Waterman 52 1/2

About This Model

Waterman's was one of the first fountain pen manufacturers, notwithstanding David Nishimura's debunking of the old fable of Waterman inventing the fountain pen because of ruining a client's contract. It had many competitors, many of whom copied their innovations. It's probable, in the view of a century later, that Waterman's true leadership was in making nibs that wrote with wonderful flexibility and responsiveness; in most of their other areas of growth, other companies were as good in the early years. From the 19-teens through the 1920s, Waterman produced a wide variety of smaller ringtop pens, designed to be held by a ribbon to a lady's bag or worn around her neck. Waterman's ringtops were in made in ebonite (red, black, or rippled hard rubber) and in metal overlays. They generally carried Waterman #2 nibs and wrote with flex, often full flex. The metal overlays were also available in a variety of engraved patterns, from geometric shapes to floral designs. Waterman's Ideal pens, from the late 1910s through the 1920s were among the first fountain pens that had mastered great writing ability with a reliable filling system that didn't leak. Of black hard rubber and available in a wide range of sizes and styles, the Ideals were elegant pens that carried highly flexible nibs for business and social writing. Today, their solid construction is manifest in their relatively high availability, and their highly flexible nibs are prized among those with calligraphic skill. Their submodel names were numbers, increasing with increasing girth, and other indications for shorter models and overlays. Today, the plain or chased 52 is the most common, with the higher numbers found in decreasing frequency. From 1915 until 1930 Waterman exhibited a modicum of consistency in numbering its models, describing a characteristic with a number in each of the pen’s number positions. From 1915-17, when Waterman's first lever-filled pens appeared, they were called SF, for Self-Filling, and each model had its own numbering conventions, the most common being the lever-filled 12 PSF, with the "P" denoting "pocket", meaning a threaded cap to enable pocket carry. In 1917, Waterman's renamed its pens to numbers, with each type numbered. Thus, the 52, the most frequently seen model family, is a 2 size nib in a lever-filled hard rubber pen. The smaller pens got Vs for pocket size and ½ for slender, and led with a 0 for gold-filled ringtops. These pens were huge sellers during the decade when Waterman’s enjoyed its leadership in pendom.

About This Pen

First things first…why is this pen listed in Tim’s Bargains? Well, this pen has two repairs, both most likely many years old, and the barrel crack is not even completely closed. Although these repairs appear to be completely stable, they are not covered by Timsvintagepens’ warranty. In recompense, this pen was listed as a Bargain, even though it is a Waterman 52 1/2. It is most likely from the 1920s, with a fully flexible Ideal nib that writes wonderfully. This pen, while slimmer than most 52s at .35″ thick, is typical length, 5 1/2″. The pen has the original Clip Cap clip, its lever is strong, and the red hard rubber barrel and cap look pretty nice, all things considered. The barrel was positioned on the gripping section to minimize writing stress on the repairs, and for a bit of extra security the barrel was shellacked to the gripping section. This is the perfect affordable first experience with a Waterman 52 family fully flexible pen…treat it with care, please.

Price: $79 Sold

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