June 23, 2012

Of Vintage Fountain Pens

More articles by »
Written by: Recultured Team
Tags: , , , , ,

There is always something so fascinating about vintage fountain pens: the aged, yet pristine finish, the beautiful slightly stubby fine points, or the perfect feedback that seduces every single fibre on the paper’s surface. My first “vintage” pen was a light unbranded German pen from the 70’s that my aunt gave me months before I left for Canada. I still have it; it gets cycled with my rotation of J. Herbin inks, typically when I experiment with different ink colours.

My fascination started upon the purchase of my first Esterbrook: a grey J with a 2550 extra-fine nib. I immediately fell in love: the nib wrote with such finesse, its fine point while not being a scratchy quill, wasn’t as smooth as an infant’s arse that hydroplanes through any form of liquid. There was a beautiful feel to that pen, with its perfect size and weight to glide on paper with the slightest pressure. The nib eventually gave wits age, and unfortunately I had to replace it. The grey J now carries a 9556 nib, a sturdier variety of the 2-xxx series nibs apparently tipped with Iridium.


Left: Esterbrook J (9556 nib), Right: Esterbrook SJ (9550 nib)

My second vintage pen is another Esterbrook: a beautiful blue SJ, a short and slim variety of the original J. Although it felt somewhat smaller, posting the cap over the body increased its size, making it more suitable for a lesser angled writing. This one came with an extra-fine 9550 nib: the finest nib I have written on a pen. Although considered a ‘nail’ by fountain pen aficionados, the finest of fine points proved useful for me especially when I wrote annotations on scholarly articles for my research. What drew me to this pen was its vibrant hue of blue: for a pen that is at least 50 years old, a pristine finish as this one’s is quite hard to come with.

The perfect combination: Esterbrook SJ with J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis

My newest vintage pen is apparently just two years younger than my grandfather. A 1939 Sheaffer Imperial with a no. 5 Feather Touch 14K gold nib, this pen is just beautiful. I bought it in a pristine condition from an antique store for fraction of its real value, after a good haggle (something Filipinos are well-known for).

The way the nib wrote immediately made this vintage Sheaffer one of my favourite vintage pens.

Time permitting, I would love to collect more vintage pens; there’s always something profound in these pens, especially how one would imagine the stories behind these pens, and how they could have survived decades of existence.

About the Author

Recultured Team
Recultured Team
This is where you'll find the blog posts that the team has contributed to collectively! What team? Wildcats! -Nope, wrong team. Recultured!

Read previous post:
Concert Review: The Temper Trap at Malkin Bowl

The lights dim on stage. For a split-second there's silence, immediately following cheers, applause, and fist pumps. Anticipation grows as...