The days when you could walk into a brick and mortar shop and see cases and cases of shining new fountain pens for you to choose among are gone forever. The last shop that carried fountain pens here where I now live was a newsagent which had a small case of Sheaffer pens. This was about the time that the reborn Balance came out, so when was that? Twenty years ago?
However, with the power of imagination we can go back to any period we choose and visit The Pen Shop of Our Dreams. Let’s say 1922 and a shop specialising in Swans. They’re promoting their latest pen, a small self-filler in black chased hard rubber. And here it is:
I cannot guess at the history of this pen but it seems completely unused. The hard rubber is as black as night and the chasing and imprint are crisp and sharp. The gold plating on the lever is immaculate. The papers are fresh and unmarked. It is almost as if I did visit that imaginary shop and buy this brand new, century-old pen!