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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Parker51.com

Parker51.com

Ernesto Soler's extensive homage to one of the most popular pens ever produced, the Parker "51," introduced in 1941… [read review or visit site]

Penhero.com

Penhero.com

Jim Mamoulides' vintage and modern pen-cyclopedia. Start at the main gallery, featuring detailed articles (with pho… [read review or visit site]



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Recent News: Pens

Source: Google News

Nobody Is As Good As Their Selfie
Florida Times-Union (blog), October 18th

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has the opinion that I am a wee bit obsessive about my pen collection. I remember in exasperation at my growing pen collection, she once asked, “If you had to choose between me or your pens, which would you ...Read more

Allen Parish historical items on display at courthouse
Alexandria Town Talk, October 5th

OBERLIN – The pen that former Louisiana Gov. Luther “L.E.” Hall used to sign a proclamation creating Allen Parish more than a century ago is on display at the Allen Parish Courthouse. Clerk of Court Gerald Harrington discovered the antique pen during ...Read more

Writing Is on the Wall for India's Fountain Pen Sellers
Wall Street Journal (blog), October 4th

Zishan Mitha runs a pen stall down the street from Mr. Ashraf and also relies on families of deceased pen collectors for his dwindling supply of antique fountain pens. The families sell because they “don't have knowledge about pens,” said Mr. Mitha...Read more

Spooky Merseyside stories by Tom Slemen: The Bootle Witch
Liverpool Echo, October 1st

of her 'family history' but still I couldn't find my pen to sign her book – when suddenly, an old Waterman pen seemed to appear out of nowhere. I signed Layla's book, looked away for a moment, then realised she had gone – along with the vintage pen…...Read more

'American Dream' crumpled by blatant satire
Buenos Aires Herald, September 22nd

In a heavy accent, he describes what he loves most about America: his pen collection and stuffed dice on his steering wheel. After Meter hops into the taxi, the driver sings the quintessential “America” song from West Side Story, emphasizing that...Read more