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Profile: The Eversharp Ventura Family

Reference Info Index | Glossopedia  ]


Ventura Advertisement, 1953 Magnifying glass
This Ventura adver­tise­ment ap­peared on the inside front cover of Home Journal’s June 1954 is­sue. The Ven­tura set‘s price was $8.75, while the ster­ling sil­ver Slim Ven­tura set was priced at $25.00.

Maqnufacturer logoThis pen “BURPS” before it drinks… but never afterwards!

Possibly the worst advertising slogan ever written for a fountain pen, those words might have doomed the Eversharp Ventura before it even got out of the gate. That they did not is witnessed by the pen’s run from its 1953 introduction until the Parker Pen Company bought the tottering Eversharp, Inc., in 1957. On the other hand, seeing advertisements like the one to the right has cast the Ventura, otherwise known as the “Burp Pen,” in a poor light in many people’s minds. It is commonly accepted today that the Ventura’s predecessor, the Symphony, was the last premium pen made by Eversharp, but that is not really the case.

There were two members in the family, the Ventura and the Slim Ventura. The former (shown below, upper) replaced the Symphony as Eversharp’s mid-line model; the latter (below, lower) was the new upper-line model, filling the space left by the Envoy, which had remained in the lineup for only a brief time after its 1948 introduction:

Fountain pen Magnifying glass
Fountain pen Magnifying glass

Both the Ventura and the Slim Ventura were offered with extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad 14K “osthenium tipped” nibs in flexible and manifold styles. Despite both bearing the Ventura name, the two models — unlike the later Sheaffer Targa and Slim Targa — were dramatically different, and we shall consider them individually.

The Ventura

The Ventura, Model No 715, was not really a new pen as such. A slight restyling replaced the Symphony’s rounded cap crown with a blunt shape, but internally the Ventura picked up where the Symphony had left off. It was a lever filler using the unitized lever and pressure bar assembly (U.S. Patent No 2,325,069), now trademarked as the “Flip Fill,” that had first appeared in the Skyline, along with the same Magic Feed (U.S. Patent No 2,255,093, first used in the Doric), fitted with the Skyline’s full-length breather tube.

Filler assembly
Eversharp Magic Feed

The sameness extended even to the construction of the cap, which was a metal shell with a tab-secured clip and a molded plastic inner cap.

The Ventura’s barrel appears to have been identical to that of the second-generation Symphony, with the same distinct swelling a little aft of the barrel threads. The barrel allowed the Ventura’s cap to post a little farther down than the Symphony’s barrel did, giving a posting length a little shorter than the Symphony’s. Shown here for comparison are a Dubonnet Ventura (upper) and a black second-generation Symphony (lower):

Fountain pen Magnifying glass
Fountain pen Magnifying glass

As shown below, the Ventura’s cap styling (upper) took a step backward as well, reaching back a decade to the laterally grooved design of the most common gold-filled Skyline cap style (lower).

ventura_caps

When all is said and done, the Ventura retained the excellent writing qualities that had been associated with Eversharp pens since the founding of the company. It was, to put it simply, not a bad pen, but not a great pen, either. The single quality issue that might take it out of the running to be rated an excellent pen was the cap. Not only does there exist today the same problem with a loose inner cap that plagues the second- and third-generation Symphonys, but both gold-plated and chromed cap finishes have also failed to held up as well over the decades as the gold-filled or stainless steel caps of contemporaneous Parker pens, and some examples show a light stippling of shallow pitting. Given that these two issues were not anticipated in the 1950s, the Ventura, with its 14K Eversharp nib, stands as a surprisingly good pen when compared to the contemporaneous steel-nibbed Sheaffer Craftsman, which sold for the same $5.00 sticker price.

The Slim Ventura

slim_ventura_nib The real news from Eversharp’s fountain pen department in 1953 was the Slim Ventura. Other than its retention of Eversharp’s proven nib and Magic Feed, the Slim Ventura was pretty much new from the ground up — and there were even changes to the nib and feed to enhance the slender look of the pen, in the form of a downward arch running the whole length of the nib and a “backwards” taper in the profile. As shown to the right, the shoulders of the nib were narrower than the base, and the feed was tapered to accommodate this new profile. Shown here are a green Slim Ventura pen and pencil. Unlike its competitors, Eversharp designed the Slim Ventura so that the pen and pencil had the same girth (and, when the pen was capped, the same length). This design made the two pieces appear much more a matched set than other pens and pencils of the time. To emphasize the slimness of the pen and pencil, the cap (and the barrel of the all-metal models) featured groups of four longitudinal engraved lines separated by spaces.

Mechanical pencil Magnifying glass
Fountain pen Magnifying glass

In addition to the slender styling that required a new cap interior with metal threads, the Slim Ventura included a host of other new (or new-seeming) features, each with a snappy “marketspeak” name to beguile the public with its novelty:

As listed in the following table, there were five models in the Slim Ventura family, three with plastic barrels and two all-metal models. Shown below the table are a 723 and a 725.


Model No Barrel Cap Clip Price

717 Plastic Gold plated Gold plated $7.50
719 Plastic Sterling silver Gold filled $10.00
721 Plastic Gold filled Sterling silver $10.50
723 Sterling silver Sterling silver Sterling silver $15.00
725 Gold filled Gold filled Gold filled $18.00

Fountain pen Magnifying glass
Fountain pen Magnifying glass

Colorful?

The Ventura’s color palette featured the same four dark colors that had graced the third-generation Symphony. The Slim Ventura offered six colors, adding two to the palette of the standard Ventura. The green of the Venturas seems to be somewhat bluer than the green on the Symphony, but that difference could easily be due to the pens’ having been made from different lots of plastic. The color chips here were made from photographs of actual pens. 3D highlighting added with a computer.


Ventura Colors
Color Name

Black Black
Blue Blue
Green Green
Dubonnet Dubonnet
Brown Brown (Slim Ventura only)
Silver Gray Silver Gray (Slim Ventura only)

Notes:
  1. After the pattern of iridosmine and osmiridium, the name “osthenium” implies a tipping alloy composed principally of osmium and ruthenium, containing more ruthenium than osmium.

  2. In Eversharp’s December 15, 1953, parts list, the entire part (sac guard with two pressure bars) was identified as Part No 8679, Presser Bar.


The information in this article is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative or complete. If you have additions or corrections to this page, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information. My thanks to Jim Mamoulides, who provided some of the information and lent several of the pens for for photography.

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