Paul Wirt


About This Model

The oldest fountain pens are not normally part of Timsvintagepens practice, but occasionally arrive. The first fountain pens, from the last two decades of the 1800s, were experiment in storing and releasing ink, the dual puzzle that makes a fountain pen a fountain pen. Pens with eyedropper-fed reservoirs were certainly available by 1900, and feeds to work with nibs in releasing just the right amount of ink appeared soon after. Latex sac technology was pretty well mastered by 1910, and the modern fountain pen was available. However, even with the growing availability of "modern" fountain pens, dip pens were very much still in use. They worked particularly well for desk-based writing, and there was a wide range of dip nibs to be inserted and used. Public offices maintained dip pen bases with integral inkwells for signing papers; these were still in use decades later.

About This Pen

This little hard rubber pen was, for many years, thought to be a French NoName. Its owner, an old friend whose collection I’ve been restoring and selling to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, brought the pen back with him from France many years ago when he moved back to the US. In researchng its identity, it turned out otherwise. The head-clearing moment came from a scholarly respondent to my question on a French pen board (“Tim, c’est americaine!”) and he pointed me to the original confirming sources. So, this is a Paul Wirt. Wirt nibs are among the half dozen most prominent dip nibs that became fountain pen nibs in the early years of the 20th Century. Wirt was a controversial figure, an attorney who could not resist pushing legal boundaries and a pen designer who was prominent in the development of overfeeds and underfeeds. His pens changed imprints and imprint designs several times, but one of them was certainly the “W” over a crossed wreath. The pen’s plain gold crown and absence of a barrel imprint are also typical. All of that said, this is a nice little pen. It’s just over 3 3/4″ long capped, posts easily for writing, and has a solid ringtop. Some care will be needed with the lever, and it has a replacement pressure bar. The feed has a single north-south channel, showing its origin in the early years of underfeeds. The nib, brought back to life by nibmeister Joshua Lax, is very nice, 14kt gold, and flexes well. However, this is not a nib for an over-writing lefthander.

Price: $125 Sold

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