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A Good Introductory Vintage Pen


RudraDev
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Hi, I'll be going on my monthly pen hunt in a few days and I wanted to try out the world of vintage pens.

Which vintage pen would you recommend to a first time vintage user?

Edited by RudraDev
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Parker 51 with an aerometric filler, take a loupe with you and check the nib, virtually everything else is bulletproof.

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I agree with Parkette if you are planning to look for something unrestored. A Sheaffer Targa is also safe, but avoid the slim model. If you buy a restored pen from a known dealer, then an Esterbrook is a good choice.

Baptiste knew how to make a short job long

For love of it. And yet not waste time either.

Robert Frost

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Hi Rudra,

 

I'll Xerox Parkette's and Corgi's advice... and the pens in the order given.

 

I hope the vintage pen you choose really rings your chimes. :thumbup:

 

 

- Anthony

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If your budget is limited consider an Esterbrook J. Nothing says vintage better than a lever filled pen. The fact that you can buy and easily swap nibs is a definite plus.

 

If you can spend a bit more take a look at Pelikan. There are many models with wonderful nibs: 100N, 140, 400 and 400NN.

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Sheaffer Touchdown is a nice one to start with, has an interesting filling system. May need some restoration, new sac, o-rings, polishing but can be found pretty reasonable on ebay.

It's hard work to tell which is Old Harry when everybody's got boots on.

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A nice Sheaffer Targa. Or, as mentioned before, a Parker 51. Montblanc has a few less-expensive vintage beauties, such as the 342 (I adore mine).

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Parker Slimfold - cheaper than the P51 and with a nice 14k gold nib.

 

Parker 45 - robust, easy to clean and a good chance of a 14k gold nib.

 

Parker 51 - robust, but... with all things vintage - condition is everything. An intact P51 may come with a well-used nib - which means getting it to write for you in a comfortable manner may take some time - or nib work. I'm not saying don't buy a P51, just if you can, try it before you buy it.

 

(I've just noticed I've just repeated said what Parkette said in a much more wordy manner - but I suppose it bears saying twice.)

 

Montblanc 254 - or any of the older models also fit into the vintage bracket too, now.

 

S T Dupont Olypmio or Fidelio - but be careful there are a lot of fakes out there.

Edited by sandy101
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Lamy 2k - the design is vintage, but it is still in production.

 

Some might consider it cheating, but a retro classic with a 14k gold nib and a guarantee.

 

Take my money!

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If it can be "only" from the 60's, Parker 75, the classic being the ciselé but there are many finishes: milleraies, grain d'orge, thuya, malachite green, lapis lazuli... Comes in silver and gold finishes. Great design, great ergonomics (for a small pen), very smooth nib, doesn't evaporate too quickly, easy maintenance, the feed and nib rotate to accommodate your handwriting... Usually at around $100 USD.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Parker 61 and 65 can be nice - you just need to check that the connector for 65s hasn't broken. If you're okay with a 61 that has lost its brass insert arrow, you can find 61's quite reasonably priced.

 

Everyone saying P51 (aero), 45, Slimfold - they're right. Lovely robust pens that don't often need too much doing to them.

 

I'd add Pelikan to the list. I have two Pelikan 100 / 100N that I picked up in the wild, looking very poorly - both of them still work, one just needed the nib stubbing and the other had to be gradually soaked till the solid ink in it was dissolved. Robust little devils! Pelikan 400s and 140s are also lovely vintage pens with amazing nibs and robust mechanisms.

Edited by amk

Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/

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Some very good advice but given that the OP is in India they will have better access to English made Parkers as compared to other brands.

 

I hope that you can return with the results of your quest and perhaps some pics of Pens Point in Delhi.

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Parker 51 is the one in my mind!

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Which place are you going to hunt pens?

 

 

Pens Point in Delhi

 

It depends a lot on what is available locally and whether or not you are willing/capable of restoring a pen which might need some work.

 

Most English and many American vintage pens are lever fillers or similar systems needing a rubber (or silicon) sac. This usually means that it needs some restoration done if not bought restored from a reliable retailer. Most German and many Italian vintage pens are piston fillers and before the 1950s (and for second tier makers even later) most of them used cork seals for the piston. Quite often the cork seal is shot and needs to be replaced, which usually is a bit more effort than changing the ink sac of a lever filler or Shaeffer Touchdown/Snorkel. Piston fillers with synthetic seals often work perfectly even after several dormant decades.

 

For lever fillers, my preference would be Swan, Conway Stewart, or Burnham (assuming they can be found in Delhi). Trouble-free piston fillers are Pelikan 140 and 400/400NN. I love the nibs of vintage Kawecos but they are less carefree to buy without experience (probably also less widespread).

 

Anyway, happy hunting and I wish you a good start into your vintage exploration.

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If it can be "only" from the 60's, Parker 75, the classic being the ciselé but there are many finishes: milleraies, grain d'orge, thuya, malachite green, lapis lazuli... Comes in silver and gold finishes. Great design, great ergonomics (for a small pen), very smooth nib, doesn't evaporate too quickly, easy maintenance, the feed and nib rotate to accommodate your handwriting... Usually at around $100 USD.

Do note, though, that some P75s have issues with the section.

Mine has a beautiful, gorgeous nib, but the section was apparently switched out once already and that section broke at the threads again. Seems like there's a lot of stress put on certain parts of the section.

-

 

If the relatively recent P45 flighter is vintage enough for you, that's a pen I can highly recommend. Usually reasonably affordable, reliable, rather nice-looking in an understated sort of way, and generally just a really nice pen.

I've also heard plenty of nice things about the Parker Slimfold and Junior Duofold, also commonly available for reasonable prices, but I've never used one myself.

 

Can also confirm that the Sheaffer pens with inlaid nibs are very nice - albeit not always as practical. It's an incredibly pretty and sleek design, but you'll probably end up with a finger on the nib once or twice until you get used to it. I've got an Imperial of undetermined age which has been an almost daily writer for the last two years now.

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What do you want the nib to do?

 

Nails, a P-51, Sheaffer Touchdown or Snorkel.

There are regular flex Snorkels, and even a rare semi-flex...and Snorkels are cheap, might nave to have it re-sac'ed, but they are cheap.

An Esterbrook, then you have choice of nail, or regular flex....or a hard semi-flex. $30-35 now......back when it was $15 a decade ago, all 'noobie's were told to get one or a Safari.

 

How many pens do you have

 

 

If you have more than 4...I'd suggest semi-flex....if one of the four was a regular flex or what the Japanese pen users call 'soft'.

 

The only reason to spend money for an old nail, is the standard sized (Esterbrook) or medium-large pen (P-51)has better balance than the larger modern cheap nails you have.

The thin great balanced (posted of course) Snorkel is a Large pen....and that shocked me when I found out it was as long as my Safari....but mine is an Australian one, with a maxi-semi-flex factory BB stub.

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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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I agree with all the sage advice you've already been given, and I wanted to add a +1 to Bo Bo's question to you: What do you expect from the nib?

 

Many folks like vintage pens because vintage nibs perform differently. If you were looking for vintage character of some kind in the nib, then the suggestion of, say, a Parker 51, isn't appropriate for you. I love me a good P51, but it's going to be a solid nail. So, if you were looking for something from a vintage nib that had some spring or character, the P51 would likely disappoint you.

 

There are tons of reasons to try vintage pens, but some of those reasons are better served by some brands, models and eras than others -- whether it's nib character, aesthetics, "patina", history...etc.

 

Tell us what you aspire to find in a vintage pen, and we can suggest models that are more likely to satisfy your desires.

 

Happy hunting!

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