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Vintage Ballpoint Pens


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#1 Batman

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 08:05

I've always had a thing for vintage ballpoint pens such as the papermate profile, capri, or early sheaffer ballpoints. Most of these pens were made of half plastic and half metal. I assume 'plastics' back in the day were the 'new' thing. I was walking down my local staples and took a good look at the varieties of cheap ballpoints one could purchase, none of which caught my attention. It looks as though if you want a ballpoint in this day and age that resembles anything from the past you'd have to get a Parker Jotter, which in itself is pretty pedestrian. Are their any current manufacturers that make ballpoint pens similar to those vintage ones, the closest I could find are fisher cap-o-matics and online promotion pens which require you to order a minimum of 300. Any suggestions would help.

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#2 Phormula

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 15:59

If you look around, many producers still make BP with vintag2 "jotter like" designs (chrome + plastic), for example the Ballograf Epoca Luxe:
http://www.ballograf...e.asp?PageId=56
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#3 ThirdeYe

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 16:04

Have you tried the Sheaffer Sentinel? It looks similar to the Jotter, but IMO it writes a bit better and looks a little more classy.

Edited by ThirdeYe, 06 January 2012 - 16:05.

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#4 Aramchek

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 18:03

If you look around, many producers still make BP with vintag2 "jotter like" designs (chrome + plastic), for example the Ballograf Epoca Luxe:
http://www.ballograf...e.asp?PageId=56


I rarely use BPs, but when I do, I prefer Ballograf. Very reliable - I found one at home that hadn't been used for years, which turned out to work straight away. The have a better feel when writing than most other BPs as well. That said, I've only tried the ones that (like the Epoca family) use their own style refill, some models use different refills that I have no experience with.

Then again, I might be a bit biased since they're made in Sweden!
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#5 WriteAway

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 21:40

Agreed on the excellent quality of the Ballograf (mine is a chrome/plastic Epoca).

Also, an inexpensive clone of the Jotter can be found at http://autopointinc.com/, the maker of mechanical pencils. Mirror image of the Jotter, at 80-90% of the quality, depending on your POV.

#6 FarmBoy

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 22:07

Brad,

I've been buying the very ball points you mention for years. Only because they usually show up with pen collections and make nice gifts for people that hate fountain pens.

Why not just grab a few vintage (ball) pens?

Todd

#7 pajaro

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 22:19

I don't think the modern pens are much like the vintage ballpoints. They have a look and feel that is pretty much TODAY.

Having lived back in the day, 1948--, I think there are a couple of vintage ballpoints I really like. One is the Papermate Holiday, a plastic pen with chrome trim, and generally two-tone like two-tone green, red, blue, etc. Having lost out on a number of ebay auctions on these, I would say you might as well buy a used Pelikan K2xx/K4xx or a used Montblanc 164, both cloddy old pens with some bling. I have a couple of K200s and a K400, all three being cheaper on ebay than a Papermate Holiday.

The used MB 164 will run about $90 and up now, but they last. I have been using mine for almost thirty years.

There are always the Cross Century ballpoints, pretty good pens and often pretty favorably priced. Also, there is the Select Tip Cross that you can get a ballpoint refill for. Often fairly cost-effective and the jumbo ballpoint refill is super. The pen I use most of any pen seems to be my Cross Century desk ballpoint. It rests in a classy 1960s looking stand. Walnut stand and pen were $0.99 on ebay, plus $7.00 postage. Well worth it.
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#8 VanRocket

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 03:09

I have several of the old Papermate Profiles. The ones made in the U.S.A. with the brass threads in the barrel. It is probably my favorite ballpoint pen.

For today, though, I cannot recommend enough the Caran d'Ache 849 Classic Ballpoint pen. I say today because they are still making them but they have been manufactured since 1969. Maybe that's why I like them so much. They are extremely durable (made from aluminum) and the push button retraction is like no other. It looks like such a simple pen, and is very comfortable in the hand.


Jeff

#9 Batman

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 22:34

If you look around, many producers still make BP with vintag2 "jotter like" designs (chrome + plastic), for example the Ballograf Epoca Luxe:
http://www.ballograf...e.asp?PageId=56


Thank you for that brand suggestions, just ordered an Epoca!

Thanks
Brad
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#10 Batman

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 22:35

I have several of the old Papermate Profiles. The ones made in the U.S.A. with the brass threads in the barrel. It is probably my favorite ballpoint pen.

For today, though, I cannot recommend enough the Caran d'Ache 849 Classic Ballpoint pen. I say today because they are still making them but they have been manufactured since 1969. Maybe that's why I like them so much. They are extremely durable (made from aluminum) and the push button retraction is like no other. It looks like such a simple pen, and is very comfortable in the hand.


Jeff


Hey Jeff thanks for the suggestions but is the 849 discontinued, I can't seem to find any info on it on their website?

Thanks
Brad
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#11 Batman

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 22:38

Agreed on the excellent quality of the Ballograf (mine is a chrome/plastic Epoca).

Also, an inexpensive clone of the Jotter can be found at http://autopointinc.com/, the maker of mechanical pencils. Mirror image of the Jotter, at 80-90% of the quality, depending on your POV.


Thanks for the brand suggestion, their mechanical pencils just yell out vintage to me and it's made in Janesville good to see they still make pens in the USA.

Brad
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#12 Batman

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 22:40

Brad,

I've been buying the very ball points you mention for years. Only because they usually show up with pen collections and make nice gifts for people that hate fountain pens.

Why not just grab a few vintage (ball) pens?

Todd


Hey Todd, I've grabbed a few from the past but for me I don't like using vintage ballpoint pens knowing that if they were lost or stolen they could not be replaced and I'm currently looking for a workhorse. I have been looking around eBay and I find the papermate profile ballpoint very steep in price and they're the relatively new ones made in mexico.

Thanks
Brad
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#13 welch

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 01:44

Abouit two years ago I got a couple of Papermate Profiles on EBay for maybe $5 each...got them because they were my everyday pen in the '90s. You should be able to find a Parker 45 ballpoint for about $10...they are essentially the same as the P51 ballpoint with the 45 clip, and both are push-cap versions of the Jotter.
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#14 FarmBoy

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 01:53


Brad,

I've been buying the very ball points you mention for years. Only because they usually show up with pen collections and make nice gifts for people that hate fountain pens.

Why not just grab a few vintage (ball) pens?

Todd


Hey Todd, I've grabbed a few from the past but for me I don't like using vintage ballpoint pens knowing that if they were lost or stolen they could not be replaced and I'm currently looking for a workhorse. I have been looking around eBay and I find the papermate profile ballpoint very steep in price and they're the relatively new ones made in mexico.

Thanks
Brad

There is that aspect, losing pens does happen.

I picked up a few vintage BPs today at an estate sale. Got a call from a friend with a 'pen at a sale' alert and found myself in the neighborhood so I stopped. Nabbed a nice Duofold Jr, 2 clic bics, the required Jotter, a few vintage pencils (Scripto, Wearever, and a US Gov.), a few wood pencils, and a pair of Papermate clickers. I also got a stack of paper, a nice pen box, a matched pair of slide rules and a leather portfolio in legal size.

I'll find refills for the BPs and they will go on my desk at work. They won't last long there but at least they will have one last chance at life.

Do give the old dogs a try, the ones I got today seem happy again.

You might also look for a Reynolds Rocket. It doesn't take much effort to make a refill bushing so you can use a modern refill.

Todd

#15 VanRocket

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 23:19


If you look around, many producers still make BP with vintag2 "jotter like" designs (chrome + plastic), for example the Ballograf Epoca Luxe:
http://www.ballograf...e.asp?PageId=56


Thank you for that brand suggestions, just ordered an Epoca!

Thanks
Brad


It's Swiss made but I purchased my first one from Amazon. Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.co...26064438&sr=8-1

The link is to the black metal one. Another one, called "the Original", is a nice reproduction of the original 1969 version and is a very nice pen. I also bought one from a pen store in Milwaukee, WI, but I have also seen them in a pen store in Los Angeles. I don' think they are discontinued.

Jeff

#16 VanRocket

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 23:21

Brad,

For some reason it replied to the wrong post. My entry above was intended as a response to you regarding the Caran d'Ache pens.

Jeff

#17 Batman

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 17:00

Brad,

For some reason it replied to the wrong post. My entry above was intended as a response to you regarding the Caran d'Ache pens.

Jeff


Hey Jeff thanks for the reply. I contacted caran dache and they said the pen isnt discontinued along with the dunas. Oddly though i cant find the two models on their website. Will have to purchase it later in the year, i love their ballpoint refills.

Brad
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#18 nxn96

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 17:29

I'm not a ballpoint "expert", but I've noticed that some of the earlier vintage bp's are no longer supported with refills, or refills might be available but expensive or hard to find. In addition to being handsome pens in their own right, PaperMate still produces a refill that works well in the vintage pens. Not only is it pretty easy to find, I've found they're nice writers too.

If the standard Jotter design is a little too plain for you, you might want to consider a cap-actuated model instead. The cap-actuated models were more often found on the mid/higher end Parker lines, and I've found them to be of very high quality. They're pretty easy to come across on eBay, and I always thought offered a bit more elegance over the basic clicker models. Much like the cartridge fountain pen refills, today's Parker bp refill works fine in vintage bps, and are very easy to find in office supply stores. For my own needs, I've used a vintage 45 Flighter with gold trim for quite some time now, and the pen functions and looks as if it just came out of Janesville. What I've also discovered is that the "Parker-style" Inoxcrom refills that I take from ad specialty pens I get actually write better than the "official" refills.

Hope this helps.

#19 mhphoto

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 03:38

The only vintage ballpoints I'm interested in are Eskesen Tip and Strips… :yikes: