Issue #5: A Vintage Experience

Eversharp Skyline, Moonman-Pilot Parallel, Nahvalur Nautilus

Issue 5 | 11 June 2023

Welcome to Issue #5! I had a stellar vintage experience, Karthik did some frankenpenning and an old favorite came into play. All of this in this issue!

A few weeks ago, I came across a vintage pen being put up for sale by a fellow enthusiast. The pen immediately caught my fancy with its striking appearance. I am a bit of a sucker for art deco design, and this pen was peak art deco. I looked it up and the story behind the pen was equally fascinating.

Henry Dreyfuss was a prolific American industrial designer who designed a bunch of different things from alarm clocks and telephones to trains and buildings. The telephones most commonly seen in old movies - the black bakelite models with a rotary dial - was designed by him. His celebrity status prompted the Wahl-Eversharp fountain pen company to invite him to design a line for fountain pens for them, resulting in the Eversharp Skyline fountain pens.

One of Dreyfuss’s most iconic designs was for the New York Central Railroad - a locomotive called the Hudson, which hauled the 20th Century Limited, a luxury train whose interiors (and cutlery and livery) were also designed by him, which ran between New York and Chicago. The design was big, bold and unapologetically art deco, inspired by the design of a Spartan war helmet.

It was this design that is reflected in the Eversharp Skyline fountain pens, which were produced between 1940 and 1948 and were very successful.

I jumped at the chance to acquire a pen that appealed not only to my sense of design, but also to my storytelling side! Here was a piece of design history that was sure to be a conversation piece wherever I took it. The pen took its own sweet time arriving. The adventure it had before it reached me adds to the lore - it’s a long story tinged with tragedy, and I will not trouble you with it here. Maybe when we meet over a drink! Suffice it to say that it also involved digging through this pile of papers to find a specific tracking sheet which put us on the right track of where it was!

It finally made its way into my hands, and I got to ink it up and enjoy its beautiful writing. I’m still getting used to its soft gold nib, but it is a pleasure to use every time I pick it up. It is currently inked up with Herbin Poussiere de Lune, and has entered my regular rotation.

It’s also the first lever filler I have owned. Lever filling systems have fascinated me ever since I saw them in a bunch of cartoons when I was a kid. I had fun inking it up and adding one more filling system to my list!

Frankenpen Experiments

Karthik Subramanian | @ksubfp on Telegram

I love the Pilot parallel pen, but hate its form. I recently read somewhere that it was possible to fit a Pilot parallel nib unit into a Moonman M2 section. The idea sounded good, and I proceeded to acquire a Moonman M2 from the online marketplace that I (and quite a few other people?) love to hate, but which more or less has a stranglehold on me by means of offering quick deliveries.

The nib unit indeed fit snugly in the section, but the first experiment was a disaster. The fit, while it looked good enough, resulted in an uncontrolled leakage of ink from the pen to all surrounding areas.

I then inserted a Silicone O-ring that I had lying around handy, between the nib unit and the section. This resulted in the leak now progressing into a barely-controlled leak, which situation was better than before.

More experimentation to follow.

Everyday FPness

Lat week, I turned to an old favorite for my everyday work. The Nahvalur Nautilus Maylandia Blue is beautiful to look at, pleasurable to hold and writes like a dream. Inked up with Diamine Kopi-O-Kaw, it adds immense joy to a regular workday. Meeting notes, to do lists, first drafts of marketing material - all were transformed by this beauty this week!

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That’s all from me this week.

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