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Swan 4500 Eyedropper Pen Breakdown

The early design history of the fountain pen is full of outstanding examples of innovation. Sometimes one glance is enough to tell you that you have found one of these gems. The Swan 4500 is unquestionably one. In the early days of fountain pens, it was assumed that—with the exception of a few special-purpose users—most […]

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Know Any Edwardian Cuss Words?

When you begin repairing other people’s pens, you start to see all sorts of damage; things you wouldn’t normally even imagine. Of course, then you do begin to imagine: what stories go along with what you see before you? This week we had one such cross our bench. And a picture is worth a thousand […]

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Parker Pens 1929 Catalog

Public Domain Pen Documents Now Online

For a look at a loud conversation about the legal and ethical issues pertaining to these documents, go to: It is always nice when someone decides to share. And when the thing shared is pen information, it is beyond nice: it’s a public service. We were browsing through our favourite host of online information, […]

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What Perfect Hard Rubber Should Be

We get a lot of pens across the bench. Pens of all ages, and in all sorts of conditions. It’s always easy to remember the horror stories, and the warning examples. But when a good one comes along, a really good one, there’s nothing like it. Hard rubber is a contradictory material. It is much […]

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Cracked Wood: Problem, or No Problem?

The other day, we came across a lovely writing box. We’ve seen all kinds, and sometimes we take them on, sometimes we don’t. But this one was nearly perfect. Around two hundred years old, and made for the aristocracy: solid rosewood case, mahogany interior; mother-of-pearl inlay and pewter stringing; ebony moulding along the perimeter of […]

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On Lime Juice

Oxidation is often our enemy. When oxygen contacts metals, it reacts with the surface atoms to form what is known scientifically as an oxide, but more commonly as rust, or tarnish. While in the case of some metals—such as copper—oxidation can result in a beautiful green colour, in the case of silver or iron it […]

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