Every country has its mystery pens, the ones no one seems to know anything about. Britain has a few but the one buried deepest in mystery, to my mind, is the Nova. Try searching it in Google and once you’ve eliminated all the other pens that have “Nova” in their title you’re left with – nothing! People in the various pen discussion boards have asked about the Nova but no one seems to know anything about the company which made the pens, where they were based, who were their directors, or which years they were in business. And I’m no different. I don’t know anything about the Nova.
I’m aware of two models, this traditional open-nib model and another, perhaps later, with a long section and nib that appears semi-hooded. These are all the Nova pens I know about. I have no way of telling when they were made though my guess would be that they’re post-war. I have a vague memory that I’ve seen a larger version of this open-nib pen so perhaps there is a third model. Also, I believe that some pens have steel nibs whereas this one has a very nice warranted 14 carat gold one. It may not be original, of course.
This is quite a small pen at 123 mm capped. The gold plating has lasted well throughout. Cap and barrel are slightly tapered. Unusually, the clip screw is in the same rose/black patterned material as the cap and barrel. The stepped clip curls at the end. The black section is gently tapered with a “stop” to prevent fingers slipping onto the nib. The feed is simple and quite old-fashioned.
The later pen measures 125 mm capped and is not all that dissimilar apart from the long section and the partially covered traditional nib. It has a more modern comb feed. The nib is gold plated and writes very smoothly. Unfortunately it is in less good condition with considerable plating loss to the clip and cap band. The yellow box reminds us that the “Nova” pen will ‘suit all hands’ and is ‘for satin smooth style’.
So that’s the Nova – just about all I know about it. As there doesn’t seem to be any earlier or later models I would guess the company wasn’t around long, perhaps as short a time as a couple of years, but it seems to have sold a lot of pens in that time. It has the appearance of an inexpensive pen and perhaps that was why so many were sold, aimed perhaps at the school market.
It’s a less popular pen now though I can’t see any particular reason why. It’s on a par with Burnhams, I would say, quite robust and a good writer despite that primitive-looking feed. As always, I have a soft spot for the underdog and I rather like the mysterious Nova. I’d like to know more about it and maybe someday I will.
Thanks to Paul L for information and photos of the later Nova and its box.