The Mystery Of Jacob

I have written with fountain pens all my days and rare is the pen I haven’t enjoyed. Sometimes the basics need to be done, a failing of ink-flow amended or a nib adjusted, either to correct misaligned tines or in need of a little work with abrasives. That done, almost every pen suits me but some suit me better than others.

I have written about this pen before. It is known as Jacob because of its many colours. It’s a Frankenpen but all the parts come from Parker. I have made no adjustments of any kind and it suits my hand to perfection. Parker always made good nibs, often inflexible but perfectly made for the job of laying ink on paper. By all appearances this is an ordinary Parker nib, probably from the 1930s. I have examined it under a x20 loupe and it looks perfectly ordinary, yet it is not. It suits my hand as no other pen has ever done. My writing is better with this pen than it usually is. It feels as if the nib is an oblique, which I like, but it is not. There is some inexplicable mystery about this pen: why it should be so perfect for me.

Perhaps I have been fortunate enough to inherit the benefit of the original owner’ s use of the pen, gradually polishing and wearing the nib into this shape, so satisfying for me. After all, the pen is around ninety years old and probably saw much use during that time.

I often say that I love a mystery and in truth the mysteries I like best are the ones that have no clever resolution but leave me with a puzzle I can continue to mull over. Jacob is the best pen I have ever had. I don’t really care why, I am just glad that it is so.


2 thoughts on “The Mystery Of Jacob

  1. There was a thread on FPN a while ago which talked about allowing the pens to show their age, that you should not restore everything to make it look like it was made yesterday, a special quality that time can bring. I would say that 95% of the readers, especially those who like to argue that black is white, just didnt get it at all. They want a 1930s pen not to look like it has been owned and altered over time, just perhaps to keep it functional.

    And personally I think that is great.

    Seeing your pen made me look out my Parker Moderne, a humble pen from 1936, I doubt that the person on the assembly line would have ever have given a thought that the pen could still be in use 80+ years later. It has a nib that is now a strong oblique, perhaps worn down by a previous owner that writes so well and makes me smile and isnt that what it is all about.

    1. I agree. That, indeed, is what it’s all about!

      As you may be aware, I’m a conservative restorer. I’ve even had the occasional pen sent back because it didn’t look as if it just came from the factory but most of my customers understand what I’m doing and appreciate a pen that shows its age – though I ensure that it looks good and of course it works well.

      I’ve had quite a few Parker Modernes pass through my hands and they are beautifully well-made pens. There was a considerable price difference between them and the Duofold but it’s hard to see where Parker made the savings because the pen is so robust and sound. They are often in lovely colours.

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