Michael A. Shelley's

Fountain Pen Reviews

Miscellaneous Vintage Pens

Conklin 3P (approx. 1925)

nib: 14k Conklin No. 2 (medium flex)

Fill System: crescent

Cap: threaded

approx xx mm (xx") capped

A not-unusual, small BCHR (black chased hard rubber) pen from the 1920s, as near as I can tell. Conklin was known for the crescent filler, which is just a variation on a lever mechanism.

This one has a very nice flexible medium nib. It doesn't hold a lot of ink, and it's a bit narrow, but otherwise very nice. The crescent doesn't get in the way when writing, and after posting the cap on what is really a small pen, it's quite comfortable to use.

Mine is rather brownish, but cleaner, blacker models are out there.

Esterbrook Dollar Pen? (approx. 1939?)

nib: steel (medium 2668)

Fill System: lever

Cap: threaded

approx 122mm (4-13/16") capped

I'm not sure of the designation for this one. It's a flat-top, two-hole clip model with flat feed. Writes wet and firm, and unfortunately is one of the only pens I've ever had leak on me. (The barrel is now stained from it.) Quite lightweight, but I'm afraid the cap will crack if I post it too enthusiastically. I prefer this model over the more common J and LJs that you see for about $20. (I paid $25 for this one, restored.)

Osmia 346? (approx. 194x?)

nib: check

Fill System: button

Cap: threaded

approx (small) capped

Osmia was a German manufacturer, and while this is a well-made pen, it's nothing spectacular. The nib is a nice medium semi-flexible, and while it's a touch scratchy on mine, it does a pretty good job.

Eversharp Skyline (1940's, scans available all over the place)

nib: 14k gold (medium semi-flexible)

Fill System: lever

Cap: threaded

approx 132mm (5-3/16") capped

There is plenty of information about the Skyline available elsewhere. This one needed to have the derby straightened, which involved adjusting the clip so that it doesn't press against the cap as hard. So I don't bend over while this one's in my shirt pocket. If you don't mind dings and scratches, you can find these for well under $50.

Heavy ink flow on this one, and a semi-flexible nib (more flexible than low-end modern pens, but not a flexible as old Watermans.) One of my favorite writers. Unfortunately, I find the gold-filled cap to be too heavy to post, which means the pen is almost (but not quite) too short. Doesn't hold a lot of ink, but that just means you get to change colors a lot.

This is one of my favorite pens for smoothness and overall feel. Note that the weight listed above includes the cap. Plastic-capped (usually striped) versions are also common and less massive. There is also a slightly smaller 'demi' version and an oversized 'Executive.'

Waterman Taperites (approx. 1950?)

nib: 14k Ideal medium semi-flex; 14k (probably) med-fine semi-flex

Fill System: lever

Cap: pull-off

approx 129mm (5-1/8") capped

I'm pretty sure these are both Taperites, which was Waterman's answer to the Parker 51 line. Personally, I find these pens unattractive, but the exposed-nib example writes pretty well. If, like me, you don't like the skimpy ink flow on 51s, this might be an alternative.

The nibs on both are about as flexible as the Skyline, which is about right for me. There's nothing really wrong with these pens, I just don't like them much. Balance, size, and weight are all medium. The lever is neat in that it snaps into place when closed, preventing it from getting stuck in your pocket and squirting ink all over your shirt.

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Last updated 24 July 2002