almost every pen that ever came on the market.  It was also said that it was safe to fly with it and that it was reversible, one side of the nib giving a thinner line than the other.  In France it cost Fr.7.550 and in Britain 84 shillings, which is £4.4 shillings or four guineas, just to confuse those of you who are used to decimal currencies.  For that you got a barrel with an exceptionally long blind cap, a nice large 18 carat number eight Waterman Ideal nib and a double rolled gold cap.
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It’s a superb pen by any standard.  The build quality is very high and in the case of this example, the original cartridge seal is still in good condition.  When they perish, the seals are quite easy to replace.  The glass cartridge can be refilled an infinite number of times.  Not that you’ll have to do it all that often.  By modern standards, it’s a huge cartridge.
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The pen has a push-on cap which catches on the gold-plated ring between the section and the barrel.  It works very well.  I assume that one would normally remove the blind cap to fit a new replenished cartridge though the section unscrews as well.  There is a spring mechanism in the butt of the blind cap which forces the cartridge into place.  If you’re one of those people who is devoted to soaking pens, remember that that’s there and it will rust and break in no time at all if it’s soaked.  This section is ribbed, giving a secure grip and the feed is one of the patent Waterman complex multi-finned type.
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In use, the nib, like most 18 carat nibs I have come across, is no more than semi-flex.  The nib is truly reversible and writes perfectly well on either side.  I don’t know if it really is “the most perfect pen in the world” but if not it’s a pretty good runner-up.

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Persian Pattern Lady Patricia Pen And Pencil Set

There hasn’t been much activity here in the past few days because I was hardly at home last week.  Almost every day I had appointments which involved travelling.
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I love these little Lady Patricia Watermans for their design, for their patterns and for their nibs.  The name hints at a relationship with the famous Patrician but the design is quite different.  The clip flows like lava and the cap band continues this flowing theme.  We always talk about Art Deco with regard to 1930s pens but we rarely have as good an example as the Lady Patricia.
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This set is in the Persian pattern.  The pen, of course, has discoloured as they almost always do due to the decomposition of the sac.  Without the sac, the pencil shows how the pen would once have looked, though I must say it isn’t as badly discoloured as many I have seen.  Received wisdom would have it that you should put a silicone sac in pens that are likely to discolour, but there is more to consider here.  This pen uses the Waterman lever box and swing pressure bar.  These lever boxes can and do crack in the middle due to the pressure of constant refilling.  The latest silicone sacs and the PVC sacs that we once thought were silicone are both quite inflexible in comparison with a latex sac.  That causes greater pressure to be brought on the lever box, so I have stuck with the latex sac.  My view is if that you wish such a pen to retain its colour you’d be better taking the sac out and just treating it as a collectable object rather than writing instrument.  Me, I would much rather write with a Lady Patricia than keep it in a box.
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The reason for that is that these pens have some of the best Waterman nibs there are, and that’s saying something!  Not only are they flexible but they snap shut instantly after being flexed to their fullest extent.  That makes them a total pleasure to write with.  Though the Patricia is a small pen, when it is posted it is a surprisingly adequate length.
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These, then, are a precious pair.  It’s just a pity that they don’t have a box but that seems to have disappeared.

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