I decided to get a Taperite after reading an article about them. They had not entered my radar before and looked like an interesting pen. I duly picked up the Taperite Citation model seen below for the grand sum of £3.50, so if my choice was horribly wrong, It wouldn't be a disaster.
This pen has an engraving on the band showing that it was:
'Presented to L Smith by his colleagues at D.C. Engineering 16-7-48'.
The paperwork shows his full name as Leslie Richard Charles Smith. The only reference I can find to someone with this name and era is Leslie Charles Smith, the founder of the company that made Dinky toy cars. Who knows......
It's nice to have something with a bit of history
Appearance and design 8/10
To me, the Taperite is delightfully different. The small semi hooded nib, the very deep blue with gold trimmings and the clear gum drop at the end. It certainly makes a change from the more conventional designs like the Esterbrook (nice though they are).
Construction and quality 6/10
Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, after all it has lasted over 62 years but construction and quality certainly is not in quite the same league as it's hooded rival the P51. The surfaces are nice and glossy (the lighting shows up the micro scratches) and the metal trim has kept it's plating intact but, this pen like many Waterman's of the era especially the One Hundred Year pen, this Taperite suffers from partial disintegration of the plastics. The gum drop is heavily crazed, though it is intact and seems to be stable. This feature was removed from later pens. The plastics don't feel as solid as the P51, though there is no other cracking.
Weight and dimensions 9/10
The weight and dimensions are just right. It's long enough to be comfortable to use and while not over light it is not heavy either.
- 125mm body only
- 135mm capped
- 156mm posted
Nib and performance 8/10
The nib was dry and scratchy when it arrived and was a disappointment after positive comments that I had read. Inspection revealed minor alignment issues which after some fettling have left a nib that lays down a smooth wet medium line with some variation. It looks like an OM in profile and this nib is probably the one listed as S.S.O in the documentation. The nib is also quite flexible, though I am not a great flex writer. Has anyone used Waterman's Waterproof Polar White ink referred to in the documentation?
Filling system and maintenance 5/10
This is a tale of two halves, one good, the other bad - hence 5/10. The filling system is the ever reliable and easy to use lever system and a quick wipe is all that is needed afterwards. Amazingly (and a very good thing), the ink sac still works and seems to suck up a good quantity of ink. On the other hand, tales of disassembling the Taperite are usually tales of major difficulty and not always success. I had a go at removing the barrel but it would not budge. I will wait until the ink sac goes and sent it off to an expert, such is this pens reputation.
Cost and value 10/10
What can I say, at a cost of £3.50 it has to be full marks for value.
Conclusion Final score 46/60
After initial disappointment with the nib, I really like this pen for it's looks, features and the way that it writes. At the prices that they go for the Taperite is seriously good value. However, the dark side to this pen is the potential trouble when it needs resaccing or other maintenance. The next step is to use it in anger and see how it performs.
Edited by Malcy, 14 December 2010 - 22:46.