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A&W Fountain Pens


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#1 Ave

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 18:10

During the 1980s thru the early 1990s, one could buy A&W fountain pens at discount stores such as Target and Walmart. According to the packaging, they were made in Germany. The lower end model was the garishly colored Sizzle Stix which sold for less than $5 ($2.89 comes to mind). The higher end model was a black pen with gold plated metal accents which sold for $7-$8 and was called the Marquis. These were very dependable student pens. I still have two which I use daily.

Does anyone know anything about the company? Are they still sold today in university towns or online?

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#2 EventHorizon

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 16:25

It appears that you can still get the Sizzle online along with cart refills.

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#3 Tweel

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 16:48

The two pen models on the MFGdirect site must be NOS -- if you follow the link to the manufacturer's site, the FPs seem to be gone (the Sizzle Stix is listed in a search, but there's no product page).

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#4 Robert Hughes

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 17:08

They were definitely A&W Root Beer pens ...Posted Image
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#5 pengoddess

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 04:37

If memory serves me from my office supply days, A&W didn't manufacture anything. They repackaged items purchased from manufacturers. The Sizzle Stix were probably made by Reform. A&W also sold paper clips, #2 pencils, rubber bands and just anything else under the sun that might have been used in an office.

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#6 Ave

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 21:39

Pengoddess, thanks for the information on the probably manufacturer. I'll take a look at Reform's pens. Having used them for some many years, I was curious about the company who made them.

#7 gross

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 03:23

They were definitely A&W Root Beer pens ...Posted Image



Hello, please forgive me, but the two pens pictured are Esterbrooks. I see that the color looks like root beer all right and I don't know that A&W did not sell them sometime. These two pens were made in the late 1940s (about 1949). They are LJ models that Esterbrook called "brown". While they were never expensive, they were well made and when found today often write with little or no attention. They are easily repaired when necessary and new nib-units are readily found and screw in very easily. The pens from the 1930s (Dollar pens which sold for $1) through the J, SJ and LJ series (roughly from 1939 through the early 1950s) which sold for $2 to $2 and change, are beautiful and very dependable. Many of us poor fountain pen collectors have several nice Esterbrooks, but now some of the wealthier collectors have noticed them and it is not unusual to see one that sold a year or two ago for $20 to $35 now listed for $75 or more. I recently saw a black model J with a 2668 nib offered for $95 and it was in need of a bladder replacement with one end covered in tooth marks (a honest collector would sell it for $4 or $5 for parts).
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#8 bob_hayden

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 20:25

Getting back to those GERMAN pens, I think there were three or four models.  All the ones I tried had great nibs that put many >$100 fountain pens to shame.  All took universal cartridges.  I do not recall a converter inclued with any of them but you can use a generic one.

 

The Sizzle Stix were all plastic except the nib, which was steel (sometimes painted).  Wild colors with the different parts different colors.  There were also some pretty sedate pens made from the same moulds.  I do not know if those were also called Sizzle Stix.  I do think there was more than one name involved for pens from these moulds.  Some wer painted/prined with patterns.  I have a bunch of these and they still work and write fine -- except that the plastic pocket clips break off.  (Surprise;-)  The nib looked like a shrunken Safari nib.

 

Even more sedate was a monochrome pen that I think was called the Marquis.  These seemed to be made of a softer plastic and were shaped like a traditional fountain pen.  They had a traditional looking gold colored nib with some scrollwork on it, and gold colored clip and trim pieces at the center and both ends.  For me the body split out where the two halves screw together after you put in a cartridge.

 

Finally there was a Classic Impressions model that looked a lot like the Marquis but the barrel was marbled.  It always looked to me as though they had printed the marbled pattern on paper and slipped that into a clear barrel.  In any case, none of these pens would pass for fine craftsmanship up close.  There are a couple of this model for sale on eBay right now (not by me) if you want to see a picture.

 

A&W also sold international cartridges in a variety of colors.  All of this was carried by the Brook's drug store chain before they were swallowed up by Rite-Aid.



#9 Arkanabar

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Posted 29 November 2014 - 15:54

I bought one of those Sizzle Stix at KMart back around 1986 or 1987.  It was a flawless performer and made carbons in my chemistry lab book.  I wish I still had it.



#10 swanjun

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Posted 29 November 2014 - 22:22

My Classic Impressions from the 1990s is honestly one of my favorite writers. It's a green-marbled version.  I later got a black and a blue-marbled, too, but the green still seems to write the best. Maybe it's the long years of acquaintance. :)



#11 basterma

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 13:34

I have a different model with a two tone gold plate and stainless steel nib. The nib and feed are identical to those on the Rotring Artpen and on a Herlitz flighter I also have. The nib has no scrollwork. The pen is black plastic with a gold colored clip and gold colored endcaps. The barrel is badly cracked from a moment of stupidity when I packed it wrong. It is a wonderful writer.



#12 bob_hayden

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 21:29

These pens show up on a number of threads here but nobody has posted any photos.  So here are some rather poor ones just so you know what we are talking about.

 

_IGP8475.JPG

 

 

Top is the A&W Marquis in black.  I have also owned these in maroon and in  a dark shade of teal. The side if the body on the maroon one split out where the section screws into it so that's gone.  The teal one was not available for posing.  I hope you can see in the picture that the "gold" on the clip is bubbling off.  So these are not very sturdy pens but they do have consistently excellent nibs in my experience.  If someone finds a case of these the nibs might well be extracted for use in custom-made pens.

 

The bottom pen is an A&W Classic Impressions.  The black and green part was also available in blue and green.  I think this was "top of the line" and has held up better than the cheaper A&Ws though it does not function any better/differently.


Edited by bob_hayden, 09 April 2016 - 21:39.


#13 bob_hayden

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 21:45

And here are the nibs, Marquis on the left.

 

_IGP8476a.jpg



#14 bob_hayden

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 21:51

Here are some photos of the Sizzle Stix and their friends.  Most came with a smaller and finer bare stainless steel nib than the above.  In some cases the nib was painted.  There is one of these here with the paint peeling off.  These too were consistently excellent.

 

_IGP8474.JPG

 

 

_IGP8471.JPG

 

_IGP8472a.jpg

 

_IGP8479a.jpg



#15 bob_hayden

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 22:32

+1 for the suggestion these were made by Reform.  I have since seen inexpensive Reform pens that look just like the painted/printed Sizzle Stix except for different color patterns.  speerbob has some of the Reform models now on eBay featuring your choice of flowers or monsters painted on.  (My only connection with speerbob is that I just ordered a couple of these;-)


Edited by bob_hayden, 18 July 2017 - 23:26.


#16 bob_hayden

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 23:23

I am back to clarify and update.  The pens from speerbob looked and wrote just like my decades old A&Ws and said "Reform" right on them so I an pretty sure that is who made the A&Ws. 

 

Three and a half weeks ago I inked pens with every wine colored ink I had on hand -- more than a dozen.  Those pens have been sitting ever since.  I tried using them today and most needed some encouragement to start writing again.  That was not too surprising but I was surprised when one of the old A&Ws did not start right up.  I was not too clear in my earlier posts about the strengths and weaknesses of these pens.  Their main virtue is that they just work.  They are not fussy about ink, flow is always good (not too much or too little) with any ink I've tried, and they start right up after long periods of rest -- as in weeks.  The only pen I have had that was better in these regards was a Pelikan M200 -- but it did not have as nice a nib.  The weaknesses were those described: clips that break off the cheapest models and bodies that split out in the middle-priced ones.  But the pens write as well as ever.

 

Well, after I got the one with wine in it writing again I discovered what happened.  The cap had a crack at the open end that extended in about 3/8 inches.  (1cm or so)  So, based on experience with other cracked pens, I am guessing that is why it dried out. 

 

To put this in perspective, the Lion King pens I bought on eBay began cracking after a couple months, compared to a couple decades for the A&Ws.  And of course I am still waiting for my much older Sheaffer Dollar pens to crack.  We won't even mention the Jinhao 992;-)



#17 AAAndrew

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:42

Hey, Bob. thanks for the pictures and the update. I've seen mention of the A&W pens for years now and don't think I've actually seen what they looked like. Again, thanks for sharing. 


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#18 bob_hayden

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 20:33

Thanks!  I am really glad the photos were of use to you.  I struggle with deciding what pictures to upload as the process is pretty awkward.  Currently I am following these guidelines.

 

Post only stuff people can't find elsewhere on the Internet.  There are plenty of places you can find out what a Lamy Safari looks like but not an A&W Marquis.

 

Use a method that will not lead to the photos disappearing.



#19 AAAndrew

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 22:02

Those are good guidelines. I would break one of those, using common photos, if you are trying to describe something and a photo can replace a load of words. Even a picture of a common Esterbrook J, for example, would be useful if you're trying to describe the change in colors over time. In that case, the context is what delivers the value, not just the image itself. 

 

Thanks,

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#20 bob_hayden

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 00:51

I accept you amendment;-)  I have sometimes done things like post a picture of two common pens side by side for comparison. 








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