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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Open the Pandora's box of oddball items in 'Auction Kings'Philippine Star, May 17th
An amphibious army truck, a vintage pen machine and a pool table custom-made for the Rolling Stones, you never know what will sail through the doors of Gallery 63, and it is up to the AUCTION KINGS to differentiate trash from treasure. The bidders and...Read more
Kristen Stewart Robert Pattinson, Birthday Gift to Actor Boyfriend, Custom ...Enstarz, May 13th
Pattinson doled out tons of cash on a limited-edition pen for his girlfriend who is an avid pen collector. He bought her a limited edition white gold Tibaldi Bentley Crewe fountain pen, and he had her name engraved on it with the year and wording "From...Read more
Olympus Announces Its Fourth Generation PEN E-P5 Mirrorless Digital CameraVirtual-Strategy Magazine (press release), May 10th
The first of the digital PEN cameras to sport the brand name on its face, the styling of the camera is reminiscent of Olympus' beautiful vintage PEN film cameras. Image quality on the new PEN E-P5 is exceptional – it shares the Olympus OM-D's 16...Read more
Is it Time to Use a Fountain Pen?Money High Street (blog), May 9th
Perhaps not too surprisingly, many of us have old or even vintage pens that may now be collectors items and worth a considerable amount. It is time to start using a fountain pen again? At school and in my first few years working for a bank and then an...Read more
Twitter artist Johanna Basford set for first showScotsman (blog), May 2nd
One of the small rooms off the DCA exhibition space has been turned into a replica of her studio, to allow people to peek behind the scenes, see how her works begin (as pencil drawings), and some of her extensive pen collection (“Whenever we go to a...Read more
Goolam Vahanvati: Attorney general or mob lawyer?Firstpost, April 30th
He also offers a personal portrait of Vahanvati as a man who seems compulsively inclined to lie about who he is, be it about his expensive pen collection or his love for the lavish lifestyle. You can and must read Inside Man in its entirety here. PS...Read more
Kent-Meridian special needs student dies of unknown causesKent Reporter, April 25th
According to Sandra Soto, another paraeducator who worked one-on-one with McCracken, it was not his love for magazines or his growing working and non-working pen collection that people will remember about McCracken, but rather his natural hunger for...Read more
GET UPDATES FROM Kelly BerginHuffington Post, April 23rd
I've organized my nerdy pen collection. I've packed for trips I may not be able to take. There are many times when I am so happy! Many, many people say they'd never know that I was sick. Even at NYU, I joke and people laugh and I know am worthy, I know...Read more