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Visconti New Ragtime (1994, II) - Piston or C/C?


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32 replies to this topic

#1 eric47

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:00

Question: Is the Visconti New Ragtime (aka Ragtime II, celluloid from 1994) piston or C/C?

According to their Museum, Visconti says that the New Ragtime of 1994 uses a converter?!? Is that right? I'm asking about the model with the double bands on the straight (non-rounded) cap, the photo of which I'm fetching from Visconti.

I know that their info is sometimes unreliable. So I figured that current or past owners -- some of you have mentioned owning one or more -- are more reliable.

I'd like to add a New Ragtime to my collection. But if it's converter, then I may just focus my energy hunting for the other early celluloid Ragtimes with pistons.

Thanks, Eric

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#2 QM2

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:16

There have been reports of both versions. The Ragtimes came in a greater variety of models than what is reported on the Visconti Museum website, so that may be the cause of any info that seems inconsistent. I have what looks to be a hybrid between the Ragtimes I and II (Ragtime I domed cap, with a Ragtime II clip and some other mysterious features), and it is a piston. Good luck; these beauties are hard to find!

#3 eric47

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:45

QUOTE (QM2 @ Feb 12 2009, 12:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have what looks to be a hybrid between the Ragtimes I and II (Ragtime I domed cap, with a Ragtime II clip and some other mysterious features), and it is a piston. Good luck; these beauties are hard to find!

Thanks,

Question about your "hybrid", what's the nib? 18K I suspect?

I've seen a few photographs. From what I can tell, it could be that the 18K versions have the more decorative clip -- as found in the later Ragtime II -- as well as a wider band at the base of the cap.

I've seen some photos of the one with a 14K nib. It looks like the photo on Vistonti's site with a narrow band at the base of the cap and the more "utilitarian" less decorative clip -- the one without the Visconti crest (but with two screws) and a ball at the end.
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#4 QM2

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 13:08

QUOTE (eric47 @ Feb 12 2009, 12:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Question about your "hybrid", what's the nib? 18K I suspect?

I've seen a few photographs. From what I can tell, it could be that the 18K versions have the more decorative clip -- as found in the later Ragtime II -- as well as a wider band at the base of the cap.

I've seen some photos of the one with a 14K nib. It looks like the photo on Vistonti's site with a narrow band at the base of the cap and the more "utilitarian" less decorative clip -- the one without the Visconti crest (but with two screws) and a ball at the end.


My nib is 2-tone and elaborately decorated. It has a round (as opposed to crescent) breather hole.

BUT... The nib is not marked, forcing the obvious conclusion that it is a plated steel rather than a gold nib. However, it does not feel like a steel nib at all, whereas it feels very much like a gold Visconti nib. (I have Visconti pens with both steel and gold nibs.)

What to make of all this, I honestly don't know. But as I said, I've seen photos of a dazzling variety of Ragtimes with different combinations of attributes -- so at this point nothing would surprise me. It is possible that Visconti created a number of prototypes for these pens, and these somehow entered the secondary market along with the "real" models.

#5 eric47

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 22:33

QUOTE (QM2 @ Feb 12 2009, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What to make of all this, I honestly don't know. But as I said, I've seen photos of a dazzling variety of Ragtimes with different combinations of attributes -- so at this point nothing would surprise me. It is possible that Visconti created a number of prototypes for these pens, and these somehow entered the secondary market along with the "real" models.

That reminds me of what a shop told me about the early years of dealing with Visconti. They would occasionally phone and offer up some pens that they had just made and were "out of the catalog". Back then they were more (smallish) artisian company (artigiano), so perhaps their experiments (prototypes) and evolutions in the design just hit the market.

Thanks again for you help.
Eric

Edited by eric47, 13 February 2009 - 22:34.

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#6 eric47

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 08:38

QUOTE (QM2 @ Feb 12 2009, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My nib is 2-tone and elaborately decorated. It has a round (as opposed to crescent) breather hole.

Forgot to comment on this. I have some early Viscontis and all of them have round breather holes (or an indication of the size).

Not being a Visconti expert, but I wonder whether the crescent hole was something that came later. Perhaps at the beginning they used more standard nibs they could find on the market.

Thanks again your help, Eric
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#7 Lefthander

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 17:25

I have a FP & BP set of Visconti Ragtime II in what is called Blonde color. The FP has a flat top and is a piston filler with a 14K monotone yellow gold nib. The nib has a heart-shaped breather hole and has the same design etched around the breather hole on the nib that the clip band has at the top of the clip, which is the same design as is on my Visconti Divina 2-tone nib.



#8 diplomat

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 17:30

Eric, I found the Visconti official price list of the October of 1994.
The Ragtime Fountain pen is there in three different version (three nib variants: gold, gold plated and glass) but always with piston filler mechanism.

Cheers,

#9 QM2

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 18:04

QUOTE (eric47 @ Feb 15 2009, 09:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (QM2 @ Feb 12 2009, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My nib is 2-tone and elaborately decorated. It has a round (as opposed to crescent) breather hole.

Forgot to comment on this. I have some early Viscontis and all of them have round breather holes (or an indication of the size).

Not being a Visconti expert, but I wonder whether the crescent hole was something that came later. Perhaps at the beginning they used more standard nibs they could find on the market.

Initially, this was my assumption as well. However, the more Visconti pens I acquire, the more I come to question that. I have pens from 1997 and 1998 that have nibs with the crescent breather holes, and I have pens from the post-2000 new-clip era that have nibs with the round breather holes.


QUOTE (diplomat @ Feb 15 2009, 06:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Eric, I found the Visconti official price list of the October of 1994.
The Ragtime Fountain pen is there in three different version (three nib variants: gold, gold plated and glass) but always with piston filler mechanism.


That explains the nib on mine -- though not the clip. Does the catalog show any clip variations?
Oh, and where did you find this, do you mean that you have it in hard-copy? Very cool!

This is a great thread. I absolutely love the earlier Ragtimes and the lack of info on them is frustrating!

Thanks everyone,
QM2

#10 diplomat

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 19:23

QUOTE (QM2 @ Feb 15 2009, 07:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (diplomat @ Feb 15 2009, 06:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Eric, I found the Visconti official price list of the October of 1994.
The Ragtime Fountain pen is there in three different version (three nib variants: gold, gold plated and glass) but always with piston filler mechanism.


That explains the nib on mine -- though not the clip. Does the catalog show any clip variations?
Oh, and where did you find this, do you mean that you have it in hard-copy? Very cool!

This is a great thread. I absolutely love the earlier Ragtimes and the lack of info on them is frustrating!

Thanks everyone,
QM2


Uh, no sorry there are no pictures of the Ragtime. That month saw the launch of the Manhattan and the Power Filler system and all the pics are for this model.

There is a magazine in Italy called "Penna" which is all about nice writing instruments. The magazine was created in 1993 and I try to collect as many old issues as I can because back then it was a very interesting magazine, with articles and papers on collecting and histories of the major Italian and foreign brands.

I'll try to see on what I have if I can spot a short news or a commercial on the Ragtime.

Ciao,

#11 tcheuchter

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 19:42

Kate [girlieg33k] sent one of her Visconti Ragtimes for my wife to try. I have been looking for one to buy for my wife ever since. You should ask girlieg33k about them because she has all the colours and I think she collects them.

#12 eric47

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 10:45

QUOTE (Lefthander @ Feb 15 2009, 06:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have a FP & BP set of Visconti Ragtime II in what is called Blonde color. The FP has a flat top and is a piston filler with a 14K monotone yellow gold nib. The nib has a heart-shaped breather hole and has the same design etched around the breather hole on the nib that the clip band has at the top of the clip, which is the same design as is on my Visconti Divina 2-tone nib.

Lefthander,
Thanks for that! Firsthand confirmation of piston-filler Ragtime II. Guess that means I can't cross the pen off the list. ;-)
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#13 eric47

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 11:24

QUOTE (diplomat @ Feb 15 2009, 06:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Eric, I found the Visconti official price list of the October of 1994.
The Ragtime Fountain pen is there in three different version (three nib variants: gold, gold plated and glass) but always with piston filler mechanism.

Diplomat, the price list! Very nice and always piston-filled. That's what I would have thought but Visconti mentions converter on their site. Whatever!

Uggh! 3 nibs. I'll ignore the gold plated and go for the gold. ;-) But the glass...I really didn't want to see that on the Ragtime II. I'd hoped that they ran out of the glass nibs on the Ragtime I. Glass-nibbed Viscontis in general seem rather rare items on the used market.


QUOTE (QM2 @ Feb 15 2009, 07:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That explains the nib on mine -- though not the clip. Does the catalog show any clip variations?
Oh, and where did you find this, do you mean that you have it in hard-copy? Very cool!

This is a great thread. I absolutely love the earlier Ragtimes and the lack of info on them is frustrating!

Part of the issue is knowing how long the Ragtime I remained in production...if the production was spread out over a number of years. If so then changes made (for example the clip) could appear in later models. Or perhaps they just had the variations available at the outset. I supect the former however.

For the Ragtime I, it's not just the clip you've got to worry about, there's also the rim-banding. I've seen two variation of the clip and cap rim-banding:
Clip:
1. Two-piece clip: collar and post rivited together; ball at the end of the post; no crest -- that's where the rivits are.
Photos at Visconti of Ragtime I 1991 and Caravel 1992 show this clip.
2. One-piece clip: formed out a single piece; S-shaped post; Visconti crest on the collar. Of the Museum pens, the first to show this is the Seasons 1993. Also seen on Ragtime II 1994. (The Federico II set 1994 has this basic design, but instead of the etched Visconti crest, there's a "cut-out" of a bird -- no doubt reminiscent of the Federico II logo.)

Caps rim-banding:
1. Thin (approx. 2 mm) band at cap rim. Photo of Ragtime I 1991 at Visconti shows this.
2. Thick curved (approx. 4 mm) band on the rim of the cap. You can see this on the Seasons 1993 albeit with a flat-top cap. I've seen Ragtime I's with this rim-banding, usually pared with the S-shaped clip -- evidence that Visconti continued to produce (and modify) Ragtime I produced over-time???

The double-bands on the cap (not on the rim) seem to appear first on the Caravel (1992), although the photo shows this pen with the 2-piece clip. We see those double-bands again on the Ragtime II 1994 and Federico II 1994 set. (The Seasons 1993 which came in between didn't get the double-bands.) The 20th anniversary 2008 recalls the Ragtime II design with flat top, S-shaped clip, and the double-bands.

Edited by eric47, 17 February 2009 - 11:27.

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#14 eric47

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:55

QUOTE (tcheuchter @ Feb 15 2009, 08:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Kate [girlieg33k] sent one of her Visconti Ragtimes for my wife to try. I have been looking for one to buy for my wife ever since. You should ask girlieg33k about them because she has all the colours and I think she collects them.

Just tried, but I think she has messaging turned off. If you know how to contact her, would mind giving her a "lil' help" on my behalf to take a took at this thread. Thanks in advance, Eric
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#15 QM2

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 13:33

Eric, you seem to have made a very thorough observational study of the Ragtime design elements. I share your theory that over time, changes were made to the Ragtime I model.

To reference your system, my pen has:
. the body of the Ragtime I
. the cap band of the Seasons
. the clip of the Ragtime II

As mentioned earlier, it is a piston filler and is fitted with a 2-tone plated steel nib featuring the elaborate Visconti logo and a round breather hole. The colour is the blue-green celluloid shown here (as opposed to the yellow-green colour, which I think was added later).

#16 FrankB

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 14:28

Back when the Ragtime series were current, I never got one. I had too many pens on my want list and could not afford them all. I have had it in mind to grab one if a used one comes up for sale on the boards. But, I had no idea there were so many variants! Thanks for all this good info.

Just a comment about Visconti's plated nibs. I got a regular production Titanic a few months ago at a very good price. When it arrived, I discovered that someone had replaced the 18k nib with a plated one (hence the good price), round breather hole and all. I resolved to locate a gold nib for it, but I have not been too motivated to do it because the plated nib writes really well. As time goes by, I am less inclined to replace it. If other Visconti plated nibs are anything like this one, I would not hesitate to use them.

#17 girlieg33k

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 19:44

QUOTE (eric47 @ Feb 12 2009, 06:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Question: Is the Visconti New Ragtime (aka Ragtime II, celluloid from 1994) piston or C/C?

Filling system: The New Ragtimes from 1994 that I have are all piston fillers. In fact, all my Ragtimes (Original 1991, New 1994, Black 1999, Medici 2000) are all piston fillers.

Nibs: The celluloid Ragtimes (meaning New Ragtime and Original Ragtime) that I've acquired all have 18K nibs. The 18K nibs on these Ragtimes are swappable, by the way. The Ragtime Black nib is steel and the Ragtime Medici nib is 14K. I discovered that the Black and Medici nibs are swappable with the current production VG Midi nibs. I swapped the 14K VG Tortoise Midi nib with the original steel one on the Ragtime Black.

Clips: I'm not at home and don't have access to the pens at the moment, but I recall that the clips on the Ragtimes (New and Original) are identical. The Ragtime Black and Medici also have the same styled clip. It's the cap ring that varies (see below).

Cap ring/band: The New Ragtimes have double cap rings; the Original Ragtime, Black, and Medici have single bands that are flush with the bottom of the cap.

Cap shape: The Original Ragtime, Black, and Medici have rounded caps; the New Ragtime (plus the current release of the Ragtime LE) has the flat-top cap.
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#18 eric47

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 21:12

Thanks for stopping by with the info. Much appreciated.

QUOTE (girlieg33k @ Feb 17 2009, 08:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Filling system: The New Ragtimes from 1994 that I have are all piston fillers. In fact, all my Ragtimes (Original 1991, New 1994, Black 1999, Medici 2000) are all piston fillers.


Further confirmation that the New Ragtime 1994 stays on my list.

QUOTE (girlieg33k @ Feb 17 2009, 08:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nibs: The celluloid Ragtimes (meaning New Ragtime and Original Ragtime) that I've acquired all have 18K nibs. The 18K nibs on these Ragtimes are swappable, by the way. The Ragtime Black nib is steel and the Ragtime Medici nib is 14K. I discovered that the Black and Medici nibs are swappable with the current production VG Midi nibs. I swapped the 14K VG Tortoise Midi nib with the original steel one on the Ragtime Black.

I think there are also Original Ragtimes with 14K nibs. A shipping mix-up occured but I should have a 14K Original shortly. I wait until I get my hands on it to say for sure.

Visconti says the Seasons are 18K, but the one I have is actually monotone gold-plated -- the plating is coming off it a bit. I consider it a Ragtime...the clip has Ragtime etched on it. ;-)

LOL about the VG Midi nibs....just found that out myself last week. My local shop had a Medici with gold M nib, while I prefer a Fine. I was going to pass until my dealer said exactly the same thing that you did...that you can swap it with a VG Midi. So the Medici is off to Visconti for a free nib swap.

QUOTE (girlieg33k @ Feb 17 2009, 08:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Clips: I'm not at home and don't have access to the pens at the moment, but I recall that the clips on the Ragtimes (New and Original) are identical. The Ragtime Black and Medici also have the same styled clip. It's the cap ring that varies (see below).


I know you don't have them in front of you, but the photos on Visconti's site actually show a difference with the clips. Some of the Originals and the Caravel have a 2-piece clip. I have a Original MP with the 2-piece clip, which is a dead ringer for the photo on Visconti's site. It's an Original that made me look really hard at the photos of the various Ragtimes.

Thanks again for stopping by and adding some additional information to the mix.
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#19 eric47

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 21:20

QUOTE (QM2 @ Feb 17 2009, 02:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Eric, you seem to have made a very thorough observational study of the Ragtime design elements. I share your theory that over time, changes were made to the Ragtime I model.

To reference your system, my pen has:
. the body of the Ragtime I
. the cap band of the Seasons
. the clip of the Ragtime II

As mentioned earlier, it is a piston filler and is fitted with a 2-tone plated steel nib featuring the elaborate Visconti logo and a round breather hole. The colour is the blue-green celluloid shown here (as opposed to the yellow-green colour, which I think was added later).

"thorough observational study of the Ragtime design elements"...I think that means I need a life. ;-)

It all started when I received a Ragtime I MP, which had the Ragtime I (two-piece) clip, and the Ragtime I (thin) band; and I thought what the....is this a prototype? So I started studying photos at Visconti, ads, and pens I had. The MP looks just like the one in photo, so I think it's a real Ragtime I.

I also have a Ragtime I just like yours in black/blond, except it has a monotone 18K nib also with a round breather hole.
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#20 eric47

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 21:28

QUOTE (FrankB @ Feb 17 2009, 03:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Back when the Ragtime series were current, I never got one. I had too many pens on my want list and could not afford them all. I have had it in mind to grab one if a used one comes up for sale on the boards. But, I had no idea there were so many variants! Thanks for all this good info.

Just a comment about Visconti's plated nibs. I got a regular production Titanic a few months ago at a very good price. When it arrived, I discovered that someone had replaced the 18k nib with a plated one (hence the good price), round breather hole and all. I resolved to locate a gold nib for it, but I have not been too motivated to do it because the plated nib writes really well. As time goes by, I am less inclined to replace it. If other Visconti plated nibs are anything like this one, I would not hesitate to use them.

I remember too the original celluloid Ragtimes. I could afford them either...and well I didn't have much off a wish list.

I got stuck in this because I bought a 20th anniversary Ragtime -- a current Visconti that's light and piston-filler. Brought back memories of those originals, and it better to look sooner rather than later for an original. Little did I know an Original Ragtime I didn't actually even pick out a single pen, let alone match the design of the 20th anniversary.

Just a thought, are you sure that all the Titanics had 18K nibs? Visconti for instance says the Seasons have 18K nibs, but the one I have is gold-plated. I bought it from my dealer who got it straight from Visconti, so there shouldn't be anything funny going on with my sample -- it's possible there were two versions but I don't know.

The price of the Visconti nibs as spare parts are scary. I saw the price list. They start at EUR 100 for the gold nibs.

Edited by eric47, 17 February 2009 - 21:30.

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