Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Waterman's Watermans

It's just a coincidence that my maiden name is Waterman, and Waterman made pencils to match so many of their famous fountain pens.  But don't ask me to have anything to do with pens, that would involve INK.  Every single antique desk or chest of drawers I have ever looked into has a spreading stain of ink in the bottom of the drawer.  I used to work with Rotring Rapidograph technical pens, and believe me, ink spills, that is its nature.  I prefer to avert disaster.  You can't have much of a disaster with good old graphite.

The two Waterman pencils that turned up here are not early colorful celluloid models, but later, efficiency-oriented types, that probably went cheerfully out in the world for years, until being consigned to a desk job, and finally retired.

Plastic was new when Watermans made the grey and black pencil (top) in the forties, and they hadn't quite perfected it, as you can see from the crack in the black plastic near the tip. Although it was meant to accompany the Waterman Hundred Year fountain pen, it hasn't lived up to the name.  And it doesn't work--from what I can tell, the crack prevents the twist mechanism from grabbing and turning.  What are my chances of finding a new lower half, I wonder?

The bottom Waterman is even more streamlined.  Remember how there was a big craze for efficiency in the fifties?  Less waste, faster and better production--not a bad idea, really.  This pencil was made to accompany the Cartridge Fill pen, from 1953-1958.  At least they had the plastic figured out, but about then Watermans closed up shop in America, and were re-invented by the French, so I hear.  I keep the Watermans in an old chip-carved souvenir sabot on my desk, so perhaps they appreciate the irony.

A Waterman's Box

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