Writing instruments on this page are part of my personal collection and are not for sale.Parker, Post Janesville
This pen isn’t vintage, and it’s not even American, but the British-made Parker 100 yet bears a grand old American name, and it seems to me that it lives up to the marque it bears. The 100 is as much a pen for its time as was its ancestor, the “51”. The styling of the 100 is clearly a nod to that of the “51”, but — in tune with the times — the 100 is heavier, broader, and a little more streamlined than its forebear. The resulting writing instrument feels solid and handles very nicely. Although Parker has not chosen to give the 100 an interchangeable nib, the nib and the feed bear a distinct resemblance to those of the venerable Parker 45, and the 100 writes very reliably. Capped, the 100 is 519∕32", a little longer than the “51”, while at 515∕16" it’s a tiny bit shorter posted than most “51”s.
My Black Cobalt 100 was made in the first quarter of 2004 and displays on its barrel the engraved word SAMPLE. The pen was given to a merchant as a display piece, and Parker tried to ensure that it would stay that way by filling the section with epoxy before installing the nib, feed, and converter. I took the pen in trade from a client, and after I had worked on enough 100s to be certain I liked the model, I went out and bought a second pen to cannibalize from in order to make the SAMPLE pen into a working unit. Now my 100 has a custom-tuned smooth and wet medium nib.
At some point along the way, I acquired a narrow-band Sonnet Flighter (with chrome furniture) that was made in the first quarter of 1998. I consider the Sonnet one of the landmark pens of the 20th century; it sometimes takes a little setting-up, but once it’s right it’s like the Energizer Bunny. My pen, 53∕16" capped and 513∕16" posted, originally carried an unplated steel nib; but I’ve replaced that nib with a broad 18K nib that’s nice and wet. Is it “correct”? Nope. Do I care? Nope. This pen also appears among my collection of Flighters.
I keep saying that I don’t collect foreign pens, but — as with the Pelikan 100 — there is something so magical about the bulletlike, smoothly streamlined Aurora 88 that I had to have one. This is a 1947 model designed by the noted Italian architect and designer Marcello Nizzoli. It is 53∕8" capped and 57∕8" posted, a size that puts it in the same general class as the magnificent Parker ”51”. And, like its size, its superb design puts it into that class. The 88 is not a European “51”; but Aurora of Torino, which lays claim to having produced the first truly Italian fountain pen in 1919, designed and built a close competitor for the “51” and a remarkably desirable pen in its own right. The 88’s richly finned feed, as capacious as a modern collector-style feed, produces a very reliable flow through its delicious flexible nib, and the traditional European piston filler gives the pen a very large capacity. The cap slips smoothly on and off despite its lack of a Parker-style spring clutch, and once in place it stays there.
Paul Rossi is one of today’s foremost custom pen makers, and when this Rossi “Moon and Stars” almost fell into my lap I couldn’t refuse it a home. The inlaid mother-of-pearl moon and stars are perfectly set, with no visible or tactile break in the surface of the barrel, and the pen is made so that the moon lines up with the nib — and, when the pen is capped, with the clip. The barrel itself is a blue that is slightly different from the cap and blind cap, and that difference adds interest to a pen whose overall color might otherwise be boring and bland. Built on the guts of a Pelikan M800, it’s about the same size as the M800, at 59∕32" capped and 617∕32" posted; but it’s enough shorter capped that it fits into a pocket a little better. And it’s gorgeous!
The next pen here honors the heroes of Britain’s Royal Air Force who won the Battle of Britain in 1940. The aircraft silhouetted on the sterling silver clip is a Hawker Hurricane. Not as famous as the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane nonetheless deserves high honors; Hurricanes shot down more German planes than Spitfires did. This pen is 51∕2" capped and 611∕32" posted. It pushes my buttons in so many ways: it's World War II, it has Bexley guts, it’s a Paul Rossi, and it was a gift from a client who commissioned it especially for me.