Posts Tagged ‘Sumgai’

Ever since starting this blog I have hinted on a post focusing on me finding a grail pen in the wild. I have never seen one of these on Ebay and never really anywhere else either. I have seen some similar Watermans and Mabie Todds. But never an Edward Todd BHR clipless, silver overlay pen. I am going to make a post about this pen on FPN as well, so we’ll see if I get any interesting comments or more information (please comment if you have any information!).

I found this pen in a truly sumgai way, maybe not technically in the wild since it was on the Swedish equivalent of Ebay. The main item of the auction was an extremely ugly and broken (!) ceramic pen stand glazed in a hideous beige-light brown-grey colour, “some pens included”. The pens were huddled in a miserable heap in the shadow of the monstrous pen stand. I took a chance and made a bid. I won the whole lot for less than 20 dollars (shipping included). Amazing, I can hardly believe it myself.

The metal is slightly discoloured at the breathing holes (two in the cap) resistant to polish. The BHR has become brown/olive with age. I did polish the silver (marked sterling on the cap). The pen is not marked except for STERLING printed on the barrel.

Here is a writing sample in my own bastardized Spencerian/Copperplate/nonsense scribble…

Yes! I misspelled “whiskey’s”, due to making a jumble of the last three letters…

Pen: Edward Todd silver overlay pen. Nib no 2. I dare claim this is a wet noodle. It does railroad sometimes, but not in writing the sample above. It is (of course) an eyedropper.
Computer manipulation: Exposure +0.25. Removal of stuff from left hand corner and top middle (not engaging the text).
Ink: J Herbin Cacao du Bresil. I love the shading.
Room for Improvement: I could still use some practise to perfect the readability and the flourish detailing. I would also like to have more continuity in my lines and lettering, making the end result more orderly. On the other hand, I do like a little irregularity and whimsiness as well.
Verdict: Instant feeling of I-am-not-worthy-ness and joy.

Close-up on the nib (click on the image to see it REALLY big).

One more pic (just because it is so wonderfully gorgeous) (more…)

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“Grail pen” is jargon for a very desired pen. Perhaps a pen too expensive, or a pen too rare to hope to find. Example of the former might be a Graphyscaph (which I find weird and oddly attractive, but so very over-the-top. Like many other ltd ed modern fountain pens) and an example of the latter a mint Parker Duofold in the colour Mandarin Yellow (which to me seem, sorry, mostly very yellow). Google it! Or follow this link to Bill’s pens for a picture and a description of the Duofolds.

I had the incredible luck to find one of my grail pens very early in my fountain pen-obsession career. I made a “sumgai find” (jargon for incredible find, more on that later). A pen I have written about before on the blog, an Edward Todd silver overlay wet noodle. I am planning a separate post on this pen shortly. Also, I plan a page on wanted/for exchange. Or I should just try to be more active at Fountain Pen Network where you can find out just about anything related to fountain pens and aid in the search for your grails.

Of course, I still have other grail pens. One pen I know I am going to own in the future is a Wahl-Eversharp Gold Seal green and bronze pen. I like the colour very much. There is a couple of different models I can think of that I like, among them the Personal Point. I love the details (take a look at the pocket-clip!), the silhouette/shape and the colour! Thanks to Bill Acker at Bill’s Pens for the use of the two pictures below.


Image with permission, from http://www.billspens.com

Other designs I like is all-metal, the various overlays/filigree pens. The latter terms are used a bit sloppy (especially on Ebay), but make it in metal with engravings on it or interchanged with black, orange or mixed colour hard rubber and I’m sold. This picture in an article at parkerpens.net describes the different filigree/overly designs adequatly. I especially like the #14 and #32

Wahl-Eversharp, which by the way is one of my very favourite brands, also makes this lovely all-metal very Art Deco model called “Coronet”. This is definitely also one of my grails. I love how pens from different time-periods tend to reflect the architechtural/industrial design of that period. You just have to glance at the Coronet, or the (also Wahl-Eversharp) Doric, or the 50s pens to make a rather accurate guess of when they were designed.

Image with permission, from http://www.billspens.com

I am very drawn to Art Deco and Art Noveau in pen design as well as in architechture, industrial and furniture design. In the future I hope to live in one of those big houses from 1890-1910 with glass windows and stone stairs and walls with the jugend decorations that is so common in Stockholm houses from that time-period. I guess my penchant for Art Noveau gets through when I am drawing fairies, although I wouldn’t say no to living in a giant pond either.

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