Thread Number: 77490  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
How The Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive
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Post# 1014674   11/16/2018 at 14:43 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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An interesting article.  It makes me want to go out and buy refills for my old cartridge pen. 


Post# 1014676 , Reply# 1   11/16/2018 at 15:05 by liamy1 (-)        

Interesting article, but the main point is absolute rubbish.

I can write in perfect cursive with any writing implement, even a pencil.

Post# 1014678 , Reply# 2   11/16/2018 at 15:16 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I enjoyed this piece!


I have a weakness for fountain pens, and I've got several on a pencil tray a foot away from the keyboard I'm using. They aren't anything special--they range from a cheap Sheaffer (probably a few dollars new, if even that), a German pen from a company I've otherwise never heard of, and a Cross. All use ink cartridges. Elsewhere I've got some slightly better pens...but all have issues IIRC. (They are more important to me for history than actual use now.)


But these days I seldom write by hand, and so they mostly collect dust.


I can't say for sure what advantages might exist with fountain pens, since it's been so long since I really wrote anything by hand. But one thing I definitely remember noting when I was in high school: it seemed like my absolutely horrible handwriting was a bit more legible when I wrote with a fountain pen. I can remember sometimes using a fountain pen for homework. But I never, ever took one to school--to much worry about something happening to it. (Not an unreasonable worry, given some of the realities at that school...)


My mother took classes at a local college, and I remember her telling me about someone in one of those classes that even had a Mont Blanc! Apparently, though, said pen was seldom used, for fear of something happening to it. Seems like a shame...


I later went to that same college, and German professor (I never had him, but I'd met him through my mother) had a fountain pen. He talked about how sad it was the decline of cursive (this was late 80s/early 90s era). Then, he told me about how when he was in Germany, his elementary school son was expected by the German schools to use IIRC fountain pens  with real ink, and cursive. Meanwhile, kids his age were told in America to print using a pencil...


I later on took a speech class when I was about 30. Long story, but the relevant part was that I got a fountain pen (which could use bottled ink). It was a decent pen. I could have gotten by with a cheap ballpoint, but I liked using the pen, even if I had to constantly refill it. We had to fill out evaluation slips on classmates' speeches, and so perhaps my slips were a bit more legible, thanks to the pen. I now wonder if anyone noticed and wondered: what sort of weird pen is that freak in the corner is using?

Post# 1014679 , Reply# 3   11/16/2018 at 15:21 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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@ liamy:  Likewise, but over long periods the grip required for a ballpoint, rollerball or pencil leaves an impression in my fingertip and the side of my middle finger.  I think the point the author makes about fatigue is a valid one in this regard.


When I worked at MGM in the late '70s, one of my jobs involved cataloguing newly shot film for the negative vaults.  It was all done on paper by hand.  My co-worker and I went through boxes and boxes of Pentel Rolling Writers, which would eventually disintegrate from the intensive use.  I had to take protective measures for my fingers with all of that writing all day, every day.


@ LK:  Ironically, the school I attended through 3rd grade taught Palmer Method, yet we all used ballpoints.  The school I started attending in 4th grade taught Noble & Noble, but required everyone to use cartridge pens.  This had nothing to do with cursive.  It was all about not ruining the wooden tops on our desks.



Post# 1014687 , Reply# 4   11/16/2018 at 17:45 by Ultralux88 (Denver)        

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I do tend to prefer pens that require less pressure to the paper, like the uniball ones. I honestly rarely ever use print, my print never progressed past 5th grade, as soon as they allowed us to write in cursive if we so chose, I made it my primary form of writing. I also don't hold my pen the way they taught us to, I came up with something else I found more comfortable.

Post# 1014688 , Reply# 5   11/16/2018 at 17:59 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I went to Catholic school from 2nd thru 6th grade and we were required to write with fluid ink, either a fountain pen or cartridge pen. I used to have very nice handwriting, but having to write so much and so rapidly when I worked for the Human Services handwriting began to deteriorate. And then with the use of computer keyboards it has gone downhill even more. But if I take my time I can still write nicely. I do believe that using a fountain or cartridge pen is easier on the hand, because no pressure is required. For much of the time I worked at the Human Services Dept. I wrote with a fountain pen. I have a beautiful Parker 51 that I used then. The Parker 51 was for many years the most popular pen in the world. My Dad had a black Parker 51 that he used exclusively.

Itís a shame that cursive handwriting isnít taught anymore like it was with my generation. But from what Iíve been reading that trend may be ending. Iíve read that the current belief is that cursive writing is beneficial in that it promotes better thought processes in the young, by using their brains to coordinate making the letters on paper that correspond with what they are trying to express. And its really sad that so many young people canít read cursive writing. Iíve heard some kids call it ďantique writingĒ.

I guess Iím just a hopeless dinasor, LOL.


Post# 1014702 , Reply# 6   11/16/2018 at 19:22 by bendix5 (Central Point, Oregon)        

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I have somewhere a Sheaffer fountain pen my dad gave to me at my 8th grade graduation. I used that pen for many years writing Christmas, birthday, thank you and other cards. I thought it was pretty cool. Back then people commented on my handwriting. Now it has deteriorated. Probably 20 years ago I put the pen away. I have always kept the original box. Both of my parents had beautiful handwriting. My dad was left handed but school made him write right handed growing up. My moms dad was English and taught my mom the script form of writing with all the curlicues. Her twin sister wanted no part of that and had very small but neat as a pin cursive. My grandchildren cannot read cursive. Sad, but schools stopped teaching when Kim was in 2nd grade. Brenden never had any lessons and thinks we should come in the 2018 and give it up. I still write everything in cursive. Kim was filling out a job app not long ago and it said do not print signature, must be cursive. She was beside herself and we had to teach her how to sign her name. I told her, her sig is her trade mark. I told her I can look at the writing and know how wrote it by the hand writing.

Post# 1014731 , Reply# 7   11/17/2018 at 00:09 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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The article has it right. I collect fountain pens, have, er, a couple hundred of them. I wasn't taught cursive any more intensively than anyone else my age (57) but my handwriting is a lot better than most, because of the way a fountain pen forces you to write.

Cursive (which is still taught at least in some schools) is not that hard to read, if it's legible, of course. I remember being given a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence in first grade. It took awhile, and I had to as for help, but I was able to decipher most of it. It's a matter of whether you WANT to learn. Maybe most kids see no reason to do it, but stop pretending it's so hard. Puh-leeze!

Post# 1014735 , Reply# 8   11/17/2018 at 00:37 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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A friend of mine taught ceramics at an elite nearby boys' college prep school for 25 years.  One of her students wanted to engrave something in cursive on a piece he was creating and asked for her help, so she wrote it out for him.  He told her three humps in the "m" didn't look right and she advised that yes, it has three humps.


Upon examining the piece after firing, she saw that he had written an "n" instead of an "m" and asked the kid why.  He said three humps just didn't look right.  Neither does the word he misspelled, which I've forgotten, but as I recall it lended the inscription a certain irony.



Post# 1014738 , Reply# 9   11/17/2018 at 01:53 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Not that I actually write much anymore with a pen or pencil but I do like the gel type pens because they glide across the paper easily.

In grade school we began our writing classes having to use a quill and ink bottle.. well not a real bird quill but a plastic quill and removable nibs, and blotting paper. I think it was the 2nd year, perhaps gr. 3 or 4 when we were allowed to use a fountain pen or a cartridge pen. I'm foggy on the details now when we were allowed to use a ballpoint.

Article reminded me that in the UK they call ballpoints Biro's and not ballpoints. Or at least they used to.

Post# 1014739 , Reply# 10   11/17/2018 at 01:55 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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But from what I’ve been reading that trend may be ending. I’ve read that the current belief is that cursive writing is beneficial in that it promotes better thought processes in the young


I haven't fully read any articles, but I know I've seen articles that apparently talk about advantages. I think I saw one this week.


But I wonder if schools will spend much (if any) time on cursive, no matter what studies/evidence exists... There are so many demands in this era of things to be covered. It can also be argued that recess has value, and that has also gone bye-bye at many schools (at least the last I heard).



Post# 1014740 , Reply# 11   11/17/2018 at 02:03 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        
Parker 51

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I at least recognize the name. Probably the result of too many hours reading old magazine ads... LOL


I remember seeing ads for Parker (and also Waterman and IIRC Mont Blanc) ca. 1990. One ad for Parker talked about the pens being a dual system--you could have either a cartridge, or use an ink reservoir. I remember seeing a Parker that had this system on display at the mall, and talking to the sales person. She obviously knew nothing of her products, and insisted you bought ink cartridges for that pen.

Post# 1014741 , Reply# 12   11/17/2018 at 02:12 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        
Yet another boring memory from Lord Kenmore's dull life.

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I think we were first required to have a pen in 5th or 6th grade. As the teacher said, we were learning penmanship. (Not sure if 5th was the official grade--I was in a split class, and that was one subject the teacher could teach both grades at once IIRC.)


At some point before that, pens could not be used on school work (although possession of a pen was OK). I'm not sure if there was a point where pens were tolerated, but not required (say, 4th grade? regular 5th grade classes?)


Then, come junior high, I had a teacher who banned the use of pens. He hated the look of errors crossed out IIRC.

Post# 1014742 , Reply# 13   11/17/2018 at 02:42 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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The Parker 51 did not use a cartridge, the user filled the pen from a bottle of ink. In the 60ís, Parker introduced a Parker 61 that was convertible, and could use either a Parker cartridge or liquid fountain pen ink. These pens were inferior to the original Parker 51ís, which were excellent writing insturments. There are many informative articles online about the 51. Iíve added links to a couple here.


Post# 1014747 , Reply# 14   11/17/2018 at 03:32 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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Just to clarify, if needed: the Parker pens I mentioned above were undoubtedly some other model. They definitely could use either bottled ink or cartridges. They came along long after the 51 was apparently retired (1972, according to the Wikipedia piece).


I do have an old Parker pen that will only apparently work with bottled ink. It's one of those types that had a cap on a block intended to sit on a desk. I think it came from a yard sale when I was young. As I recall, it worked pretty well, although IIRC it needed refilling a lot. Then, I suppose it might have been intended for the businessman who didn't need a pen for anything more than signing important letters...


I'm now idly wondering when cartridges became an option... I'd have to guess that bottled ink was the only option during the fountain pen heyday, and I'd speculate that cartridges might have come along to try to make the pens more appealing in an era of more convenient ballpoint pens.


I personally preferred ink when I had the choice--one huge argument is that I think bottled ink was probably cheaper, and certainly less wasteful than plastic cartridges. I never minded filling a pen. The only issue was just making sure the pen got refilled often enough if one took the pen out of the house. But, of course, that was also an issue with cartridge fountain pens. One could, I suppose, carry an extra cartridge, but then with bottled ink, one can refill quickly just ensure one has enough ink.


I know I got one pen that could be used with either ink or cartridges new. It included a sampler cartridge or two, and I don't think I ever touched that cartridge, until I needed one for a pen that couldn't take bottled ink.


These days, though, I'm a cartridge user, because that's what the current collection of pens are intended for. That said, I write so little these days that a cartridge lasts...


I remember my father (who once liked fountain pens) talking about refilling cartridges with regular ink. It should be easily possible, but I never tried it.

Post# 1014748 , Reply# 15   11/17/2018 at 03:40 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 1014764 , Reply# 16   11/17/2018 at 07:09 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Penelope Keith in posh mode...

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A Parker Pens advert for the biro version, circa 1975.

Post# 1014771 , Reply# 17   11/17/2018 at 10:21 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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The reason I mentioned the Parker 61 in my last post on this thread is because thats what I thought the unknowledgeable sales person must have been showing you,

I first remember seeing Sheaffer Cartridge pens in about 1958, but research shows that Sheaffer first came out with the cartridge in 1955, see link below.

I used to refill my cartridges all the time, first by just putting the punctured end in the ink and squeezing the air out and letting the vacuum draw the ink in, not very efficient. Then later on with either an eyedropper or a syringe. I when attended school I would carry an extra cartridge in my pocket and also keep extras in my desk. When I used a fountain pen, I would just refill it every day, and that way I almost never ran out of ink away from home. Back in the heyday of fountain pens, before the ballpoint, running out of ink wasnít too much of a problem, because everyone used them, and would have a bottle of ink on hand that they would kindly let you refill your pen from.

The pen that you describe having is a desk pen. Almost every business back in the day had them, banks, dept. stores, postoffices, and they were out on the counters for customers to use when needed for business.

A personís fountain pen was a valued possession. When my Father graduated from Law School and passed the Bar Exam, my Mom bought him the Black Parker 51 that he used everyday until he died 10 years later. And then my Mom used it too for the rest of her life. Everyone of my report cards was signed with that parker 51.

Now we have about a hundred cheap ballpoint and other pens all over the house. But, whenever I go shopping I still use the same Papermate Slim Ballpoint pen that I found in a parking lot about 15 years ago. David brings all these other pens home from work where he finds them, and they are in every junk and desk drawer. Back in the old days it would have been unheard of for most people to have owned more that one, maybe two pens at a time. And this is when everyone wrote all the time. Now most pen use is limited, due to the computer. Go figure, huh.


Post# 1014772 , Reply# 18   11/17/2018 at 10:27 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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My handwriting has never been something to brag about; it's probably better now than at any time before.  One thing that brings me compliments repeatedly is my signature.  I do strive to write each letter and I want it to be legible to a total stranger.  Most signatures disintegrate over time - people don't "have time" to write it out.  And the more frequently they are called on to sign documents the shorter their signature seems to be.


What really polished off my handwriting was deciding to go into architecture.  I started down that path in the fall of 1971, long before computers came along, and learning to letter was taught immediately after entering school.  As a result, I have printed/lettered most of my life.  My lettering has evolved into a hybrid of lettering and writing - some characters get joined, others remain distinctly separate.  It has been several decades since I used a fountain pen, not sure if switching back to one would help my penmanship or not.



Post# 1014792 , Reply# 19   11/17/2018 at 16:36 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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Thanks, Eddie, for your memories and the links!


I'm too young to remember the era when people might have had only pen, but I knew that was the case, once. I've have thought before that's interesting that people in the 50s might have had just one pen, but written more than a person of today who might easily have a hundred pens lying around house, office, and car. Of course, it can be argued that people with a good fountain pen really didn't need more than that pen.


I actually saw that "you only need one pen if you've got a good pen!" when I was in high school. One of my teachers had a modern (80s?) Sheaffer which was his primary pen. He always had it with him, and he kept a bottle of ink at school. His classroom was interesting in that unlike other teachers he didn't have a bunch of cheap, modern pens lying around. He had exactly ONE ballpoint, which he only used for carbonless multicopy forms like failure notices.


I honestly thought that pen was neat--but then I already had a fountain pen, fountain pen experience, and was interested in past decades...early training for membership, I guess!


Sadly, his pen broke--the barrel cracked. I think it was a flaw in those pens--I had one which, a year or so later, had the same thing happen. He came to school with some old pen for a day or two, and then rushed out and got a new Sheaffer. (You'd think he'd have thought of trying a new brand after the other Sheaffer cracked!)

Post# 1014793 , Reply# 20   11/17/2018 at 16:55 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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Back in the heyday of fountain pens, before the ballpoint, running out of ink wasn’t too much of a problem, because everyone used them, and would have a bottle of ink on hand that they would kindly let you refill your pen from.


I think I even remember jokes on old time radio or TV about the cheapskate who is always careful to refill from the free supply of ink at the bank or wherever!

Post# 1014797 , Reply# 21   11/17/2018 at 17:05 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I remember seeing ads for various pens in the late 80s/early 90s. One that was memorable was Waterman, which had a theme of a woman talking about all the things she'd given up...and then indicated she still had her Waterman pen, because she needed something thrilling to use to record her boredom.

Post# 1014821 , Reply# 22   11/17/2018 at 20:00 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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A photo of three of my pens. I have more, but these are the ones I've actually used in recent history.


The one on the far left is a Cross that I think came from a yard sale. It didn't work, but was easily fixed by rinsing. Apparently old ink had dried clogging it.


The one on the far right is also a yard sale find IIRC. I have no idea who made it. For some reason I'm thinking it came from Germany, but I can't find "Germany" on it.


The pen in the middle is a cheap, humble Sheaffer from the 1980s. A rock bottom product that I got new for reasons that escape me now. (I had a better pen--perhaps I was thinking of a second pen that I could use without worry? Or just an impulse buy? Who can say after 30+ years?) This pen was seldom used, and yet it has not aged terribly well--note the cracking on the barrel.

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Post# 1014988 , Reply# 23   11/19/2018 at 06:06 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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My handwriting is also a mixture of print and cursive.  Ever since I entered the wonderful world of healthcare, it's just easier to do it that way.  People can read what I write more easily.  When I write in all cursive, I tend to write extremely small.  Funny, now there are times when I'm writing I'll notice the way I make some of my letters, I can see my mother's writing in them.  My dad has chicken scratch.

Post# 1014996 , Reply# 24   11/19/2018 at 07:20 by Kate1 (Idaho)        

I love writing with fountain pens, and I get a lot of enjoyment from buying unique inks and high quality paper for them. I treat it like an artistic endeavor though, I keep journals of lessons in church and other things I feel like I want a record of for future reference. I use multiple colors, create doodles, and sometimes add full illustrations when I feel like it. Of course I write in cursive. I also like my ballpoint pens, I carry one on me at all times and itís all I use for quick notes and for filling out forms at work. My regular handwriting is print but unless I slow myself down and concentrate, I connect most of the individual letters so it looks like a cross between cursive and print.

I donít think itís becoming as dead as people think either. Iím in my late twenties and was taught cursive and my eight and nine year olds have been taught it as well. My younger two will be taught it in later grades. My eight year old, a boy, actually loves writing in cursive and will sit and practice it for hours. His penmanship is excellent too, there are things he can write more beautifully than me. When heís older, I will introduce him to fountain pens. Iím sure heíll love writing with one as much as I do.

Post# 1015017 , Reply# 25   11/19/2018 at 11:14 by ksbanker (Kansas)        
Fountain Pens

My primary collection is fountain pens. I've bought and sold many over the last 7 or 8 years. Nothing beats a high quality fountain pen. My favorite are ones with a name imprinted and showing heavy use. I love the thought of a pen being used for the majority of one's career. People like to pretend we are "green" today. Using one pen the refills from glass bottles of ink is very "green!" I will post some pictures of my collection this evening if you are interested in seeing it. Nothing too exciting but I enjoy them. I also really enjoy fixing them.

Here are a few of my black and gold pens. The pen with the large gold band I found with my initials, PLM, already inscribed!!! I was ecstatic!!!

Left to right the pens are:
1. Sheaffer Snorkel Autograph (14k clip and band) 1950's
2. Sheaffer Triumph Crest Masterpiece (solid 14k gold cap) 1940's
3. Parker 51 (14k gold clip) 1940's
4. Conklin Endura (unsually transitional model) around 1930
5. Pelikan M1000 Modern
6. Mont Blonc M149 Modern
7. Parker Duofold Senior (amazing broad nib) 1920's
8. Waterman 752 (14k gold clip and band) 1920's
9. Conklin Endura Symetrik 1930's

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Post# 1015024 , Reply# 26   11/19/2018 at 12:36 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Kate, your story is very encouraging! 


Preston, those are some nice looking pens.  A friend of mine had an extensive collection.  He'd sometimes mention one of them having a bad bladder.  Is that something that can be easily replaced or do they tend to be proprietary as opposed to a universal fit?


I'm still searching for my old Schaeffer cartridge pen.  I'm anxious to start using one again after reading the posts above.  We moved recently and it's buried somewhere.  If I really enjoy it, maybe I'll graduate to an actual fountain pen. 


I remember Wearever also made a cartridge pen.  The ones I was familiar with had a much smaller nib than the Schaeffer did, and I liked writing with a Wearever better.

Post# 1015051 , Reply# 27   11/19/2018 at 15:54 by ksbanker (Kansas)        
Fountain Pen Sac

Thank you much!


Different pens use different filling systems. Most all lever fill pens use traditional inc sacs. They are all the same style of sac but do differ in size based on the size of the pen.

Replacing the sac is not technically difficult but does have some risk! Separating the pen barrel from the gripping section is the most treacherous part. If you only have one or two pens that need new ink sacs, I'd recommend sending them to someone to have them professionally repaired. Two that I have used are Pentiques and The Southern Scribe. There are several others who do excellent work as well.

Post# 1015070 , Reply# 28   11/19/2018 at 17:55 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Hi, ksbanker, nice to find a fellow collector here. Youíve got some nice pens there, would love to have a Duofold with a broad nib. Iíll try to share some pics later.

Rick Horne (aka the Southern Scribe) is great, a nice guy and totally honest.

Ralph, if you canít fimd your Sheaffer school pen, I have a couple of extras, would be glad to send you one. Theyíre not expensive.

The Wearevers, as I recall, had a hooded nib like a Parker 51. But you canít get refills for them now.

Post# 1015159 , Reply# 29   11/20/2018 at 09:12 by ksbanker (Kansas)        

John, that would be great! I'd love to see some of your collection.

Wearever made many different styles of pen. They did make a hooded variety to attempt to give the appearance of a Parker 51. Those were functional but really subpar pens. The years have usually been quite unkind to those pens. By far the best quality of the lower tier fountain pens are Esterbrook. These are quite nice pens and fully capable of being a daily use pen all these years later. Their interchangeable nib system makes them wonderful for a person who doesn't want to own lots of pens.

Post# 1015224 , Reply# 30   11/20/2018 at 20:21 by diaperdooty (South Caroline )        

That article is spot on. We teach cursive to our kids and itís astounding how natural a fountain pen is to them versus - pretty much anything else. I love the way words flow effortlessly from the nib, and enjoy sitting quietly and watching my kids practice their letters. Ball points and pencils make the hand sore; with a fountain pen we can write all day without hand cramps.

Post# 1015225 , Reply# 31   11/20/2018 at 21:12 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Thanks John.  I'll keep looking for the old Schaeffer and will contact you if it doesn't turn up.

Post# 1015230 , Reply# 32   11/20/2018 at 22:59 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Sure, you bet.

I am a terrible photographer, and didn't have much time today, but here's a few shots.

Parkers --

1. 1926 (?) Duofold, commonly known as a Big Red.

2. 1927ish Duofold Junior in Mandarin Yellow.

3. An unusual English Duofold in marbled white celluloid.

4. A depression-era model with stepped ends often referred to a a "Thrift-Time."

5/6. Vest-pocket Duofold pen/pencil set in black and pearl, often found highly discolored.

7/8. Two more depression era pens in attractive swirled plastic.

9. 1939 Royal Challenger with "blade" clip with wide single cap band.

10. 1937 Royal Challenger with sword clip.

11. 1938 Royal Challenger with blade clip and triple cap bands.

12/13. 1937 Canadian Vacumatic pen/pencil set.

14. 1947 "51" in Yellowstone (aka mustard), a gift from the original owner, a dear lady who received it as a high school graduation present from her parents.

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Post# 1015233 , Reply# 33   11/20/2018 at 23:06 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Interesting Topic

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But remember you cannot print by hand, only a machine can print, you can however letter by hand.


John L.

Post# 1015234 , Reply# 34   11/20/2018 at 23:12 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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More Parkers.

1. 1919 Jack Knife Safety in black hard rubber, with a flexible nib like a wet noodle.

2. Depression-era pen which collectors refer to as a True-Blue, though that might not have been what the factory called it.

3. 1934-37 Thrift-Time.

4/5/6/7/8. Vacumatics from the mid to late 1930s in various colors. They have no traditional sac, but a kind of pump arrangement to draw ink into the barrel. The idea was to use alternating slivers of clear and colored plastic to make the ink supply visible.

9. 1941 striped Duofold -- same idea as the vacumatic, but the color scheme is vertical rather than horizontal.

10. A "61" from around 1960, I think.

11. 1970 T-1, made of titanium. a short-lived model, since titanium was difficult to work with and in practice the nibs were too brittle and prone to craacking or even breaking off.

12. A "75" in sterling.

13. A more recent "51" reproduction, but the cap was just too pretty for me to pass up.

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Post# 1015237 , Reply# 35   11/20/2018 at 23:33 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Pens from Wahl Eversharp, a Chicago manufacturer which was one of the Big Four penmakers in the 1930s and 40s.

1/2/3/4. Gold Seal models from 1929ish, in black and pearl (see how the white portions are yellowed, not good), green and bronze, lapis lazuli, and coral plastic. Note the roller clips, an Eversharp trademark. The two pens on the left have what collectors call Deco Bands.

5. A streamlined Deco Band from maybe 1933, when rounded shapes were coming into style.

6/7/8/9. These are all Dorics, multi-faceted pens from the mid-to late Thirties. They are beautiful but have very unstable plastics. Note how the ends of No. 6 are crazed.

10. Coronet from 1938. Perhaps the ultimate deco design. This one has Eversharp's adjustable point, which the used can change from stiff to flexible by the use of a slider on top of the nib, as well as a so-called safety ink shutoff, supposed to prevent leaking due to changes in atmospheric pressure, as when on an airplane (it didn't work).

11. The Skyline model, credited to the industrial designer Henry Dreyfus, was introduced in 1941 and made for about six years.

13. A Fifth Avenue pen and pencil set from the Forties. Eversharp sponsored a radio quiz program called "The $64 Question," and these pens, with solid gold caps, were supposedly given to contestants. You may be able to make out the "6$4" engraving on the caps.

14. A Skyline reproduction from the 1990s.

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Post# 1015238 , Reply# 36   11/20/2018 at 23:36 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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A few more pics of individual pens, because I'd already taken them.

This is a Schnell, made with an airplane clip to capitalize on the Lindbergh craze.

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Post# 1015239 , Reply# 37   11/20/2018 at 23:38 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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An Esterbrook Dollar Pen in what is informally called cracked looks greenish in the pic but that's my fault.

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Post# 1015241 , Reply# 38   11/20/2018 at 23:43 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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A Cameron Waverley eyedropper filler, probably from the 1950s. These had no rubber sacs, which were supposedly prone to deteriorate under tropical conditions, so the British kept making small numbers of what was otherwise an obsolete design. The Waverley nib with a slightly upturned point was popular in 19th-centruy dip pens.

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Post# 1015242 , Reply# 39   11/20/2018 at 23:45 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Maybe more to follow...

Post# 1015276 , Reply# 40   11/21/2018 at 08:19 by ksbanker (Kansas)        
Great Collection!

I see you like the Parker's! The vest set do have excellent color. I love the Challenger with the sword clip. Those are very cool! I never got into Wahl's too much. At least not the earlier ones. Seemed they were always very expensive!! But what lovely pens they are. I'll have to post more of my collection this evening.

Post# 1015278 , Reply# 41   11/21/2018 at 08:27 by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I love fountain pens, but I simply don't buy that the ballpoint "killed cursive".

Sure, if you want to do calligraphy, a fountain pen or chisel point wet tip is required for the thick/thin strokes. But for standard cursive, a ball point does just fine. No problemo.

Oh, and I taught myself calligraphy back in the 70's, and can still do a passable job if required. But now if I want to send a calligraphic text, I look for the right font. LOL.

Post# 1015291 , Reply# 42   11/21/2018 at 11:15 by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London UK)        
Waverley Pen

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Lovely selection of pictures of old pens there :)

Some more information about the Waverley Pen on the link


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Post# 1015323 , Reply# 43   11/21/2018 at 17:06 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Printing vs. Lettering

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I just this week differentiated between these two terms when sharing something with a friend.


My sister was up from L.A. this past weekend and brought me three limited edition vintage road maps, one of L.A. (a reprint from 1930), one of the "Rim of the World" route east of San Bernardino from 1915, and another of the Yosemite valley from 1916, neither of which had ever been published. 


The two older maps were hand lettered, although most people probably wouldn't even notice.  I'm considering framing the Yosemite map, as even the contours in the surrounding mountains and granite formations were drawn using tiny, short strokes.   I consider this an art, yet I see no credit given to the worker bee cartographer who spent so much time creating this map, other than what appear to be his initials and the date the map was completed.


This brings back memories of the old "Auto Album" renderings from Tad Burness that used to appear weekly in the local newspaper.

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Post# 1015565 , Reply# 44   11/23/2018 at 19:15 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Those hand drawn maps are gorgeous. I had a little paperback collection of Tad Buressís Auto Album when I was a kid. It was a gateway drug to a lifelong interest in old cars.

Thanks for the ink about the Waverley pens, vacbear. I had forgotten the rhyme and didnít know it was an advertising jingle!

Do post some more of your collection, ksbanker! Wahl pens do have some issues, but they tend to be great writers.

Post# 1015590 , Reply# 45   11/23/2018 at 22:43 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
I Forgot to Mention

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The maps I referenced above are a Historical Series available in limited quantities to AAA members of the Automobile Club of Southern California.


I don't know if other regional AAA offices have them or can get them.  There are, I think, four of these special maps in the set.


I cannot imagine negotiating the Rim of the World route's switchbacks, twists and turns while climbing several thousand feet in 1915 or older automotive technology. 

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Post# 1015605 , Reply# 46   11/24/2018 at 01:01 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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A friend of mine had the pleasure of ascending Pikes Peak (as a passenger) in a 1914 Packard, which had a 525 cu. in. inline six, if I recall correctly.

Many of those old cars could go surprisingly well, but they couldnít really stop, with only two wheel brakes. You just had to get in low gear and stay there for the duration of the descent.

I look back on the drum brakes of cars from as recently as the 1960s and shiver, but itís what people had drove through a puddle, you might not have brakes. Master cylinders failed, brake lines burst. Seems crazy so many of us survived.

Post# 1017290 , Reply# 47   12/7/2018 at 23:15 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

We were taught cursive in second grade and were expected to use it for everything from then on. In third grade the teachers sent samples of our writing to some outside agency for evaluation. I got gold stars for all of third grade. Something happened over the summer because when I came back for fourth grade my handwriting was illegible.

I was 14 when I learned Cyrillic script for Russian class. The only thing I remember about learning it was finding out that cursive was MUCH faster than printing, at least for me. What's funny is that when Russians see my script today they often comment on how beautiful and neat it is. Go figure.

I wonder if the USA is the only place where cursive is in decline.


Post# 1018050 , Reply# 48   12/14/2018 at 19:37 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Shaeffer Cartridge Pen Located!

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After looking high and low (literally -- I checked boxes in the basement) I glanced over to the crowded pen/pencil cup on my desk and noticed the shiny metal cap of the vintage Schaeffer in the mix.  I bought some cartridges and started playing with it.  I noticed that my hand seemed to be outpacing my brain and I was omitting letters, and my writing was less legible than it already is when I'm scribbling things down.


I also discovered that this particular pen has a fine point nib.  I like medium or bolder.  I was planning on using this pen (the one with the green barrel) for writing holiday cards.  I decided to buy a new Shaeffer cartridge pen with a medium point nib.  Due to the age difference, the nibs aren't interchangeable, so I used the new pen to do cards and I went slow so people could read what I wrote! 


Now that I've had some time to use both, the fine point doesn't seem to be as fine as it was after I had first cleaned the old pen and given it a new cartridge, so I'll be using both of these pens going forward.  I like that I can achieve the look of a roller ball with a pen that's not disposable.  It's a little more responsible to add a small empty cartridge to the landfill than an entire ball point pen!

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Post# 1018240 , Reply# 49   12/16/2018 at 23:54 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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It can take a little time to adapt to different nibs, but it looks like youíve already made good progress. Broader nibs usually mean you have to write a little larger. In my case, the loop on an ďeĒ will close up, but itís not as much of an issue with a fine nib.

Congrats on finding your old pen. I must have gone through a dozen of them at different times and who knows where they all went!

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