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Glossopedia of Pen Terms

(This page revised July 29, 2021)

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Reference Info Index | Glossary of Paper Terms  ]


VAC-FIL  1  (also Vac-Fil, Vac-Fill) A shortened version of Vacuum-Fil. See Vacuum-Fil.  2  A series of pens manufactured by Parker for Sears, Roebuck & Company and sold under the Diamond Medal brand. See also Diamond Medal.
Vacufold Collectors’ nickname for a Parker Vacumatic model from the 1940s, made with the longitudinally striated celluloid pattern created for the Striped Duofold. These pens, identical to the Striped Duofold except for the furniture, the imprint, and the nib styling, were not catalogued and are today uncommon. Shown here are a Striped Duofold (upper) and a Vacufold (lower). See also Vacumatic. Read a profile of the Striped Duofold, with mention of the Vacufold, here.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Vacumatic A series of pens made by Parker from 1933 to 1948. The name is frequently shortened colloquially to “Vac” The salient feature of the Vacumatic is its compact pump filler, designed by Professor Arthur O. Dahlberg, an instructor at the University of Wisconsin, and perfected by Parker engineers. Shown here are mid-1930s and post-World War II models. View a description and filling instructions here. Read a profile of the Vacumatic here and a discsussion of the anatomy of a Vacumatic pen here. See also Golden Web, Imperial (definition 2), Lockdown, Speedline.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Vacuum Sheaffer’s name for one of the company’s lesser pen lines; see Vacuum-Fil (definition 2).
Vacuum-Fil  1  Sheaffer’s name for its plunger-driven pneumatic filling system. The name is frequently shortened colloquially to “Vac-Fil” (potentially causing confusion with Diamond Medal VAC-FIL pens). Wahl produced a functionally identical filler, slightly different in design, and called its version the “One-Shot” vacuum filler. View a description and filling instructions here. See a cross-section of the anatomy of a Vacuum-Fil pen here. See also Diamond Medal, “wire” pen.  2  Sheaffer’s name for one of the company’s lesser pen lines; sometimes used as a test platform for new technology. The VACUUM-FIL brand included pens with both lever and Vacuum-Fil filling systems. Shown below is an early oversize VACUUM-FIL branded pen in Marine Green Pearl.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Vacuum-Filler The name applied to Parker’s pump-filling pen upon its introduction in early 1933, changed within months to Vacumatic. Sometimes confused with Vacuum-Fil.
Valentine (Valentine Pen Manufacturing Company, Ltd) A pen company located in Newhaven, England. The company produced parts and pens, including gold nibs, for Osmia, Parker, Waterman, and others. Valentine never became successful in its own right, apparently because of its willingness to accept small orders, even for as few as a dozen pens, rather than concentrate on building its own line. When World War II began, Parker was evicted from its premises in London because the facilities were needed by the BBC, and in 1941 Parker and Valentine negotiated an agreement whereby they shared Valentine’s facilities. During the war, the factory turned out Parker-designed lever- and button-fillers under the Valentine brand. In 1945 Parker bought Valentine outright and continued producing Valentine-branded pens until about 1948. Production, primarily of nibs, continued until Parker closed the plant in 2011. Parker nibs made in Newhaven bear a base stamp of the letter N. See also Parker.
Valiant A model name that Sheaffer first assigned in 1941 to a full-length standard-girth Lifetime Balance fitted with a military clip and priced at $10.00 (illustrated below, upper); the name was later used for Touchdown and Snorkel pens with moderately broad cap bands and plastic caps (below, lower, a Snorkel Valiant). See also Commandant, Defender, Vigilant.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Vanishing Point See Capless.
vannerie (French for basketry, pronounced approximately vahn-ree) A basket-weave pattern, usually engraved or executed as guilloché work. Shown here are a Classic Pens CP8 and a close-up of its Vannerie pattern. See also guilloché.
Fountain pen
Guilloche pen barrel
varnish A solution of resin (originally from a softwood tree, now also acrylic or urethane) with a drying oil (usually linseed or tung) in a solvent (traditionally turpentine); used as a wood finish. Sometimes used as a sealant or adhesive for various joints in fountain pens. See also palm shellac, shellac.
Varsity A “house brand” of fountain pens produced by the National Pen Products Company for the Walgreens drug store chain during the 1930s. Varsity pens were of poor quality, featuring a mixture of gold-plated and -filled furniture with plated steel nibs. See also National.
V Clip The relatively fragile V-shaped clip, designed by Leon H. Ashmore, that was used on the earliest Esterbrook Renew-Point fountain pens, illustrated below.
Fountain pen
vegetal resin A class of plastic materials of which pens are made. In contrast to polystyrene plastics, which are petroleum based, vegetal resins are made from plant material (generally in combination with celluloid). Vegetal resins are attractive and durable, but they are relatively costly and are used by few manufacturers. See also resin.
vent hole See breather hole (definition 1).
Ventura (also Burp Pen) Eversharp’s name for two pen models (Ventura and Slim Ventura) introduced in 1953 to supersede the Symphony series; the last significant Eversharp line before Parker purchased Eversharp in 1957. The Slim Ventura (shown below, upper) was the more streamlined, with its nib tapered toward the point, and it featured a well-designed breather-tube squeeze filler (U.S. Patent No 2,749,883, by Raymond L. Dostert) instead of the Flip-Fill lever used by the standard Ventura (below, lower). Ventura adver­tise­ments pictured a baby and said that the pen’s Jet-O-Matic filler “burped” the pen to expel excess air during filling, thereby ensuring that it would not do so (expelling ink) while in use. This advertising gave rise to the nickname “Burp Pen” and may have been detrimental to the pen’s sales. See also Flip-Fill.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Venus See American (definition 2).
vermeil A thin layer of gold (usually 23K or 24K) over sterling silver. The chemical similarity of gold and silver causes a molecular bonding such that vermeil is more durable than gold plating over a dissimilar metal. The Parker 51 SE cap shown here illustrates the application of vermeil over part of an object. See also gold filled, plated.
Vermeil cap
Vest-Parker A tiny vest-pocket Parker Duofold model (3" capped; see illustration below) produced c. 1930 to c. 1933. Most Vest-Parkers were made either as clipless ringtop models or with clips; but a few, like the one shown here, are known to have been sold with both features. See also vest pocket.
Fountain pen
vest pocket (also Vest Pocket) A very short pen intended to be carried in a vest pocket or a purse. Produced primarily between 1910 and 1940, vest-pocket pens survived into the 1940s, as illustrated by the Sheaffer Tuckaway shown below (upper). Although the term has dropped out of common use, there are still a few pens in production that are small enough to be called vest-pocket models; among them is the retractable Montblanc Bohème (below, lower).
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
VF Vacuum-Fil (Sheaffer’s) or Vacumatic (Parker) filler. View descriptions and filling instructions here.
Victor (U.S. Victor Fountain Pen Company) A pen manufacturer located in New York City; incorporated in 1919 as the U.S. Fountain Pen Company by H. Presprich, G. F. Foulk, and N. Pecora. The company’s initial product was the Victor Collapsible Fountain Pen, which featured a telescoping barrel. When capped, the pen was about 4" long; with the barrel extended, as shown here, it was about 6" long. (The pen could not be posted.) The back end of the barrel featured a removable blind cap beneath which was a small compartment for smelling salts (or, according to U.S. Patent No 1,307,359, “other substances”). By the mid-1930s, the company was selling a pen/pencil set in which each instrument, about 4" long, was usable on its own; or the two could be coupled together back to back to create a combo of more ordinary length. Victor sold this set at least until about 1950. In 1966, the company (then located in Houston, Texas) took out a trademark on USV for use on its ballpoint pens. See also combo.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Victoria See Manos.
Victory  1  A pen model sold by Parker in the United Kingdom, initially a standard button-filler following the general pattern of the Duofold. Shortly after World War II, the Victory acquired the two-piece aluminum button/collar assembly that had been introduced on the VS.   2  A name for the design used on certain Parker nibs. See chevron (definition 2).
Vigilant The model name that Sheaffer assigned in 1941 to a full-length slender Lifetime Balance fitted with a military clip and priced at $8.75 (illustrated below). See also Commandant, Defender, Valiant.
Fountain pen
Visofil The name for two pump-type filling systems used by Mabie, Todd & Co, primarily for its top-line Swan model range (in models with Visofil in their names). The filler was functionally similar to the filler in the Parker Vacumatic but significantly different in design. The Mark I version was covered by British Patent No 451,275, issued on July 31, 1936; and the Mark II by British Patent No 480,965, issued on March 3, 1938. A similar filler (British Patent No 514,513, issued on November 10, 1939) appeared on a lesser model, the Blackbird Topfiller.
Visometer Term created by Parker to describe the Vacumatic’s transparent (or partially transparent) barrel, which allows the user to observe the amount of ink the pen contains. See also Visulated.
Vis-O-Pen A third-tier brand produced by the Aikin Lambert division of L. E. Waterman during the 1930s. See also Aikin Lambert.
Visulated (sometimes misspelled visualated )  1  Term created by Sheaffer to describe a sac-filling pen having a transparent area in its section so that the user can observe the amount of ink it contains. As indicated in the 1936 Sheaffer catalog, the name is an elision of visible and insulated; and its purpose was to provide a way for Sheaffer to advertise its lever fillers against competitors’ transparent barrel-filling pens (e.g., the Parker Vacumatic and Waterman’s Ink-Vue), which were uninsulated. Illustrated here is a Sheaffer Balance service pen with a Visulated section. Other companies adopted the feature for their sac-filling pens and used their own names, such as Parker’s “Television Ink Supply” for pens such as the Challenger and Parkette. See also Visometer 2  Collectors’ generic term for any pen with a transparent area for ink-supply visibility; usually not capitalized in this usage.
Visulated section
vitreous enamel See enamel.
V-Line See herringbone.
VP A pen model made by Parker from 1962 to 1964; the immediate predecessor of the 75. The VP (illustrated below) was described in U.S. Patent No 3,087,464, issued in 1963 to Frederick R. Wittenbert and Clemens Sonntag, as a “modular fountain pen.” It features an ergonomic section with a screw-interchangeable nib unit that can be rotated to adjust it to the user’s preference; hence the name, which is the initial letters of the phrase Very Personal. Filling is by a removable squeeze-type unit that resembles the Aero-metric filler in the “51” but does not include a breather tube; the filler is constructed of metal and an unfortunately frangible clear plastic, with a Pli-Glass sac. See also Pli-Glass, 75.
Fountain pen
VS A button-filling pen model made by Parker from 1946 to 1949, probably the intended successor of the Vacumatic. (The letters VS are variously understood to mean Vacumatic Special or Vacumatic Successor, probably the latter.) The VS (pictured below) shares its styling and some components with the “51”. Read a profile of the VS here.
Fountain pen
Vulcafor Orange An aniline dye used by Parker to color the rubber in later hard rubber Duofold pens (1924-1925); brighter and lighter in color than the coloring agents Parker had used earlier.
Vulcanite See hard rubber.
VV clip (also V.V. clip) A spring-loaded rocker clip, invented by Levi D. Van Valkenburg (U.S. Patent No 844,061). Produced in both slip-on and permanently attached versions, it was used by several early pen manufacturers (including Carey, as shown below on a Carey Giant, and Moore). Among modern makers, Visconti is probably the most prominent user of the basic design. See also clip, accommodation clip.
VV Clip

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