About This Model
Stylomine, unlike many other fountain pen companies, started as a manufacturer of small metal parts for personal and office items at the end of WWI, moved into nib stamping, and began producing fountain pens around 1925, in Paris. The first Stylomine pens were safeties, in black hard rubber, and rolled gold overlays for these pens.
Stylomine’s first significant pen model was the 303, which appeared in 1930 and introduced an innovative bulb filler with a breathing tube.
But the fountain pen which made famous Stylomine is the 303 model, introduced in 1930 and equipped with a series of very peculiar technical solutions, as an advanced bulb filler system, very functional and with high-capacity thanks to a breather tube ingeniously connected to the feeder (patent nº FR-712327), which allowed the full loading of the pen with only four or five strokes. In 1933, a retractable nib was created and used in the 303B; this was further enhanced with the celluloid 303C, and then in a large pen called the Mastodonte.
Even with these innovations, Stylomine was best known for the accordion filler, which first appeared in 1938, with a glass vial at its end. After WWII, the glass vial was replaced by plastic, which are found in most of the Stylomines seen today.
Stylomine’s success peaked in the late 1930s, although their innovations continued with the 1938 introduction of what was probably the first true hooded nib, although Parker always marketed its 51 as the pioneer. After WWII, Stylomine swung into ballpoints, produced the Pulsapen in collaboration with Météore, Paillard nd Unic, and also worked with Bayard and Unic in producing a cartridge. But, with French fountain pen manufacture slipping rapidly, Stylomine could not survive the 1960s.
About This Pen
As sometimes happens in pendom, there are pens that are not NoNames but do not have an unambiguous brand identification. This pen came to me from a knowledgeable French collector as a Stylomine, has a Stylomine nib and is made of Bakelite, which was characteristic of the brand. However, it is missing Stylomine’s customary prominent barrel imprint (it does have a tiny “03” imprinted in the barrel base, a possible Stylomine indication) and is a lever-filling pen, which is uncommon among pre-WWII Stylomines. So, until proven otherwise, I list it as a Stylomine because I don’t believe further research will bring additional clarity. Regardless of its provenance, it is without doubt a very nice prewar French pen. The black Bakelite body shows some age, but the trim is very clean, including the spade-shaped clip. At 12.5cm long, it has typical length for a French pen. Its nib, as noted, is a Stylomine 303, which writes a wet medium line with a breath of flex.