Saturday, September 8, 2012

And, a dandy of a Dandy

I have mentioned several times before my liking for - um, flashy things. Bright, shiny, pretty pens are my undoing. (Well, to be honest, bright, shiny, pretty things in general cause trouble for me.)

I don't know how I ever settled on this being one of my Bucket List pens; I suspect I saw a photo of one somewhere and said, "Wow! Gotta have one!" and then started looking. And looking - these are a bit hard to find in this color, and they tend to be budget-burning if you can find them, so I had to look for quite a while to find one that I felt comfortable with, pricewise. To be truthful, I wasn't settled on the pen model as much as I was the material/colorway, which Conway Stewart called Peacock.

(As always, all photos are clickable)

It's an interesting material. If it's not well-lit, it almost looks a little benign. Get some brighter light on it, though, and it blossoms.

Imprint reads:
Conway Stewart London
-------MADE IN ENGLAND-------

I bought this particular pen off of the Bay a few months ago. It came to me all the way from Scotland, where it had been part of someone's estate which was being liquidated. The pen has a couple of cracks - in fact, I found one while taking photos for this post. (I think it's a second one, and not an extension of the one mentioned below...though I'm not sure.)
Yikes!!! You can see it here, extending through the blue and purple
It came to me with a crack that ran from the pivot end of the lever across the body of the pen, perpendicular to the lever. The affordable price was related to this issue, and I rolled the dice a bit in buying it, but it seemed fixable to me so I went for it. I sent it along to one of the more well-known pen restorers in the US; he tried everything he could think of to stabilize the material, trying various techniques of "plastics welding," and he wasn't as successful as he would like to have been. The crack is not nearly as noticeable, but he doesn't feel it's totally reliable and cautioned me against much use of the pen, recommending I treat it as a delicate item.

And my reaction to that was to place it in the pen box as if it were made of spun glass. And leave it there.

Before restoration.
You can see the crack here, extending down through the green and blue.

And, after restoration. I can't really see it without a loupe.
(This also gives you a good look at the CS logo on the lever!)

A while ago, I posted on this pen and the mandarin Duofold, commenting that I really need to be careful with the attitude of "too nice to use." Frankly, I think it would be easier for me to replace the Duo if something should happen to it - they're not cheap, but at least they're available. I've only seen a couple of Conway Stewarts in the peacock colorway come up for sale in the year or two I spent looking; again, not cheap but even availability is an issue.

At any rate, I can now report that I have inked the pen and used it. It is beautiful to behold, and surprisingly comfortable to use; it's not very big, and certainly not so by modern standards, and it's light in the hand. (Of course the current fashion for pens seems to include OverSize Big Behemoth Pen of Doom sizes.) The balance is better if the cap is posted, and it's a bit short without, but I doubt I would post the cap often - I don't tend to write that way anyway, and with the fragility involved here I don't want to stress the poor little thing any more than necessary!

The nib is a capable 1930s nib, with little flex - and I don't want to put much pressure on any aspect of this pen, lest I cause more damage!

I love the heart shaped breather hole!
Given the cracking and the relative rarity of the pen (or at least of the colorway), I am likely to leave it in the pen box more often than not - not as too nice to use, but a treasure to treat with caution and respect.

Regardless, I thought you'd enjoy seeing the pen and the gorgeous coloring. It is indeed a dandy of a pen!


Monday, September 3, 2012

A sweet pen - in more ways than one

I have a particular fondness for 1930’s and 1940’s fountain pens, especially when brightly colored, made of celluloid or other early plastics. I think they’re pretty – and, on the whole, they are rather simplistic things, which means that they often still work well without being too finicky.

I’ve bought several, and will undoubtedly continue to pick them up as I see ones that catch my eye.

As always, all photos are clickable

Some of them are relatively fragile, and in an earlier post I mentioned that I had not plucked up the courage to use a couple of newer acquisitions for fear of damaging them. On the other hand, while I would hate to break either pen, neither is so precious it would be a loss to humanity if something happened – though my feelings might be a bit hurt.