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Box Of Favorite 15 Pens

vintage montblanc watermans italic flexible customized pendleton brown eversharp morrisons collection

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15 replies to this topic

#1 tgeorgo

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 02:19

I have been collecting fountain pens for 4 or 5 years. In that time I have had well over 250 fountain pens pass through my hands. I first started with fountain pens when I was a boy. My father always used a fountain pen, a MB 149, this was his only pen and he carried it everywhere, still does. He has sent it in for service over the years but he always tells everyone who asks about his lifetime warranty and he has made use of it many times. When I was 18 or so my father bought me a MB 146. I used it sparingly but at the time I was not mature enough to appreciate it and didn't care for the mess that I invariably made. 

 

20 years down the road my daughter went off to summer camp. We sent her to an old fashioned camp on an island in the Pacific NW and the only way to communicate with her was via snail mail letters. The camp does not allow, email, text, telephone, etc. No electronic communication whatsoever. I started writing my daughter letters almost every day and I was appalled by my handwriting. Not good. I have had a computer since I was six years old and gave up on handwritten schoolwork as soon as I was allowed. The prospect of writing letters was a little daunting to me and I was definitely embarrassed by my awful script and print. I started looking for a better pen that allowed me to write more legibly and quickly settled upon a fountain pen. I found one made for practicing handwriting with a little feedback so that the pen held the paper nicely and did not shake with my unsteady hand. This event though started an odyssey for the perfect fountain pen. I started going to shows and events, reading blogs, scanning through eBay, sending pens to nibmeisters,  I found this forum, and have bought and sold quite a number of pens over the past 4 to 5 years all in search of the perfect pen. I got into repairing and restoring old pens. I would buy old pens in as found condition and work to get them functioning again sometimes with limited success. As a result I have a box of 50 or more pens that I was not able to get working.

 

 I like flexible italic nibs. I love a little line variation. I have pretty much given up on modern pens in favor of vintage. I thought I would share my current favorite pens. While I have considerably more than this these are the pens that I find myself reaching for. My other pens just sit in a box until I finally bring myself to the point where I am willing to part with them. 

 

These pens are in no particular order of preference. 

 

1.  Montblanc 214. This is a button fill flexible italic nib that has been customized by Pendleton Brown. I bought this pen about 3 years ago and somehow it manages to stay in my top rotation. I had it for sale at one point but no-one bought it for the price I was asking and I am glad that it didn't sell. Now it has sentimental value as my first vintage MB and I don't think I will sell it. It is both very crisp yet somehow glides over the page. I prefer finer, more substantial pens but the nib on this one is just too spectacular to worry about the pen that is holding it too much. 

 

2. Montblanc 146 F Semi-Flex with flat feed and telescoping fill. This is a celluloid pen from 1950-51 I believe. Pendleton Brown customized the nib to an italic and made it a little finer but the way it writes was vastly improved. I cant decide between this 146 and the next. I will probably end up selling on one of them as it doesn't make sense to have two identical pens but currently I cannot decide which of them I prefer more. 

 

3. Montblanc 146 EF Semi-Flex with two groove round feed and telescoping fill. This is a celluloid pen from 1951-53 I believe. I did not customize the nib on this one. It is nice and crisp. I am not sure if a former owner customized it or if it came this way from MB but it is wonderful. It has an Italic edge but flexes for great line variation. As I mentioned I cannot decide which pen I prefer this one or the just slightly earlier one. 

 

4. Montblanc 642 F full flex with flat feed and telescoping fill. This pen is celluloid and gold plate overlay. I believe it is from 1950-51. I did not customize the nib on this pen is is really fantastic. I think that this pen is one of those that I reach for most often. I really like the look of it and the way that it feels. It is a little smaller than I would prefer and I am looking for a 644 currently with a similar nib. I have another pen just like this one currently out for repairs getting its cork replaced and I will probably end up selling one of them. They are pretty much identical. The flex nib is wonderful on both of these pens. Probably the best stock nib I have ever used for my preference. 

 

5. Krone Fiction Picante EF to M semi flex italic stub. Pendleton brown customized this nib for me. This is the only modern pen that I have in my top box. I really love the way that this nib turned out from Pendleton. It is very crisp and the nib is more soft than a real semi-flex but the line variation is really fun. I also love the way it looks clipped into my jacket or shirt pocket. The fittings are solid silver and it is a dream to write with. 

 

6. Omas 556 Brevetto full flex M to BB italic stub. The pen is a piston filler from about 1960 I think. Pendleton Brown customized this nib for me and I really love it. With light pressure I can write nice spidery print and with a little more pressure it is very expressive. Even though this is kind of a plain pen I don't think I will part with it. It is very unique and I don't have another pen that writes anything like it. I use this pen for custom thank you and birthday cards. I can get nice thick shaded lines. 

 

7. Diamond Point Black and Pearl Flat Top Lever Fill. I think that this thick celluloid pen is from 1924-25. The quality of the material is quite remarkable. No-one believes that the pen is really that old. It is in fabulous condition. It has a Warranted EF to B flexible italic nib customized by Pendleton Brown. I reach for this pen quite often. The lines are very crisp and the flexibility of the nib is very smooth and even. I really like my handwriting with this pen. It is very large and makes a great statement in my pocket as well. 

 

8. Morrison's "The Tourist" Ef to B italic flex nib. Pendleton Brown customized the nib of this oversized black and pearl pen for me as well. This pen is a lever filler. I am not sure what year this pen was made. I would guess the 40s but I don't really know. I like the way that this pen looks and now that Pendleton has done his magic I really like the way that it writes as well. 

 

9. Waterman's Silver Ray. This pen is from the 30s and has the vacuum pump fill that Waterman's used during this time on some of its pens. The lever compresses a bulb and when it inflates it sucks ink into the body of the pen. The ink capacity is quite large. I really like these pens. I bought three of them when I was trying to acquire one of them and they were all in disrepair. Out of the three that I bought I ended up with two functioning pens. The nib on this pen was customized by Pendleton Brown. The #4 Key Hole nib is really nice to write with and has a good flex. I cannot decide which I prefer this Silver Ray or the Emerald Ray. I think I like the looks of the Emerald Ray a little better but I prefer the way that this Silver Ray writes. 

 

10 Waterman's Emerald Ray. This is the brother to the Silver Ray. Pendleton Brown also customized the nib on this pen and It is also spectacular This pen has a little less flex and a little less of an edge to the italic but they are both very similar. I like the gold hardware on this pen a little better than the silver on the other. This pen also has the gold emblem on both the top and bottom of the pen whereas the Silver Ray only has the silver emblem on the bottom. 

 

11. Waterman's 7 Emerald Ray. This lever fill pen has the famous Red nib. I left it stock and it performs very well. I have so far resisted the urge to collect more of these #7 Waterman's. They came in Jet Black, Emerald Ray, and Red and Olive RIpple. The color coded nibs come in different widths and flexibility as well. Richard Binder has a good description of these on his website. I am looking for a Pink or Black nib in a #7 or #5. This pen is in fantastic condition. I bought it from the collection of the late Earl Shigemoto the former owner of the Honolulu Pen Shop. This pen is really fabulous and I highly recommend these #7 Waterman's pens with a Red nib. 

 

12. Waterman's 94 with #4 Italic flex key hole nib. This lever fill pen has this beautiful celluloid I call Autumn Night. I am not sure what Waterman's called it. Pendleton Brown customized the nib for me and it is smooth and wonderful to write with. This is a light comfortable pen that I use when I am going to be writing for long periods. I get no fatigue whatsoever with this pen. 

 

13 - 15. Eversharp Skylines with "flextastic" nibs customized by Pendleton Brown. I have collected these Skylines extensively. I still have more than 20 of them and these are my favorite 3. The Skyline came in three different sizes, Demi, Standard and Executive. It also came in a ton of different materials, colors and nib variety. I prefer two certain types of flexible nib. I can spot them now on sight and still will occasionally buy them. I have sold off a number of Skyline pens in my collection but these three are special to me. 

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#2 LOGAN

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 02:28

You've got a great line up there! Thanks for sharing with us.

#3 Dillo

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 02:55

Hi,

 

That's such a nice lineup! I like your pictures and your story.

Maybe we should also attempt to create a box of our favorite 15 pens.

 

My box would contain:

Montblanc-this is the pen I paid the most for. It has a fine nib that is broader than my Aurora medium nibs. It's a very nice, comfortable pen, and I like how it looks

Atlantica Safety Pen-this pen is very nice to use. Mine has a fine stub that I did for it. A restorer I know in Italy restored it for me. I used it on lots of tests.

Pilot Myu 90-this pen has my favorite nib. It's very smooth, fine, and has nice, controlled flow.

Pilot Custom 74-this is one of my favorite more-traditional-looking fountain pens

Sailor Professional Gear Slim mini-I like this pen a lot. It's in my avatar

Nakaya with extra-fine nib-This one is the pen that I'm most likely to take with me places. It's a really nice writer.

Nakaya with super extra-fine nib-This one is very special since Nakaya made the pen more or less entirely to my preferences. It's one of my favorite super fine nibs

Aurora Madamin-This is my favorite Aurora 88 type pen. It's small and quite comfortable. It also is clipless which is a plus.

Aurora 88P-This is just a classic Aurora pen. I really like mine.

Aurora Optima Mini-This was one of the pens I was always wishing I could have. It's very comfortable and nice to use.

Aurora Optima Demonstrator with red ends-This is a nice large pen. I think it has my biggest open nib. It's one of the biggest pens I can use.

Aurora 98 Silver-This one was on sale. I used it on a lot of my homework

Sailor pocket pen with tulips-I love the pattern on this. It's a cute pen!

Pilot Décimo Capless Pink with fine nib-This is my super convenient pen. I use it for a lot of proofreading.

Pilot Décimo Capless Violet with extra fine nib-I love the color, and the nib is one of the best extra-fine nibs I've used.

 

Dillon


Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#4 tgeorgo

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:03

Dillion, 

 

Thank you for your post. I have only tried one Aurora and it didn't quite meet my expectations. I am actually selling it right now on FPN. It is a beautiful pen but for me it was a little too wet when I flex the semi-flex nib and I don't know how to adjust that. I know that for some people this is a highly sought after characteristic but for me I prefer a pen that only lays just enough ink to keep from train tracking. I have not given up on the Aurora's though. I am also intrigued by the Nakayas I bought a Danitrio pen with a soft nib a while ago but I did not care for it. For a modern pen it was OK but it didnt really compare with a good flexible vintage nib. Are the Aurora pens you have vintage from the 50s? Do they have semi-flex nibs? Thanks again.

 

Aloha,
Todd 


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#5 Sinistral1

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:16

Todd:

I sort of feel like the Eversharp Skyline I purchased from you was more like an adoption than a sale! It is now a full member of my pen family, and much loved!

Nyleen

Breathe.  Take one step at a time.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  You're not getting older, you are only moving through time.  Be calm and positive.


#6 orfew

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:22

Thanks for sharing those great pens with us. I too have several vintage Montblancs. They are very special pens. I hope you get many more years of use from your pens.


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#7 Dillo

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:39

Dillion, 

 

Thank you for your post. I have only tried one Aurora and it didn't quite meet my expectations. I am actually selling it right now on FPN. It is a beautiful pen but for me it was a little too wet when I flex the semi-flex nib and I don't know how to adjust that. I know that for some people this is a highly sought after characteristic but for me I prefer a pen that only lays just enough ink to keep from train tracking. I have not given up on the Aurora's though. I am also intrigued by the Nakayas I bought a Danitrio pen with a soft nib a while ago but I did not care for it. For a modern pen it was OK but it didnt really compare with a good flexible vintage nib. Are the Aurora pens you have vintage from the 50s? Do they have semi-flex nibs? Thanks again.

 

Aloha,
Todd 

 

I'm actually a huge fan of stiff nibs, so I picked out all my Aurora pens (even the older ones) to have quite stiff nibs. For my everyday use, I prefer the stiff nibs, and I think that's why I like the modern Aurora nibs. They are quite stiff. I have tried an Aurora flexible nib, and mine was actually quite good. I sold the pen some time ago though, but it was really fun to use.

 

Dillon


Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#8 UDog

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:55

Wow...what a collection! I have a Preppy, a Hero 616, and a Varsity.


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#9 MX5l

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:27

What ink did you use in your Diamond Point 1925?  :yikes:



#10 tgeorgo

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:47

The ink in that pen is Naples Blue from Private Reserve, which I love. When it gets thick it will flash red similar to Majestic Blue. I like Naples Blue better though there is more dramatic color variation and shading. It is one of my favorite inks. I will often dilute it up to 50% with distilled water which for me increases the color variation. 


Hero's are not created, they are cornered.

#11 icevic

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 20:37

You're the king of the flex italic nib.

 

I know some people don't understand flex italics because they think the flex (swooshy) cancels out the italic (sharp) and you just end up with a nib that is not really sharp and not really "swooshy".

 

How do you use them in a way that brings out the best in flex and italic without cancelling out the best features of each?  What do you look for in a perfect flex italic nib?  Do you think the nature of flex is at odds with the nature of italics, or do they complement each other?

 

By the way, have you tried oblique italics?  Those are my favourite, and I wonder if you have seen an oblique flex italic nib?  Is that even possible?



#12 bobaroo

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 21:27

This should be banned as flex porn.



#13 Sinistral1

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 21:48

Bobaroo:

 

Ban flex porn?  I hope not.  And this coming from someone in England who put some sort of sock thing on his or her dog's nose and then made it their avatar so the whole world could witness the poor pup's shame???


Breathe.  Take one step at a time.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  You're not getting older, you are only moving through time.  Be calm and positive.


#14 Ceilidh

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 22:19

Great story, great pens, especially the Watermans (drooling), and pretty darn good handwriting too.

 

Off to grab a tissue and dab the corners of my eyes. My dad wrote me letters when I was at summer camp in the 60s with his Parker 61 jet flighter. He's gone now, and I wish I still had the letters, but I have the pen - use it and cherish it.



#15 tgeorgo

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 22:52

Thanks everyone, 

 

The flex italic nib is definitely my favorite. I have obtained examples of this type of nib from a number of different "nibmeisters" and the only one that has created nibs that I am thrilled with is Pendleton Brown. There are a few vintage stock nibs that qualify and have that subtle balance of edge and flex that I search out with focus and intensity but only Pendleton can take a regular flex nib and send it back with an edge that doesn't kill the flex. 

 

For me it becomes most apparent in the crispness of the lines. When you stress a nib and the tines spread, especially on a curving stroke, will the combination of ink metal and paper produce the result I am looking for. As you know paper and ink are almost as important as nib and there are only a few inks that "work" for me. I don't care for inks with lubrication. They tend to come out too thick and messy flooding the paper when used with this type of nib. The inks that really do it for me currently are:

 

Private Reserve Naples Blue (diluted 50%)

Stipula Calamo Musk Green 

Waterman's Inspired Blue

Noodler's Night Shade (diluted 50%)

J Herebin Aniversary Rouge Hematite

 

There are a bunch of others that I play with. I have WAY too many inks. But for me these are the inks that I keep going back to and I pretty much only use Clairfontaine paper of one sort or another. 


Hero's are not created, they are cornered.

#16 pokermon

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 00:09

Beautiful pens! Makes me drooooool! I've wondered what you keep for yourself since I see you sell so many flex pens on the ads here on fpn. Was not disappointed!
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Enjoy life, and keep on writing!
-Tommy





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: vintage, montblanc, watermans, italic, flexible, customized, pendleton brown, eversharp, morrisons, collection



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