Vintage pens, in particular fountain pens, are highly collectible and come in a wide variety of colors and styles, from elaborate jewel-encrusted casings to sleek and simple cigar-shaped designs. There are three main types of vintage pens: 1) dip pens have a nib to dip into an inkwell; 2) fountain pens have a self-contained ink reservoir; and 3) ballpoint pens have a little ball that allows ink to flow out when the pen is put to paper.
The 1920s were a time of innovation and prosperity for pen manufacturers, who started developing plastic pens in a variety of colors and styles. The Sheaffer Balance, released in 1929, started a trend toward streamlined pens. The 1930s saw the introduction of more affordable models, sold in dime stores. The 1940s ushered in ballpoint pens, and a more modern look typified by the famous 'Parker 51', the classic collector pen released by Parker in 1950.
Up until the 1960s, the emphasis in the pen industry was on the development of better-performing and easier-filling pens through innovations in nib and reservoir technology. In the mid-1880s, craftsmen had created the first reliable fountain pen, but it had a long way to go...
By the 1960s, ball point and cartridge technology had made performance a non-issue, and manufacturers like Parker, Sheaffer, Waterman and Montblanc began to focus on fancier material and designs, with a variety of colors, lacquers, and engravings to differentiate their high-end products. Pens became a gift item and fashion statement, and were ultimately produced as limited editions for the collector market.
Interviews & Articles
In 1908, three guys in Hamburg, Germany, founded what would become Montblanc. In the beginning it was known as the Simplo Filler P… [more]
When I got my first job out of college, I did what a lot of people do: I ran out and bought myself a Montblanc pen and fountain pe… [more]
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Folks You Should Know: David Fox has collected a century of pensKingsport Times News, June 18th
David, IT systems analyst at Eastman, has a collection of rare and antique pens, some of which he's modified to use with modern refills. With more than 500 antique pens and pencils in his collection, David said he started his pen collection in high...Read more
Interview With Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa Pens on The Evolution Of ...Pursuitist, June 5th
Pursuitist: The Icon pen collection includes Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Bruce Lee, Frank Sinatra, among others, and now Elvis — what personality dimensions did these people have in common? Mr. Aquila: They were best in class in their respective fields...Read more
Aaron Sorkin's Office Is Better Than Yours Will Ever BeLAist, June 4th
Sorkin applied his own stamp with a collection of black-and-white photographs of great American writers such as Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Clifford Odets, as well as vintage pen-and-ink sets and other tokens of his craft and framed pictures...Read more
Local Serbian Restaurateur Pays $23500 for Berlin Wall PieceGlobalAtlanta, May 28th
He once helped authorities seize a fountain pen collection worth $2 million in Charleston, S.C. The highlight was a pen encrusted with 1,400 diamonds in the shape of France's Mont Blanc mountain range. The collector paid $175,000 for it; Mr. Hays...Read more
The elephant in the West BankHaaretz, May 26th
In another kind of political culture, a politician like him would have said: “My poor countrymen, I erred. I'm a failure with no talents. From now on I will focus on my pen collection, I'll fly to see cup final matches in Europe and help anyone who...Read more
Just the right touch: A celebration of the fountain penNews & Observer, May 25th
Fountain pen collector, Deb Kinney, repairs a fountain pen after finishing work at her Durham home Thursday May 2, 2013. She not only repairs pens as a hobby but has a collection of over 500 pens. CHUCK LIDDY — firstname.lastname@example.org Buy Photo...Read more