Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

Overcoming Fear Of Vintage

vintage hesitant old fear

  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#1 chinstrap

chinstrap

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Location:Pennsylvania
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 04:32

Hello All,

 

With the Philly Pen show swiftly approaching, part of my mind is wandering towards experiencing vintage pens, possibly bringing one to a new home...

 

There is one problem... I'm afraid of issues that are beyond my rookie fountain pen level! :unsure:

 

I'm a persistent tinkerer with various things, including pens, to a minor degree. My concerns more so fall into the realm of reliability.

 

-How delicate are some vintage pens?

-How common are flow issues in vintage pens?

-How sensitive are older materials to certain chemicals for cleaning?

-What happens when a nib or fill mechanism breaks?

- Will aging deteriorate the pens without use?

 

Perhaps these questions are the signs that I'm not ready to delve into rather unknown realm of vintage pens...

 

Regardless, what might be some suggestions for either a good first affordable vintage pen to look into, or advice on calming the jitters of stepping into the pens of the olden days? :wacko:



Sponsored Content

#2 Runnin_Ute

Runnin_Ute

    Super Pinks member:

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,541 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah - Elevation 4509'
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:18

Suggestions?

 

Esterbrook J series pens (J, SJ, LJ) are solid, reliable lever fillers. I am told it is easy to replace the sac as well. Mine the sac had been replaced on both before they came to me. My green J was my first vintage.

 

Parker 51 or 51 Special - durable, easy to use (although harder to replace a sac or something if you have never done it before) I paid around $50 for my 51 Special, a better condition or harder to find color will increase the price. But you can usually get one for about $80 I think in good condition for an aerometric model. You might pay a little more for a vac model.

 

-What happens when a nib or fill mechanism breaks? - the above pens? Esterbrooks you( just buy a new nib. They screw right in. I have two Esties and 4 nibs. (1555 Gregg, Venus Fine, 2464 B, 9550 EF) and will change depending on mood. The P51 with its hooded nib isn't for everyone, but give it a try before you buy. There are people out there that can assist in replacing a nib, or a fill mechanism. (or do it for you)

 

I have just used water just like my other pens. I wouldn't be afraid of using a pen flush or a little dish soap in water or even ammonia however.

 

If you want to go semi vintage, you could go for a 60's Sheaffer or Parker (45)

 

Flow issues? I haven't had them in any of my vintage pens. Both of the above are solid and reliable pens


Brad
 
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain
 


#3 inkeverywhere

inkeverywhere

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 473 posts
  • Location:Queensland, Australia
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 05:51

Vintage pens were once new pens and possibly made to a higher quality standard than perhaps some modern pens. I have been a collector of vintage pens for some time now and favor the Parker brand. My oldest pen is from circa 1910, a Swan that belonged to my late grandfather. A beat up old pen that needs a fair degree of work to get it back to a usable standard, but in saying that it is by no means fragile.

I have found vintage pen collecting to be very addictive (the dollar exchange rate is somewhat of a cure for this addiction) given these pens have history on their side.

I live in Australia where getting a pen restored seems that much more difficult compared to your USA, from my reading here abouts anyway, so if worried about repairs there appears to be a number of reputable repairers in your country.

There are a couple of good repair books available on the market to assit in tackling your own repairs, something that seems to follow the collecting addiction. I choose the third edition of Jim Marshall's and Laurence Oldfield's book entitled Pen Repair, others will no doubt endorse Frank Dubiel's Da Book.

I believe there is nothing to be scared about buying vintage fountain pens, yes some will turn out to be duds but the good ones should far outweigh these. Given time, and a few duds, you will soon sort out what to look for in a vintage pen.

Brands are something for you to sort out. As I said earlier I collect Parkers but I also have Esterbrooks, Lamy (vintage) to name but a few, collected over the years. To me fountain pens can be a bit like buying fishing lures - made to attract the buyer.

Take the plunge and happy hunting!


Greg

Edited by inkeverywhere, 22 December 2015 - 05:52.

"may our fingers remain ink stained"

Handwriting - one of life's pure pleasures


#4 redbike

redbike

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 695 posts
  • Location:Maine
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 11:54

I've never been to a pen show, but I imagine they are full of serious pen enthusiasts as well as sellers of new and vintage pens. Go there with your questions, which are good ones. Get the answers to your questions, try out pens that catch your eye, and purchase from a reputable seller who guarantees his/her pens.

Good luck and let us know what you purchase.

#5 Orpilorp

Orpilorp

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 356 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 12:07

Since you will be new to vintage pens, don't even think of buying a piston filler unless you can test it. More often than not it will need new gaskets, and replacing gaskets is not something an inexperienced repair person will want to attempt. Start with the lever fillers.

Before attempting repairs make sure you read, watch videos, and read again. Personally I think it quite rewarding to bring an old pen back to like.

Edited by Orpilorp, 22 December 2015 - 12:07.


#6 Manalto

Manalto

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,978 posts

Posted 22 December 2015 - 12:34

Although I've had and used fountain pens for many years, I'm a total newbie at "acquiring." (I can't say I'm a collector because I just get what I like, without theme or focus.) One of the reasons for enthusiasm for fountain pens is that they're little works of genius. I carry around my 80 year-old Parker Vacumatic like someone would have 80 years ago - casually, but carefully and respectfully befitting its value. 

 

I'm not much of a tinkerer, so I sent out my vintage pens for new sacs (or whatever is required to make them functional). I just consider that as part of the price and I'm still happy with the deal. I love the design of vintage pens, their feel in my hand and the opportunity to ponder their history and significance as I put them to practical use.


Edited by Manalto, 22 December 2015 - 12:35.

James


#7 Charles Rice

Charles Rice

    Mr. Pink

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,142 posts
  • Location:Osceola, WI
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 13:09

If you are buying it at a show, you'll be able to see the condition and test it out, so you should get a good working pen.  My best writer is nearly 90 years old. 



#8 corgicoupe

corgicoupe

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,519 posts
  • Location:east of Atlanta, north of The Rock
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 15:36

Limit your purchase to a pen that has been restored. I have been pleased with Esterbrook Js that I have bought in the $30 range and lever fill Sheaffer Balance pens from the 1930s. These were about $40 and had been restored. (Purchased from a collection at a local b&m store.)

Edited to correct the *spelling incorrector*

Edited by corgicoupe, 23 December 2015 - 03:59.

Baptiste knew how to make a short job long

For love of it. And yet not waste time either.

                                                         Robert Frost


#9 jar

jar

    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Premium - Ruby

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,966 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 16:09

-How delicate are some vintage pens?

 

Some are very fragile but many are far more robust than anything made today.  Before CAM the way to make something last was make it thicker.  And they did.

 

-How common are flow issues in vintage pens?

 

About the same as with modern pens.

 

-How sensitive are older materials to certain chemicals for cleaning?

 

No real answer there. Older ebonite is much like modern ebonite and older celluloid is much like modern celluloid and older casein is much like modern casein.

 

-What happens when a nib or fill mechanism breaks?

 

Same thing that happens today, you fix or replace it.

 

- Will aging deteriorate the pens without use?

 

Some materials, certainly.

 

 

 

 


My Sister's website :  Rose Hill Studios

My Website


#10 Ernst Bitterman

Ernst Bitterman

    Nil Magnum Nisi Bonum

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,029 posts
  • Location:The Flat Bit, Canada
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 16:16

To expand a little on Jar's excellent response--

 

REALLY old pens with extremely simple feeds sometimes offer an overabundant flow.  This was touted as a virtue by manufacturers of the day, because it was the pen's way of letting you know it was running low on ink.

 

The only material that is given to spontaneous deterioration is celluloid, and usually by now those pens that are going to have a problem will have shown symptoms.  None of them will enjoy being set in direct sunlight for a long time, either, but otherwise they're no more susceptible to entropy than most modern pen materials.


Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

 


#11 penwash

penwash

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Location:Plano, TX USA
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 16:51

I am relatively new to fountain pen collecting, and I'm now hooked on restoring these vintage pens.

 

Now, when I hear another newcomer to the hobby ask the question, should I buy Lamy Safari or Pilot Metro, I just want to shake them and show them that for the same price they can get a restored vintage pen that is a lot nicer.

 

I learn by working on no-name vintage pens that nobody wants, Wearevers, Pioneers, etc. some of those became potent writers after I tweak them. Here are two examples:

 

23725425965_37de8f553e_c.jpg

 

No collector would even look at these two, but it's perfect for beginners in vintage pens.

After writing with these, my Lamy Safari feels like a stick in the mud.


Edited by penwash, 22 December 2015 - 16:51.

- Will
Restored Pens and Sketches on Instagram @redeempens


#12 rwilsonedn

rwilsonedn

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,797 posts

Posted 22 December 2015 - 16:57

As previous posters have said well, the answer to each of your questions is "it depends." The pen show is a perfect way to start. If you tell a reputable restorer what you want from a pen and ask for suggestions, you will get what you want without tears. Then if you like vintage pens and want to explore further, you can gradually take on more risk and responsibility, until you are happy buying an unrestored pen and setting to work on it. It is a learning process that you can take as far as you wish. Some vintage pen lovers have never replaced a sac or adjusted a nib. Others have learned to repair damaged nibs and cracked celluloid. The key is to know what you want, and to have fun.

ron



#13 penmanila

penmanila

    Vacumaniac

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,263 posts
  • Location:Manila/San Diego
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 17:00

What I generally get from vintage pens are lovelier designs, more flexible nibs, more interesting filling mechanisms, and--except for the rarest models--more affordable prices. I like some modern pens as well and use quite a few, but the joy of laying down a line with a flexy Waterman 52 or WE Doric is hard to match even with my new MB LEs.

Check out my blog and my pens


#14 oregano

oregano

    Fairly Dipped

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 876 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 18:42

I don't have a lot of vintage pens or as much experience as people here, but as someone with the same reservations about vintage pens (and to some extent still do), I recommend, as people said above: 1) getting a ballpark idea of what mint to excellent condition looks like from online searches vs. 'very good' and less good condition for the brand you like, so that when you see them at a pen show, you can tell 2) which pens really are restored.

 

If they aren't, a repairman can fix it. The second thing that has helped me a lot with worrying about the fragility of vintage pens is just using them and enjoying them, like any other pen. The amount of enjoyment you can get from a vintage nib exceeds modern ones--it's a trade-off since they have more personality. Fwiw I have found vintage Pelikans to be very sturdy.


 


#15 Sasha Royale

Sasha Royale

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,444 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 20:20

The Sheaffer cartridge pen from the 1960's and 1970's is a vintage pen.  Many survive to the current day, and are available at reasonable prices.  The ones I have are giving good service.  Vintage Parker fountain pens are great collectibles.  Available at $15, the Pilot 78G may soon be "vintage".  


Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn. 
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen: 
Verweile doch, du bist so schön ! 


#16 chinstrap

chinstrap

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 12 posts
  • Location:Pennsylvania
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 20:57

Thanks for all of the valuable input everybody! I'll probably poke around the realm of Penwash's suggestions and looking into the less sought after pens. Granted, the first pen I used was a Lamy Joy, and my first personal fountain pen was an impulse buy of a Parker Urban on a clearance shelf at Staples, and it  continues to be my favorite out of my small collection. (mostly jinhaos, and soon heros that after the fact I found may be counterfeit...)

 

I'm definitely looking forward to delving into the show with more purpose. I'll probably be looking into some new ink and just taking everything in in general. If I start to adapt to the vintage world, I wouldn't mind hunting for a Waterman 94 with a music nib, but I'm a long way from having the experience, let alone the money for such a pen... 



#17 sidthecat

sidthecat

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,850 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2015 - 23:48

Much more fun than most modern pens. I'm a total sucker for flex - it makes your writing much more expressive.

I've managed to accumulate more pens than is really decent, but I love them all.



#18 arcadeflow

arcadeflow

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 769 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 23 December 2015 - 01:28

I'm still a bit like you, but I've been adventuring with vintage and it has been fun. But people are pretty mythical about these pens. You can get a lot of vintage pens that won't write any better than a Safari. The first vintage pen I got that made me really happy is my Esterbrook LJ (I want a J, but that is what I could find in near mint condition for a great price). I currently own a Parker 21 too, which is more in a user condition, and the fine nib is a bit flat footed (and I don't really want a fine nib right now). I had a Parker 45 and a Space Man (Japanese pen) that I sold because of the fine nibs too.

 

I would be really happy to get other Esterbrook nibs and pens. I would like to try other vintage pens too. I find the Vacumatics and the Skylines pretty attractive, but I don't want to pay a premium for them yet. My game with vintage pens is to find them cheap in good working order, or maybe find an easily repairable one and do it myself. I already reglued the sac of my Esterbrook and it's fine.



#19 jar

jar

    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Premium - Ruby

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,966 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 23 December 2015 - 03:54

Splendor in the Grass

 

At least 76 years old, maybe 80 years old.  Repairs so far $44.00 to get plunger fill serviced IIRC.

 

large.jpg

 

large.jpg

 

large.jpg

 

large.jpg


My Sister's website :  Rose Hill Studios

My Website


#20 ac12

ac12

    Museum Piece

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,501 posts
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA - SFO
  • Flag:

Posted 23 December 2015 - 05:43

-How delicate are some vintage pens?
- - For the most part, they are sturdy. Just don't bang them around like you would a Lamy Safari, the Safari is extra durable.
- - However there are indeed some material that are less sturdy. Some of that is the material getting more brittle with age.
- - I would treat them like I would a good modern pen, with care.

-How common are flow issues in vintage pens?
- - Not much of a problem, for me. Some pens might be too wet or too dry, and might need adjusting. But that is no different than some modern pens. 4 of 5 Baoer 388s needed to be adjusted simply to flow ink. Several of my Lamy nibs were too dry.

-How sensitive are older materials to certain chemicals for cleaning?
- - I use plain water 99% of the time. The other 1% is a 10% ammonia+water solution, to clean more stubborn ink.

-What happens when a nib or fill mechanism breaks?
- - Get it fixed. For some vintage pens this can be more difficult, as spare parts can be difficult to find to non-existent.

- Will aging deteriorate the pens without use?
- - YES, for some pens. This is just because the material ages and changes, and this is no different for a pen made today.
- - The rubber ink sack could/will harden with age, even if never used.
- - Some of the plastics will shrink. I had to cut off the hood from a Parker 51, because the hood had shrunk so bad that it could not be removed the normal way.
- - Some plastics get brittle with age, so is easier to crack.

So having said all this, I use several vintage pens, regularly.
- Esterbrook LJ
- Parker 51, 45, 88, Classic and Vacumatic
- Sheaffer Touchdown and School pen

Edited by ac12, 23 December 2015 - 05:46.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 23-25, 2019 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: vintage, hesitant, old, fear



Sponsored Content




|