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  1. On Ebay, I recently purchased for less than $30 four Secretary Pen Company's "Executive Secretary" fountain pens, and two of that model's mechanical pencils. I tried to find a meaningful history of this company, but could not find it, even here on FPN. My impression is that this pen comes from the 1940s-1950s eras, and certainly no later than the 1960s. Each of the two pens in the best condition came with the pencils. One of those two sets is NOS, and the other is in good condition, especially after cleaning the ink out of the FP. The third FP fills and writes. The fourth FP's internal sac is rubbish now, thorough attempts at cleaning and ultra-sound make no difference, and I cannot remove the section from the body. Here are some photos of the FP only; the pencil looks as one would expect, but the turning mechanism seems to be the area surrounding the point: The most striking thing about this FP is its tiny, 14K nib. By analogy, one might "medicalize" its size with a diagnosis of "micro-nib." What matters, though, is how well it does or doesn't write ("the motion of the ocean" in a different context). I'll get to that "shortly." The lines of the pen overall are attractive. The exterior has a thin-layer of gold plating. The wording (not shown) at the top of the barrel, where it meets the cap, is: "SECRETARY PEN CO. UNION N.J. U.S.A." The cap screws off and on with 3 full turns. The FP weighs 17g and has a length of 13.4cm (5.25 inches). The tiny 14K nib is firm. This pen uses a button filler, which is found under the blind cap. The button looks gold-plated. I used the third pen of the group, which I cleaned thoroughly and let dry on a towel. I filled it with Sheaffer Blue-Black ink, just to be safe. The pen wrote immediately, but the writing experience was mediocre-to-fair. The very small nib is a bit scratchy, not terribly so, and the flow is on the dryer side, but also consistent. The overall writing experience is not pleasurable, but not terrible. I like the novelty of the pen because of the off-brand name, the button filler, and the tiny nib, and the price I paid for 4 (3 functioning) FPs and two functioning mechanical pencils (0.9mm lead?) was quite a value. If anyone else has experience with this model and/or other photos, please post. I'd be interested in hearing the views of others of you out there.
  2. I recently purchased a World War II era "Secretary" fountain pen manufactured by the Newark Pen Company. I want to get it writing again but have run into a unique (for me at least) problem. I placed the nib/section portion of the barrel in a 10% ammonia solution in my ultrasonic cleaner. After several minutes, I removed the pen and tried turning and, hopefully, extracting the section. The section turned somewhat easily but I found it impossible to remove. It is not threaded and only moves outward about 1/100" or so, even with significant pull, rocking, and twisting. In turning the section, I noticed that the fill lever had become loose and would sort of flop out a third of the way under its own weight. Holding the lever firmly in place, I rotated the section back to its original position and the lever was again tight with springy resistance. My conclusion: the sac is ossified and completely glued to the pressure bar which is preventing me from removing the section. My question is: How do I remove the section in this situation? I have to confess that I have not tried heat other than hot water under the faucet but I am wondering if heat is going to work. I was thinking about using a syringe to inject a plastic-safe (naphtha?) solvent inside the barrel through the lever slot, perhaps something that would loosen the bond between the sac and section. I would appreciate suggestions
  3. http://i.imgur.com/tCa9GRr.jpg This book was published in 1695. The calligraphy was written by John Ayres and engraved by John Sturt (who taught George Bickham to engrave). The scans are on flickr here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/ow8zp7z A short biography of John Ayres may be found here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/qxuguuw You can download a .zip file with all the scans in here: https://mega.co.nz/#!mY9TzKwS!TT39DFPUq5Yy-bvFMW89wAhdbNB7klsKaAvB9i5BAEc I would particularly like to direct your attention to the stroke by stroke examples of Secretary hand here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869079806/in/set-72157637694788643 And Court hand: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869396693/in/set-72157637694788643 The large beautiful flourished capitals suitable for Old English, Secretary hand etc: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869379023/in/set-72157637694788643 And some beautiful examples of Court, Chancery, Secretary, Old English etc: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869008595/in/set-72157637694788643 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869195924/in/set-72157637694788643 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869097166/in/set-72157637694788643 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869066445/in/set-72157637694788643 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21860485@N06/10869401413/in/set-72157637694788643 I apologize for not being able to fully scan the plate w/the portrait of Ayres on: the binding of the book was in such poor condition that I had to do some jiggery pokery to get it flat and I couldn't quite scan that one plate fully. The court hand is very beautiful, but also rather hard to read, there is a book here which will help you read it: https://archive.org/stream/courthandrestore00wrigrich#page/n5/mode/2up Here are a few plates from "A Tutor To Penmanship": http://i.imgur.com/iyAu63z.jpg http://i.imgur.com/ladHWUw.jpg http://i.imgur.com/XA8p78e.jpg
  4. Check this out! Someone on Facebook shared this video, and my jaw dropped. Imagine all the ink and pens you could hide away in this lovely, lovely secretary cabinet. http://themetapicture.com/this-antique-cabinet/ Hopefully, this is the appropriate place to post such greatness and ingenuity.

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