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Help! - Got An Old Waterman Fountain Pen And Don't Know Anything About It

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Hello everybody! =)


I write you all this message because I would need a bit of help - I got two Waterman fountain pen (I guess it is waterman as it is written on the nib), which I think are pretty old because I got them from my grandfather who used to buy many various fountain pens in second-hand.

I absolutely LOVE them as they are EXACTLY the kind of touch/feedback I was looking for two years ago. Even thiner and even more flexible than my usual Platinum Century 3776 SF that I always use (special renewed thanks to the members who helped me then advising me to buy this pen by the way :wub: :) ) ; they are just GREAT.

The problem I have is that I have no idea what they exactly are - I love fountain pens but know very few about them.


So could one of you please help me identify them and tell me how I must take care of these new babies in order not to do any damage? :) :huh:

(I will attach below, for both the pens, some photos and three links towards youtube unreferenced videos)


The only clues I have are the following ones:


- The inscription on the nib: "WATERMAN'S IDEAL | REG. U.S. | PAT. OFF" (Identical on both pens)

- They probably works with a plunger (the little round thing on the side?) on which is engraved "Ideal" (have no idea about how a plunger pen works!) (identical on both pens)

- They are probably old for the reason I wrote above, also because they have no clip on the cap (my father told me this occured only with old pens)

- They are extremely pretty!! No relation with some other plastic fountain pens I could find in my grandfather's collection!

- They both have flexible nibs.


If you have any indication or information to give me, I would be extremely grateful!! I know that vintage flexible fountain pens are usually the best, I heard about the Waterman's ones, so when I saw these two pens I immediately tried their nibs (and loved them), though, I have no clue about their identity, nor their age.


I also would like to ask how I could clean them entirely - I've been testing them just diving the nib in my usual Monteverde inks and removing gently the rest of ink with a cloth after use (I didn't mix the inks by the way, always removed the rest of the previous ink before testing another). I love them so much I would be horrified to harm them. I passed the nib of the smaller one under cold water to remove the ink I had used the first time, and could guess there was a rest of some blue ink inside (that doesn't appear when I'm writing though). I know I must not mix some inks with each others, in order not to clog the pen; is there any way I can clean these pens? Generally, can I use them with my Monteverde inks in the future? Is there anything special I should absolutely know about fountain pen care in this case?


Could someone also explain me how a plunger fountain pen usually works...? :rolleyes:


The long pen also seems to have feed issues if I compare it to the small one, which feed "follows" me wathever I do (my favourite from the two, although the nibs seem identical).


Below links and pictures.

Thanks to all!! =) ;) :happy:


Photos on google drive (otherwise the display is not adapted): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12CtU2lKJjWmmb_CksVZynFBcyM5Te0UP?usp=sharing


Links toward youtube: =>






(Sorry for the poor quality of the videos and the fact it is twisted, with no experience neither professionality and only one hand available I couldn't do anything better ^^ x) )


Inks used: Monteverde, Sapphire for the small one and Rose Noir for the long one.


Thanks again! =)

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  • AAS98


  • shalitha33


  • Mr.Rene


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I think the first is a self filling vest pen. Maybe 452 1/2V. The nib is placed into ink, the lever is pulled out normal to the barrel and then flicked closed. It will gradually close while drawing ink from the bottle. Inside, attached to the end of the lever, is a flat spring bar which acts to squash a rubber sac which is itself sealed to the grip. As the vacuum inside the sac draws ink from the bottle the lever self closes...hence the name self filler.


The second appears to be a wood grain overlay perhaps 52 or 54.


Look for any numbers on the end of the barrels of both pens

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Firstly congrats on your new pens :). They are lever fillers, you would lift the lever and put it in ink , then close it to fill. Although don't attempt to fill it without checking the rubber sac. almost certain it would have hardened and putting too much pressure on the lever could damage the internals. check the numbers at the end of the barrel to see what they are. Im expecting something like 0552 or 0554 on the longer pen and 0552 1/2v, 0552v, 0554 1/2v or 0554v on the shorter one. That said few things looks a bit off on the overlays but i'm no waterman expert :(. best to ask someone that know more :).


I am guessing the cap-lip and the edge of the overlay is trimmed as i would expect to see "waterman" , "made in usa" written there.


also have a look at the 1925 catalogue and the following link






i think its either a custom or trimmed overlay, getting some measurements would also be helpful both the length of the pen and the length covered by the overlay.

Edited by shalitha33
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Thanks to the three of you for your answers!! =))) =D


@Force: ooookay wow didn't know this system existed!! Thanks a lot for the explaination! I didn't try yet to touch the filler, it frightens me too much ^^ x)


@Shalitha 33: Thank you so much for your answer, links and congrats =) you advise me to check the rubber sac, how can I actually do this? It doesn't seem I can open them as I usually open anyone of my modern fountain pens when I have to refill them... And I wouln't like to break these old ones obviously, so I don't really know what I should touch and what I shouldn't, which piece should moove and which piece shouldn't :} Can I actually check this sac on my own or do I have to go see someone specialised?


Also, how could I actually clean these pens? I don't know if I could put them in water or if it would be the worst idea on earth, really I have no clue °-°


With both your recommandations, I've been watching them twice and could find something engraved on the caps of both pens: "Waterman's Ideal" on the cap of the long one and "Waterman's" on the cap of the small one (no idea if a possible engraved "Ideal" disappeared over the years on the small one).


On the bottom of the long one I could read "52 1/2", on the small one I coudn't find anything similar yet.


The long one bears the inscriptions "Waterman's Ideal" on the body, "Or 18CT" on the bottom of the cap + bottom of the body.

On the small one I could only find "Made in France"...


The long one closed is 13.5 cm long; the small one closed is 10.5 cm long.


I could see some tiny tiny things engraved on their bodies/caps, seem kind of "drawings"... but it is so desperately small that even with a loupe I can't see much.


(Useless to say I have no eyes anymore after this meticulous inspection 0_0 ^^^^ x) )

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What nice pens you have!

Check the sac: if you try to lift the levers and meet resistance, stop! The sacs should be flexible and bend/compress. If they are hard you can damage the interior metal parts of the pen.

I am guessing that you have pens with overlays for the French market, especially with the "Made in France" inscription. Look at the overlay at this page and you will see the resemblance: https://www.vintagepens.com/Watermans_mhr_French.shtml

You can look at the nibs to see if they have numbers, which refer to the size of the nibs. The Vintage Pens website has additional information. You can also search for the Waterman pen size numbering system.

You have quickly figured out how to write with a flexible nib, which is a common trait of vintage Waterman nibs. Be gentle: if you push too hard the nib won't spring back.

Congratulations to your grandfather for buying such nice pens, and to you for your interest in them.


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I have no experience with french watermans (sold in or mader in) from this time so i am not sure about the overlays etc.


US made pens usually have a slip fit barrel and section. and you can simply pull them apart. i wouldn't recommend it though as its fairly easy to crack the barrel. you wouldn't need to open it up unless you need to replace the sac.


i was not expecting "52 1/2" as i would take that as a pen without an overlay. but again i have no idea about french rules.



if you have 18ct and small symbols around that area i am guessing they are proof /assay marks. if that's the case then it should be a solid 18ct barrel? Rules differ from place to place and i have no clue what i am talking about when it comes to a specific place:P some one would be able to help you if you can get a pic of the marks and have it magnified. you can see some pics with marks in this site (flick through several pics till you get the one with the cap edge)


Also what ever you do , don't soak it in water. hard rubber bits will start to discolor and turn in to a brownish shade.

Edited by shalitha33
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  • 3 weeks later...

French pattern, as said previously.


The exact name / number of the model is "1152 1/2 v", with an "F" pattern.

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  • 1 month later...

Congrats on your pens . There are so many experts in this forum to get help and to get them cleaned and retorted back to work.

Even while you are waiting for repair, you could start to do occasional writing.

If you ask me how, It is easy, all you need is a bottle of ink.

Use the pen as a dip writer. I have so many hundred plus year old pens and they are waiting for fixing but I use them as dip ( testing ) writing.

all you have to do is nicely rinse the nib-section and dry and put back. Warning.... This type of using fountain pen needs more patience..

Keep dipping after every 3-5 lines. :D

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