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The Snap Cap


Waltz For Zizi
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Does anyone know when the snap cap fountain pen was introduced? Were there any in around 1940 or only screw caps?

Edit: apart from the parker 51, which was apparently launched in 1941. Were there before it snap caps?

Edited by Waltz For Zizi
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I'm not sure what the difference is?

I mean, was the cap only friction fit (like in the modern Kaweco ebonite eyedropper), or had a mecanism to keep it there like in the p 51 or any other pen.

Edited by Waltz For Zizi
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I mean, was the cap only friction fit (like in the modern Kaweco ebonite eyedropper), or had a mecanism to keep it there like in the p 51 or any other pen.

Again, that has always varied. There were friction fit ones and ones with ridges that fit in a groove and other solutions. The big change likely all came in the early 40s when newer molded plastics replaced celluloid, metals and ebonite and during the early 40s most makers offered a model with either a clutch ring or similar cap securing system.

Edited by jar

 

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I'm not sure what the difference is?

 

The snap cap is engaged with a snap, and with time it tends to lose its grip. The Parker 75 is an example of a pen whose cap tends to lose its grip. Earlier production pens had a finger-like arrangement connected with the inner cap that could be replaced easily. Readjusting the inner fingers to their original position can be enough.

 

For most of the pen's production run, there is no similarly easy repair when the clutch stops clutching fully. You've just got a loose cap. A serious repairman may be able to fix it, but it isn't a repair for everyone.

 

Slip caps, such as are found on the Parker 51, are a different story. They seem able to go on for a very long time without losing their grip.

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The snap cap is engaged with a snap, and with time it tends to lose its grip. The Parker 75 is an example of a pen whose cap tends to lose its grip. Earlier production pens had a finger-like arrangement connected with the inner cap that could be replaced easily. Readjusting the inner fingers to their original position can be enough.

 

For most of the pen's production run, there is no similarly easy repair when the clutch stops clutching fully. You've just got a loose cap. A serious repairman may be able to fix it, but it isn't a repair for everyone.

 

Slip caps, such as are found on the Parker 51, are a different story. They seem able to go on for a very long time without losing their grip.

But he was calling the "51" a snap cap.

 

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The snap cap is engaged with a snap, and with time it tends to lose its grip. The Parker 75 is an example of a pen whose cap tends to lose its grip. Earlier production pens had a finger-like arrangement connected with the inner cap that could be replaced easily. Readjusting the inner fingers to their original position can be enough.

 

For most of the pen's production run, there is no similarly easy repair when the clutch stops clutching fully. You've just got a loose cap. A serious repairman may be able to fix it, but it isn't a repair for everyone.

 

Slip caps, such as are found on the Parker 51, are a different story. They seem able to go on for a very long time without losing their grip.

I call 51 caps and similar mechanisms (with a clutch inside the cap) push caps. Slip caps are - to me - straight or taper caps. Very old, outdated, and quite frankly a terrible design.

 

 

 

The first caps were slip on caps. Threaded caps came much later.

Do you know why this is? I mean, barrels were always threaded onto the section - why not thread the cap too?

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I call 51 caps and similar mechanisms (with a clutch inside the cap) push caps. Slip caps are - to me - straight or taper caps. Very old, outdated, and quite frankly a terrible design.

 

 

 

Do you know why this is? I mean, barrels were always threaded onto the section - why not thread the cap too?

Actually many barrels are not threaded onto the section but varnished in place.

 

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Actually many barrels are not threaded onto the section but varnished in place.

Really? I've yet to encounter one of those (in my fairly limited experience). You mean slip cap eyedropper pens? How were they filled then? Nib and feed removed like those early Parkers?

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Really? I've yet to encounter one of those (in my fairly limited experience). You mean slip cap eyedropper pens? How were they filled then? Nib and feed removed like those early Parkers?

Lever filled pens of a number of vintage brands.

Khan M. Ilyas

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Lever filled pens of a number of vintage brands.

Oh yeah, I've seen those. 3rd tier wartime stuff, mostly. And a Wearever Pacemaker that I think a repairer botched at some point.

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Oh yeah, I've seen those. 3rd tier wartime stuff, mostly. And a Wearever Pacemaker that I think a repairer botched at some point.

Actually first and second tier makers as well.

 

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Are Conway Stewart and Waterman lever filled third tier pens?

Of course not - I just haven't encountered any of those ones yet. ;)

 

And of course not all sections are threaded - I was resaccing a Skyline about half an hour ago! When I was asking why threaded caps weren't a thing in the early days of fountain pens, but threaded sections were, I was referring to eyedroppers (straight and taper cap ones). They clearly had the ability to chase threads into hard rubber - why not do it on the caps, too?

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Of course not - I just haven't encountered any of those ones yet. ;)

 

And of course not all sections are threaded - I was resaccing a Skyline about half an hour ago! When I was asking why threaded caps weren't a thing in the early days of fountain pens, but threaded sections were, I was referring to eyedroppers (straight and taper cap ones). They clearly had the ability to chase threads into hard rubber - why not do it on the caps, too?

Less manufacturing required.

 

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Some caps snap on to close and to post. Some snap on to close but slide on to post. As far as I know, we don't have any commonly accepted one- or two-word names or terms for these distinguishable types of caps. For those who are somewhat or totally dismissive of any cap but a screw-on, "friction" is often sufficient even though it includes caps that slide/slip on to close. But I like caps that snap on, especially if they snap on both to close and to post. I don't prefer them, but I do find them to be handy in specific instances. My Waterman Exclusive has a cap that snaps on both to close and to post. When I write on the go, especially when I'm almost literally on-the-go, I find this kind of snap-on cap to be reassuringly simple as well as secure.

Edited by Bookman

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

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Less manufacturing required.

Yeah, but as far as I know (please correct me if I'm wrong) there weren't any screw cap eyedroppers in the early days, not even on high end luxury pens.

 

Pens aren't made out of celluloid today except for high end luxury pens (Platinum 3776 celluloid pens, for example), but they do exist. Shouldn't it have been the same?

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Yeah, but as far as I know (please correct me if I'm wrong) there weren't any screw cap eyedroppers in the early days, not even on high end luxury pens.

 

Pens aren't made out of celluloid today except for high end luxury pens (Platinum 3776 celluloid pens, for example), but they do exist. Shouldn't it have been the same?

 

Why?

 

High end luxury pens, then as now, were usually variants on existing pens distinguished by materials, not whole new designs.

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