Vintage Things and the Dregs of Someone Else’s Past

Someone, I think it was Brad Dowdy the Pen Addict, said he wasn’t particularly interested in vintage pens because there were too many new pens worth having and they didn’t require any special care.

I recently bought a vintage Pilot Capless and although I like it, I’m beginning to come around to the Pen Addict’s point of view. Sort of. I think there are a couple problems with vintage pens.

First, it bothers me that something only a couple years older than I am is considered vintage.

Second, unless they’ve been cleaned carefully, they come with problems that most new pens don’t have. (There are exceptions, but more on those in another post.) In the case of my Pilot Capless I gave it a good water flush right after I bought it and then inked it up with Pilot Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikubu, a purple ink that’s reasonably safe for using in any and all fountain pens.

At first I was impressed with the pen. It has a Fine nib which is smaller than I’m used to, but it wrote well. In fact, it worked great right up until the moment it didn’t. Half way through a set of morning pages it suddenly went dry. I emptied it out and soaked it in cleaning solution for several hours and then tried inking it again.

Once again, it worked well until it didn’t. I also noticed the purple ink had developed a noticeable blue-black tinge. This led to me cleaning it out again and letting it soak for 24 hours in cleaning solution. The results were kind of gross. By morning a layer of crud from past owners had formed in the bottom of the ink bottle I use as a cleaning glass.

This is gross but I've been told drinking it will give me super powers.

This is gross but I’ve been told drinking it will give me super powers.

Now, it’s been dried and inked and seems to be writing well. The blue-black tinge is gone and it has better flow.

We’ll find out for sure tomorrow, though, when I attempt morning pages with it. If it goes dry halfway through, there will be swearing.

This has led me to be more skeptical of buying vintage pens. That said, I may leave a not with Mr. Fujii at Euro Box to let me know if any more vintage capless pens appear in this store.



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