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Posts Tagged ‘Sheaffer 800’

History is Made by…

Posted by Dirck on 23 May, 2014

The song title ends “…Stupid People.”  Well, for this week’s Filched Friday Film, I’ve found a documentary about a bunch of undeniably and remarkably brilliant people not making history, by the narrowest of margins.  Are you ready for the fun and adventure of spacecraft powered by nuclear weapons and coke machines?

I have a vague memory of reading an article suggesting that it might be worth reviving the project, so this may yet be news rather than historical curiosity.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink: Pelikan violet


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A Strangeness of Sheaffers

Posted by Dirck on 12 May, 2014

A post over EIGHT DAYS in the making!

…mainly because setting time aside for photography and image editing is tricky.  I think I will start to push for “strangeness” as the collective noun for Sheaffers, though, in the same way as crows come in murders, cats in clowders and politicians in plagues.  There is almost always something that’s a little off spec in any group of Sheaffer pens larger than one.  In the instant case, I have three of the blighters under consideration.

Not last weekend, but the previous, a friend who I have mentioned frequently stopped around.  I mentioned her because she habitually turns up wonderful pens at garage sales and presses them on me.  That was not the way of things this last visit, though.  She had turned up something as a church rummage sale, which is something else entirely.  Would you like a look?

Everything you need for a fantastic night on the town, c. 1964.

Everything you need for a fantastic night on the town, c. 1964.

The serious Sheaffer-spotters in the crowd are even now going “Hmmmmm.”  For those who are not quite as in the swing, I’ll explain.  It’s blindingly obvious that this is a pen, cuff-link and tie-tack set, as unlikely as that is to the modern sensibility.  Leaving the modern sensibility out of it for a moment, there’s a couple of things here that don’t quite line up.

The pen is a Canadian-made Imperial I (which necessitates a slight re-writing of the page down that link).  The jewellery could be meant to match an Imperial of some breed; it’s all simple silver squares, possibly reflecting the squared-off ends of the pens, but I have some serious doubts that the lowest of the low in the Imperial clan would be the companion to a set of cuff-links.  This is a class-ist way of looking at the thing, but it’s not without foundation.

The other thing that bugs me is the logo on the box.  The pen still has an apostrophe on it’s clip, something which fell away in about 1964.  SHEAFFER with a big gooney S marks the box as a post-buyout, 1966 or later item.  It’s not impossible for old stock to still be in circulation after the official end of use– heck, I’ve hardly ever seen a Parker “51” whose point and barrel date-codes matched– but combined with the low-end nature of that piece of old stock it strongly suggests to me that the original pen isn’t that one.  I’d be more inclined to believe a more splendid sort of Stylist or at least a higher-end Imperial/Lifetime.

…even if that one shows almost no sign whatever of being used, as one might expect in a gift pen.  “Oh, it’s so nice, I don’t dare use it!”  We’ve all heard it, even if the sensation hasn’t come over us.  I will use it, eventually, and the cuff-links, although I hesitate over tie-tacks.  I’m more of a tie-clip chap.  Perhaps next Fountain Pen Day I’ll take the whole ensemble out for a stroll, and damned to the hole in the tie.

The other strange thing is less strange for its attributes as its timing.  I’m changing my desk pen off schedule, and it is also a Sheaffer.  A year ago last September, I got an Imperial-style fountain pen, which I commented upon at the time as being “so very corrugated that I’m not sure I can recover it.”  Well, after some months of desultory poking at, I managed to bring it back to a functional shape; as is so often the case in my attempts on the horribly bent, there is some remaining deformity to hint at the extent of the original injury, but it works as it originally did.

The patient, post-recovery.

The patient, post-recovery.  You actually can’t make out the remaining deformation at this scale, which pleases me greatly.

All well and good, but without a base, a desk pen is a purely decorative object.  During the recent spate of tossing things at eBay, though, I found this which arrived last Thursday:

A good weekend for my camera to put aside sucking for a while.  Thanks, camera!

A good weekend for my camera to put aside sucking for a while. Thanks, camera!

And suddenly, I’ve got another desk pen!  There is a little bit of a strangeness inherent to the set, as both pen and base are from the narrow window in which there are Imperials and apostrophes in the impressions.  Something I hadn’t seen previously is the Imperial-style squaring off of the trumpet; that pleases me greatly.

To complete the strange Sheaffer effect, I decided to use today’s pen.  It’s a carnival of weird all on its own.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 800 (aka The Dolphin)
Today’s ink: Pelikan violet (Pelikan inside a Dolphin?  Dada-esque!)

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Posted by Dirck on 15 December, 2011

I have apparently scored a goal.  Moreover, I find I have a goal ahead of me which catches me unaware.

I’m not, I have to say, altogether pleased with this development.  Let me show you what I’m complaining about– when I’m finished typing this, I’ll be faced with this bit of unwelcome cheerleading:

Lifted from WordPress's own blog

Apparently I am chasing numbers.  Oddly enough, I had thought my locus of gratification was more internal than this, and that the act of pouring forth a number of words here and the resultant failure to pour forth a number of dollars over at eBay was sufficient reward and inducement.  I’m not sure I welcome, as much as I like cats, being offered a bit of dangled string to chase and eventually chew upon.

You may point out that I am complaining about a minor aspect of something that I’m getting for free and upon whose underpinning mechanism I do no work.  True.  Which is why I won’t go on at great length as I was planning to.  Tomorrow’s stub will be a stub for the same reason as any other Friday’s stub, rather than as an expression of pique, and next week I’ll say something about pens rather than carp on some aspect of modern society (there’s a couple just arrived in the mail…).  And then the cheerleader will wave its mechanical pompom and urge me to do it again the next day.  Alas.

Today’s pen, a reward unto itself: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink, a joy forever: Sailor Jentle blue-black

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Is It Safe?

Posted by Dirck on 13 December, 2011

A broken filling and the resulting laceration of tongue and cheek drive me into the arms of my wife’s dentist.  I should begin a roster of excuses for short entries, eh?

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink: Sailor Jentle blue-black

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Disturbing Signs.

Posted by Dirck on 21 January, 2011

The physical plant of The Regular Job is of an age to have a fire hose cabinet on each landing of the main stairs.

Today we find hand-lettered “Out of Order” signs taped to them.  I do hope an insurance scam isn’t taking shape.

Today’s pen, ready for the alarm bells: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink, of insufficient volume to deal with structural fires:  Noodler’s van Gogh Starry Night

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Carry Permit

Posted by Dirck on 19 January, 2011

There has been a bit of a discussion over at the Fountain Pen Network which started out about why pens leak, but diverted a bit into the “correct” way of carrying pens.

Let me start with why one leads to another.  One of the participants rightly points out, every fountain pen in the world leaks.  It is, however, a controlled leak.  A fountain pen is in essence a tube of ink with a tiny hole at one end, which hole is called the feed.  The engineering of pens is aimed at regulating the speed with which ink can escape, and here’s where the diversion got started, since there are certain assumptions about the conditions a pen will face during this regulation.  High among these assumptions is that the vector of acceleration in line with the feed will be almost exactly one gravity, and under one atmosphere of pressure.  Want to get a lot of ink out of a pen fast?  Flick it!  The ink will likely go places you’d rather it didn’t, but it will come out.

Where you carry a pen can subject it unexpected conditions.  Expected conditions for a pen in carriage are those found in a gentleman’s shirt pocket, sitting at a desk or perhaps walking along the street.  Take that as the baseline, and if a pen is disgorging ink while thus carried, it’s not quite right.

A strangely popular place for new pen-users to carry their pens is in the front pocket of the trousers.  Apart from the dangerous stresses which might occur when sitting, the leg is rather more directly connected with moving about than is the chest.  There’s more jarring when the foot strikes, swinging,  jostling from the passing arm– it’s not an ideal place for a pen to rest, and it is apt to make its opinion known by filling its cap with ink.

Some will clip the pen to the neckband of a t-shirt.  This is not a terrible place for it, very like a shirt pocket, but there’s a couple of things to watch.  If the pen lies inside the shirt, personal chemistry may do the finish on metal components some mischief.  Also, if the pen happens to work its way free of the cap (which the frequent visitor here will know is possible), the lack of a supporting pocket-bottom will see the pen drop either to the floor or to the waistband, which can be very bad for the pen and the wardrobe.

A lot of fountain pen users will get a pen case of some sort, and deposit that in a pocket or in a bag or briefcase.  The case, if it segregates its contents, will protect the finish of the pen, but won’t keep out gravity.  A pen case in a trouser pocket will still have the sudden tides caused by the owner’s movements.  If a bag containing the pen is dropped, the pen will experience the effect in much the same way was someone in an elevator will the collapse of the building– a sudden stop at the end that may cause some fluid to escape, depending on how long the drop was.

There are also the pen pockets found on the arms of some utilitarian garments, like Big Box employees’ polo shirts, or pilots’ jackets.  These are actually just about as good as the shirt pocket, although one is more likely to accidentally bang one’s arm against an injurious protrusion than one’s chest.  In the case of the jackets, you have to also mind the outside temperature, since ink will expand as it freezes.

Notice that I’m not saying “DO NOT!” at any point here.  I don’t encourage the trouser-carry, but it’s allowable.  Just don’t blame the pen for “leaking” if you make that choice, any more than you’re allowed to blame someone you’ve forced onto a roller-coaster for vomiting.  You make a choice, you face a consequence.  The choice of a fountain pen carries with it the responsibility for thinking about how you treat it.  A ball-point pen grants more freedom in this regard… but imposes a legion of woes when actually writing.  In the end, you are permitted to chose your own limitations.

Today’s pen, relaxing in a nice cotton shirt:  Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink, staying contentedly in the reservoir:  Noodler’s van Gogh Starry Night

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Posted by Dirck on 17 January, 2011

I’m arriving at work just before the end of the lunch break, as we had to take my son to an appointment with a speech therapist this morning.  I only have time for a little note, but I promise tomorrow a protracted gibber about a current issue in written style.  Useful things I might share with the world:

– Smart parents can slow down a child’s language development; if he doesn’t have to explain what he wants (which is the case if you sort it out from subtle gestures and glances), why should he learn to talk?

– Injunctions against using baby-talk with your child are not wrong, but must be understood correctly.  There is a difference between baby-talk (“Izzums wan’ oo binkbink?”) which does not really help with language acquisition, and Tarzan-talk (“Son want blanket?”) which trims a certain amount of intimidating flourish out of the spoken language without messing up either basic grammar nor vocabulary, and actually helps get the speaking ball rolling.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink:  Noodler’s van Gogh Starry Night

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Casual(ty) Day

Posted by Dirck on 13 August, 2010

Yesterday I was writing about a green pen with white trim (the jewel holding on the clip, not visible in the picture).  I was at that time surrounded by people dressed in green and white.  It was casual day at The Regular Job, to allow people to support the local team who were playing that evening.

I was wearing a light grey Oxford shirt, medium grey twill waistcoat, black trousers and a dark blue silk tie, plus a Panama hat when outdoors.  There being sufficient naturally-occurring pointless tribalism in the world, I refuse to participate in the artificial sort which calls itself Team Pride.  I expect that one day I will be chased down a street by a jersey-clad mob, all chanting, “Not one of us!” 

Of the various horrors of modern clothing, I find football (in the North American sense) sportswear particularly unhappy.  Like the surcoats of the middle ages, the main purpose of the stuff is to help people at a distance know who’s who.  It is invariably strident, and not calculated to please the eye near-to.  Also like the surcoat, it’s not meant to be worn without something substantial underneath.  When not worn by an actual football player engaged in his task, but rather hanging about the torso of a notably non-athletic standard person, it just looks silly.  There are those who wear it as the entirety of their upper costume, in which case there are glimpses of pale flesh through the weave.  Others wear another shirt beneath, which hides their shame but does nothing for the strident’n’shapeless nature of the garment and has the added but dubious benefit of bringing it closer to the level of sweatiness which sportswear and surcoats share.

I have previously mentioned that I’m more or less in favour of personal choice in matters of dress.  This sort of thing adds offence to mere modern sloppiness by being a commanded look.  Offend your tribe not by dressing you each alike!  At best (!) it’s herd mentality, which at very least impairs judgement.  At worst, it’s being played for suckers in an unusually obvious way by advertisers.  I’m not a big fan of people looking like idiots, but I’m really against people allowing themselves to be made to look like idiots.  I don’t aim this merely at my co-workers, either.  On game day, it seems 3 of 5 people in the city are dressed as if they expect to be called out on the field.

While I phrase my concerns in a sartorial vein, I have a real worry at the panem et circenses tone of a lot of modern entertainment– the greater the spectacle, the nearer the fall of Empire, right?

I am, I suspect, over-reacting to yesterdays example of mass foolishness as it co-incided with my being shown The Laws of Human Stupidity by a friend.  It’s a chilling document, but one that should be widely known.  Stupidity is the great enemy of civilization, and as one who enjoys the trappings of civilization (bathing, central heat, very low incidence of random cannibalism) I’d like it to last as long as possible.  Read and be warned.

As a cure, or at least a reassurance that modern society has been able to survive this particular ill for a while, I made a point of watching The Male Animal last night.  Between that and remembering that my mother-in-law, a team booster if ever there was, is still able to find fault with goobers near her seats at the stadium despite their shared livery, I may be able to avoid despondency.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink:  Lamy blue

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Posted by Dirck on 30 April, 2010

Nothing earth shaking today, just some quick extra notes on what’s gone previously.

I dismantled the “feed” of my Esterbrook well yesterday, a container full of little rods which act as a wick. As horrid as some of the fountain pens I’ve come upon are, I am still shaken by the amount of chunky detritus that dropped out of this thing. Decades of neglect on a massive scale, although I shouldn’t be surprised because once it’s in service it is not an easy object to clean out.

The “51” I’m forcing to write to exhaustion is getting a little dry today, but persists. As I mentioned in the previous entry, this tells the world little apart from the fact that I really don’t write that much down in the course of a day at The Regular Job.

Speaking of which, and this is not a reference to a previous notion: I could slap my collection of co-workers for their attitude towards the weather today. Grey, yes, drizzle, sure, but it is in a local sense but early spring amd some folks need to learn the connection between growing things in summer and dampness in the spring. Let’s have someone pretending to be Al Jolson explain it.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink: Lamy Blue

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Not enough fire…

Posted by Dirck on 4 December, 2009

…and far too many irons. This is another pro forma entry, suggestively intimating that Monday will actually have some content behind it.

Today’s harried pen: Sheaffer 800
Today’s ink: Pelikan 4001 black

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