Thursday, August 19, 2010

Featured Pen - Waterman's Ink-Vue

[You can click on any of the photos to enlarge for more detail]

The following is from David Nishimura's website

The Golden Anniversary issue of Waterman's Pen Prophet magazine, published in 1934, trumpeted the simplicity and efficiency of the Waterman lever-filler in comparison to more complex pump mechanisms.  Yet by September the next year, the great success of Parker's new Vacumatic had pushed Waterman to strike back with a pump-filling, transparent-barreled pen of its own: the Ink-Vue. 
The Ink-Vue mechanism was functionally similar to the Vacumatic, essentially a bulb-filler with a mechanically-squeezed bulb.  Where the Vacumatic's bulb (called a "diaphragm") was extended and retracted by a plunger, the Ink-Vue's was repeatedly compressed laterally by means of a small lever.  The earliest Ink-Vue levers were one-piece, as shown in the pen above, but a jointed, two-piece lever was adopted very shortly thereafter.  Another early feature was the Waterman globe emblem on metal disks set into both cap top and barrel end; the barrel end disk was retained after the standard Ink-Vue was redesigned, but the cap disk was replaced with an Art Deco-inspired stepped top.  Precisely when this took place has yet to be established; confusingly, the patent for the final Ink-Vue design with the jointed lever (2,087,672) was filed on April 6, 1935 -- before the July 26, 1935 application date for the patent covering the one-piece lever version (2,068,419). The one-piece lever is clearly visible in advertisements from December 1935, but is gone by June 1936.
The Ink-Vue's material was strongly Deco in design, with a bold zigzag pattern of pearlescent celluloid against a black (clear, for the barrel) background, dubbed "Silver-Ray" (grey) and "Emerald-Ray" (green).  Waterman advertising wasn't consistent in hyphenating these names, so "Silver Ray" is equally correct.

Richard Binder also has a few of these in his collection and additional information on his website.

This particular pen is a Silver Ray and is in EXTREMELY good condition.  It came to me from James over at The Pear Tree Pen Company.  Apparently, James had this pen restored and then never inked it.  Maybe you should head over there and check out there used and vintage listings. For me, not inking this pen was not an option as I feel that the point of have a wonderful pen like this is to use it. Functional art, remember?

This pen has the art deco stepped top on the cap and the Waterman's Ideal logo disc at the bottom of the barrel.  This is such a cool bulb filling pen, which is what it truly is, it just uses a two part lever to depress the bulb instead of using your fingers.

Now to that all important part, the nib.  This nib is a F-XF stub which just enough flex to allow me to play, but if I don't apply pressure it still writes like a dream.  I'm very pleased with this addition to the hoard herd.

Note:  I just found out that I have our very own Ryan Roossinck ( @rroosinck) to thank for the lovely nib on this pen.  Big thumbs up!!


Josie said...

Mmmm, functional art indeed - and great to have that flexibility in a nib!

R.E. Wolf said...

That is an absolutely beautiful pen!

KjM said...

"Functional works of art" -that's how I refer to my own fountain pens. I don't have any vintage ones, but they are still quite beautiful.

This pen, however, is gorgeous. said...

Fantastic pen - absolutely stunning pattern. The keyhole shaped breather hole is very cute :) The Larmes de Cassis is beautiful in this pen.

Ryan@ThePearTree said...

Ah...the one that got away. :-) Julie, we're really happy that you're enjoying this pen so much. These pens are getting super-tough to find (and with the silver trim in good shape, specifically - this stuff typically didn't wear very well, similar to the silver trim in the first-gen Vacumatics), and your piece is a prime example of why. Once someone has a nice one like this, it typically ends up in the will...never on eBay!

bleubug said...

Those are beautiful pens. A little while ago I also found out they are a royal pain to restore too. I agreed to re-sac one just like yours for a friend who had returned by a well known restoration person who couldn't get it apart. I love a challenge so I fought the pen and won. The moral? Get one that is working already.

jenny said...

The Ink-Vue mechanism was functionally similar to the Vacumatic, essentially a bulb-filler with a mechanically-squeezed bulb. This was really a nice pen, well I think that waterman start its transfiguration from hard rubber to celluloid in 1929 with the introduction of the Patrician, pen of classic art deco design.

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