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The Typhoo Tea Pen


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19 replies to this topic

#1 ushat

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 17:16

You may have noticed when buying a bottle of ink that it generally comes with a glass bottom. This is a useful property in a couple of ways. Firstly, it prevents the ink falling out and secondly, and much more importantly, you can while away an afternoon writing words on the bottom of the bottle. This will, with enough patience and application, transform a paper-cutting nib into one as smooth as the proverbial baby's rear.

This handsome no-name pen came with a very scratchy nib. I think someone might have been using it to play darts. I removed the feed and nib and came to the conclusion that it wasn't beyond repair. It's reasonable now but will need more work.

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I've lusted after an example of this type of pen for quite a while. It's a - probably 1920s or 30s - promotional pen for Typhoo Tea and bears the legend, " Try Ty-Phoo Tea for indigestion." I don't know whether that's meant to imply that the tea will give you indigestion or cure it. The pens must have been hugely popular because they appear quite often. Not always identical; I suspect that Typhoo had contracts with different suppliers over the years. Amost always they've had a hard life and are imperfect in some way. This one's nib, which is Osmiroid, has lost its plating, the shirt clip's gone and the lever isn't original. If it had a cap ring, it doesn't now. Oh, and someone's been nibbling at the end. With the exception of the tooth-marks the rest can be repaired and the essentials - the cap, barrel, section and feed - are all perfectly sound.

I love the pattern. It lacks the regularity of red ripple and it doesn't make a convincing woodgrain either but it's a splendid abstract design - a pen made of Rorschach blots.

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Once I finish refining the nib or replace it altogether if that's what it takes, it will be a daily user. It's the right shape and size and holds a good quantity of ink.

I like to think of that family of long ago, cutting out the coupons from their packets of tea and saving them to claim their shining new red and black hard rubber pen. What events of joy and sadness did it transmit in letters of days gone by? How many hands used it daily before it was consigned to the drawer and ultimately to ebay?
Gordon

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#2 Ann Finley

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 18:43

Gordon, it's a very attractive pen. I'd never heard of this one before.

So, you used the bottom of the ink bottle as a glass hone...I actually have a glass hone someone was selling for pens about 25 - 30 years ago. I never did get the hang of using it though. Usually I write on crocus cloth to take off burrs, etc.

Thanks for showing us the pen!

Best, Ann

#3 ushat

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 19:31

What I like about the glass is how slow it is. I'll get there in the end but the chances of flat-spotting or mis-shaping the point along the way are greatly reduced.
Gordon

#4 Scott Shangguan

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 09:40

Hello ushat,

I was wondering if you could let me see a photo of the Typhoo Tea lettering? I am in the tea business, as well as a lover of fountain pens and the two combined into this one pen intrigues me.

Thank you for your time and have a most wonderful day.

Sincerely,
Scott
http://www.chinese-tea-culture.com

#5 red52ripple

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 10:37

Hi Scott,
I'm not ushat, but I do have some photographs of Ty-phoo Tea pens that you might find useful.

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The black one is older and is a clipless model that has had an accommodation clip fitted. The paper that is included with the mottled hard rubber pen is a newspaper clipping that was in the box when I bought it.
~Deborah

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#6 Flounder

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 14:03

This is a great thread! I didn't know typhoo was such an old brand, you can still get it in the shops today.

Latest pen related post @ flounders-mindthots.blogspot.com : vintage Pilot Elite Pocket Pen review


#7 Chris H

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 15:25

For a store tea, I think Typhoo is quite good. Now that I know they used promotional pens, I think I want to get one!

Chris
Very much interested in Life, Liberty, and especially the pursuit of Happiness!

#8 philm

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 16:29

A little bit more on these pens and some of the ephemera that came with them.

Ty phoo Tea Fountain Pen

Phil

#9 rhosygell

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 20:00

Having owned several of these pens over the years I suspect that several different producers were contracted at various times. I reckon some of the chased rubber examples and a few of the ripple designs were produced by Wyvern. It is also likely that CS and Mabie Todd produced some. The very late vacuum fill pen may be related to the same era Unique vac filler. A hateful thing if ever there was one when it comes to repair time.....
Iechyd da pob Cymro

#10 LedZepGirl

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 14:56

That pen is somewhat similar to a no name 'wood grain' hard rubber pen that I have, but it has no inscriptions at all and the clip was broken off. I should find someone to pull the inner cap for me so I can pass it along to a friend who does metal word- jewelry -to make me a new clip. I doubt my pen was made in England either, found it for $14.00 in a U.S. junk shop.
I'd rather spend my money on pens instead of shoes and handbags.

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#11 Tanya9771

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 22:11

I have one of the black ones - other than needing a new ink sac it's in very good condition. Good to know that there are more of them out there :)

#12 philm

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 21:31

Here are three cards (front and reverse) that came with the Tea, redeemable for the Typhoo Pens. These are from the British Birds And Their Eggs series. I also have examples from the Wild Flower Series, Interesting Events in British History, and Trees of the Countryside cards. I suspect there were many others as well.

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Phil

#13 nigelg

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 22:51

Here is an Ebay listing showing the front and back of one of a set of 50 cards issued in 1962 reproducing the cards sold with TyPhoo tea in the thirties. Shows the rules you had to follow to get a pen.

Aahhh.....happy days.

Nigel
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why it's called the present

#14 northlodge

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 20:06

Here are three cards (front and reverse) that came with the Tea, redeemable for the Typhoo Pens. These are from the British Birds And Their Eggs series. I also have examples from the Wild Flower Series, Interesting Events in British History, and Trees of the Countryside cards. I suspect there were many others as well.

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Phil


Like our Welsh friend (Rhosygell) I have owned a few of these in redripple and black. However the back of these cards are examples I have not seen from Typhoo, but reckon I have seen examples produced under the Summit name. Therefore I would guess that at least during this period Typhoo had a deal running with Curzon- Summit ... something I was not aware of previously.

#15 andyslo

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:42

What's not to love...





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#16 dannyboy

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 19:19

Love the video!!!!!!!! Thanks for posting.

#17 Smallpaws

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 21:39

DSCN1972.JPG I have one of these pens, but mine was for the Phillips's Fine Tea company as it says on the barrel. I have just spent all evening trying to find out what it is, and now I know...or do I? CS? Burnham? de la Rue? Whatever, it feels really lovely. Does anyone actually know who made these?

Edited by Smallpaws, 18 February 2012 - 21:42.


#18 rard.changizi

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:47

DSCN1972.JPG I have one of these pens, but mine was for the Phillips's Fine Tea company as it says on the barrel. I have just spent all evening trying to find out what it is, and now I know...or do I? CS? Burnham? de la Rue? Whatever, it feels really lovely. Does anyone actually know who made these?


What I can tell you is that the one you have is not manufactured by Curzon / Summit. The pocket clip of yours looks like a Wyvern pocket clip and I am sure that Wyvern made pens for the tea industry in the 20's, and 30's. At the end of the day as there is no imprint on the barrel it is only from experience and comparrison that we can guess. Good luck and nice pen.

#19 RudyR

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:09

For a store tea, I think Typhoo is quite good. Now that I know they used promotional pens, I think I want to get one!

Chris



One of my favorite Tea shops in Seattle has stopped purchasing Typhoo Tea because of lack of interest or dislike, not certain which. They do care a good selection of PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea and various Irish teas (Barkley?). I am quite familiar with teas including the quality Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese teas. But I still do enjoy a good cup of PG Tips. I would like a PG Tips fountain pen if they ever make one.



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#20 Smallpaws

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:38

DSCN1972.JPG I have one of these pens, but mine was for the Phillips's Fine Tea company as it says on the barrel. I have just spent all evening trying to find out what it is, and now I know...or do I? CS? Burnham? de la Rue? Whatever, it feels really lovely. Does anyone actually know who made these?


What I can tell you is that the one you have is not manufactured by Curzon / Summit. The pocket clip of yours looks like a Wyvern pocket clip and I am sure that Wyvern made pens for the tea industry in the 20's, and 30's. At the end of the day as there is no imprint on the barrel it is only from experience and comparrison that we can guess. Good luck and nice pen.


Yes, I thought Wyvern too after doing more research. However, I have been gven a good steer by another expert member, who suggests that it may well be a National Security pen. As such it could have been a composite of parts from a number of manufacturers. Either way, I am delighted with it. It was my usual, a junk-shop find, and it feels balanced and good in the hand.

But on the topic of tea, I like Glengettie and Yorkshire tea the best.






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