Saturday, 30 June 2012

Waterman Ideal Fountain Pen 1909 Rescued

Great excitement reigned at Palimpsest’s upon the discovery of a fountain pen lying in a state of neglect in an old box of calligraphy supplies. Of a dirty dull orange and greenish grey mottled appearance with a rusty clip on and a damaged nib, the pen (on closer inspection) is a Waterman. What’s more: the nib is a flexible nib. A great moment for Palimpsest who until that moment has been a flexi-nib virgin.

The barrel is marked: “Patented Aug 9 1906 Waterman’s (Ideal) Fountain Pen. Canada Feb 9 1909.” Number 13 is inscribed on the tip of the barrel. The original design of the pen is revealed under the cap which has protected it against environmental ravages: swirls of a warm orange/brown colour against a black background. The nib with its heart-shaped vent is marked “Waterman’s Ideal New York” and is noticeably damaged curving downwards like the bill of an ibis. But oh, the writing! Who would have imagined that a battered old pen such as this could have offered Palimpsest such a writing experience?

Eager to include the old Waterman in Palimpsest’s daily pen arsenal, cleaning operations were scheduled. Having established the pen to be an eyedropper with the aid of Palimpsest’s Flickr and Twitter friends, the Waterman was immersed for a few seconds in warm water which resulted in the barrel coming finally unstuck from the section. It was thoroughly dried, silicone was applied, and a converter was used to fill it with Waterman Havana Brown ink. And lo! Palimpsest was able to experience the flexi-nib experience be it from an old and scratchy nib but oh so pleasurable.

The pen still suffers of the ailments of old age. It also stinks - a peculiar chemical smell. The flow is intermittent. It runs out of ink sooner than expected. But it rests content that in its final years it made a flexi-nib virgin happy.