Thursday, May 13, 2010

Featured Pen - Eversharp Skyline Executive

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will immediately recognize this pen from my previous post A Paper Conundrum... however since I have not had it all that long it has never been the subject of a Featured Pen post.

I fell in love with the look of these Skyline pens a few months ago and decided that I had to have one. My friend and fellow blogger, Mary at A Few of My Favorite Things... heard my call and assisted me in the acquisition of this pen and a standard model (the subject of a future post I'm sure).

The best general information I have found about the Skylines, comes from David Nishimura's website, Vintage Pens and Jim Mamoulides' website Penhero. There is SO much information on these two sites on all types of pens, if you are at all interested in the history of vintage pens, these sites should be in your bookmarks. I would also be remiss if I did not mention Pentrace and the Penbase, and Richard Binder's reference pages.

The following is from Vintage Pens:

Introduced in 1941 and discontinued in 1948, the Skyline was one of the most popular pens of its era. Generous wartime production allowances played their part, but its radical styling and consistently smooth and responsive nibs made it a favorite of writers then and now.

Eversharp was a pioneer in hiring well-known industrial designers (the Loewy-designed Symphony was introduced in 1948); for the Skyline, it turned to Henry Dreyfuss, whose credits included numerous icons of modernist design. Oddly enough, most books on Dreyfuss fail entirely to mention his work for Eversharp, though his touch is obvious.

Another peculiarity about the Skyline is its name. Eversharp literature often called it the "Skyliner," but if marked, the pens themselves were branded "Skyline" – the name now universally preferred by collectors.

The Skyline came in three basic sizes: standard, short, and the oversize Executive. The last is quite rare, despite having been a regularly catalogued model. Skyline color and trim variations are bewilderingly diverse, making the series a natural for collectors. Interest has not yet taken off in earnest, however, and even the rarest models remain quite affordable – if they can be found.

Scarcer models include those with wide cap bands, longitudinally striped barrels and caps, stainless steel or sterling silver caps, and gold filled caps in other patterns than horizontally ribbed. Skylines in smooth 14K solid gold -- the "Command Performance" -- are not rare, nor are they in particularly high demand, especially if dented or monogrammed. Many were sold during WW2, when Americans were fully employed but had few consumer goods on which to spend their earnings.

Most Skylines were equipped with long breather tubes, though early pens had a short, ink-wicking "tail" instead (reminiscent of the Parker "Lucky Curve" feed) made either of flat celluloid or hard rubber channel. Early pens also came with transparent sections, and less commonly, with two-tone nibs. Skylines do not have a large ink capacity, but original Eversharp instructions recommend that the lever be operated more than once while filling: for pens with a breather tube, this insures the sac will be filled to its maximum capacity.

This pen needed a new sac when I acquired it and that long breather tube, which I was totally unaware of until I read, A Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Repair over on my friend and fellow blogger, Julie's site: Peaceable Writer. Sooo... repairs were required...

...and completed.

One of my favorite things about this pen, is it's autumn colors and, if you did not notice, the cap is translucent.

I do not believe that this is first year model since the section matches the barrel and it utilizes a breather tube rather than an ink drain, which is believed to have been used for one or two years. It is however, an early model since it has the "teardrop" stamped nib with diagonal single line banner and a visulated section (see Pentrace Article #297: The Eversharp Skyline Nib). If you want to read more, check out the reading list at Peaceable Writer.

Click on photo to view larger:


bleubug said...

You are quite the pen repair person now! Knock-out block at the ready I see. :D Nice post and nice pen.

Julie said...

Excellent! Hey, we got the same nib block even! said...

This is one of my favourite designs - hope to have one one day :) Lovely translucent cap! Impressed by your repair work!

ToasterPastry said...

What are the dimensions of the Executive pen?

Julie (Okami) said...

ToasterPastry from PenHero: "Three pen sizes were made, Demi or Lady, Standard, and Executive, which are about 4 3/4 inches, 5 1/4 inches, and 5 1/2 inches long, respectively."

This pen actually measures closer to 5 3/4 inches long capped.

ToasterPastry said...

I have run across 4-3/4 and 5-1/4 pens. I think that the smaller pens make better writers, but are inherently hard for me to write with. The executive pen...whoa! I've only seen two, and I wanted the cash in my pocket more.

Julie (Okami) said...


I have a standard also and it is a great writer, but believe me this Exec is awesome. I got a deal you would not believe and am blessed to have these wonderful pens.

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