I failed my saving throw against shiny things, and picked up a vintage pen. Teri at Peyton Street Pens is very nice and helpful, and I appreciated all her replies to my vague questions. Her sale on older Shaeffers got me looking, and I picked up a pen.
I actually picked up two. I bought a Shaeffer Statesman Snorkel, and the Parker Vector. The Statesman is a vintage pen, from the 1950’s, with a neat and tidy filling mechanism. The Vector is the pen I used in junior high, and to have one again was nostalgia, and a case of, “Did this work the way I thought it did?”
The Shaeffer Statesman Snorkel is a Lifetime pen with their white dot. That’s the better line, and I felt pulled that way, which was probably silly. It has a Palladium/Silver alloy nib, in their conical Triumph shape. It says it’s a fine point, and it really seems to be. It’s a grey plastic body with gold plate on the clip and band, which is all in pretty nice shape. It was apparently made between 1952 and 1959, if I remember right. And that’s about all I know, except that this one is mine now. =)
The only ink I have here is Noodler’s Baystate Blue. It was the first ink I bought, and I bought it entirely based on the color. It’s a really good, vibrant blue. You’ll never mistake it for anything else. I love the color. It’s also pretty waterproof and flows well, and generally a nice ink to write with.
What I didn’t get is how it gets along with other inks. Which is to say, not at all. Apparently, if there’s any other ink in contact, it turns to sludge.
With a vintage pen, one with a somewhat complex filling mechanism that I I have no idea how to take apart, how can I make sure that there’s no other ink in it?
I couldn’t. So, I decided no Baystate Blue goes in the vintage pens or new pens with complex or hard to access filling mechanism. (Lamy 2000, I’m looking at you!)
Last night, I decided to order a mess of ink samples from Goulet Pen Company, and that’ll help me find more colors I like enough for a whole bottle, which I can use in non-easy pens. I also ordered one of the Noodler’s flex pens to mess around with.
This meant had no ink to put in the new pen! Today I found two places in San Jose that sell fountain pen ink. University Art has Private Reserve ink, and a nice selection of colors. The staff – very friendly! – told me the Palo Alto store has fountain pens, but the San Jose store does not. They had some calligraphy pens and some dip pens, though. I went there first, intending to get black, and got all distracted with the pretty colors and brought home one called Spearmint, a pretty green.
A shop in Santana Row called Maido also carries fountain pens. They had J. Herbin inks. They also had Platinum, Pilot, and Lamy pens in the store. When I have time, and want to fondle a Lamy 2000, that’s probably where I’ll go. They also had Rhodia tablets in the store. First time I’ve seen them locally. Prices were full retail all the way, but the selection was nice. Their website says they have the Pilot Custom 74, and the Platinum Preppy. I’d have picked up a couple of Preppys to mess with, but I didn’t see them. I didn’t ask, because the fountain pen guy was busy. I did find Metropolitans, in silver, black, and gold.
Anyway, found some pens and – more importantly, to my mind – inks locally. Neat!
Also got a bottle of something that wasn’t Baystate Blue, to be ready for the new pen.
That was smart, because the new pen was waiting at the house when I got home. Yay!
I opened the box and fiddled with the nifty snorkel mechanism, then inked it up and wrote some stuff. I wrote with the Shaeffer, then the Vector, then some with the Metropolitan.
Here’s what the three pens look like. My camera mangled the color really well, so this has been adjusted to something like sensibility, but probably isn’t quite right.
The Statesman is in really good shape for being fifty five (or more) years old. The cap posts just fine, but it fell off when I set it flat on the page, and I didn’t notice before I took the pictures. It isn’t crooked, that’s just it sitting funny.
I was writing on HP LaserJet printer, the 24# bond that lots of people like. It’s perfectly acceptable paper, and it was handy. It’s nicely white and doesn’t bleed or anything.
The green is very pretty, and I like the color.
I was warned that the Triumph nibs are very stiff, and this one is. Little if any line variation. It writes pretty smoothly – more smoothly than the Vector – and it is definitely a Fine nib. A smooth-writing fine is apparently a little difficult, so that’s good. It flowed well, once I had it inked, and I didn’t see it skipping, failing to start, or drying out if I left it uncapped for a little bit. Starts right up, and likes to write. That’s good!
The Snorkel filler is very slick, and makes inking simple and pretty mess-free. I’m not sure I would have been happy to not wipe it off at all – there was a drop lingering on the end of the snorkel, waiting to dribble – but it’s pretty limited and you don’t have to try and wipe off half the section. It had been restored, and worked flawlessly. It goes “whoosh” when you work it, and the ink bubbles as it expels air.
The only things I don’t like are the stiffness of the nib, which is pretty stiff, and the screw cap. I’m discovering that bugs me, and I prefer a snap cap. I’m hoping get used to it, because the Pilot Custom 74 I was thinking about has a screw cap, and that might scuttle that plan.
Here’s a page:
I also wrote a page with the Parker Vector. Peyton Street had some NOS ones, and I remembered them from school. I bought one – a blue one. I don’t think I ever had a blue one before, I think I had burgundy and black. It came with a cartridge, which was a complete pain to install. I’m not sure I don’t have it in upside-down. If I want a different color, I’ll have to refill this cartridge. I have a syringe coming with the ink samples so I can try that, if I want.
The pen is… well, it was cheap when it was new in the 1980’s, and it writes like it. It scratches a little, and it skips a little, and it makes the phrase “nail” perfectly understandable. It’s a medium nib, and a wet writer, except when it skips. Great combination. It does write, and I’ll probably run the cartridge out just because I don’t want it to dry out.
Here’s a page:
I also got out my Pilot Metropolitan with the Baystate Blue, and wrote a page of text. I like the Metro, and find it easy to write with. It’s heavier than the Statesman and much heavier than the Vector. It may not be as smooth as the Statesman, but it’s very writable, and maybe not as stiff. It’s also purple, which I consider a win.
Here’s that page:
Here’s a page with all three together, to compare:
And here’s the page I wrote to take pictures on. Hopefully the color is better.
Lots of pens today, and lots of things to try. My nightly words will be in different ink for a while. Yay!