Peter Pan

About This Model

Often called "Third Tier", these are the pens that collectively were the best sellers of their day, but also the least durable, least special, most poorly designed, and the cheapest. The 1930s were a period of constrained cash flow and, later, supply chain issues with the war industry diverting manufacturing parts. Calling them "Third Tier" implies that there were true first and second tier pens, a subject that has never been resolved among pen people. These are the pens that one owned but use with pride; they were utilitarian, often frank copies of higher quality pens. They carried many different names, including American, Arnold, Diamond Medal, Dixie, Eagle, Majestic, Spors, Stratford, Travelers, Waltham, Welsh; some carried names to evoke good thoughts, like Accurate and Smooth Point. Major manufacturers, including Arnold, National, and Salz made multiple lines and brands of inferior pens and jobbed parts and whole pens under multiple names. In short, for the most part, these were inferior pens, made inexpensively, usually with untipped nibs, and sold as cheap commodities to work without distinction. Surprisingly, many thousands survive today, and with restoration and attention, work very well!

About This Pen

This pen certainly wins the this update’s SMALLEST PEN award…it’s a Peter Pan! There were many petite fountain pens in the 1920s-30s, but in my experience the nicest were the Peter Pans. They seem to have been better made, and certainly survived better than most of the others. This Peter Pan, made of marbled red celluloid, is 3 1/4″ long capped and only 1/4″ across just below the cap edge. It is faceted, with 12 sides, one of which has “HARRIET” engraved in gold print. There is a little swelling in the middle, which is pushing the lever out a notch, but that’s both forgivable and not repairable in a tiny pen that is surely 90 years old. In addition, there are a few nicks here and there, but nothing disfiguring. The silver trim is in good condition, with no tarnish; the clip is engraved with “Peter Pan”. The pen fills well, but it is a small fill. It is a bit unusual that this pen has a clip instead of a ringtop; was it intended for a man’s vest pocket? The nib is a tiny Peter Pan, and writes a wet medium line. This is a little pen one could love.

Price: $59

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