(This page revised March 8, 2013)
|Introduction A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z|
[ Reference Info Index ]
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Eversharp’s name for its first ballpoint pen, introduced in December 1945 and produced in versions resembling the Fifth Avenue (second generation CA shown here) and the Skyline. The name reflected the pen’s Capillary Action operating principle (based on László Bíró’s design, U.S. Patent Nº 2,390,636, to which Eversharp had purchased the rights). After Reynolds, a newcomer to pen manufacture, introduced a ballpoint pen in October 1945, Eversharp rushed the CA to market without adequate testing and development. The pen was disastrously unreliable, and warranty returns nearly drove Eversharp into bankruptcy. See also biro, Reynolds, Rocket.
(also Cable Twist) A distinctive helical (spiral) pattern of chasing or machined grooving on the body of a pen, used principally by Parker and other manufacturers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among modern pens featuring this design, one of the best known is the Bexley Cable Twist (illustrated below).
A jewel cut and polished to a convex shape without facets, occasionally set into the clip or other decoration on a pen. Shown below is a red cabochon on the cap crown of a Reform-Rekord (German) piston-filling Snake pen. See also jewel.
|calligraphy||(Greek for beautiful writing) A term encompassing many different styles of decorative writing, including Blackletter, Spencerian and copperplate scripts, italic and other chancery hands, Oriental pictographic writing, and so forth. See also Blackletter, chancery, chirography, copperplate, round hand, Spencerian, Zanerian.|
(Camel Pen Company) A pen company located in Orange, New Jersey (with its factory in West Orange); founded in 1935, with Howard E. Spaulding as president and treasurer, E. W. Spaulding as secretary, George F.Howard as vice president, and Joseph Wustman as plant manager. Camel set out to produce pens that made their own ink when you filled them with water. At the back end of the barrel, built into the button filling mechanism, was a replaceable cartridge that contained an ink pellet (U.S. Patent Nº 2,024,228, issued December 17, 1935, to Russell B. Kingman and Ralf L. Hartwell). Unlike the ink pellets for trench pens of World War I, the Camel’s pellet was intended to be good for many fillings, up to a year’s worth. The concept was good, but the execution was unsatisfactory, and the original Camel company was out of business by the end of 1938. Wustman transferred at least some of its parts and raw materials to the Newark Pen Company, which he also owned, and which began making Camel-branded lever fillers. Shown here is a “junior” sized Camel. Camel was not the first company to have tried to produce a pen of this type; in the early 1920s, the short-lived Dictator company had attempted the same feat, apparently with a similar lack of success. Nor was it the last; in the latter 1930s, Water tried, and during World War II, Grieshaber offered yet another ink-making pen. See also Dictator, Grieshaber, ink pellet, Instant Ink, Water. Read a profile of the Camel Pen here.
Morrison’s name for the slope-cut cap crown used on some of its pen models beginning shortly before World War II. The best-known Cameo-Top mode was the Patriot. Shown below is a postwar Cameo Top pen with a metal plaque inset into the sloped cap crown. See also Morrison, Patriot.
|cannibalization||The restoration of a pen using parts from one or more other specimens of the same exact model, e.g., taking the section, feed, and nib from a broken black Waterman Nº 52 to restore another black Nº 52. Contrast with marriage.|
|cap||A detachable cover that snaps, slides, or screws onto the barrel to protect the nib and prevent evaporation of the ink supply.|
|cap band||(also band) A ring of metal placed around a cap near its open end for decoration or to reduce the tendency of the cap lip to split when the cap is posted too firmly onto a tapered barrel. Caps without bands are usually referred to as bandless. Illustrated here are a band at the cap lip (Pelikan M200), a band near the cap lip (Esterbrook J), a broad Autograph-style band (Sheaffer’s Snorkel Valiant), and a bandless cap (Eversharp Skyline). Vintage manufacturers swaged the cap band into a groove in the cap; a few modern makers still do this but most modern caps with bands are made in two parts and assembled with the band sandwiched between. See also swaging.|
|capillarity||See capillary action.|
|capillary||A type of filling system; operates by capillary action. In Parker’s version (illustrated here) an internal reservoir (the capillary cell) contains a sheet of plastic that has been perforated, embossed with a 3-D pattern resembling safety tread, and rolled up. The holes allow ink to ooze between the rolled-up layers, and the embossed pattern maintains space between the layers. In the center, running the entire length of the capillary cell, is the feed. The cell’s housing is metal, with a Teflon coating to repel ink easily. When the pen is not being filled, a spring-loaded valve in the back end of the barrel seals the end of the cell. View filling instructions here. Waterman also used a capillary system in its X-Pen, consisting of a reservoir packed with loosely woven fabric and filled simply by dunking the nib end of the pen.|
|capillary action||(also capillarity) The drawing of a liquid into a narrow space; occurs when the adhesive force between the liquid and the surface of the solid forming the space exceeds the cohesive force between the molecules of the liquid itself. Capillary action draws ink from a pen’s reservoir into and through the feed, and thence along the nib’s slit to the tip of the nib, from which it can draw the ink onto the surface of the paper when the pen is used to write. A fountain pen that is adjusted for a light-to-average flow can usually write upside down (with the nib pointing upward to contact paper on a wall or ceiling. (A pen set for very wet flow will often have its slit adjusted too widely open for capillary action to overcome gravity.) See also channel, fissure.|
|capillary cell||The perforated and rolled plastic film, enclosed in a metal tube, that forms the reservoir in the Parker 61’s capillary filling system. See also capillary.|
|Capitol||See Aikin Lambert.|
|cap lip||The edge of the cap at its open end. Of interest primarily because posting a cap too firmly, especially on a tapered barrel, can lead to cracks of the cap lip. The illustration here, of a Sheaffer’s Balance, shows two cracks that extend up to the cap band and have actually chipped, and a third shorter crack between the chipped spots.|
|captive converter||A filling system using a standard piston-type converter that is secured within the pen, with an external knob fitted to the back end of the barrel (with or without a covering blind cap) to engage the converter’s actuating knob. Some manufacturers of captive-converter pens refer to their pens as piston or twist fillers. See also cartridge, converter.|
|Cardinal||The name applied by L. E. Waterman to the red-orange color of “red” hard rubber. See also Chinese Red, hard rubber.|
|Carey||(Carey Pen Company) A pen company located in New York City; founded c. 1890 by John Carey as the Carey Fountain Pen Company. The history of Carey’s company is convoluted at best; in 1909, the I.M. Carey Pen Company (almost certainly named for Ida M. Carey, John’s wife, appeared in a New York directory, and the Carey Pen Company appeared a year later, at which time I. M. Carey had moved to the same address as the new company. (I. M. Carey disappeared in about 1916.) ¶ Carey pens, assembled from purchased parts, were eyedropper fillers of high quality, and most were overlays. Early production was of ordinary design, but middle-joint pens appeared after A. A. Waterman relinquished his middle-joint patent in partial payment of a lawsuit. The company appears to have remained in business, functioning as a pen sales and service shop, as late as 1929.|
|Carmine||One of the striated colors that appeared on Sheaffer’s pens, beginning in 1939 with the Balance and continuing through the war years until Sheaffer retired celluloid in favor of injection-moldable cellulosic plastics in 1948. In essence, Carmine replaced the less vibrantly colored Rose Glow in Sheaffer’s color lineup. See also Rose Glow.|
(Carter’s Ink Company) An ink (and pen) manufacturing company located in Boston (later Cambridge), Massachusetts; founded in 1858 by John W. Carter. The Carter’s Ink Company was at one time the largest ink manufacturer in the world. Beginning in 1926 under then-president Richard B. Carter, the company produced fountain pens until about 1932, when it abandoned pen production in favor of ink, which had built the company and was still Carter’s essential product. Carter’s pens, known commonly as INX pens and produced in several models at varying price points, were all of very high quality. Carters pens and pencils used an innovative lever filler, based on a design by William P. De Witt (U.S. Patent Nº 1,490,735), that included a secondary spring to assist in returning the lever to its closed position and keeping it there. Shown here is a Carter’s ringtop from about 1931.
|Cartier||(Cartier Paris) A luxury jeweler based in Paris, France, with branches in several major cities including New York City. During the first part of the 20th century, Cartier’s New York store sold gold and sterling silver fountain pens, most of them bulb fillers, that were manufactured for Cartier by W. S. Hicks. Later, there were Parker 75s with patterns unique to Cartier. These latter pens are especially collectible today. See also Hicks.|
A disposable single-use ink reservoir, generally made of polyethylene or other soft plastic. In use, the cartridge is pierced by a sharp “nipple” in the pen. Shown here is a Waterman C/F (economy model), the first widely successful cartridge pen, with a cartridge of blue ink. See also another illustration at converter. [Historical note] The earliest successful cartridge pens were produced by Eagle in the 19th century, and Waterman began making cartridge pens in France beginning in 1936 (an effort interrupted by the advent of World War II but revived at war’s end). Both of these companies’ pens used cartridges made of glass. See also converter, glass cartridge.
|cartridge/converter||(abbreviated C/C) A type of filling system; uses a replaceable ink reservoir. A small nipple, usually of metal, is placed at the back of the section assembly to pierce a hole in the end of a pre-filled sealed removable cartridge (illustrated here). A converter that includes the reservoir and a filling system can be installed in place of a cartridge. The most common converter design uses the piston system. (Some makers also offer a modified version with a sliding tab instead of the usual twist knob; this is essentially a syringe filler.) Squeeze-type converters resemble an Aero-metric filler but lack a breather tube. View filling instructions here. See also cartridge, converter, self-filler.|
(also galalith) A material of which pens are made, a durable plasticlike substance made from a protein (also called casein) that is contained in milk, hardened with formaldehyde. Casein was used in the early 1920s in an attempt to escape from the fragility and limited color choices of hard rubber. Although casein is durable and can be made in very exciting colors and patterns that are difficult to achieve in other materials, its tendency to expand and contract under varying conditions of humidity and the ease with which it discolors on exposure to ink soon saw it supplanted by celluloid. Casein does not respond to the solvents commonly used to fuse celluloid or acrylic, and it is therefore difficult to repair. The modern Conway Stewart 58 shown below, in the Venetian pattern, illustrates the brilliant color effects possible with casein.
|Catalin||See Bakelite (definition 1).|
|Cathay||One of the “exotic” celluloid colors (Burma, Cathay, Jet Black, Kashmir, and Morocco) offered on the first generation of the Wahl-Eversharp Doric. Cathay is green streaked with paler green (almost to white), as shown to the right, and it is highly prone to decompose by crystallization. See also Burma, crystallization, Doric, Kashmir, Morocco.|
(Caw’s Ink and Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in New York City; founded in 1886 by Francis C. Brown out of the ashes of the bankrupt Fountain Ink Company, of which he was a trustee. Brown shared a patent with David W. Beaumel and soon after opening his company’s doors began marketing a pen built to that patent and called the Dashaway. An 1887 lawsuit brought over the pen’s design by Paul Wirt was decided in favor of Wirt; this setback spurred Brown to invent new feed designs. ¶ Drawing on Brown’s familiarity with Duncan MacKinnon’s pens, Caw’s also produced stylographic pens. ¶ Perhaps the best known Caw’s pens are safeties built to Brown’s 1895 design (U.S. Patent Nº 612,013), later licensed to L. E. Waterman. (Brown bought the assets of the bankrupt Horton Pen Company in 1896 and used the machinery to manufacture Caw’s safeties.) Caw’s safeties remained in production well into the 20th century; shown below is a Caw’s “Safety” Model 327 bearing a 1910 patent date (U.S. Patent Nº 949,752). The company went out of business during World War I. Today Caw’s pens of any variety are rare and highly collectible. See also Beaumel, Horton.
|Cedar Blue||See Blue Cedar.|
|Celluloid||(also celluloid; sometimes incorrectly referred to as pyroxylin) Trademarked name (Hyatt Bros., Newark, New Jersey, 1868; subsequently the Celluloid Corporation) for a material of which pens are made, produced by plasticizing cellulose nitrate (guncotton) with camphor. Beginning in about 1920, celluloid became the primary material for caps and barrels, under names such as Sheaffer’s “Radite” and Parker’s “Permanite.” More durable than hard rubber but less durable than many modern plastics, celluloid was supplanted in the 1940s by acrylics, injection-moldable cellulosics, and polystyrenes, but some modern manufacturers still produce pen models of celluloid. ¶ Celluloid has a charming warm feel in the hand and can be manufactured in many exciting solid and mixed colors, but it is relatively unstable and has a tendency to discolor over time. It is also extremely flammable. The manufacturing process for celluloid involves an extended curing period, and celluloid that is improperly cured is prone to crystallize, especially in thicker areas, and eventually crumble. See also ambering, cellulose acetate, crystallization, discoloration, pyroxylin.|
|celluloid disease||See crystallization.|
|cellulose acetate||(also acetate, sometimes erroneously called celluloid) A material of which pens are made, produced by plasticizing cellulose through a reaction with acetic acid and acetic anhydride. Cellulose acetate was developed in the 1930s as a safer (more stable) replacement for celluloid. See also Celluloid.|
The larger of the two models of Parker’s modern Duofold, approximately the size of an “oversize” pen of the Golden Age. Compare the Centennial and the smaller International below. See also International (definition 3).
(Century Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Whitewater, Wisconsin; founded c. 1893 by J. N. Humphrey, a Latin professor at the Wisconsin State Normal School in Whitewater. For many years, the company’s pens were advertised principally, if not solely, in journals and directories for educators. Early models were ordinary eyedropper fillers and, later, sleeve fillers (illustrated below, a ribbon overlay example). By the 1910s Century was offering lever fillers that were probably assembled from parts made by C. E. Barrett or purchased complete from him. In 1906, Century registered Durapoint as a trademark. Century retained an over-under feed design as late as 1915, proudly advertising The Century Double-feed Fountain Pen. The company survived until c. 1930. See also Barrett, over-under feed, sleeve.
|Century of Progress||
(also COP) A World’s Fair-style exhibition held in Chicago during 1933 and 1934. Some Wahl-Eversharp Bantam pens bear cap-band imprints for the exhibition (shown below) and were sold at Wahl-Eversharp’s booth as souvenirs. See also Bantam.
(also C/F) 1 Cartridge filler; a type of filling system or a pen that uses it. See cartridge/converter. 2 The Waterman C/F (introduced in 1953), the first widely successful cartridge-filling fountain pen. Shown below is a C/F in the Barleycorn pattern. Higher-priced models of the C/F are notorious for corrosion of the plated trim apron that is inlaid into the section surrounding the nib. Low-priced C/F pens (see illustration at cartridge) lacked this apron. Read a profile of the C/F here.
|chain filigree band||See Doric Junior.|
(also chalkmark) Identification marking printed on a pen or pencil by the manufacturer, using a wax-based ink (not actual chalk). Chalk marks indicate nib sizes, model names or numbers, prices, and so on, and can be rubbed away easily with the fingers. Shown below is the mark on the barrel of a Waterman pencil of the 1950s. See also sticker.
1 A series of three button-filling pen models produced by Parker during the latter half of the 1930s. The Challenger (illustrated below, upper) had a single plain cap band and a plain blind cap; the Deluxe Challenger (below, second, the Slender size) had three narrow cap bands; and the Royal Challenger had a jeweled blind cap (with a tassie) and more attractive celluloid patterns. The Royal Challenger appeared in two versions, at first with a “Sword“ clip (below, third) and later with a plainer design known as a “step” clip. Sword-clip Royal Challengers are uncommon; they are highly sought after and bring premium prices. See also Sword clip. 2 A low-priced Eversharp pen produced during the mid-1960s using some parts common with the Parker 45. Shown below (fourth) is an Eversharp Challenger. See also 45.
(also chancellery) A humanistic cursive style developed c. 1470; evolved from humanistic round, which was a reaction to Blackletter. Chancery styles came into use, initially for diplomatic acts of the Pontifical Chancellery, as a way to fit the style of writing more appropriately to the ideas of clarity and sobriety that it embodied. Shown here is a modern chancery style called Maestro. See also Blackletter, calligraphy.
|channel||A groove cut into a feed to allow the passage of air or ink. Illustrated here is a Waterman feed; the channels run the length of the top surface. There is a broad channel, into the floor of which are cut three narrower channels (properly called fissures); these latter hold ink by capillary action to prevent the interruption of flow when an air bubble passes through the broad channel into the reservoir to replace used ink. See also capillary action. fissure.|
|chased||Engraved with shallow grooves (“chasing”) in a checkerboard, herringbone, or other decorative pattern. In reference to pens, usually applied to hard rubber. Before the advent of plastics, most pens were made of Black Chased Hard Rubber (BCHR); much less common is Red Chased Hard Rubber (RCHR). See a reference page on chasing patterns here. See also engraved, guilloché, and hard rubber.|
|chatelaine||A chain, formerly worn at the waist by women, on which the wearer hooked necessities such as a small purse, a bunch of keys, or a ringtop pen. See also ringtop.|
|Chatelaine Tip||Conklin’s name for a ringtop pen. See ringtop.|
|Check||(also see as Checked) See Unique.|
A device for preventing check fraud, featuring a roller set with sharp teeth or blades to cut a series of holes or short lines in a piece of paper. Behind the roller is a felt pad, loaded with red stamp-pad ink. When rolled over the payee’s name and written-out value on a check, the roller cuts the paper and impregnates the cuts with the red ink in a pattern like the one shown here:
|chevron||1 A repeated V shape used as a chasing pattern on early hard rubber pens and, more commonly, on Wahl metal pens. 2 A single V-shaped gold stripe on the palladium-plated nibs of some Parker striped Duofolds (1940s), whence the names “Victory nib” and “Chevron nib.”|
|chew marks||See tooth marks.|
1 (Chicago Fountain Pen Company) A pen company located in Chicago, Illinois; founded c. 1914, probably did not last very long. The company’s product appears to have been a cheap Austrian-made piston-filling pen that had no feed but rather required the user to turn the filler knob backward periodically to force ink down a tube to be deposited on the underside of the nib: essentially a dip pen with a reservoir. Chicago sold its pens through magazines such as Popular Mechanics for $1.00; but this same pen was sold under myriad other names at prices as low as 25¢. Shown here is an example branded “VICTORIA” Self-Filling Fountain Pen. 2 (Chicago Safety Pen Company) See Waterman, A. A.
|Chicago Conklin||Phrase used (often dismissively) to identify a Conklin pen made after the company’s 1938 sale to a Chicago syndicate whose principal interest was to maximize profit at the expense of product quality. The move to Chicago marked the practical end of high-quality Conklin pens. In 1941, the syndicate sold the company to the Starr Pen Company, which managed to keep Conklin alive through World War II, producing pens of third-tier quality such as the Glider and the Minuteman. Conklin finally ceased operation in 1948. See also Conklin, Glider, Starr.|
(Chilton Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Boston, Massachusetts, and (later) Long Island City, New York. Founded in 1923 by Seth Chilton Crocker (son of Seth Sears Crocker), the Chilton company was noted for its high quality and innovative designs. Chilton’s primary design feature, introduced in 1924, was a clever and effective pneumatic filling system (U.S. Patent Nº 1,134,936). As shown by the Jade pen below, however, the design required an extra-long section that some people found unattractive. In 1927, Chilton introduced a more elegant design (U.S. Patent Nº 1,528,379, illustrated by the green marbled pen below) that Sheaffer adapted in the late 1940s as the latter company’s Touchdown model. Chilton also developed a successful nib design, called the Wing-Flow, with “ears” that wrap around the feed to lock the two parts in alignment. There was some amount of overlap and collaboration between the Chilton and Crocker companies. Shown below is an example of Chilton’s first-model pen. See also Chiltonian, Crocker, George VI Rex, Golden Quill, Touchdown, Wing-flow. Read a description of Chilton’s filling system here.
A low-line model produced by Chilton c. 1940, near the end of the company’s history. The Chiltonian had a steel nib, and many examples have unplated brass clips. (The pen below has a gold-plated clip that appears to be steel.) See also Chilton.
|Chinese Lacquer||See urushi.|
|Chinese Red||(also Lacquer Red) Parker’s name for the bright orange-red color of the hard rubber used for the original Duofold beginning in 1921 (near right). Collectors sometimes call this color “Tanager” from Parker’s comparison of its beauty with that of a scarlet tanager. In 1926, when Parker phased out hard rubber in favor of celluloid, the color became a little less bright (far right). See also Big Red, Cardinal, hard rubber.|
|chirography||Formerly, and in general usage, the art of handwriting; calligraphy; penmanship. In current usage among calligraphers, the term refers to ordinary handwriting as distinct from calligraphy. See also calligraphy.|
|Christmas tree||An early feed design used by Parker, so named because it has barb-shaped notches to provide increased capillary surface for better flow buffering. As shown here, the notches give it a shape reminiscent of a Christmas tree. See also buffer, feed.|
|chromium||A hard steely-gray, lustrous metal (atomic number 24) that is malleable and resistant to corrosion; takes a high polish and is used in alloys and as a plating material. Chromium is one of the principal nonferrous metals in stainless steel. See also plated, stainless steel.|
A term describing a pen that is generally cylindrical in shape but tapers smoothly toward the ends, which are usually rounded to streamline the overall form. The classic cigar shape is exemplified by Sheaffer’s pens of the 1946-1949 period, as illustrated here by a c. 1947 Sovereign II. See also Flat-Top, torpedo shaped.
|ciselé||A French word (pronounced approximately SEEZ-lay but often heard as SEE-zuh-lay or see-ZELL among English speakers) meaning engraved, commonly used to denote the engraved crosshatched design of the original Parker 75 (see photo at crosshatched) and, by extension, any similar pattern whether engraved or not.|
Term for an abbreviated clip such as the very short one used on the Sheaffer Tuckaway (illustrated at Tuckaway) or the somewhat longer one used on several Wahl-Eversharp pens (shown below, on a Doric). See also clip.
A pen designed for use by members of the clergy; typically colored black and bearing a relatively inconspicuous religious symbol, e.g., a cross, on the cap. Shown below is a Waterman clerical pen from the 1950s. See also aspergillum.
|clicker||See mechanical pencil.|
|clicking||A sound made by a nib whose tines are misaligned such that the tips touch; when there are sharp corners or burrs on the inside edges of the tipping material, one tine can catch above or below the other, and the nib will click as the caught tine is released when the writer presses down slightly to begin a stroke. See also singing, talking.|
|clip||A finger- or prong-shaped metal or plastic piece attached by one end to the cap, formed so that the other end presses against the cap as a clamp for securing the pen into a pocket or other similar location. Illustrated here is a Parker “51” “Split Arrow” clip bearing Parker’s Blue Diamond trademark. See also clasp.|
L. E. Waterman’s name for caps with its patented riveted clip (U.S. Patent Nº 800,141, by William I. Ferris), introduced in 1905. The company included the name as part of the clip’s imprint. In 1927, Waterman replaced the CLIP-CAP imprint with WATERMAN’S. See also Waterman, L. E.
|clipless||A pen with no clip on its cap. Clipless pens were made primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries. During the latter part of this period, some companies offered the same pen models with or without clips. See also ringtop, accommodation clip.|
(French word meaning partitioned or walled off, pronounced KLOY-zuh-nay in English) Enamelware in which colored areas are separated by thin metal strips that are formed and laid in place to create the design. The artisan fills the spaces with enamel and then fires the pen to vitrify the enamel. The pen illustrated below is a Chinese “51” copy made in Beijing. See also enamel, intarsia.
A slip cap fitted with a set of spring fingers (the clutch) inside the open end to hold the cap on the pen body by friction against a clutch ring mounted on the body. The first successful clutch cap (illustrated here in cross-section) was used on the Parker “51” (U.S. Patent Nº 2,278,907, by Marlin S. Baker). See also clutch ring, Lock-Slip.
|clutch ring||A decorative metal ring or band between the section and barrel of a pen with a slip-fitting cap. The clutch ring of a Parker “51”, illustrated here, engages a set of metal spring fingers inside the cap (the clutch) to hold the cap in place. See also clutch cap.|
|CN||An imprint indicating a steel nib; used on German nibs, principally during World War II, when gold was on Germany’s list of critical war resources. The mark consisted of the letters C and N side by side in a circle or ellipse. The letters stood for chromium and nickel, the two principal nonferrous metals in stainless steel. See also stainless steel.|
|coarse||Obsolescent term for a broad nib. See also nib.|
|coin||A type of filling system; operates by mechanical ink-sac squeeze. A metal pressure bar, located beneath a slotted hole in the side of the barrel, squeezes the sac laterally when depressed by insertion of a coin or similar object into the hole. Some makers of coin fillers included their own “coin” discs with their pens. View filling instructions here.|
|coin silver||A designation indicating an alloy in which 90.0% (U.S.A.) or 91.7% (U.K.) of the total metal content, by weight, is silver; the other fraction is usually copper or zinc. The same as 900 (U.S.A.) or 917 (U.K.). On pens, generally used for caps. Pieces made of coin silver are sometimes not marked to indicate the silver content even if they do bear hallmarks. See also silver, sterling.|
(Coit Ready Fill Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Chicago, Illinois; founded by Henry R. Coit in 1912 to manufacture a sleeve-filling pen (shown below) for which Coit received his patent (U.S. Patent Nº 1,124,592) in 1915. Coit’s design was an elegant alternative to the contemporaneous model produced by David Beaumel because it did not require the insertion of a pin to stake the sleeve onto the barrel. Instead, Coit threaded the exterior of the barrel at the distal end of the opening that exposed the pressure bar, and threaded the inside of the sleeve to match the barrel. The sleeve could be installed and removed without the use of tools. By making his sleeve with a faceted exterior, Coit also neatly solved the problem of keeping the pen from rolling off the user’s desk. The company appears to have gone out of business in 1920 or 1921.
1 The hugely enlarged comb feed of the Parker “51” and its descendants (U.S. Patent Nº 2,619,070, by Marlin S. Baker), made to surround the nib rather than lie within it, and concealed within the shell. A very small hard rubber “feed” is placed within the nib to support the breather tube and provide a capillary surface to deliver ink to the nib’s tip. The collector, feed, and nib of a “51” are illustrated here. See also buffer, feed. 2 Term used among pen fanciers to denote a person whose pens are assembled with a focus; e.g., all Waterman overlays or all pens of the World War II years. See also accumulator.
|Colonial||1 A chasing pattern used by Wahl on metal pens, with an uninterrupted pattern of longitudinal lines running the length of the pen. See also Milleraies, Ring Colonial. 2 (Colonial Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Boston, Massachusetts; founded in 1899. Colonial is known principally for manufacturing a blow-filling pen called Dewey’s Perfect Self-Filling Fountain Pen, which was until 1900 produced by A. A. Waterman & Co. In 1904, Charles Brandt used assets acquired from Colonial to found the Boston Fountain Pen Company. See also Boston (definition 1).|
A chasing pattern used by Wahl on metal pens, similar in appearance to Waterman’s Moderne, which has longitudinal slots cut in an overlay to reveal the black hard rubber beneath. The Colonnade’s design is actually not pierced through an overlay but rather machined into the metal surface, with the faux slots painted black. Shown here is a close-up of the Colonnade pattern. See also Moderne (definition 3).
(Columbian Fountain Pen Company) A brand applied to a line of eyedropper-filling pens pens sold from the early 1890s to shortly after the turn of the 20th century by Ezra A. Cook, who was at the time a well-known Chicago, Illinois, stationer and publisher. Cook’s pens, purchased from a jobber, were of moderate quality, and they also appeared in various mail-order catalogs, e.g., the Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog (illustrated by the cut below, from the 1897 Sears catalog).
|comb feed||A feed with slots cut into it, as shown here by an early version and a modern commercial feed, to provide the maximum possible capillary surface for flow buffering; patented in 1904 by August Eberstein (U.S. Patent Nº 750,271), widely deployed in the 1920s and ’30s and used, with enhancements, by most modern manufacturers. See also buffer, feed.|
Colloquial shortening of combination; a term for a writing instrument that combines (usually) a pen and a pencil; these instruments were produced primarily during the 1930s. The combo illustrated here is a no-name solid sterling silver specimen. Read a discussion of combos here. See also Penselpen.
|Commandant||The model name that Sheaffer assigned in 1941 to a short slender non-Lifetime Balance fitted with a military clip and priced at $3.75. See also Defender, Valiant, Vigilant.|
Eversharp’s name for the model at the top of the Skyline range, shown below. The pen’s barrel and cap were made of smooth solid 14K gold. See also Skyline, Wahl-Eversharp.
A slip cap that mates with a tapered area on the pen body, as shown on the Beaumel below. Many early hard rubber pens were made with cone caps. Capping or posting a pen with a cone cap too firmly can exert enough stress on the cap to split it. See also slip cap, straight cap, taper cap.
|conical nib||See “TRIUMPH” point.|
(Conklin Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Toledo, Ohio. Founded in 1898 as the Self Fountain Pen Company by Roy Conklin, an inventor, to produce pens using his revolutionary Crescent-Filler system, invented in 1897, patented in 1901, and improved in 1903 (U.S. Patents Nos 685,258 and 745,481, respectively, shown below on a Nº S60 pen). The company was renamed when it incorporated in 1901. Until the mid-1920s, the Conklin company resisted a change away from the Crescent-Filler because of the design’s remarkable success, and this unwillingness to advance was a contributing factor in the company’s slow decline and in its replacement as a member of the “Big Four” by Wahl-Eversharp (in about 1927). In 1931 Conklin introduced the Nozac, the first successful twist-knob piston filler produced by a U.S. manufacturer. Conklin sub-brands included the All-American Pen, Ottawa, and Toledo. In 1938, the company’s declining fortunes led to its sale to a Chicago syndicate, which in 1941 sold it to the Starr Pen Company. See also All-American Pen, Chicago Conklin, first tier, Nozac, Ottawa, Starr, sub-brand.
|Conklinette||A low-priced pen model produced by Conklin; bears the October 29, 1901, date of Conklin’s Crescent-Filler patent and uses an interesting variant of Conklin’s design (illustrated at Jaxon). A small button, or stud, replaces the crescent; the metal lock ring has a keyhole-shaped opening through which the button protrudes. The button is grooved so that when the ring is rotated one way, the narrow part of the keyhole engages the groove to keep the button from being depressed. When the ring is rotated the other way, the wider part of the keyhole encircles the button without engaging it, and the button can be depressed. See also Conklin, Jaxon.|
A series of cartridge/converter pens introduced in 1985 by Sheaffer, produced in several versions including opaque solid colors, chased black, and metal. Shown below is the chased version, Model 815, in black. Discontinued in 1995, the Connaisseur later reappeared as the Levenger Seas. See also Seas.
|contact patch||See sweet spot.|
A Waterman-style safety pen with a (usually) gold-filled overlay, produced primarily in Italy and France. At first these pens were made by Waterman; later, the producers used European “knock-off” pens. Shown here is a Continental made by Fendograf, a Milanese firm specializing in highly decorative overlays. See also Ideal (definition 2), overlay, safety.
|Continuous Feed||A distinguishing feature of a repeater-style mechanical pencil; feeds a new piece of lead automatically when the current lead nears the end of its useful life. Propel-repel pencils, which operate by means of a helical cam driving a socket into which the back end of the lead fits, cannot do this. See also mechanical pencil.|
(also convertor) A replaceable ink reservoir that can be refilled, designed for use in pens that accept cartridges. Converters exist in squeeze, piston, Touchdown, syringe, and button types, mimicking the respective filling systems but providing the convenience of cartridge use if desired. A Parker 45 is shown here with a cartridge (upper) and a piston-type converter (lower). See also captive converter, cartridge, International.
1 A fountain pen whose barrel is fitted with a blind cap that can be removed and replaced with a taper to convert the pen into a desk pen. Sheaffer and Wahl-Eversharp made lever-filling convertible pens in the 1930s; any pen whose filling system makes use of a blind cap can be fitted with a taper in this manner as illustrated below by two 1920s Parker Duofolds. 2 A pen that can be converted to use more than one filling system; in this sense, the term is generally applied to pens such as Parker’s 1970s Big Red, which accepted either a soft-tip refill or, with a pair of adapters, a standard Parker ballpoint refill.
(Conway Stewart & Co., Limited) (also CS or C/S or C-S) A pen manufacturing company located in London, England, founded in 1905 by Frank Jarvis and Thomas Garner. The name “Conway Stewart” is believed to derive from the names of the comedians in a duo act that supposedly played at the Collins Music Hall in Islington. Conway Stewart produced a broad variety of pens, including both ordinary fountain pens and a stylographic pen known as the “Ink Pencil.” The company is perhaps best known for its classic 58 model, considered by many to be a nearly perfect pen in terms of size and handling. Shown below is a 58 in the color now commonly referred to as Cracked ice, although Conway Stewart did not so designate it. The company ceased operation in 1975; rights to the name were purchased by a new venture, and the Conway Stewart name returned to the pen world in the late 1990s. Today’s Conway Stewart pens are luxury-oriented writing instruments.
|COP||See Century of Progress.|
A formally round script style (English Round Hand) favored by 18th-century writing masters, from whose exemplaria it was engraved with a burin into copper plates to print the masters’ copybooks; latterly named for the engraved copper plates themselves. A copperplate alphabet is relatively simple in style, but artistic flourishes sometimes overwhelm the basic simplicity. The copper plates were engraved slowly and laboriously (drawn, not written). Modern practitioners of the art create the style with a pen, as the early writing masters intended that their students should learn to do, and in this case the product is truly written. Shown here is a short exemplar typeset in a copperplate font called Edwardian Script. See also calligraphy, round hand, Spencerian, Zanerian.
1 A chasing pattern used by Wahl-Eversharp in the 1920s. See Niagara. 2 A color used by Wahl-Eversharp, Carter’s, et al. from c. 1928 to c. 1931: a slightly marbled orange-red, as shown to the right and on the Wahl desk pen shown below.
|cork||The outer bark of the cork oak tree, used as a piston seal in piston fillers and as shaft packing in safety pens and plunger fillers. See also packing.|
Term describing a nib that has been twisted bodily so that its overall shape reminds the viewer of a corkscrew. Shown here is a Waterman’s Ideal Nº 5 nib (modified to a broad stub) that has been badly corkscrewed.
(Corona Pen Company, Inc.) A pen manufacturer located in Janesville, Wisconsin; incorporated in 1922 by Samuel V. Corona (president and general manager), Herman G. Stubbendeck, and Eldon H. Damrow, with James Pitt as vice president. The company was founded to produce pens using Samuel Corona’s design for a pen that filled by cam action through the twisting of a knob at the distal end of the barrel (U.S. Patent Nº 1,540,763). Corona also received a design patent for a colored transparent cap crown with flecks of gold leaf embedded in the material (U.S. Patent Nº D65,636); the pen illustrated below has a ruby red cap crown of this design. The company appears to have folded in 1929, possibly as a consequence of the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression.
1 Wahl-Eversharp’s name for a gold-filled metal pen it introduced in 1936. The Coronet, a lever filler, featured a strikingly attractive Art Deco design that included “bands” of triangular cutouts revealing insets of celluloid in either black or a marbled burgundy. Illustrated here (upper) is a Coronet with burgundy insets. Read a profile of the Coronet here. See also Half Coronet. 2 Parker’s name for its satin-finished metal-bodied version of the 45 (illustrated below, lower), introduced in 1967.
|corrosion||The destruction of metal by an oxidation reaction. On copper-based alloys such as brass, corrosion usually shows as verdigris, and it can result from contact with moist air laden with sulfur compounds that can combine with the moisture to form sulfuric acid. On stainless steel, corrosion is caused by sustained contact with an acidic ink and appears as a pitted area. (See photograph at pitting.) On ordinary steel parts (e.g., pressure bars), corrosion appears as rust. Corrosion should not be confused with brassing, which is caused by abrasion. See also brassing, pitting, stainless steel.|
Printers’ term for the open spaces in letters. Of concern to fountain pen users because using a nib that is too broad for one’s writing style will cause the counters to close (fill in), marring the appearance and hampering the legibility of the writing as illustrated in the upper line shown here.
|CPT||Chrome Plated Trim. See also chromium, plated.|
|crack||Damage caused by excessive stress. Cracks usually appear in barrels where a friction-fit section is inserted, in cap lips of pens that have been posted too forcibly, or in nibs. Cracks in some materials can be repaired or even restored to invisibility, but such repairs are usually weaker than the native material. There is no known way to repair cracked hard rubber such that the repaired part will have meaningful mechanical strength.|
|Cracked Ice||A pattern of irregular areas separated by a network of lines of a contrasting color, used for pen barrels and caps. Cracked Ice was originally identified with (but not named by) Conway Stewart, which used black areas and white or silver lines, as shown here. More recently, several makers have used patterns of white or near-white chips with dark-colored lines that may bleed somewhat into the chips, discoloring their edges attractively. In some cases, these patterns include chips of varying colors, as shown in the rightmost image here.|
A model name that Sheaffer assigned in about 1938 to a full-length slender-girth Balance priced at $3.50 (illustrated below, upper). Initially fitted with a Nº 3 nib but distinguished through most of its product life by a Nº 33 nib, the Craftsman remained in production through several styling changes until the mid-1950s, at which point it had become a $5.00 TIPdip model that no longer bore a Nº 33 nib (below, lower). Caution: Do not be misled by the common but erroneous 1:1 association of the Craftsman name with the wire-band pens that Sheaffer introduced at the end of World War II; there was a wire-band Craftsman, but there were other wire-band models as well. Read a profile of the Craftsman here. See also Sheaffer names, TIPdip, wire band.
|Craig||1 A Sheaffer sub-brand (1920s), named for Walter A. Sheaffer’s son Craig R. Sheaffer, who later ran the Sheaffer Pen Company (from the end of World War II until 1953). Craig pens were a low-line product, designed to be sold without warranty. Craig pens were generally ordinary flat-tops of the time; among their interesting features is a clip with a tab that is inserted laterally into a slot in the cap just below the crown and is secured by a pin driven into a hole drilled in the top surface of the cap to align with a hole in the clip (U.S. Patent Nº 1,316,069, by Levi D. Van Valkenberg). 2 (Craig Fountain Pen Corporation) A pen manufacturing company that existed, apparently for a very brief period, in Massachusetts. The company was dissolved on April 1, 1929, by an act of the state legislature as one of several hundred “delinquent” corporations.|
Literally, “twisted.” Describes a nib (usually an italic) that has been made with its tines bent sharply to one side to accommodate a very steep tip obliquity, as shown below with a neutral italic for comparison. Cranked nibs are rare; the best known examples are untipped steel calligraphy nibs produced “for left-handers” by Osmiroid, a defunct British company. See also nib, untipped.
|crazing||A network of cracks or fissures, sometimes so small as to be invisible to the naked eye, running over the surface of, or through, hard rubber or plastic. Crazing is caused by chemical activity; in rubber it results from oxidation and drying out, while in plastics such as celluloid it results from the gradual decomposition of the material due to the outgassing of plasticizers. See also crystallization.|
|crescent||A type of filling system; operates by mechanical ink-sac squeeze. A metal pressure bar, attached to a metal crescent protruding through a slotted hole in the side of the barrel, squeezes the sac laterally. A lock ring rotates around the barrel. Rotated one way, the ring “locks” the crescent against being depressed; rotated the other way, the ring “unlocks” the crescent to be depressed. View filling instructions here. See also Conklin, hump filler, Jaxon.|
A metal-capped pen with the cap threads at the proximal end of the section to allow for a more streamlined profile, introduced in 1937 by Sheaffer. Initially identified only as the Model 47, later named Crest. From its introduction until 1942, the Crest had an open nib (illustrated below, upper, lever filler); in that year, along with Sheaffer’s other Lifetime models, it received the new “TRIUMPH” point (below, lower, Vacuum-Fil). See also Imperial (definition 2), “TRIUMPH” point.
|C-ring||See snap ring.|
|crisp||(also formal) A variation of italic or oblique italic nibs, illustrated to the right, in which edges are sharply defined; a calligrapher’s nib. A crisp italic nib is relatively lacking in smoothness but produces greater line variation and more precise corners than a cursive italic, which is ground to be relatively smooth in use. See also cursive (definition 2), italic, oblique.|
A third-tier fountain pen brand of the 1920s, available in celluloid and metal versions. The metal pens were cheaply gold plated, but Criterion products were otherwise well made. The brand is known from the CRITERION imprint running down the clip, but the manufacturer is unknown. Metal third-tier pens are relatively uncommon.
1 (Crocker Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1902 by Seth Sears Crocker (father of Seth Chilton Crocker), the Crocker company produced generally ordinary pens of high quality; its unique products included a blow filler (U.S. Patent Nº 678,547) and a locking end-lever filler (U.S. Patent Nº 1,214,310). Illustrated below is a locking end-lever filler. This design is often mistakenly referred to as a hatchet filler. There was some amount of overlap and collaboration between the Crocker and Chilton companies. See also blow, Chilton, hatchet. 2 (S. C. Crocker Pen Company) A pen manufacturing company located in New York City. Founded c. 1903 by Seth Chilton Crocker (son of Seth Sears Crocker), who at that time left his father’s company. Crocker himself was out of the company by 1910, probably through bankruptcy, but the company continued to make pens for some time. See also Chilton.
(A. T. Cross Company) A pen manufacturing company located in Providence, Rhode Island; founded in 1846 by Alonzo T. Cross, the company remains in business today. The company‘s first products were gold and silver casings for wooden pencils. In 1875, Cross began selling a stylographic pen (U.S. Patent Nº 189,304) that was more reliable than its competition from such makers as Duncan MacKinnon. In 1882, Cross received a patent for the first successful propel-repel-expel mechanical pencil (U.S. Patent Nº 263,392). In about 1895 the company added eyedropper-filling fountain pens to its product line but ceased making pens sometime before 1910. In 1938, the company reentered the fountain pen market with lever-filling pens in Art Deco styles to match its pencils. Shown below is a Cross 150th Anniversary pen, recreating one of these Art Deco designs.
(also cross-hatched, “Lattice”) Shaded or decorated with lines (usually engraved and often filled with paint or chemically treated to be a contrasting color) that cross one another at an angle. Crosshatching can be done at any angle; two common versions, both executed in sterling silver and illustrated below, are the rectilinear design on the original Parker 75 and the diagonal (“Lattice”) design on a Sheaffer Silver Imperial. See also ciselé, engraved.
1 The end of a pen’s cap or barrel. On an overlay pen, sometimes covered with a domed metal end cap that may be formed over the edge to meet the overlay, as on the cap of a Waterman’s 412 (below, left), or crimped in by a bead at the edge of the overlay, as on the barrel of a Waterman’s 05521/2V (below, right). See also overlay. 2 (When capitalized, Crown Pen Company) A pen and pencil manufacturing company located in Chicago, Illinois; founded in 1887 by Hugh T. Reed. Crown produced gold pens (dip pen nibs), pen holders, metal mechanical pencils in gold and silver finishes, and fountain pens. The Crown Fountain Pen was noted for its large size and great ink capacity. In 1893, the company set up a fully operating pen factory, with 20 employees at work, in the Machinery Hall of the Columbian Exposition; Crown also received the concession to sell pens at the Exposition. Beginning in the mid-1890s, Crown produced the first successful combination fountain pen and clinical thermometer (commonly known as a doctor’s pen) under U.S. Patent Nº 590,262, by Augustus P. Hafner. The company remained in business at least into 1916. See also doctor’s pen.
A small dip nib with an extremely fine point, commonly used for applying hairline ornamentation to calligraphic script that has been executed with an italic nib. The example below illustrates an extreme level of crow-quill ornamentation. See also Blackletter, dip pen.
|crystallization||(known more technically as celluloid disease) In pens and other objects made of celluloid, the gradual decomposition of the material due to the outgassing of camphor, the plasticizing component. The material becomes progressively more friable and may eventually crumble of its own accord. The process releases nitrogen compounds, among them nitric acid, and these compounds exert an accelerating effect on the material’s decomposition. The tendency to crystallize is directly related to the thickness of the object and is inversely related to the amount of added colorant and to the length of time allowed for curing during manufacture. Crystallization is sometimes preceded by fluorescence. See also crazing, fluorescence.|
|CS||See Conway Stewart.|
|CT||An obsolescent abbreviation for carat, seen most commonly on vintage British nibs.|
|cursive||1 A style of handwriting in which letters are connected together by strokes from one to the next; more rapidly written than styles that require the conscious lifting of the pen from the paper after each letterform is completed; the style taught to school children after they have learned to print block letters. 2 A variation of italic or oblique italic nibs, illustrated to the right, in which edges are reshaped more smoothly than normal to enable more rapid writing. See also crisp, italic, oblique.|
|Cushon Point||Trademarked name for nibs produced by Conklin beginning shortly before the company’s move to Chicago under new ownership. Unlike an ordinary English word like cushion, the made-up word “Cushon” could be trademarked. Conklin imprinted these nibs (illustrated to the right) with the Cushon POINT name and a crescent-shaped design that replaced the crescent-shaped breather hole used on many earlier Conklin nibs. The crescent design features a series of lines across it, and its overall appearance has been likened to the grin of Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire Cat.|
|cutwork||See filigree (definition 2).|
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