Carter’s Dip Pen


About This Model

Carter's was the dominant manufacturer of ink in the early years of fountain pen use, until the Depression. In the late 1920s, Carter added fountain pens to complement its lines of ink, at first buying the inventory and then the manufacturing capacity of a failed pen factory. Their own manufacturing probably started in 1926, and by 1927 Carter was producing fine pens in celluloid, which they called coralite. In 1929, they offered a new line made of a swirly pearlescent plastic they called Pearlite, which they advertised as having true mother-of-pearl, a claim that was broadly doubted later. Carter's output rose steadily until 1931-2, when with many other firms, the Depression forced them out of the market after a sudden falloff in models and features. Their 1920s pens were excellent, sturdy, and wrote well. In summary, Carter's was a classic second tier manufacturer -- created excellent pens that not compete in straitened circumstances.

About This Pen

This is a curiosity, for a Carter’s collection. It is a dip pen, sold in the early 1950’s with a bottle of Carter’s ink, for writing cards. At 3.2″ long, this is not a serious writing pen, but it’s cute! It’s made of extruded plastic, probably polystyrene. The Signature branded nib is a 6, and is glued into the barrel. From the writing sample, one can see both what it was like to use an early dip pen, and how important a feed is to a nib’s functioning — this pen has no feed, and I must have dipped it ten times to get this information written. That said, it does write very smoothly! Its listed price is if sold alone, but I’ll discount even that price by 50% with the purchase of any pen.

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