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Lever-action dip pen holders



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Some time ago, I bought some Conte no 1775 pen holders in Paris. I have been using them almost exclusively ever since, and can't speak highly enough of them. The nib is clamped firmly into place by lowering a lever which is built into the underside of the holder. As illustrated, even very small nibs are held perfectly in position.

I can find no trace of these holders, which seem to be out of production. Although they aren't much to look at, they are tremendous value for money.

Although it is a very limited market, I find it hard to believe, that such a great idea hasn't been taken up by some other manufacturer, perhaps in a more attractive finish.

 

I would be very interested to hear if anyone else knows of these holders or if they know of a more aesthetically pleasing alternative of a similar design.

 

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd289/caliken_2007/conte5.jpg

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  • caliken

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BillTheEditor

I have one of these that I've had for at least 25 or 30 years. I've learned to be careful with it, since it is possible to damage (bend, break, crack, I've done all three) the part of the nib that goes into that clutch. But done correctly, it does grip a nib tighter than anything else I have.

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I have one of these that I've had for at least 25 or 30 years. I've learned to be careful with it, since it is possible to damage (bend, break, crack, I've done all three) the part of the nib that goes into that clutch. But done correctly, it does grip a nib tighter than anything else I have.

On counting back, I realise that, like you, I must have had these for at least 25 years. I use them in rotation, so they have survived without any problems.

 

I find it incredible that anything, in constant use, can last that long!

Edited by caliken
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I considered buying some of those a few months ago but not having any information about them I decided not to but I will do after these recommendations. Blotspens sell them but only in limited finishes http://www.blotspens.co.uk/acatalog/Clip_Penholders.html .

http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/5775/bickhamuserbar.jpg

http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/9086/quilluserbar.jpg

Flickr photos

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Thank you Lozzic! This is exactly the information I was hoping for!

 

The nib is held as firmly as if it were welded to the holder!

 

 

Another advantage which I forgot to mention - at the end of a writing session, if you hold the penholder over a container of water and lift the clip, the nib releases instantly and drops into the water with no stains on the fingers!

 

Please post again once you've tried them - I'd be very interested in your opinion.

Edited by caliken
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I just contacted Blotspens and was informed that these are not the Conte pens but in fact are made in Austria by a company that probably supplied Conte.

Edited by playpen
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I just contaceted Blotspens and was informed that these are not the Conte pens but in fact are made in Austria by a company that probably supplied Conte.

 

Thanks, Playpen

I think that they seem to be better finished than the original Conte pens.

 

I've just ordered a set!

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

So have I, just now. Thanks Lozzic. I hadnt been able to find anything by Googling it. I've still got one old veteran from about 1972. It's battlescarred but will still pick up a sharp-pointed pen nib, take a tight grip on it, and venture forth into the fray.

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  • 2 years later...

Sorry for reviving such old thread but I've information about the pen holds.

 

A bit of companies' history:

* Gilbert Pencil Co. merged Blanzy-Poure in 1949, creating Gilbert & Blanzy-Poure

* Gilbert & Blanzy-Poure merged Conté in 1960, creating Blanzy-Conté-Gilbert

* Blanzy-Conté-Gilbert was adquired by BIC in 1979.

* In 1999, BIC rebranded all Conté products to be BIC Kids or, as with the Criterium and pen nibs and holders, just BIC.

 

As fas as I know, the lever action pen holder was first made by Gilbert & Blanzy-Poure company (as I've seen some photos of the penholder boxes).

 

But the most interesting info is that those pen holders are still beeing made by BIC.

 

Nowadays, they're called:

  • BIC "Sergent Mayor" (the pointed nib they sell) or model "1775"
  • BIC "Atome" (the crow quill nib they sell) or model "1770"

A good way to look for them are in french stores ('cause BIC is a french company) looking for "BIC porte-plume".

Thanks for reading.
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The one I bought in September from Scribblers ( http://www.scribblers.co.uk/acatalog/Calligraphy_Penholders.html - "Penholder with Lever" ) is an unbranded thing. It has a longer metal collar at the end than shown, which sets the clamp mechanism farther inside, and prevents it from holding short nibs usefully. If there's a way to make it hold a crowquill, I've yet to find it. Not recommended at the price + shipping to the US.

Edited by Chthulhu

Mike Hungerford

Model Zips - Google Drive

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  • 3 weeks later...

I recently bought the Cretacolors (from blotspens) and a NOS "Blanzy" [1] and, well, there's no color.

 

[1] "Blanzy" are pre-60s and "Conté" are 60s-onwards but are just exactly the same holder and same materials and quality. After bought by BIC, I don't know if they changed the naming.

 

[EDITED] Truth be told, there's one difference between "Blanzy" and "Conté" and it's the color range. Blanzy are bright parchessi colors (green, yellow, blue and red) meanchile Conté are more soft (purple, deep blue, deep green, deep red and rose). BIC colors are even more soft (light blue, light red, grey and dirty white).

 

The Cretacolors are, in my opinion, trash. One stands the nib "good enough" (when you press to write the lever moves down a bit, but holds it). The other one... well, useless as the lever pops out of the barrel and I had to use elastic bands to force it to hold the nib.

 

The "Blanzy" ones are... a truly masterpieces: once push down the lever, the nib is stuck so firm you could use it as a weapon. Lever stays put perfectly.

 

I'm now glad I only bought 2 Cretacolors and 10 "Blanzy" ones.

Edited by franzrogar
Thanks for reading.
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  • 7 years later...
MatthewTierney

I bought a "BIC Sergent Major: Pen holder with 6 nibs" (as it is labelled on the packet in both English and French) at a supermarket in New Caledonia in April 2014.  The holder itself is labelled "Conté 1775 France".  They seem to be still for sale today, for example at this French vendor:

https://www.bureau-vallee.fr/porte-plume-sergent-major-6-plumes-ecriture-51120.html

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Amazon.fr still has them, 1+6 plumes is 5.19 €, and I am sure they can be found also in other amazon European sites.

 

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