Paul L kindly sent me photos of his Pitman pens. There is a black hard rubber “Fono” in very good condition, a long slender, straight-sided pen. It has a rather long lever. The domed cap has a riveted clip with the ball end. The barrel imprint is “Pitman’s Fono Lever Self-Filler.”
His other Pitman, though black, bears considerable resemblance to Paul Stirling’s mottled hard rubber pen and is of similar quality. It is decorated with deeply incised engine chasing and has the mid-cap clip and box lever. The barrel imprint is “Pitman’s College Made in England” there is no obvious difference between the Fono and the College of similar dates. I wonder what the explanation might be for the different names.
If we were playing, “Guess the Manufacturer” Paul L’s Fono bears considerable resemblance to the Mabie Todd Swans of the day and the College, with its lever box, might have been made by Wyvern. We will never know who made these pens unless some related paperwork turns up.
Compared with a special purpose pen like, for instance, the Kenrick & Jefferson Super Pen which was designed for use with the company’s multipart forms, the Pitman pens share a consistent high quality with that range. Like them, and like many other pens, there is a slight falling away in the fifties, but for most of the production Pitman pens are well worth seeking out