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Spiral-Pattern Bulb Filler

This is a splendid example of the sort of thing a lot of pen collectors get angry at when the guy at the antique store says, “Oh, wait, I do have one more fountain pen in the back.”  Anger, because they’re usually in terrible shape and are never worth the combined cost of buying it and getting it put back in writing shape.

This one was a gift from a friend who haunts garage sales, and I don’t charge myself labour.  It’s my equivalent of the old car up on blocks at the back of a mechanic’s garage, a personal project done for pure amusement.  It is in real danger of having a Sheaffer point stuck in it.

When pens like this first came into the world, they would be sold at drug stores, variety shops, and other places where you go to buy inexpensive household junk; the equivalents of the modern dollar store.  Pens from name brands might appear at those venues, but if you wanted a good pen, you got along to a stationer’s or a jewelry shop.  The competition for this thing was Remington or Champion; even the low end of Parker or Sheaffer was a major step up, because the big players used better parts and more complex fillers.

The only area in which these cheap pens could run with the big boys was the body material, because celluloid was a democratically inexpensive stock.  It may also be thought that pens of this sort drove the development of high capacity fillers like the Vacumatic and Ink-Vue, because the ultra-cheap, super-simple bulb fillers had a lot more reservoir space than a sac-bearing pen could manage, and could show precisely how much ink was within.  This example touches all those points, because on the barrel the dark portions of the splendid fine-line spiral pattern are transparent; not as obviously so as in this similar item, but this one has a somewhat more unified look.

The point is bad, even for a cheap pen (thus the earlier threat to a Sheaffer part), with folded tipping and poor flow.  At the start of its life, it would have had gold plating, which its imprint brags about; currently, if you find one that isn’t pitted to the point of uselessness, you’ve won a small lottery.

The band and clip are clearly meant to emulate the Waterman Patrician, which sets the dating for this pen firmly in the 1930s.  The only marking on the pen, apart from the DURIUM point which saw a lot of use by various makers at this end of the market, is at the top of the clip: PAT’D.  Yes, there’s a claim of some sort of patent for this pen; I have a sneaking suspicion that the owner of the patent is not whoever was making these pens.

Size: 13.6 cm long capped, 15.7 cm posted, 12.0 cm uncapped.

Point: Plated steel– if you see one that still has plating, take a picture, because it won’t last.

Body: Celluloid.

FillerBulb, capacity approx. 2.9 ml.  Yes, that is a lot.

A rather good example of the anonymous pen of the 1930s.

A rather good example of the anonymous pen of the 1930s.  You can see the difference in pattern between the opaque blind cap and the see-through barrel more easily in this picture than in person.

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