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Vintage Pens Of "average" Americans

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31 replies to this topic

#21 welch


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Posted 25 November 2010 - 23:14

Not an American, but an eminently average family-- the pen below I got from my wife, who got it from her father, who had it in his toy chest in the late 1940s or very early 1950s. Sturdy, not unattractive, with a steel point.

Posted Image

Ah, the Ravensmarch/Bitterman understatement again! "Not unattractive"??? This pen is spectacular!

Forgot: what is it?

Edited by welch, 25 November 2010 - 23:15.

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#22 bigJack82


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Posted 26 November 2010 - 15:28

[quote name='nxn96' timestamp='1289929038' post='1753964']
Another thought along this line: desk pens. Back in the era when more jobs involved a fixed desk at a fixed location, a desk pen in a holder on a heavy base was a popular item from the major pen manufacturers. Esterbrook seems to have been a big player in this market, including desk pens with a chain for public/commercial use and combination dip-pens with combination inkwells. Parker and Sheaffer were large players too, but similar to as Parker51 noted, a lot of these pens had a brass plate attached to commemorate a special occasion.

Again, it speaks to what writing instruments people carried and where/when people needed to use an ink pen.

Another great desk set was produced by Carter Pen company

#23 bigJack82


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Posted 26 November 2010 - 15:36

Fountain pens were mostly for correspondence and long term documents.

The normal writing instrument was a pencil right on through the 60s and the advent of relatively functional ball points.

During the forties the Esterbrook was the school choice. Easy writing and long lasting.

#24 Sunflowers


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Posted 19 January 2011 - 16:47

In the 70s, my family used Parker 45s. It is the pen with which I learned to write.

#25 Emu


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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:08

As a child in the early to mid 1950s, I remember seeing what I now can identify as Esterbrook desk pens in "eight ball" holders on the desks of middle-grade U.S. military officers in Europe and in the States. Don't know whether the big cheeses .... colonels and generals ... had those or something classier. Also don't know whether they were government issue, but I suspect they may have been. The only fountain pen in our house (1950s-60s) was an old vacuumatic Parker 51, teal-colored, my dad kept in a drawer. Never saw him use it. Wish it hadn't gotten lost. His mother used a 51 for decades ... she may have given it to him.

Edited by Emu, 03 December 2012 - 10:44.

#26 LedZepGirl



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Posted 03 December 2012 - 20:23

I was going to say Esterbrooks but I was beat to it many times now. Posted Image
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#27 rhosygell


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 23:06

Probably Wearever has valid claim to being the pen of the "average" American.
Iechyd da pob Cymro

#28 Mags


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Posted 05 December 2012 - 00:14

I believe there were Doctor and Nurse pen sets from Shaeffer also and the pens were white. I think one pen like holder with a clip stored a thermometer for checking the patients temperature though I am curious how it was cleaned between uses.
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#29 Runnin_Ute


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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:36

I graduated from high school in 1976 as well. While I remember seeing desks at various schools with inkwell holes drilled in them, I don't ever recall using a fountain pen in school. (I finished grade 6 in the spring of 1970)

I do remember buying a very inexpensive Sheaffer with cartridges, it was bubble packed on cardboard-hang tag style. Might have even bought it at a 7-11. I also remember ink everywhere - whether as a kid who just didn't get how to do it or what. I was probably 8-10 years old.

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"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

#30 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 13:47

My uncles who served in Nam used Snorkels and PFMs with black skrip ink. Two of my cousins used parker 17s and british duofold aerometrics for correspondance.

Edited by georges zaslavsky, 30 December 2012 - 13:47.

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#31 Florida Blue

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:02

I'm not sure about the pens themselves but many professions preferred certain types of nibs for their writing needs.

Many companies (including Esterbrook, Parker and Sheaffer) produced accountant, manifold, clerical/secretarial, bookkeeping and shorthand nibs that were designed for office workers, salesmen, accountants, book and records keepers and secretaries.
Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

#32 N2theBreach


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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:59

I believe we were "average." We certainly weren't affluent, nor were we poor.

When I was a tyke in the latev'50s, my mother used what I now know as a Parker '51. My father used a different pen, with an exposed nib. I remember asking my mother about the difference and she would say her pen had a nib, too it was just hidden back up under the plastic. My pre-school mind never figured out how they got that big nib (like my father's) to fit up inside that little hole on the "51."

About the way they were used. I remember my mother using her pen frequently. Maybe not for grocery lists, and such, but she used it for letters, writing checks, anything that wasn't just a note to be tossed in the trash within the next day or so. I didn't see my father use his much because he wasn't home during the day. I also remember store clerks using fountain pens. Again, I think they used them for things like recording sales, and so on, not for quick notes.

Edited by N2theBreach, 18 February 2013 - 03:02.

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