I visited my parents recently and, as I mentioned in my previous post, there were some fountain pens involved in the visit.
I had brought my fountain pen collection with me, and showed them to my parents, talking about the detective work I had done on some of them to determine their age and provenance. And it spurred my parents into going looking for other pens that they might have for me.
The first was a Parker Slimfold, which my mum thinks may have belonged to my paternal grandmother.
Doing the usual research, it looks like the Slimfold was introduced in the late 1950s and redesigned with a “45” style straight cap in the late 1960s. The very earliest pens had an ‘N’ for Newhaven on the nib, but were soon replaced with a numeric model designation, with ‘5’ denoting the Slimfold which is what this pen has.
So this would date this one somewhere in the early to mid 1960s.
Although faint, it is possible to see “Parker Slimfold” and “Made in England” engraved on the barrel. On the filler it has “The Parker Pen Co. Ltd. London, England” and “To fill, press ribbed bar at least 5 times”
Pencollect suggests that this is an early Mk1, with aerometric filler, 14k gold nib, and “a cap with a gold plated short length feathered arrow and a gold plated cap band with a chevron pattern engraved into it as well as a small plastic jewel screwed into the cap top to match the main pen colour”.
Parkerpens.net suggests that green was the most uncommon colour.
The pen is in writing order – in fact it had ink in it and had not dried out, and writes well.
The next pen was another Parker. This one seemed fairly nondescript initially.
Because it had corporate advertising on it, it suggests that it was a “freebie” pen given to my dad back in the days when gifts were a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to be given in the course of business.
After a little research, it would appear to be a Parker Frontier. According to parkerpens.net this model was introduced in 1996 and phased out in 2012. Given the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010, which pretty much outlawed “freebies”, I would expect this to be an earlier pen.
This is further confirmed by the fact that “IIIP” is stamped on the cap, under “Made in USA”. According to RichardsPens this would date it to the 1st quarter of 1997.
I wanted to remove the branding, and I was a little impetuous inasmuch as I went straight to acetone nail varnish remover as I knew that would definitely remove it. Whilst it did, it has also left the plastic dulled and matte (which I expected it to) but this easily polished up again.
The pen also has my dad’s initials laser-etched into the stainless steel cap in rather ugly block capitals, which rather detracts from it, but I don’t think there is much I can do about that.
It came with an empty Parker cartridge in it, so I just put a new one in. I might replace that with a converter later on – I haven’t decided yet.
The pen writes really well, with a pleasant light free-flowing feel.
The next pen is rather more special. It was a gift to my paternal grandparents by some friends of theirs, and was then was passed down to my father.
It is a Swan by Mabie Todd Ltd., marked clearly as such on the clip and barrel. This is a 9K gold pen (hallmarked 375) with a lever filler and screw cap, and a 14K gold nib.
According to this website, Mabie, Todd & Co. Ltd. were incorporated in England in 1914 having already had a long history in America, and according to this site they introduced their first lever filler in 1915. Production was suspended between c.1940 and c.1946 due to WW2. In 1952 they were acquired by Biro and became Swan Biro, and in the late 1950’s disbanded altogether.
However, the strongest indicator of the pen’s age is the gold hallmark
So I think it is fair to say that this pen was made round about 1933.
It’s had blue ink in it in the past, so needed a thorough flush. The sac seems to be in great condition, and flushed through very easily. I then filled it with Parker Quink Permanent Black, and it wrote beautifully.
The nib would appear to be slightly italic / oblique.
I’m so happy to now be the custodian of this beautiful pen.
From talking to people “in the know”, it would seem that it is in exceptional condition, and something to treasure.
Onto the next pen now. My dad bought this pen as a birthday present to himself in the 1990’s. Later, he lost it much to his upset, and replaced it with a Mont Blanc.
Several years after the loss, my mum was replanting some plants, and found it in a plant pot!
The pen doesn’t seem to have suffered too badly cosmetically, but the ink sac in the filler was rock hard and will need to be replaced if the pen is to write again. When squeezed a little harder it shattered, and completely disintegrated.
There is some discolouration on the barrel, and the cap is dented.
Looking around the web to determine what model and age this pen is, this site seems to suggest it is the Waterman C/F since that is the only pen that has the distinctive semi-inlaid nib. However, the C/F is a cartridge pen and if the filler on this one is a converter then it’s seized in place and I don’t want to force it.
However, RichardsPens further confirms this is a C/F possibly in the Barleycorn (Grain d’Orge) pattern.
Examining the underside of the section with a loupe, I can see “Garniture Or 18C” (which translates to “Gold Trim”) and the number “G 2 2 9 9 2”, the first ‘9’ being quite worn but just about identifiable.
As for age, once again the hallmark is the strongest indication.
So it’s fair to say this pen was made around 1994, assuming the letter is in fact a “U”. It is partially damaged, but I can’t see that it could be any other letter. However, 1994 would tie nicely with which birthday my dad celebrated that year.
My mum tells me that the plant pot she found it in was outside, so this would account for the deterioration of the sac. It would also suggest that the converter might be corrosion-welded in place.
It’s a testament to the gold construction of the pen that it didn’t deteriorate further whilst mislaid.
I’m told that a specialist repairer will be able to remove the dents to the cap and get it writing again, but for now I will set it aside and just look after it “as is”.
Update: I managed to source a new converter for the Waterman. You can read more here.