Normal service will be resumed today! I am very grateful to Rard Changizi for the photographs of those wonderful, rare pens which I know I would never have seen otherwise.
Though the modern ones don’t do much for me, I admire older German pens. Going back to the nineteen seventies and earlier, there appears to have been an endless variety of good, well-made piston-fillers at a wide range of prices, almost all of them bearing that German style of clip, of which Pelikan remains the last example.
This Matador Garant 994 is a good example of the quality and style of pen that was being produced in Germany in the forties. The chased celluloid harks back to the black chased hard rubber of a few years before. It makes a very satisfying finish. The clip shines up very well and gives the impression of gold – which it probably isn’t – perhaps some shiny alloy. As I understand it, gold wasn’t available to pen makers during the war but Matador made a virtue of necessity, producing a flexible steel nib that was as satisfying in use as any gold one. I’m really impressed by this nib.
Like many other piston fillers of the time, this Matador has a blind cap which, when removed, reveals a milled turn-button to activate the piston. Though I’m sure that not everyone will agree with me, I find one piston-filler pretty much like another. They are are usually quite straightforward to strip down and renovate. There are exceptions like the Big Ben which seems impossible to repair. Piston fillers, it seems to me, are the best of the “ink in barrel” pens, less liable than eyedropper fillers or bulb fillers to discharge their contents over your work. This Matador remains just as practical a day-to-day user as the latest Pelikan and it has the advantage of a much superior nib.
Though the company was around for a very long time, beginning pen making in 1918, they were never one of the big producers with the result that Matadors are not very well known or very common. This is one of the more subtle examples; others appear in handsome patterned celluloid and with more shiny trim.
I suppose that when we leave the EU I will have to pay duty on my German purchases. Most annoying.