Waterman Taperite Crusader
About This Model
After WWII, Waterman's new American production was thinning down; cash was tight and competition extremely tough. Waterman's did produce two new lines starting as early as 1945, which are often confused: the Taperites and the Crusaders. The Taperites were first, with submodels Stateleigh and the Citation. The Stateleighs were frank Parker 51 copies, with hooded nibs but without Parker's sturdy construction and internal workings. Citations carried hooded nibs but a celluloid cap with a very broad plated cap ring. Open nibbed pens were also produced, but these were Crusaders, also in Stateleigh and Citation. Some of the Taperites were very attractive and wonderful writers, but the quality diminished in the later 1940s. Crusaders appeared with gold metal caps with silver stripes, until at least late 1953. Even with the lower production quality, and their propensity to be extremely difficult to disassemble, these pens were often superior writers, with flex nibs and rigid nibs. Generally speaking, these were inexpensive pens of decent quality, good writers. Stalwarts are partially differentiated from Dauntless(es) by origin: Stalwart was Canadian, with gold trim and two cap bands; Dauntless was American, had chrome trim and a single cap band. The Waterman arcana here is endless. Finally, the 1950s brought the final US Waterman output, and the last of three versions of the Skywriter, from 1950-53. These were entry-level pens, built to compete with Esterbrook J's and lower level Sheaffers. They had plastic bodies and metallic caps, inexpensive construction, classic Waterman's box levers, and Waterman's nibs. Like all Waterman's, even their minor pens, these are very nice writers. The 1940s were far from Waterman's best years, in fact they were the endgame for the American company. Quality diminished as cash grew thin, and competition with Parker and Sheaffer was no longer possible. However, continuing Waterman's long tradition of producing excellent nibs, these last models were good examples. The one seen most often, and the one not given a military name, was the Junior. To my knowledge, there wasn't a corresponding Senior, but this is actually a smaller pen, 4 3/4" long, of black plastic and steel trim. Good pens, not great pens, but worth owning and using.
About This Pen
This Taperite Crusader is nearly identical to the higher level Taperite Stateleigh in the Bargains listing, differing only in the cap. Stateleigh caps were more closely identified with Parker 51 caps, carrying decent gold plate over an all-black body. The Crusader was a step down in quality, with caps of a thinner gold plate with silver striping. There are a few nicks and pits in the cap, but the body is largely unmarked and very nice. It is a good writer with a firm f/xf nib that flows well. Like its fellow Taperite, getting this pen apart took a week of patient pushing and pulling, but the result was worth the labor. Enjoy it, perhaps use a case to protect its appearance.