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Onoto Identification - Early Plunge Fillers

onoto 1000 2000 3000 plunge

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#1 praxim

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 09:48

I intend this thread to be used for identification work on the early plunger filler models of Onotos, in particular the 1000, 2000 and 3000 series. To that end, I would like to gather in here all data relating measurements to photos, and to models where known rather than presumed.

 

I shall start with this specific question. I have recently bought two Onotos labelled 3000 by the seller, one on ebay and one from a non-ebay seller, both in Britain. Of course, these models carry no model imprint unlike later Onotos. The 3000 was the 'N' model and there was a shorter 2000 or 'O' model of the same girth. So much, I think I know with reasonable confidence. I have also seen mention of a 1000 which appears to be longer and slightly narrower although I have not found a picture or a pen positively identified as that model.

 

Here are the two pens in question for me. The tails are pretty much lined up with the tail of the ruler, parallax suggesting otherwise. I will call them 'plain' and 'ripple'. Both pens are clipless slip-cap plunger models.

 

Onoto 3000 maybe  071.jpg

 

Onoto 3000 maybe  072.jpg

 

This image suggesting some but not all model dimensions is taken from the custom pen parts web site.

Pen sizes for identification.jpg

My pens have measured dimensions as below. Only the barrel diameters were measured with great precision; the others will be close enough for now:

 

'plain'

capped length: 149 mm

barrel: 85 mm x 10.2 mm

section length: 24.7 mm

capped weight: 10.9 g

 

'ripple'

capped length: 134 mm

barrel: 66 mm x 10.5 mm

section: 28.5 mm

capped weight: 12.5 g

 

Given discrepancies, it is possible that I am measuring barrel length differently despite following the diagram.

 

Comparing these with the table, and taking in to account the obvious differences, I am strongly inclined to the view that the 'ripple' is not a 3000 but a 2000.

 

I also wonder whether the 'plain' may not be a 3000 but a 1000. Its length is about right but it is not much slimmer.

 

For the purposes of this I do not make an assumption that every previous Onoto on FPN has been identified correctly.

 

What other data do people have, that we may compare and resolve the models we each have? Including weights may be useful although clearly that is affected by how much gold / silver bling is on the pen and of what quality.

 


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#2 Cob

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 10:06

First thing to say on this subject is that in a month or two Stephen Hull's definitive work on Onoto will appear; this should answer all the questions; certainly I shall buy a copy.

 

In the interim, I have had a number of ancient (and less ancient) Onotos pass through my hands over the past 18 months or so.

 

I had several 2000s; these are short pens.  I have had 1000s which conform to Roger Wolfe's measurements on the Custom Pen Parts site.  I have also had 3000s.  As far as I can recall, all the 1000s had over/under feeds, whilst many if not all of the 3000s had normal under feeds.

 

Your shorter pen may be a 2000, but the section appears to be from a later pen, its design resembling the section fitted to Onotos from the late 1920s up to the end of production in the 1950s.  It is very attractive in MHR I must say!

 

Further to confuse the issue I have on the wall here a 1915 Onoto advertisement showing two pens: the longer is called "Size N" whilst the shorter is called Military Size (price 10/6d).

 

Finally for further confusion, I have just measured the sole old Onoto I have which has a 3/st nib with an under feed:

 

fpn_1462782546__silver.jpg

 

Using Roger's measuring standard, the barrel measures 80.5mm!

 

All the best

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 29 August 2016 - 10:10.

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#3 MalcolmH

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 11:38

I'll join in...

 

First of all, praxim, NICE pens.

 

I have three plunger fillers of this type:

 

1.  BCHR. Barrel as per diagram...80.7. Section...24. Nib marked 3/ST

2.  BCHR with central band. Barrel as per...80.5. Section...25. Nib marked 3

3.  BCHR. Barrel as per...60. Section...24. Nib marked 3

 

The OD of all three pens is approx. 11mm

 

1 & 2 are basically the same pen, while 3. is much shorter.

 

I've never really dug into the Onoto model numbers, but it will be interesting to find out which ones they are.



#4 praxim

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 02:22

Malcolm, it seems your first two do not quite conform with the table but they sound to me like 3000 types with the third a 2000. Can we take a peek at them? :)

Thanks for your comments on the pens. I am finding the 3000 with No.3/ST nib a really nice writer. The other I have not yet inked.

 

Cob, regarding 1000 pens all having over/under feeds, you thought that may not be so last year. See your post, the second in this thread, where one of the first three pens is under-feed.

 

There seem still to be discrepancies. Given the 1000 was supposed to be slimmer, I am leaving my black 3000 as a 3000 for the time being, but definitely I think the other is a 2000.

 

Regarding Steven Hull's book, I do not mean to be cynical but simply realistic; it has been coming real soon now for about five years and, given the destruction of Onoto records, I am assuming that it will be very highly informative rather than necessarily definitive. That is one reason I started this, to try to assemble what we already know. After we can compare with data in the book (yes, I will be buying the book just as soon as it is proven to exist) we may be able to fill in more gaps.

 

Besides, more Onotos mean more comparisons and a better trove of data, I tell myself as I buy another ;)


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#5 Cob

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 06:07

I cannot comment on the size business; my only sources of information were Roger's list and the pens I had repaired myself.  As I have already pointed out, my silver pen does not conform.

 

As for Stephen Hull's book, I understand that it is to be launched at the London Writing Equipment Show. There is a thread over on the FP Board...

 

C.


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#6 praxim

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 07:01

Seems to me quite a few are non-conforming :). If the book follows through on life-size pictures then work should become easier.
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#7 Cob

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 07:12

Indeed - many makers got into severe trouble with their numbering systems - just consider Waterman's - and as for Mabie Todd, half the time they didn't even bother to stamp a number at all on their pens!

 

Conway Stewart were probably the worst: as far as I can tell there was not even the slightest attempt at any sort of system, their numbers being absolutlely meaningless.

 

C.


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#8 MalcolmH

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 18:09

Here are my three Onotos...

 

29264227711_30693a2a07_b.jpg

 

 

All are BCHR, though the chasing is mostly worn off all three.

 

Don't know if you can make it out, but there is a flat area on the section of the bottom pen, just where it butts up to the barrel. The barrel is marked

 

          "ONOTO"

PATENT SELF FILLING PEN

   DE LA RUE, LONDON

 

Also, there's a letter S on the plunger knob, on the plain bit above the knurling.

 

The gold band of the middle one is marked 9Ct No other markings.

 

The short pen has no visible markings.

 

 

:thumbup:  Malc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#9 praxim

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 00:45

Ah, my 3000 has that same flat. It is on only one side of the section. The markings on the pen are faint but under magnification quite even and clear, being the Onoto The Pen // De La Rue Co London form. There is no marking at all on the plunger cap or elsewhere.

The 2000 has the same markings, clearer and with barrel chasing still visible, except the two gold bands are labelled with a worn De La Rue wording rather than an indecipherably worn hallmark on the 3000. Like yours, the 2000 has no flat. I conjecture that the band on the 3000 is aftermarket.

I wonder whether the flat was meant to be aligned with the nib such that your forefinger or some digit or other lies on it for writing? An arrow to say "This is the writing end, you dill"?
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#10 MalcolmH

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 05:39

I wonder whether the flat was meant to be aligned with the nib such that your forefinger or some digit or other lies on it for writing? An arrow to say "This is the writing end, you dill"?

 

I was wondering what it is there for. What if it's something to do with the slip cap?



#11 praxim

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 07:02

I can not see any cap feature or marking to relate to it. My first hypothesis fails on the basis that your flat is aligned to the top of the nib where mine is to the right side, as seen from a writing position.

 

ETA: perhaps they were aligned in the same way out of the factory, with the nib and feed on one of ours subsequently turned in the section during some work.


Edited by praxim, 31 August 2016 - 07:05.

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#12 Goudy

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 23:28

I've wondered about that flat bit on the section myself. On one of my Onotos it's aligned with the top of the nib, almost but not quite where I want to put my index finger (which is kind of annoying). Usually, though, it's aligned with the bottom of the nib, and I hardly notice it. I'm sure I've seen it on other makes of pens, too.

I think it may be simply to help the slip cap pull off the non-tapered part of the section more easily.

utQ9Ep9.jpg


#13 praxim

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 23:42

That makes sense to me. It would save a little on manufacturing precision by not requiring a fit on the entire circumference, so the cap can flex minutely to grip yet slide.


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#14 northlodge

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Posted 02 September 2016 - 23:10

.

 

Regarding Steven Hull's book, I do not mean to be cynical but simply realistic; it has been coming real soon now for about five years and, given the destruction of Onoto records, I am assuming that it will be very highly informative rather than necessarily definitive. That is one reason I started this, to try to assemble what we already know. After we can compare with data in the book (yes, I will be buying the book just as soon as it is proven to exist) we may be able to fill in more gaps.

 

 

 

I have heard on many occasions the book is imminent, but that has never come from Steve himself, who has always been frank about the other priorities in his life (not least his everyday job).

 

Now Steve has advised me that the book is on the horizon, and will be available in a fortnight .... straight from the horse's mouth and good enough for me.

 

If you have not already done so I would suggest getting your order in sharpish, as this is more likely to be a limited issue (as with his now hard to find history of the English pen manufacturing) rather than the high print run of the Conway Stewart book.



#15 praxim

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 01:07

My request to Steve is in. i am expecting his print run will be pre-orders + x% where x may be small, so safer to be in pre-orders even allowing for a few people dropping out.
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#16 MalcolmH

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 08:40

Re book. Had an email yesterday. Couple of weeks. Very exciting. 



#17 PeterBeoworld

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 20:40

Re book. Had an email yesterday. Couple of weeks. Very exciting. 

Had one too! Very excited! Unfortunately not able to pick up from show so is being sent!



#18 Cob

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 20:41

Yes.

Mine's on order and I shall collect it at the show

Cob

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#19 MalcolmH

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 10:01

Here's another plunger filler. I got this one from an Australian seller. Cob might enjoy the fact that it is fitted with a "Swan" 2 nib.

 

The dimensions:

 

Barrel - 5.3

Section - 2.9

Filler Knob - 1.6

Cap - 5.8

 

 

29616053196_8e58ce119b_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Steve Hull's book should be shipping this week...but you all probably know that.



#20 Vintagepens

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 12:52

Milling a small flat of this sort was done by other companies, and earlier -- Waterman, most notably. The aim, it appears, was to break the vacuum when removing the cap, so as not to suck ink out through the feed. I have not noticed any particular attempt to orient the flat consistently, whether by Waterman, DLR, or anyone else.

 

 

I was wondering what it is there for. What if it's something to do with the slip cap?

 







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