Osmia 661

early 1950s

About This Model

Osmia was one of the great early fountain pen manufacturers in Germany, founded by Hermann Böhler, an early principal in Kaweco, in 1919. The name Osmia was finally settled upon, to memorialize their patented use of osmiumalloy, a very high quality iridium alloy for nib tips that enabled them to provide a lifetime warranty for their pens. During the 1920’s, Osmia produced the Parker Duofolds that were marketed in Europe, but were apparently not successful with this venture because the American nibs were too stiff for the German market. Throughout the 1930s, Osmia recovered from losing Parker and produced a variety of successful button- and piston-filled models. Most important, Faber-Castell bought a minority share in the company, and invested steadily until assuming ownership in 1951. Gradually, the Osmia brand evolved to Faber-Castell, until it disappeared completely in the early 1960s.

About This Pen

The 661 was one of Osmia’s final pens before its venerable name in German pen production disappeared; Faber-Castell had already assumed ownership control by 1951, so this pen carries both names. It is a delightful smaller pen that I know well, since it has been in my personal collection for some years. As I’ve described many times, my own pens are under constant pressure to get what I call playing time, and even though this pen’s nib was rebuilt by nibmeister Joshua Lax, it is just a bit more oblique than I can master, since I’m a lefthanded overwriter (he did warn me…), so it has not gotten use. With a twinge of regret, and even though it and I probably share 1952 as our birth year, I am letting it go. At 11.1cm, it is a little shorter and slimmer, but not a petite pen; it was probably made to fit a man’s vest. It is generally very clean, but shows a few smaller marks. Both its Osmia and Faber-Castell imprints are complete and deep, as is the smaller “661 B” imprint for its model and original nib size. The gold Osmia nib is, as mentioned, slightly left oblique, and it is a fine/medium with some flex. It is probably 14k. The piston is firm and works well, having been retooled and freshly corked. On to its next career…

Price: $125 Sold

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