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November 2006: The E-Mailbag Runneth Over

Extra Fine Points Index  ]

BY DON FLUCKINGER • This month’s column finds me catching up to e-mails and at the end, asking you to help me put a model name to a pen I bought in Toronto.

SORRY, PA: First off, I’d like to extend my apologies to everyone in Pennsylvania reading this column. Apparently, when reeling off the list of do-nothing U.S. presidents from Ohio, I errantly included James Buchanan, the do-nothing president who was actually from Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Also, several readers (from Pennsylvania) correctly point out that the do-nothing president from Ohio I left off the list was McKinley.

Steve Lehman liked last month’s piece on Conklins overall, but calls shortsighted my “universal condemnation of Chicago Conklins.” Extra Fine Points

Speaking of McKinley — on the eve of the Ohio Pen Show — that reminds me: Why were so many of the presidents who were assassinated from Ohio? What is it about us Ohioans that makes people just want to whip out their pistols and shoot us?

STUPID PEN GUY TRICKS: Ron Lamontagne of Winnipeg writes:

As you are the Guru for all things Wearever, would you be kind enough to tell me where I could obtain cartridges for a couple of Wearever pens? I've been forcing Cross cartridges on the pens. The International type does not work and Sheaffers are quite tight.

First off, I ain’t the guru, just one of the few Wearever enthusiasts who publicizes his email address (ha, ha).

Secondly, great minds think alike: Remarkably, I’d posed this question to Richard less than 48 hours previous to receiving Lamontagne’s email. The short answer is — there are no cartridges that fit. The long answer is that you can hack a modern part to make it fill from a bottle.

The way to make a converter fit is to get a Monteverde syringe-type converter and bore out the hole in the neck with a No 28 drill, Richard says.

Fountain pen
Fountain pen

The job Richard did on the pen shown above was great — the fit’s tight and while of course you’d want the capacity of a nice fat sac, this is much better than nothing. This gorgeous gold and onyx metal pen’s back in action after probably several decades’ layoff.

CONKLIN REDUX: I have no rebuttal to this comment, I just want to give you Steve Lehman’s take on my Conklin piece last month. He liked the piece overall, but says that my “universal condemnation of Chicago Conklins is shortsighted.”

Not all Chicago Conklins are junk. The earliest model, that looks somewhat like a Nozac, often found in striped celluloid, can still found with a Toledo 14kt nib, or a 'Cushon Point' 14kt nib, isn't a bad pen -- about the level of quality of a Parkette, though the trim is usually worn off gold wash.

Not the quality of the Toledo pens, but better than a lot of Wearevers, and worth a second look. I suspect these must be the ones made right after the move, using left over Toledo nibs and celluloid. But you are right, the later Chicago Conklins are junk.

NAME THAT WATERMAN: I acquired the following Waterman — actually, two of them — from a seller at the Toronto show last summer. Can anyone tell me what it is? Probably a common model but I’ve looked in some references and a couple vintage catalog reprints and I see an awful lot of pens like it but not this exact one with the two cap bands and unboxed lever. (Click the image for a zoomed image of this pen.)

Fountain pen

Measurements are 5" capped and 6" posted, and it’s got a sweet, sweet semiflex nib (the only kind of flex cooperative with my lefty writing style). If you’ve seen this one before, please drop me an email — and thanks in advance.

cover Further Reading: President James Buchanan: A Biography, by Philip S. Klein

Did you know Pennsylvanian James Buchanan is one of the most under-appreciated Presidents in U.S. history? So claims biographer Philip Klein in the definitive, 500+ page tome of the life of the man who preceded Abe Lincoln in office.

Freelance writer Don Fluckinger lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is the son-in-law of Richard Binder. His articles have been published in Antiques Roadshow Insider, The Boston Globe, and on the collectibles Web site. Please note: Any opinions stated in this column are Don’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Richard Binder or this Web site. Don Fluckinger
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