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Symphony -- Eversharp's Last Good Pen?

Posted by terim , 18 July 2013 · 1,983 views

wahl eversharp eversharp symphony flexible nibs new old stock
Symphony -- Eversharp's Last Good Pen? Poorly documented, largely overlooked
The Eversharp Symphony was launched in 1948 and couldn't have had a more auspicious beginning. While the company's previous major model, the Fifth Avenue, had some shortcomings that prevented it from catching on with the public, the company hoped to reproduce some of the success enjoyed by the iconic Skyline model which had achieved sales superiority in the mid 1940s. The Skyline had been designed by famous industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, and for the Symphony the company went to another famous consumer-goods designer, Raymond Loewy.
The first generation Symphony pens (aka model 500) can be partially distinguished by the raised fins on the chrome cap, the brushed stainless steel cap finish with no cap band, and the metal barrel threads. The raised fins create the impression of the cap being sliced lengthwise, and then offset slightly, giving the cap its "slipper" name. The first generation pens were only produced for a year.
The second generation simplified some of the Loewy design. Model 701 came out in 1949 and can be identified by the thin gold plated cap band embedded in a shiny stainless steel cap. Additionally, a few new models were added to the product line. The 703 (the "Deluxe" Symphony, photo below) featured a wide gold plated cap band, and the "Golden Symphony" (model 705) had a gold filled cap. A "Luxury" version was created for the bottom level of the product line; hardly luxurious, it featured cheap gold plating and a rounded cap entirely lacking fins.
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Then came the third version circa 1951. Taking a cue from the "Luxury" pens, the caps lacked the finned design entirely. Documentation indicates a new model was introduced, the "Economy Gold Nib" set, and it is believed to be an all-plastic model. Right around this time Eversharp stopped using the Symphony name, and the pens are frequently found in ads under the name "The NEW Eversharp."
Basically, this is where the trail goes cold. Digging a little deeper ....
In our new old stock acquisitions we have found several models which share the Symphony shape, nib and filling system, but lack the metal cap which many consider to be a characteristic of the Symphony line.
Here's what we've found:
Model 713 -- plastic body and cap, thin gold plated cap band, gold plated clip. Small flexible nib.
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Model 913 -- plastic body and cap, thin chrome plated cap band, chrome plated clip. Small flexible nib.
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Model ??? -- same as the 713 only lacking a metal cap band, having instead a series of grooves in the plastic where you'd find the cap band. Small flexible nib.
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Model 915 -- same as 913 except with a wider (3/16") lined chrome band. Medium sized nib, the same one as is found on the 701, in both flexible and manifold.
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Model 917 -- same as the 913 and 915, only with a very wide chrome cap band. This model featured a larger banner-style Eversharp nib, in both manifold and flexible versions.
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By 1952, the Symphony and quasi-Symphony pens disappeared from Eversharp's product line as they gave their attention to the Ventura model. We have a feeling that a large quantity of the low end Symphony pens were more or less abandoned out in the distribution channel, especially outside the US, and those are probably the models that we have discovered. Another theory holds that when Parker gobbled up Eversharp in 1957, they continued to produce low end pens under the Eversharp name to use up the surplus of parts, and these may very well be some of those pens.
We're hoping that this post will bring more information to light. Surely there must be folks who worked at Eversharp in the 1950s and 1960s, and who will be able to poke holes in our theories and tell us more about these late-late-late model Eversharps.
 
 




Thanks, Teri, for an informative "expose" of one of my favourite Eversharps. I have a couple variations of the 900-series which I think I got from you. Keep up the great work.

 

Gary

Thanks for reading it, Gary, though I wish I had more answers and fewer questions :-)

Thanks, Teri.

 

I have several Symphonies...never knew the model numbers...just the rough sequence: (1) Slipper cap, (2) banded tassie, (3) Crudely cut bottom of the cap, but still a "gold" plated cap (4) Plastic cap and barrel.

 

My "slipper cap" has a rubber/plastic sleeve extending below the cap that keeps it posted securely. The all plastic -- 713?-- also posts. The caps on the others tend to wobble when posted, as if the barrel has gone slightly out of shape over the last 60 years.

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Jerome Tarshis
Jul 27 2013 09:26

Depends upon what you mean by "good pen." The pen that later became the Parker 45 was a late Eversharp, and some of them were sold with Eversharp branding.

 

Although I much prefer the 51 to the 45, many here at FPN would consider the 45 a good pen, even if not a top of the line luxury good pen. I own a UK Parker 45, the TX, and it is good for both looks and smooth writing, even if nowhere near the equal of my 51s.

 

And some of us would disagree, considering the 45 equal to or better than. Use medium or broad nibs, I say to those people. Forming an opinion of the 51 from a randomly acquired example with a fine nib is not, for me, giving the pen a chance.

Thanks, Teri.

 

I have several Symphonies...never knew the model numbers...just the rough sequence: (1) Slipper cap, (2) banded tassie, (3) Crudely cut bottom of the cap, but still a "gold" plated cap (4) Plastic cap and barrel.

 

My "slipper cap" has a rubber/plastic sleeve extending below the cap that keeps it posted securely. The all plastic -- 713?-- also posts. The caps on the others tend to wobble when posted, as if the barrel has gone slightly out of shape over the last 60 years.

Warping is a big problem with the plastic used on these .... we found a lot had a rather banana-y shape to them.

Depends upon what you mean by "good pen." The pen that later became the Parker 45 was a late Eversharp, and some of them were sold with Eversharp branding.

 

Although I much prefer the 51 to the 45, many here at FPN would consider the 45 a good pen, even if not a top of the line luxury good pen. I own a UK Parker 45, the TX, and it is good for both looks and smooth writing, even if nowhere near the equal of my 51s.

 

And some of us would disagree, considering the 45 equal to or better than. Use medium or broad nibs, I say to those people. Forming an opinion of the 51 from a randomly acquired example with a fine nib is not, for me, giving the pen a chance.

I suppose what I meant by good pen was one on the collectors' radar .... the 45 was a good pen, but of not much interest to collectors (yet).

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