Wyvern Perfect Pen No 60

Wyverns are always interesting and sometimes a little annoying: annoying because of the occasional left-hand thread and the confusing re-use of names and model numbers. They are particularly interesting because of their long history and extensive model range.

This pen re-uses both a name and a number but it bears little resemblance to the earlier pens that bore them. This new style of Perfect Pen went into production in 1951 and remained available until the end of fountain pen production in 1955*. It appears to have sold quite well and is not uncommon today.

The designer of this pen attempted to straddle two horses, as it were: tradition and modernity. It shows the influence of the Parker 51 in the long section and partially hooded nib. People were impressed by the modern lines of the Parker 51 and looked for something similar though retaining brand loyalty. The appearance of tradition in the pen was perhaps inescapable. It’s a celluloid pen machined from solid stock, this at a time when injection moulded plastic was taking over. This choice of an older type of material may have been dictated by what was in stock that had to be used up.

Despite its appearance this pen is technically entirely traditional, using methods that go all the way back to the early 1920s. It is a lever filler with a traditional nib, feed, pressure bar, lever and sac. This would certainly have been due to the cost of re-tooling to produce a pen with more modern internals.

It has been said that the more modern-looking British pens like this one and some Mentmores ultimately failed because of their dated filling systems and ink delivery. I don’t see the evidence to support that view. It wouldn’t have mattered how truly modern the fountain pens were made, their future was bleak anyway. The ballpoint was accepted even earlier in Britain than in the US simply because of the advantages its practicality conferred.

Personally I rather like the Perfect Pen No 60. I like the fact that initially, with its patterned celluloid, black end to the barrel and black clip screw, it appears a perfectly traditional British fountain pen. Then there’s a little surprise when the cap is removed to reveal the long, tapered section and semi-hooded nib.

*Stephen Hull: The English Fountain Pen Industry 1875 – 1975


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