How to ruin a vintage pen in less than 2 hours

A cautionary tale

As I’m sitting here, a broken vintage (or classic) pen in front of me, I reflect on the poor choices that have let me to this place. Learn from my mistakes.

Step 1: Swallowing the bait

So you are interested in classic or vintage fountain pens. You have some experience with pens and their upkeep, you have aligned some tines, you have disassembled some pens that are more challenging than others.

You read the blogs. And someday, somebody with similar taste to yours will post about their latest vintage interests. And you will think to yourself: “Hm, this could be a pen that I would enjoy. Maybe I should check the online auctions.” You see that the prices are affordable and you find similar models that you find interesting, too.

Your fate is sealed!

The hunt is on

It’s late. You have looked at auctions all evening and you have talked yourself into accepting higher and higher prices to get a good quality pen. And then you find it. The pen you have been looking for. At a price you are willing to pay. And it is NOS.

New old stock!

Sooner than you realize you receive mails confirming purchase, payment and that your item has been shipped.

The payoff

You just came home and unpacked your backpack from a nice little trip out of town when the doorbell rings. DHL is here with an express delivery. Never have you signed your name more quickly, never has a parcel been opened more carefully yet swiftly.

And there it is. Your brand new, never before used Parker 50 Falcon. And it is perfect! Not a mark on the barrel, not a scratch on the arrow clip. The cap closes with a satisfying click and is rock solid. The section is without the typical rings that plague this model and the nib… Oh that gorgeous, integrated nib. You ink up the pen and write the first few lines on a fresh sheet of Rhodia paper. The ample ball of tipping material glides over the paper with just the right amount of feedback and leaves a fine line that is perfect for your print handwriting.

It is a pen nerds dream, and you are living it!

The incident

You need to share this joyous occasion! Better take some pictures of your new favorite pen and send them to the only person that understands you: Your friend that is also into pens. First responses from Facebook are positive, and you feel justified and supported in your decision to get this beauty. Let’s celebrate with a cold beverage!

You are in front of the open fridge looking for a bottle when you hear it: a little noise, insignificant to anybody but you.
You immediately identify what has happened.
Your new vintage pen has just rolled off of the table and hit the wooden floors, hard.

After a deep breath, you close the fridge and, having resigned yourself to the inevitable, you walk over to assess the damage.

It is bad. The once perfect, sleek integrated nib behaved like any well crafted arrow should and hit the “target” first. The impact has bent the tines down in an almost perfect 90° angle. The pen is seriously damaged, and it has been in your possession for about 90 minutes.

The silver lining

You are calm. This had to happen to you in your pursuit of the hobby sooner or later. All there is to do now is to go over your options:

  • Nibmeisters. You don’t know any, and the ones you have heard of are an ocean away from you.
  • The internet. A quick search doesn’t yield a lot of results on servicing or repairing this specific model of pen.
  • Spare parts. Hey, you won an auction for a nib unit for the pen that you got pretty cheap! You could wait for that to arrive. And since it will arrive sooner or later anyways, you could try to fix the pen yourself…

The ultimate defeat

“How hard can it be?” you think to yourself. “The tines are steel, I should be able to bend them back if im careful” you think to yourself.

You try it. And you are making promising progress at first! The tines are getting closer to their original position! A final effort and they should be back to…

Snap.

One tine has broken. You can’t even find the missing piece on the table, but it is clearly gone from the nib.

Your pen is ruined.

Acknowledging your defeat, you check the auction for the spare part. It is just the nib, without the feed.

A quick Google search tells you that removing the feed is most easily done with liquid nitrogen!

You put all your pens away for the day and remember that cold beverage that was the spark that lead to all of this. Seems like a good idea right now.

21 thoughts on “How to ruin a vintage pen in less than 2 hours”

  1. “How hard can it be?” Ah, yes. Many pen adventures begin with that question. Please accept my condolences. I hope you can set things to rights with relative ease. Maybe a pen show near you. Great post! A tragic tale, well-told.

    1. Ann, thanks for reading. Yes, I have thought about taking it to a pen show, but since I’m from Germany there aren’t many shows and if there is one they don’t have many Parkers… Not giving up hope though!

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