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Early Numbered Pens

Maker: Wahl.

When Wahl got into the pen business, they kept pens and pencils somewhat separate.  The earliest, built under the Tempoint brand, had a range of names to make a cataloguer such as myself weep; a different and seemingly arbitrary name for every variation of size and trim, which in most other maker’s line ups would simply have been aspects of the same model (imagine, for example, the Parker Duofold Senior of 1928 were called the Parker Stanley, Parker Gumshoe or Parker Elephanta depending on the colour).  Each name also had a catalogue number, happily, and as the company got its feet under it, pen-wise, they began to abandon the legion of names for the rather more sensible numbering system.  There appears to have been an amendment in the system itself between the 1921 and 1922 catalogues; I won’t comment on whether the amendment is more rational or not, but the system seems to have stuck until the introduction of the Doric and Equipoised models at the end of the decade, with some expansion for the earliest of the plastic-bodied pens.

The system, in brief, gives a brief coded description of the pen, much like the similar model-numbering of Waterman, although because of the company’s concentration upon pencils one finds that sometimes the system breaks down to defer to a pencil of a matching pattern.  These breakdowns tend to occur in those pens with solid precious metal bodies, while the filled and plated pens usually follow a pattern of three digits showing overall size, point size and body decoration, followed by as many as three letters to indicate ring or clip and specific cladding material.

Production Run: 1916 – c. 1929 (no metal bodies until 1921, no celluloid until 1926).

Cost When New: See individual models (which, at the moment, is a bit of optimism).

Size: See individual models (for modern value, try this calculator).

Point: 14k gold

Body: Hard rubber, metal, or celluloid.

Filler: Lever, capacity varies with size; see individual models

Wahl 326AW. 6 = greek key design, A = yellow gold filled, W = ring-top. Size is 9.1 cm capped, 12.7 cm posted, 8.6 cm uncapped, ink capacity 0.5 ml.  Cost $6.00.

Wahl 321AW. 1 = close spaced chevron design; otherwise, it’s the same as the 326AW above (the difference in colour is my own inconsistency in photography, not Wahl’s in materials use).



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