Thursday, 20 August 2009

How we used to do it...Letter...27th April 1945

Letter...27th April 1945, originally uploaded by Octoberchild....

A question I ask myself when writing with vintage pens is this...did the letter writers of the 30's, 40's, 50's actually write with a fountain pen? Did they use a dip pen? Did they use pencil?

Most correspondence I've seen from those years, would suggest that the latter can be ruled out. They did use ink pens, but whether they were of the fountain or dip variety, I can't be sure.

The pen in the picture is one of my favourite Conway Stewart 286's. These were in production from the very late 1920's up till the latter half of the 1940's. The model shown, is actually a later example, and could certainly have been used to write the featured letter, in 1945.

The date on this letter, is just three days before Hitler commited suicide, and just two weeks (give or take) before VE day on the 8th May 1945, when the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany...

If you know anyone who might be old enough...why not ask them what they wrote with, in those turbulent times. Who's ink did they use. What colours? Who's writing paper? Do they have any old letters you could have a look at? Do they still have the pens?

Then, let me know...

Best viewed as a larger image.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

How we used to do it...Autograph album...10th July 1945.

Another page from Ms. Richardson's album, which was added at a time when there was rationing in the UK.
Pieces of fabric have been cut out and glued to the page in the shape of a dress, and an ink drawing added to the top.
The inscription reads "No coupons required". A nice bit of humour, from hard times.
What I love about this book, is that the friendships are remembered by the words people have chosen to write, or the little art works they have created.

Monday, 10 August 2009

How we used to do it...Autograph album...4th March 1941

While collecting vintage fountain pens, and using them to write with, I invariably wonder who was the first person to write with them...and what did they write. Letters, journals, schoolwork, or something like this.
This is an autograph album, which was presented to a Jean Shirley Richardson, with love from her daddy, in 1941. The page on the left would appear to be signatures of her classmates, and the page on the right an entry by Enid Reid on the 4th of March 1941. It reads;
"Your album is your garden plot,
Where all your friends may sow,
Where thorns and thistles flourish not,
And nought but flowers grow.
I too within your garden plot,
Would plant one seed.
Forget - me - not."
What an absolutely charming way to have recorded all your friends along the way, and it makes me wonder why we don't seem to do this anymore.

Best viewed as a larger image.

Friday, 24 July 2009

286 in green...

Yes, another week goes by, and another addition to my collection of 286's.
This week's is third from the left, and a sort of drab olive green colour. I thought I'd set it in with the other 286 greens, just to show the shade.
I bought it from an eBay seller in New Zealand, and wasn't really sure of the colour till I had it in my hand, this morning...the risk was worth taking! Of course, being an old pen, it will need a bit of TLC...and I'm really looking forward to that.
The left hand pen is in the 'standard' green marble; second in is a lighter green, and is different from the other four in that it has a coloured bottom to the barrel; third is the olive green; and finally a green hatch.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Mythical Creatures

This stamp set is a lot better looking than my photo suggests, and I shall try to do something about that. Strangely though, I've tried to get some of this edition to use for mailing, and I can't. It would seem that I'll have to buy another set and break it up, which seems a shame and a waste.

Above, is a detail from the card the stamps are mounted on. Fantastic isn't it.

The illustration and stamps are the work of fantasy artist Dave McKean.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Early Conway Stewart 286

Early Conway Stewart 286, originally uploaded by Octoberchild....
Another 286!
Just how many do I need?
This example of an early 286, was sent to me by Max Davis at Conwaystewartpens. It's in excellent condition...which is amazing, seeing as how's this would date back to the 1930's.
How to identify an early 286?
Flat top...ball-ended clip...round logo on lever...dotted line under the Conway Stewart imprint on the barrel...and this blue marble has all of those.
Cheers Max.
Thought I would post a pic of some of my 286's...

Left to right:
Cracked Ice x 2; Green Hatch; Brown; Light Brown Marble; Burgundy/Plum Marble x 2; Green Marble; Light Green Marble; Green Marble; Blue Marble; Light Blue Marble; Blue Marble; Black; Reversed Cracked Ice; Green Marble Ink Visible.

Conway Stewart 286 set.

I collect fountain pens, maybe along the way, I'll discover why...but I do.

My favourite pens are vintage Conway Stewarts, and in particular, the Conway Stewart 286 range. Now, I have quite a few of the 286's in the usual 'find them all over the place' colours...but am now getting serious, which basically means spending serious amounts of money, and seeking out the more obscure variants.

OK, given that, the other day I was searching on eBay, and came across a 286 boxed set (fountain pen and pencil) in rose marble. "Brilliant!" thought I, I've got three pens in that colour (also called burgundy or plum) but It would be great to have the boxed set. So I bid...and won.

I picked up the package this morning...

Carefully extracted the box from the padded envelope, and bubble wrap...

Set it on the table...

Opened the lid...

And there, sitting inside this box...

An almost mint condition set in RASPBERRY marble.

Talk about stunned!!!!!

I've only been on the look out for this colour for two years.....

Cheers eBay!