The Oxford American Dictionary defines "sleeper" as, "An unexpected success,such as a book or candidate". Merriam-Webster paints a better picture: "Someone
or something unpromising or unnoticed that suddenly attains prominence or value". That's a fitting description for one of the best models made by Eversharp,the
Eversharp Ventura. This company produced in the past such great models as the Signature Series with its Gold Seal line--in colors such as Nacre,Brazilian Green,
and Coral Red--the faceted Doric,the Coronet,the Skyline............but I digress. I looked but could find nothing but a single article written about this pen,save an
article written by Penhero.com's Jim Mamoulidies. This is a gem passed over by many.
Appearance & Design(8/10)
The Ventura came in gold-filled,sterling silver and several shades of plastic--the barrel,that is. The caps themselves followed the appearance of the period: metal
caps,either sterling silver or gold-filled,with matching or contrasting simple marquee clips. My pen,bought at Richardspens.com,is an all-sterling silver beauty.
My first impression of this pen is that the appearance of this pen is,well........vanilla--at least if one compares it to models made back in the 30's. But it has that look
that captures the spirit of the jet age: sleek and silvery with a long black section and long,almost tubular-looking nib(even the breather hole in the nib is elongated).
The simple,spring clip is unmarked,save for the maker's name and country of origin. Its lightly scribed lines and simple cartouche do offer a small touch of class.
This is a pen that could easily be passed over in a pen show(especially the plastic-barreled models). Though maybe not outstanding to some in the looks department,
this pen wasn't bad,either. It received an 8/10. Other criteria follow that help its sleeper status.
Construction & Quality(9.5/10)
The construction of this pen is strong. It feels sturdy. I saw no flaws in how it's made and even found a plus: It has screw threads! The cap doesn't just slip onto the barrel
and grab a clutch ring to hold itself in place--it actually screws down onto the barrel! No bumping around in the pocket to ensure an ink stain. This was one of the old-
world touches that Eversharp kept for this new model(I do confess to not being a fan of clutch rings to hold caps on pens). The clip,simple-looking as it is,is springy yet
strong enough to keep the pen in,whether a shirt pocket or dress coat. The inscription is typical for the period--simple and unadorned. Save for the cleanly scribed
lines,company logo,"sterling" imprint and unused cartouche,the pen looks as clean as a shiny new jet plane. For its clean looks and simple,yet sturdy construction,it was given 9.5/10 .
Weights & Dimensions(9.5/10)
As was previously mentioned,this is a sturdy pen. The amazing thing,however,is how light it felt for being so sturdy--usually heaviness is expected to be associated with sturdiness. Not so with this pen--it's light enough to write with for a long time. The size of the pen is 5 1/8" (13 cm) capped,6" (15.3 cm) posted. Barrel dimension is
3/8" (1cm). Shown in comparison with a 1936 Standard Slender Vac and a 1997 Aurora Optima Sole':
That last detail is important because,while it's average in length,its slimness makes it handy for slimmer pen slots that might only hold today's cheap ballpoints. This
might be unintended genius--who would expect that a vintage fountain pen be one of the few writing instruments that could easily be carried around in modern-day
notebooks and organizers? Posting the cap(something that I like to do,but others may not)also gives the pen that sturdy feel without feeling heavy. This is a pen that
should be posted.
Its lightweight sturdiness and "pocketability" (shown here in a ballpoint sleeve pocket on a relatively "new" A-2 I own) captured 9.5/10 .
Nib & Performance(10/10)
The nib on this pen is the original nib. It was machined to an italic point,giving it a stylistic type of writing(BTW,I didn't request to have the nib made that way;that was
how it came)which I do confess to using both right side up(broader) and upside down (slimmer). The nib carries nothing but its type (14K),company (Eversharp), and
country of origin (USA).
Writing both ways with the pen is effortless--the ink flows smoothly either way. The one quality of Eversharp that still held true until their final days was the quality of
their flexible nibs,and this one is no exception. It's no wet noodle,but it has enough flex to make using it enjoyable. The quality and added bonus of having the nib in an italic point give it a 10/10 .
The filling system on the Ventura is similar to the aerometric system found on the Parker 51. It utilizes the same pressbar technology--a sac(latex on the Ventura) at-
tached to the section is covered by a tubular cowling with a pressbar either part of the cowling or attached to it. This makes for a very simple,yet advanced lever
filler. In the case of the Ventura,the cowling has a pressbar built in above and below the sac allowing the user to squeeze the sac from both sides. Perhaps this is ne-
cessary,since the diameter of the sac (3/16" or .05 cm) makes for a long,but very small ink chamber--easily the biggest disadvantage of this pen. It can't carry a large
volume of ink due to its slimness(Perhaps having a silicone sac would have been helpful in this case,but whether Parker controlled the silicone sac idea by copyright
or Eversharp just chose not to use it is an idea to be debated). On the plus side,the tubular cowling is a press fit,so changing the sac is easy. Nevertheless,its miniscule
fuel tank lowered the rating to 7.5/10 .
Cost & Value(9.5/10)
Since there is very little written about this pen(and I assume that will continue to sadly be the case),finding this pen in the wild will probably result in a sumgai find.
Even on places like Ebay,these pens can be found for less than $75,especially the plastic-barreled cousins. Though somewhat dull in its styling,this pen represents good to excellent value in its simplicity and ease of filling. It's that unassuming. It rates a 9.5/10 .
Interestingly,anonymity is this pen's value to a collector. Little has been written about it,so it easily becomes a sumgai deal. The filling system's simple and easy to use,
and the nib has enough flex to make writing a dream. It goes where most conventionally-sized fountain pens cannot--the same slot that could only hold a ballpoint.
It's slim,lightweight and tough with minimal embellishment. To borrow the words from an old commercial about a well-known auto company........who could ask for
Edited by sumgaikid, 06 June 2010 - 19:51.