The Schneider and Fischler book was once a highly regarded reference but, having been published in 1992, the advances of the intervening years have diminished it. The best thing about it is that it shows pens you won’t see anywhere else. The rarities are all American unfortunately. The pens of major pen-producing countries like Japan, France, Italy, Germany and Britain are covered only lightly.
A disproportionate number of metal overlay pens are presented. That, I think, was the emphasis of the hobby at the time. All pens that are not hard rubber are described as “plastic.” It would have been useful to know what the other materials actually were. Indeed, most of this large volume is devoted to photographs with very brief information.
It is perhaps in the photographs that this volume most shows its age. Very poor by modern standards, it is as if they were taken through coloured gauze. The colour and even the shape of some pens is indistinct.
This is beginning to be a litany of criticisms and I’m not quite finished yet. There is a section on pen repair which should be ignored. It appears to have been acceptable in those days to risk burning your house down with naked flames being applied to pens. We know better now.
It isn’t all bad, though. I’ve been at this game for a long time yet I was deeply surprised at the large number of pens and pencils shown that I had never even heard of, let alone seen. Pencils are not forgotten, as they are in most other works and there is a section on pen/pencil combinations.
Prices vary between £50 and £60 for the book and you may judge whether this is an essential for your bookshelf or whether the money might be better spent on pens, ink or tools. Despite all I have had to say about it, I’m glad to have it.