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Posting Caps On Vintage Pens Can Damage The Cap -- So Don't Post?

pen cap post vintage damage splitting celluloid

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#1 AlohaJim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:03

I was told by a reputable vintage pen shop that posting a cap on a vintage pen, such as long striated pattern Parker Vacumatics, Duofold, etc, makes the cap prone to splitting since it is made of celluloid.

 

They said it is a good practice not to Post A Cap on a vintage pen when using unless there is a nylon other insert that is for that function and it is mounted deeper into the cap.

 

However, a lot of pens don't sit very well in the hand when writing if there's no cap.

 

i have a number of expensive vintage pens that I write with, a lot.

 

What is the solution?

 

Buy a sacrificial cap?

 

*PS: I am not a collector. I own pens for a quality and uique writing experience. So, "writeability" it important to me.

 

Thanks for the help.

jim


Edited by AlohaJim, 24 July 2019 - 13:06.

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#2 silverlifter

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 04:44

It really depends on the pen. I won't post my Sheaffer Defender, but do post my PFM II.

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#3 inkstainedruth

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:02

I post nearly all my pens (there are a few that I can't for one reason or another, and those pens drive me bonkers -- usually it's because there's a taper in the barrel, such as on my Rotring Art Pen).  And yes, that means I post the vintage pens too.  And that definitely includes for the Vacumatics and Laidtone Duofolds.  I'm a pen user -- not a C-worder collector.  And they're MY pens, not anyone else's.

I suppose some damage can come from that, but you have to remember that back when those pens were made, posting  was pretty much how they were designed to be/assumed to be used -- for one thing, they do tend to be smaller and thinner (unless it's something like a Sheaffer Balance Oversize) than many modern pens are.

I can see how you *could* cause damage by forcibly jamming the cap onto the barrel -- but most of the anti-posters I've seen on FPN say that posting will damage the barrel (not the cap).  But that amount of force generally isn't necessary (posting firmly but not excessively so does the trick for me.  

As for getting "sacrificial caps"?  Yeah, good luck finding them sometimes -- if at ALL... (and I say that as someone who DID get lucky on finding a replacement cap for one Shadow Wave, when the pen arrived with a big crack in the cap that the seller had told another bidder didn't exist).  That's part of the reason I haven't gotten the 1926 Lucky Curve Duofold ringtop up and running -- I'd be paying WAY more for a possible replacement cap than I would for either a replacement or for the delicate repair work that might be necessary on a pen that fragile.  But you can't tell me that the pen wouldn't have been posted by its original owner -- I have small hands but ringtops are really little pens and not overly long even WHEN posted.

I'm sure that all the anti-posters and c-worders will be hyperventilating and making the sign of the evil eye when they read this.  But a lot of those people are treating their pens like precious little toys in display cases, which *I* consider anathema.  They're tools (just really pretty ones).  Sometimes they break and then if I can afford to I get them fixed, and if not then I use other pens in the meantime and save up to get the broken ones fixed.  But half the fun of HAVING a vintage pen is getting to use it.  And yes, that might just mean posting it.  If you're worried about damage by posting them, you'll have to weigh which is more important to you -- using them posted and potentially damaging them, using them posted but being careful when doing so, using them UNPOSTED and having trouble using them as a result, or not using them at all.  I can't make that decision for you.  I only know how to answer for myself -- and that I'm definitely in the "poster" camp.

YMMV

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#4 praxim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:21

Alternatively, one can use them unposted where that provides the most pleasing pen balance, unless they are so short as to necessitate posting to meet the web of your hand (I have some of those) in which case they are posted, including silver and gold finishes near 100 years old. I use all of my pens.


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#5 Tonhao5

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:32

When you dont post the pens just roll straight down the desk and that makes for a bigger crack than whatever damage posting does...

Btw, the Montblanc boutique I go to is paranoid about anyone trying to post the pen. The moment you take the cap off theyll be policing your next move. I get where theyre coming from but surely the older Montblanc users posted them just fine?

#6 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:54

I post most of my pens, old and new. There are a few that either don't post well or don't post at all. But the 51 Vac Demi? That is a must post for me. For quick notes some of the others can go either way - like the Esterbrook J pens, but most are better posted. Especially my vintage pens. I even post my most expensive pen - the M400 White Tortoise.

 

While reading what Ruth said, I felt like I could have been saying much the same thing.


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#7 PaulS

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 07:53

much of this debate ingores a very important issue which is that the further back in time we go, the less owners were concerned about the appearance or potential damage to their f.ps. - so they posted with gay abandon, and without the slightest thought as to consequences of damage to the pen.             The cost of a good pen is now out of proportion to values of similar pens back mid C20, and replacing Vacs and Duofolds didn't cost what they might do now.                 

For the vast majority of writers pre 1950/60, a  f.p. was simply an object of utilitarian necessity, since ball points were unreliable anyway, and a f.p. was seen as something essential in most occupations.               That attitude is no longer, and folk who now use f.ps. are either collectors or people who write but not out of the same necessity. 

Some of the terminal barrel constriction damage seen on f.ps. made pre 1950 is staggering  -  it's almost as though posting was achieved with a mallet, and many older pens are now damaged irretrievably due solely to posting.           In view of cap rings, experience appears to show far more damage occurs to barrels than caps.

If you're worried about pens rolling, then use an appropriate holder on the desk, which will add some elegance. :)



#8 Paul80

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:07

Some pens are badly designed so that the cap can damage the barrel if posted, those I don't post but all others I do, I always view it as a safety feature, a capped pen is far less likely to roll of a desk and hit the floor nib first.

Some pens like Montblanc are made from a plastic that is rather soft and easily scratched by the cap, that's why they don't let you do it in their shops

#9 praxim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:46

A pen wanting to roll off my desk would be surprised if it could see the edge.... :)

 

 

There is also my long developed habit of putting it down so its possible roll directions deny it such opportunity.


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#10 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 09:56

Palm slap posting will do things like you were told of.....splitting caps.

 

Could well be the fella was talking about old pens, 20's or 30's pens with out a cap ring.

Yes, I have seen/bought cheap pens with chips out of the cap, bound to have a real cheap one in the Junk bin. (One has to remember how many generations some pens were abused. I've seen some jerk being 'cool'  palm slap post a fountain pen, and read of others who have seen his cousin.)

 

One of my Waterman 52's has a chip up to the line ...it is a line in those two old Waterman pens do not have a cap ring. (Neither do my German War pens, but those don't have any chips.)

Cap rings are to prevent caps from splitting or splitting far enough to matter. (It had been a problem, and was solved.)

 

Just remember not to palm slap it on, shove it on. One eases it on. With a bit of practice it becomes automatic and remains 'soft'.

 

With any care, I don't see you chipping nor splitting a cap...............just avoid Palm Slap posting.

 

 

I find Standard sized pens like the Pelikan 400 or Esterbrook DJ, have great balance posted, that they do not have un-posted. Same goes for a medium-sized P-51 or the Pelikan 600.

 

Back in the day, if a pen didn't have good balance and a flagship, great balance it was not bought.....in the day of One Man, One Pen, that would be a disaster to the pen company....they would have to wait 7-10 years and hope to win their customer back to their brand. Those pens were posted............even the thin Large Snorkel.

 

If you ease it on, you will not split your cap.

If you fear mars, wax your pen.

Back in the day of B&W TV....as far as I can remember, everyone posted their pens.

It was only when the to large to post, and real ill balanced if one does, Large and Overlarge pens came in that folks IMO stopped posting pens................There are some respected posters who refuse to post, and they use Standard sized pens..........I couldn't use a standard sized pen that wasn't posted for more than writing on a Post It Pad. Samo Samo medium-large.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#11 A Smug Dill

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:39

However, a lot of pens don't sit very well in the hand when writing if there's no cap.
 
i have a number of expensive vintage pens that I write with, a lot.
 
What is the solution?


The solution: post your pens if that's what it takes to make you comfortable writing with them, and take the risk of splitting their caps. You can't make the caps more robust, or the pens less vintage, less expensive, ... but it's up to you to think of them more as writing instruments and less as precious objects to be babied. I have a Pilot Capless Vanishing Point 50th anniversary limited edition pen that's still sitting in its retail box, never inked, and not doing much good as a writing instrument.

Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. I believe we're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but no shared values and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative.

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#12 AlohaJim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 13:05

I post nearly all my pens (there are a few that I can't for one reason or another, and those pens drive me bonkers -- usually it's because there's a taper in the barrel, such as on my Rotring Art Pen).  And yes, that means I post the vintage pens too.  And that definitely includes for the Vacumatics and Laidtone Duofolds.  I'm a pen user -- not a C-worder collector.  And they're MY pens, not anyone else's.

I suppose some damage can come from that, but you have to remember that back when those pens were made, posting  was pretty much how they were designed to be/assumed to be used -- for one thing, they do tend to be smaller and thinner (unless it's something like a Sheaffer Balance Oversize) than many modern pens are.

I can see how you *could* cause damage by forcibly jamming the cap onto the barrel -- but most of the anti-posters I've seen on FPN say that posting will damage the barrel (not the cap).  But that amount of force generally isn't necessary (posting firmly but not excessively so does the trick for me.  

As for getting "sacrificial caps"?  Yeah, good luck finding them sometimes -- if at ALL... (and I say that as someone who DID get lucky on finding a replacement cap for one Shadow Wave, when the pen arrived with a big crack in the cap that the seller had told another bidder didn't exist).  That's part of the reason I haven't gotten the 1926 Lucky Curve Duofold ringtop up and running -- I'd be paying WAY more for a possible replacement cap than I would for either a replacement or for the delicate repair work that might be necessary on a pen that fragile.  But you can't tell me that the pen wouldn't have been posted by its original owner -- I have small hands but ringtops are really little pens and not overly long even WHEN posted.

I'm sure that all the anti-posters and c-worders will be hyperventilating and making the sign of the evil eye when they read this.  But a lot of those people are treating their pens like precious little toys in display cases, which *I* consider anathema.  They're tools (just really pretty ones).  Sometimes they break and then if I can afford to I get them fixed, and if not then I use other pens in the meantime and save up to get the broken ones fixed.  But half the fun of HAVING a vintage pen is getting to use it.  And yes, that might just mean posting it.  If you're worried about damage by posting them, you'll have to weigh which is more important to you -- using them posted and potentially damaging them, using them posted but being careful when doing so, using them UNPOSTED and having trouble using them as a result, or not using them at all.  I can't make that decision for you.  I only know how to answer for myself -- and that I'm definitely in the "poster" camp.

YMMV

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Thanks so much for your long missive.

Great advice.

Yes. I use all of my pens for a quality writing experience. Thus, I limit the number of pens I have to how many I can write with consistently. About 12 at best.

aloha

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#13 AlohaJim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 13:07

Alternatively, one can use them unposted where that provides the most pleasing pen balance, unless they are so short as to necessitate posting to meet the web of your hand (I have some of those) in which case they are posted, including silver and gold finishes near 100 years old. I use all of my pens.

Good points.

Those Skyline Everysharps are very tiny and short without a cap on.

aloha

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#14 tincansailor

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 14:05

I post nearly all my pens (there are a few that I can't for one reason or another, and those pens drive me bonkers -- usually it's because there's a taper in the barrel, such as on my Rotring Art Pen).  And yes, that means I post the vintage pens too.  And that definitely includes for the Vacumatics and Laidtone Duofolds.  I'm a pen user -- not a C-worder collector.  And they're MY pens, not anyone else's.

I suppose some damage can come from that, but you have to remember that back when those pens were made, posting  was pretty much how they were designed to be/assumed to be used -- for one thing, they do tend to be smaller and thinner (unless it's something like a Sheaffer Balance Oversize) than many modern pens are.

I can see how you *could* cause damage by forcibly jamming the cap onto the barrel -- but most of the anti-posters I've seen on FPN say that posting will damage the barrel (not the cap).  But that amount of force generally isn't necessary (posting firmly but not excessively so does the trick for me.  

As for getting "sacrificial caps"?  Yeah, good luck finding them sometimes -- if at ALL... (and I say that as someone who DID get lucky on finding a replacement cap for one Shadow Wave, when the pen arrived with a big crack in the cap that the seller had told another bidder didn't exist).  That's part of the reason I haven't gotten the 1926 Lucky Curve Duofold ringtop up and running -- I'd be paying WAY more for a possible replacement cap than I would for either a replacement or for the delicate repair work that might be necessary on a pen that fragile.  But you can't tell me that the pen wouldn't have been posted by its original owner -- I have small hands but ringtops are really little pens and not overly long even WHEN posted.

I'm sure that all the anti-posters and c-worders will be hyperventilating and making the sign of the evil eye when they read this.  But a lot of those people are treating their pens like precious little toys in display cases, which *I* consider anathema.  They're tools (just really pretty ones).  Sometimes they break and then if I can afford to I get them fixed, and if not then I use other pens in the meantime and save up to get the broken ones fixed.  But half the fun of HAVING a vintage pen is getting to use it.  And yes, that might just mean posting it.  If you're worried about damage by posting them, you'll have to weigh which is more important to you -- using them posted and potentially damaging them, using them posted but being careful when doing so, using them UNPOSTED and having trouble using them as a result, or not using them at all.  I can't make that decision for you.  I only know how to answer for myself -- and that I'm definitely in the "poster" camp.

YMMV

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Hear,Hear!!



#15 Marlow

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 14:28

Ritual and Reverence, i.e. when I sit to write it is almost always at my desk where I am now in the habit of immediately slowing down all my movements the instant I sit. If the pen I select requires posting to achieve the right balance then that procedure is carried out very carefully and deliberately, with gentle micro-adjustments before I start to write. I believe it is a combination of excessive speed and excessive force that leads to damage to the cap or barrel. In some cases, the design of the pen means that even careful posting will lead eventually to a posting ring on the barrel and so I must either use such pens unposted regardless of the balance or not use them at all if I care about the damage. #1 case in point is the Wahl Full GF Coronet where a posting ring significantly reduces the pen's value.


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#16 AlohaJim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 15:01

Ritual and Reverence, i.e. when I sit to write it is almost always at my desk where I am now in the habit of immediately slowing down all my movements the instant I sit. If the pen I select requires posting to achieve the right balance then that procedure is carried out very carefully and deliberately, with gentle micro-adjustments before I start to write. I believe it is a combination of excessive speed and excessive force that leads to damage to the cap or barrel. In some cases, the design of the pen means that even careful posting will lead eventually to a posting ring on the barrel and so I must either use such pens unposted regardless of the balance or not use them at all if I care about the damage. #1 case in point is the Wahl Full GF Coronet where a posting ring significantly reduces the pen's value.

 

This is perfect.

Peace, pace, harmony, quiet = quality writing experience.

 

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#17 AlohaJim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 15:04

I post most of my pens, old and new. There are a few that either don't post well or don't post at all. But the 51 Vac Demi? That is a must post for me. For quick notes some of the others can go either way - like the Esterbrook J pens, but most are better posted. Especially my vintage pens. I even post my most expensive pen - the M400 White Tortoise.

 

While reading what Ruth said, I felt like I could have been saying much the same thing.

As a vintage pen newbie, I though that all pens posted. Much like all of my modern Pelikans. Wrong. Some don't post at all. I contacted the vintage pen vendor and he said that some have some kind of insert in the cap that wedges it onto the body. Maybe some lack that insert so that's that. I have a 1945 Parker Senior Duofold Vacumatic that is like this. Just dangles with space on the body. The cap is nowhere near fitting. I have not idea. Maybe it is missing that inner collar thingy.

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#18 BaronWulfraed

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 16:56

I post nearly all my pens (there are a few that I can't for one reason or another, and those pens drive me bonkers -- usually it's because there's a taper in the barrel, such as on my Rotring Art Pen).  And yes, that means I post the vintage pens too.  And that

 

My ArtPens will post -- in that the cap seems to grip the very tip of the taper. Looks odd, since the mouth of the cap is not touching anywhere.

 

The Lamy Joy, OTOH, having that flattened taper, will not post.



#19 Marcwithac

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 20:06

I am BOTH a user and a collector, and I confess that I consider some of the pens I write with (my Montblanc L139, for example) to be precious enough that I don't post.  This is to avoid unnecessary scratches on the barrel - I have never damaged a cap by carefully posting (Bo Bo's advice is well taken).  Fortunately, I like large pens, so even unposted the balance is pretty good.

 

That said, most vintage pens were meant to be posted.  One only has to look at old catalogs and advertisements to see that Montblanc, Pelikan, Waterman, Sheaffer and others showed their pens posted.  If you buy a pen from, say, the 1930s and the cap is not damaged after all these years, it's probably going to survive plenty more years of posting.



#20 AlohaJim

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 21:51

I am BOTH a user and a collector, and I confess that I consider some of the pens I write with (my Montblanc L139, for example) to be precious enough that I don't post.  This is to avoid unnecessary scratches on the barrel - I have never damaged a cap by carefully posting (Bo Bo's advice is well taken).  Fortunately, I like large pens, so even unposted the balance is pretty good.

 

That said, most vintage pens were meant to be posted.  One only has to look at old catalogs and advertisements to see that Montblanc, Pelikan, Waterman, Sheaffer and others showed their pens posted.  If you buy a pen from, say, the 1930s and the cap is not damaged after all these years, it's probably going to survive plenty more years of posting.

 

This is reassuring. Though. . . I will indeed be careful.

thanks

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