What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Award, for Long Service

Posted by Dirck on 12 December, 2012

I occasionally make some broad pronouncements about the enduring nature of fountain pens.   I’m not going to withdraw from that stance, but I will admit that a lot of that is simply the fact that I’ve got a load of quite elderly pens that work.  There is nothing to say that these pens have been used for so long, and in many cases there is some pretty strong evidence that they’ve sat quietly in a drawer for most of their time on earth.  A case in point, this frequently-referred set:

The pen has the same imprint. Honest.

I’m pretty certain that I’m the initial user of this pen, even if it is slightly older than me.  It is slightly disingenuous for me to say, “This pen has had forty-nine years of use!”  It’s been around that long, to be sure, but the odometer has hardly shifted.

I have, though, a pen that I can point to as being if not in constant and continuous use for forty-nine years then at least as having a lot of miles on the clock.  This is a pen I’ve recently sent back to a client:

Yes, that 4-H. If I knew they handed out fountain pens, I might have gotten involved.

Apart from an interesting indication of the consistency of engraving on pens in the 1960s across brands and vast patches of geography, this pen is a testament to the willingness of fountain pens to keep working.  It was, as it indicates, given as an award in 1963.  It was given to the person who sent it to me; that is a one-owner pen.  I grant that it came to me because it got clogged up some time ago, and so it has, yes, sat quietly in a drawer, but it had years of use before that fallow patch.  The person who is, to the best of my knowledge, using it even as I speak is able to say of it, “I’ve had this pen for almost fifty years.”

It’s not a big deal, but it makes me feel good about the world.  And not just because an article of my faith is being supported.

Today’s pen: Italix Parson’s Essential
Today’s ink: Diamine Steel Blue


10 Responses to “Award, for Long Service”

  1. What kind of fountain pen is the first one? It looks like a Sheaffer Targa nib, but those pens aren’t quite that old are they?

    • It’s an Imperial VI, whence the line of Targa descended (although technically it’s a Lifetime 1250, because it was made in a small window during which the Imperials were rebranded).

      • Ok ok, it’s the Targa’s father then;) I thought the nib looked like a Targa but the year was all wrong. I used to have a gorgeous Targa my grandmother gave me but I lost it about 12 years ago:( Love your blog, btw.

      • Oh, alas! Losing a pen is bad enough; one with that sort of connection to family is a genuine heart-crusher.

  2. Is that second one a PFM? That’s one of the reasons I love vintage fountain pens—they’re workhorses. I’m glad these pens had good and loyal owners.

    My pen today: a newly acquired Monteverde Invincia Stealth with Pelikan black ink.

    • Actually, it’s a Parker 45– the extremely affordable, effectively “student” pen that was in production for about 30 years longer than the PFM. Just the sort of thing to hand out to kids as an award in a time when getting a fountain pen was meaningful to kids. And yet, cheap though it was, it persists!

  3. Maja said

    I think Madame Weebles was asking about the second writing instrument (not second *pen*)–ie. the pen below the Sheaffer pencil in photo #1;I don’t anyone could mistake a Parker 45 for a PFM 😉 The second pen is indeed a ’45’. Nice writing instruments, all of them!

    • Proof positive that I haven’t been sleeping properly; wretched seasonal affective dysfunction. That’s a much more sensible interpretation, and I now utter the previously half-formed apology for the tone of pedantry in my previous responses. I’m not above pedantry, of course, but that’s WAY too much of it.

      • Maja said

        To quote Jack Lemmon’s character in “Some Like It Hot”—“Nobody’s perfect” 🙂

        I just re-read a couple of my own posts on your blog where I talked about the Cross Aventura (no, I am *not* obsessed with that pen model) and mentioned buying the same pen at both Staples and Office Depot! I honestly can’t remember where I bought it, but one place had it for $10 more than the other and I paid $40 for mine (and my pen posts very nicely, by the way—-I must have got one from the batch that post well, but have a section ring that doesn’t want to stay in place). Hope you’re feeling better once the winter solstice is over and we get more hours of daylight (I use a SAD lamp myself).

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