Unique never fails to provide us with interesting pens and questions.
What is this? A Waterman or a Unique? The celluloid and the box lever look like Waterman but the – poorly fitting – nib and feed are Unique and the pen bears that company’s name.
A possibility is that Unique bought these part-finished pens that Waterman wished to offload when they moved on to a new model and added their own parts.
There are so many unanswered questions about Unique, especially in the post-war period. Some time ago, Barbara Epstein responded to a Unique post. She is the repository of all Unique history. It is to my eternal regret that I did not take matters further at that time but my husband had an operation which did not go well. He was in the ICU for ten days, followed by months of slow recuperation. Many things were laid aside at that time and some were never resumed.
If Barbara still reads this blog, I would be very grateful to hear from her.
Thanks to Peter Greenwood for photos and information.
12 thoughts on “A Mysterious Unique”
Thank you for the very interesting post. I have one Unique pen in my modest collection and I must say it gives me much writing pleasure. The nib is particularly good, with a certain amount of flex, and a pleasure to write with.
They are under-rated pens. They often have very good nibs. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy your Unique.
I am not such an expert, but it seems to me that there are several British manufacturers of vintage fountain pens which are under-rated. One of them is Summit, but Wyvern, J. Dixon, Burnham, to name just a few, easilt come to mind in this respect.
I agree with those. There are several Summit collectors and I know of one Wyvern collector so they aren’t entirely neglected. I avoid post-war Burnhams because the casein has often deteriorated.
I suspect that the barrel of this pen has a “Unique” impression on one side and a feint “foreign” on the other. It dates some time between 1954 and 1958 when Unique were usually fitting their Made in England nibs to imported pens. Most of the pens of that period were French imports but this particular pen (the L2) may have been imported from Germany. This is just speculation but I have an L3 in un-inked condition which is fitted with a Dauer Feder Nib (which I believe is the German equivalent of the Warranted nib). You have made reference previously to the Mercury pen from the same period which was fitted with an accordion sac.
They discontinued celluloid pens in 1958.
No, the pen has MADE IN ENGLAND under the imprint
Thank you, Peter.
Mystery indeed. I would still think it dates to the mid 1950s and clearly Deb’s speculation is better than mine but I guess we will never know.
Based on Steve Hull’s information I would date it to between 1949 and 1954/5, being when the 512V was introduced and when the W series without boxed filler levers were introduced. I wouldn’t put it past Unique to have got a special deal to use up Waterman’s residual boxed filler stock.
You could well be right. That would have been the era of Rachel Epstein’s management when money was tight and any special deal would have been very attractive.
Correction: I of course meant Rebecca Epstein (not Rachel).