Dip pen collectors are not terribly common, and it seems as if it quickly fragments into those who collect:
- fancy dip pen holders, especially silver, Mother of Pearl, etc...
- gold dip pen nibs
- gold pen nibs and holders
- Steel pens
But the steel pen collectors I've encountered, who I could count on one hand, seem to devolve quickly into
1. A specific maker (e.g. Esterbrook)
2. Predominantly interested in calligraphic nibs
3. British makers
While I would love to hear from any of the above, I'm particularly interested if you are a collector of steel pens and you don't fit into one of the three categories above. I will admit to being one. My collection is mainly American pens, but it's starting to include more British just because it's harder to find US-made pens that I don't already have. I appreciate the everyday pens, the ones for writing letters, filling out ledgers, guestbooks and order forms. I particularly like the custom imprints, like the ones I have for Chicago Public Schools, or Western Union, or my sub-collection of railroad nibs.
I'm also very interested in the history of the pens. There were actually not very many true manufacturers, though there were more than are normally recorded. It's not always easy to confirm if someone was a manufacturer, or just had pens made by one of the big firms and marketed them under their own name. (the vast majority of US pens fall into this category).
I capture some of my research on my website, https://thesteelpen.com/.
So, speak up if you too like the underappreciated, the neglected, the common steel pen. Do you have a specific focus in your collection? A particular kind or maker of pen you are always looking for? Do you use your pens? What kinds are your favorites to use?
Lovers of the steel pens, unite!