Jump to content
Classifieds is broken, please do not submit any new ads ×

Help To Id Pen In 1939 Photo


Recommended Posts

This is a photograph of Arthur Waley, a translator of Chinese and Japanese texts, dated to 1939. Can anyone identify the right-hand pen in his pocket?






Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 10
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Ernst Bitterman


  • zwack


  • bizhe


  • Dickkooty2


Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

There's something about the shape of it that makes me think of German pens of the '30s, but I can't find a precise match for it in images of known contemporary German pens. The closest I could find was this Danish-made Montblanc, but that doesn't mean Mr. Waley is indeed a Montblanc owner-- I've got some ten-cent US pens that you'd take for a Sheaffer Balance in a photo like that.

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you. I was thinking along the lines of Pelikan 100, but this sheds some interesting light.


Unfortunately I do not have a higher resolution photo.


It looks like the clip starts below the clip ring.


Any other clues?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is just pure speculation. I don't mean to suggest that I know anything (and many would say a hearty 'amen'). But here is a thought:


Suppose it is not a pen? If the left-hand writing instrument is a pen and the cap certainly looks like a pen cap of the Big Red type, the unknown instrument on the right might be a pencil.


A lot of pencil tops looked like this in the 30's. I have a number of FENDS that bear a resemblance




This is a German USUS of the period. In this case, it as a four-color grip=type lead holder and was probably made for them by FEND.


I also point out the startling resemblance of Haley, the noted translator of classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, to Basil Rathbone, noted stage and screen actor.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dickkooty may be on to something. I found this little snippet:


"My earliest recollections of Arthur depict him against the background of Hill House, Wimbledon, after we had left London in 1896. . . I recall that on our arrival at Wimbledon, before our unpacking was complete, our nurse organised tea in the nursery and could find no spoons. Arthur saved the situation by producing a pencil from his pocket and suggesting we might stir our tea with it. Our nurse exclaimed, Why, Master Arthur carries a pencil everywhere - I expect he'll be a great author some day!"



For so long as one hundred men remain alive,we shall never under any conditions submit to the

domination of the English. It is not for glory or riches or honours that we fight, but only for liberty, which

no good man will consent to lose but with his life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No! Your other right! As our platoon sgt used to say ...


I am looking at the pens in the pocket and reading the left to right view (head-on) as right to- left ... how the sitter would be sitting down and facing the camera.


At any rate, i think the differences are pretty obvious: A big pen with a major top and a pencil with a lot of stuff going on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, by right-hand, I was referring to the pen. The pencil also shows to be more interesting than I expected.


And thanks Sandy Fry for digging up that quote.

Edited by bizhe
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some Pelikans of that period with a dark finial and lighter cap below the clip band. The Pelikan finial looks a bit long to me (but the montblamc too short).


Given that we are looking at a 1" or so length of pen in a tiny detail in a black and white photo, I think we will be unlikely to get much closer than any of these guesses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...