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gwgtaylor
December 18th, 2012, 07:22 PM
Hello everyone!

I wanted to share my latest accomplishment and also see if I could get a little info.

A few weeks back a trip to a tree farm brought us by an antiques market so my girlfriend and I went hunting for the first time and I found this pen. It was totally tarnished and dirty and was something like 25 dollars plus tax. I didn't have my loupe but my girlfriend who has better eyes than me assured me it said 14k on the nib and Eclipse Canada. For that price I bought it and was excited to get it restored. I had the week before completed my first sac change on a Swan SM100/60.

I got the pen cleaned up and the nib shining but when I got the full and totally ossified sac out, the jbar came out in two pieces. I didn't have replacements so I ordered them.

Jbars and talc came today from fountainpensacs.com. The jbar was the large size and the sac needed was a snug fitting #22. It almost didn't fit. Really tight. So this pen is pretty big. Heavy for a plastic/celluloid and very substantial.

From what I can gather, eclipse is a Canadian/American brand. Canadian offices in Toronto. The nib on this pen is marked Eclipse Canada. On the cap though it has Eclipse USA. It also has eclipse marked on the lever. I've read that they often used warranted nibs so I I'm happy mine is branded.

I feel like this was a pretty good find. Just wondering if anyone can tell me anything about this pen. Is it ok to have Canada nib and USA clip? Can anyone date this? Material? Model? It's smooth and a little flexy. I like it.

Thank you for any info!
-Gerald

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/19/ugusy9us.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/19/eva7eser.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/19/u6esytyt.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/12/12/19/y2u9ugun.jpg

fountainpenkid
December 18th, 2012, 07:46 PM
What a beauty!

FP_GaF
December 18th, 2012, 11:08 PM
Is it ok to have Canada nib and USA clip? [...] It's smooth and a little flexy. I like it.



This is a really nice looking pen. Great find.

To answer your question above. Why do you care? You said yourself you like the pen. You restored it and gave it a new life. You have done a great job. The time you spent on that pen and the way it came into your possession created a history that links the pen to you forever. The successful restoration is a big achievement. Why then is it important that the clip is marked USA and the nib is marked Canada.

In absolute terms this is likely a third tier pen with limited marked value (I guess). If your goal is to make money of your find then the mix and match will probably reduce its market value. There are surely dozens of similar models from other companies out there (I myself own a pen very similar to yours from Moore) with many thousands of pens to be had.

But I would argue that is not the point. The pen you found and repaired is now unique. There is no other in the whole world of its kind. Surely its Okay, even if nib and clip don't match entirely on the face of it. Who cares.

Enjoy your wonderful find and great achievement and don't worry too much about these superficial details. At least that is my personal view.

Cheers

Gerd

gwgtaylor
December 19th, 2012, 02:02 AM
Gerd, I totally agree with you. I only ask because I'm curious and know little about the brand. I don't care about the value as I'm somewhat of a hoarder with pens. If its nothing it's nothing. I still like it. Just curious is all.

gwgtaylor
December 19th, 2012, 02:17 AM
Sorry, prematurely posted. Just wanted to learn is all. My experience with vintage pens is limited. While it's nice to collect pens that have value simply because I like them, it's also nice to find out that your pen is generally desirable or collectible.

All that said, I thought third tier pens from Eclipse were branded with other names and also that generally speaking, among vintage pens anyway, second and third tier pens were usually smaller as most pens of the time were anyway.

I also thought first tier pens could mix and match nibs and pens. For example, my sterling Cross Townsend has a body made in the USA but a nib made by pelikan in Germany. Maybe I don't understand what makes something first or third tier. I'll read some more.

New info is always good. Thanks for it.
-Gerald

KrazyIvan
December 19th, 2012, 09:48 AM
I don't know anything about the pen but it looks awesome. Congratulations on your restoration! I see your point though, I like to know everything I can about the pens I own. I am curious and like to have that kind of non-essential trivia floating around in my brain. Kind of like the thread count of IDF issue socks. :p

Bogon07
December 19th, 2012, 03:29 PM
Interesting looking pen. The pattern is similar to the Pelikan M620 Chicago with the bonus of having a matching cap.
The nib seems to give some nice line variation when pushed. The heart shaped hole on the nib looks good too.

Congratulations on your restoration.

gwgtaylor
December 19th, 2012, 03:31 PM
Thanks guys. I'm really liking this pen.

Bogon07
December 19th, 2012, 04:44 PM
I think I should have said Pelikan M620 NewYork, the black and white Friesian cow pattern.

Carole
December 19th, 2012, 06:41 PM
Amazing find, great job w/ restoration, too! I have a red marble Eclipse that I love, tho I don't know anything much about the brand. But do you know Teri Morris at Peyton Street pens? Super knowledgeable and nice. She has a green oversize Eclipse listed on her site right now ( I've been trying to teleport it to myself for xmas, no luck yet ;). I think she may be able to give you some background and info. Lovely person to talk with anyway. Enjoy!

gwgtaylor
December 19th, 2012, 07:00 PM
Amazing find, great job w/ restoration, too! I have a red marble Eclipse that I love, tho I don't know anything much about the brand. But do you know Teri Morris at Peyton Street pens? Super knowledgeable and nice. She has a green oversize Eclipse listed on her site right now ( I've been trying to teleport it to myself for xmas, no luck yet ;). I think she may be able to give you some background and info. Lovely person to talk with anyway. Enjoy!

Wow Carole, thanks for the tip. I may just write Ms Morris an email to see if she can give any additional info. She has a great site and I got off it pretty quickly for fear of making too msny impulse purchases. She has very nice stuff.

Thanks again! That overdize on her site looks really nice. Hope Santa is good to you!
-gerald

Bogon07
December 19th, 2012, 08:48 PM
That green Ecilpse is really pretty you could spend a lot of time just staring at the marble pattern.
Carole, Peyton Street pens is a dangerous site. I think I strained a a muscle in my mouse finger trying to refrain from Paypal-ing the Azure Parker Vacumatic.

Carole
December 19th, 2012, 10:50 PM
Happy to hear you all liked the site, I agree, it's dangerous! But it's a learning experience too, right? Right? :wink:


I think I strained a a muscle in my mouse finger trying to refrain from Paypal-ing

LOL! I think we need that on a t-shirt! Hope Santa was watching. Also, I'm pretty sure the Azure Parker is kind of a cultural artifact, so you're not just buying a pen, you're buying a moment in time! A reallllly nice one.

And since I'm over the line for a while, guys, please feel free to pick up the Eclipse, I've been hoping someone would take it away! Along with those flexilicious Watermans. A person can only take so much. :dirol:
Cheerio for now....

DanDeM
April 24th, 2013, 03:57 PM
Eclipse is a NYC based maker that goes back to the 1910's. Often dismissed by pen snobs as third tier, they made well built, attractive pens, but fitted them with undersized, mostly Warranted 14k nibs -- hence the sneers. (A few nibs carry the Eclipse imprint, but that's not the rule) Not at all innovative in function or materials, mostly lever fill with shapes and colors that followed the bigger pace setters.

Sometime in the Forties they opened a plant in Toronto and soon after closed the domestic facility. Canada continued making increasingly cheesy pens into the Fifties, until it finally gave in to the ball point. The eclipse of Eclipse. All of the Canadian pens I've seen have gold plated nibs, which makes the OP's pen very interesting.

gygtaylor's Black & Pearl cigar, a 1940's shape, uses the same celluloid as this American made c. 1925 Flat Top, but reflects the declining workmanship of the brand's later years. Note the glued on end-caps separated by a knurled band.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2092&d=1366839927

Fascinating pen.

P.S.
This background is very superficial. A search will bring up lots of interesting detail.

gwgtaylor
April 24th, 2013, 05:46 PM
Eclipse is a NYC based maker that goes back to the 1910's. Often dismissed by pen snobs as third tier, they made well built, attractive pens, but fitted them with undersized, mostly Warranted 14k nibs -- hence the sneers. (A few nibs carry the Eclipse imprint, but that's not the rule) Not at all innovative in function or materials, mostly lever fill with shapes and colors that followed the bigger pace setters.

Sometime in the Forties they opened a plant in Toronto and soon after closed the domestic facility. Canada continued making increasingly cheesy pens into the Fifties, until it finally gave in to the ball point. The eclipse of Eclipse. All of the Canadian pens I've seen have gold plated nibs, which makes the OP's pen very interesting.

gygtaylor's Black & Pearl cigar, a 1940's shape, uses the same celluloid as this American made c. 1925 Flat Top, but reflects the declining workmanship of the brand's later years. Note the glued on end-caps separated by a knurled band.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2092&d=1366839927

Fascinating pen.

P.S.
This background is very superficial. A search will bring up lots of interesting detail.

Thank you very much for this added info! I thought It was celluloid. Smells really weird when I uncap it. The nib doesn't seem undersized for the pen. It's approximately #6 size.

Cheers!
-gerald

david i
April 25th, 2013, 03:20 AM
Nice shot :)

I assert that to those who know, Eclipse is considered a 2nd tier maker, for a variety of sound reasons. I would not call it third tier, lumping it thus with Wearever, Arnold and the like. Eclipse had a connection with the vaunted (if niche) Monroe pen. Here is an Eclipse thread, showing a fair number of pens, over at FPnuts/Fountain Pen Board. Note that the late Jon Roede put an article about Monroe (connecting it to Eclipse) in Pen World International a few years ago. Eclipse definitely has its followers.

ECLIPSE THREAD with IMAGES at FPB/FPnuts (http://fountainpenboard.com/forum/index.php?/topic/2420-the-eclipse-thread/)

regards

david

DanDeM
April 25th, 2013, 12:20 PM
George:
Beware that snug, almost too tight #22 sac. When fully filled body heat from your hand or carrying it in a shirt pocket will cause the ink to expand; ultimately leak. A properly sized sac should not touch the interior wall of the barrel.

tytoalba
April 25th, 2013, 12:41 PM
I just pulled out my Eclipse ring top.. The nib is somewhat small for the size of the ringtop. That said, the overall quality appears very high next to the variety of ringtops in my small collection. The metal accents are more refined, jewelry-like, than the Conklin or Carters I have. It's quite a handsome pen imho. I'm not your expert here. This is just my personal observation via my examples.

DanDeM
April 25th, 2013, 01:18 PM
I just pulled out my Eclipse ring top.. The nib is somewhat small for the size of the ringtop. That said, the overall quality appears very high next to the variety of ringtops in my small collection. The metal accents are more refined, jewelry-like, than the Conklin or Carters I have. It's quite a handsome pen imho. I'm not your expert here. This is just my personal observation via my examples.

Haven't handled enough Conklins or Carters to compare, but couldn't agree more about Eclipse quality, particularly pre-1930, but like so many other makers, their declining years weren't pretty.

Here's a nice set from the '20s.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2112&d=1366917181

By the way, I'm no expert either, but they're easy to spot. They're often pompous, pedantic, patronizing, prone to stilted language and self serving..

david i
April 25th, 2013, 02:03 PM
A very special bit of Eclipse info. A pen with original barrel band, supporting the correctness of generic seeming "warranted" nibs turning up in Eclipse. Eclipse pens also are found with branded nibs.

This ad also demonstrates some of the classic objective findings of "2nd tier" status for this likely 1920's pen, including a disproportionately small nib (oversized pen with non oversized nib) and pretentious numbering with a "#8" on a nib well smaller than what a #8 meant for the premier manufactuers.

This stuff can be learned...

Note, too, that a pen's tier is but part of what contributes to collector cachet. There are many examples of pens that might not have been first tier in their day, which nonetheless are highly and appropriately cherished today.

http://vacumania.com/penteech2/eclipsewarrantednibproof.jpg


regards

David

gwgtaylor
April 25th, 2013, 04:18 PM
George:
Beware that snug, almost too tight #22 sac. When fully filled body heat from your hand or carrying it in a shirt pocket will cause the ink to expand; ultimately leak. A properly sized sac should not touch the interior wall of the barrel.

Thanks Dan. By snug I mean snug onto the nipple. No say an 18 would fit. I've never had it burp and I'm pretty sure the sac isn't touching the barrel--I was pretty worried about that but it's a girthy pen and seems ok.
-gerald

david i
April 25th, 2013, 04:42 PM
Sorry, prematurely posted. Just wanted to learn is all. My experience with vintage pens is limited. While it's nice to collect pens that have value simply because I like them, it's also nice to find out that your pen is generally desirable or collectible.

All that said, I thought third tier pens from Eclipse were branded with other names and also that generally speaking, among vintage pens anyway, second and third tier pens were usually smaller as most pens of the time were anyway.

I also thought first tier pens could mix and match nibs and pens. For example, my sterling Cross Townsend has a body made in the USA but a nib made by pelikan in Germany. Maybe I don't understand what makes something first or third tier. I'll read some more.

New info is always good. Thanks for it.
-Gerald

Hi Gerald,

You touched on a key and classic question regarding old pens, "What makes something first or third tier?"

I will skip modern pens in that contet and will not address where modern pens (or their various parts) are manufactured.

Collectors of old pens do tend to stratify them regarding "tier". Example, a Parker Vacumatic (1930's-1940's) is a first tier old pen no doubt, while pens by Arnold are (at best) third tier.

The language can get a bit vague and context counts. For example, those-who-know view Arnold and Wearever as third tier brands, but view Parker as a first tier brand. Yet Parker, a first tier company, clearly released some third tier pens, such as the Parkette, while some lower tier companies did make occasional first-tier products. Worse still, in terms of ambiguous jargon, even "first tier" series (eg. the Balance) by a first tier manufacturer (Sheaffer) featured 4-5 tiers of Balance pens (based on trim, price point), all of which are higher tier pens (generally) than some of the other series by Sheaffer and all of which are better tier pens than some other brands entire output. Dizzy yet? ;)

Perhaps different synonyms should be used for Brands, Series-within-Brands, and Models-within-Series to differentiate cachet points.

That said, what goes into making a high-tier vs low-tier pen (or pen manufacturer) can be reasonably well defined. Let's focus on 1920's-1930's, recognizing that collectors can view some aspects of all this in different fashion.

A first tier pen is a high quality pen, generally from a high quality company. It overlaps "collector cachet" today, though not completely. It has a gold nib that is of proportionate size to the rest of the pen (note that in earliest days, the "pen" was the nib and what today we call "the pen" was the "pen holder"). Trim has good quality gold-filled or chrome plated (not thin goldplate/gold-wash). Threads are well done, often triple-tap once that technology was in play. The plastic construction is solid enough and (generally) well cured enough that frank barrel distortion from simple lever-usage did not occur. The clip was of strong spring-metal, not subject to distortion from normal use.

There were companies whose best products consistently were of first quality/tier/cachet (in the day). Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl, Waterman and Conklin were the "Big 5" in the day considered first tier. But, small makes also existed who were first tier makers, just littler than the big guys. Carter (briefly in play), Chilton, Leboeuf were first tier makers. I consider Moore to be first tier, at least for most of its run.

All these companies made lower tier pens as well, but they were first tier makers.

Some companies generally made compromises that rendered most of their products second tier, and left them 2nd-tier makers, even if occasionally some of their products were of good quality. Second tier pens often still had gold filled trim. A key finding was the presence of relatively small nibs, a tip off to cost saving. Lack of originality in styling was another marker. So, 2nd tier makers offered pens that looked a bit like better pens, but carried relatively smaller nibs and discount prices. Eclipse is a 2nd tier maker

Third tier makers often avoided alloy-gold nibs, using plated nibs or unplated steel. Trim finish was poor (don't sneeze, or the gold color might blow away). Clips had habit not to retain shape.

Today, collectors value first tier pens more than lower tier pens (either within a brand or comparing brand). 2nd tier pens or 3rd tier pens by 1st tier makers often carry more value than pens by 3rd tier makers because the high cachet brand name of the first tier brand carries a bit of extra oomph.

But, in many cases, lower tier pens for one reason or another can grow beyond their station, in retrospect. A Conklin "Halloween" pen was a 2nd tier Conklin, good quality but prices/positioned (cachet back in the day) below the Conklin Endura series. It had smaller nib, cheaper price. But, today, that it still is of good quality and has particularly desirable plastic, has rendered it a more expensive pen than many Enduras. So it goes.

Eclipse is 2nd tier. Arnold and Wearever 3rd tier.

Esterbrook is a bit of a challenge. Esterbrook was a blue collar pen, made with steel trim and nib, arguably never first tier. But Esties were done with great... quality. The trim does not brass as does the trim on some of the "best" pens. The nibs were easily changed with many points offered. The pens hold up well. Esterbrook was priced 2nd tier at best, and never had the glitz and never had the cachet-in-its-day of some of the other brands, but it is very high... quality. Which likely explains some of its popularity today.

regards

david

KrazyIvan
April 25th, 2013, 05:23 PM
To put that in perspective, a third tier pen in today's world would be Hero or Serwex maybe?

orfew
April 25th, 2013, 06:12 PM
Some beautiful pens in this thread.

gwgtaylor
April 25th, 2013, 07:17 PM
Hi David,

Really enjoyed reading your clarification of the tiers. This was helpful reading for me and I'm sure others will enjoy it as well. Cheers!

-Gerald

klpeabody
April 25th, 2013, 07:41 PM
This is a beautiful pen, Gerald! I wish I had your restoration skills! I confess that I'm afraid even to attempt replacing a sac for fear of the damage I might cause....

gwgtaylor
April 25th, 2013, 09:32 PM
This is a beautiful pen, Gerald! I wish I had your restoration skills! I confess that I'm afraid even to attempt replacing a sac for fear of the damage I might cause....

Thanks KP! Trick is doing the repairs on a pen you're willing to mess up if you fail. It was pretty easy too with the right tools. :-)

DanDeM
May 4th, 2013, 03:59 PM
gerald, and George too, if he happens to be here (sorry about that), gwgtaylor:

Have been wanting to get back to this conversation, because your pen offers some
speculation about the economics of pen making that I find interesting. As noted,
your pen is made of the same Black/Pearl celluloid that Eclipse used in the '20s.
Not only that, it has the same clip that Eclipse used in the '30's. Earlier, Eclipse was
written in script and the year in which the patent for the clip design was awarded
often appeared in the same position as the Eclipse logo is shown on your pen. Additionally,
the lever design and assembly is classic Eclipse.

The two elements that make your pen Canadian, are the nib, but most conclusively the
end cap treatment.

Here are some Canadian pens from the mid 40's. Two have ink-view sections, an
innovation that I've not seen on a State-Side Eclipse; one that goes back at least
a decade prior to when these pens were made. (The brand was definitely not a
first-adapter.) All have GP nibs and reflect the Art Deco styling and materials of the
time. Notice too, how the clip designs have evolved, the lever box eliminated, and
the lever shape simplified.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2372&d=1367703323


http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2374&d=1367703324


http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2373&d=1367703324


A side note. The nibs on these pens are reasonably proportioned to the size of the
pen. A concession to appearance that's easy to make when manufacturing in Stainless
rather than gold.

So here's the speculation.

When production was moved north, the Company made efforts to stay up-to-date.
But first there was this New York warehouse of parts, probably machinery as well,
that needed to be cleared out.

I think that your pen was assembled in Canada from parts that Eclipse had laying
around for close to ten years. By the time it came up for sale it was Retro.

Final note. I think the green day-glo jewels on the Blue/Bronze marble are spiffy.

Gaudy, but spiffy

gwgtaylor
May 4th, 2013, 08:10 PM
Wow Dan, I'm very thankful for your input in this thread and I think your theories about my pen make a lot of sense and explain the USA clip being paired with a 14k Canada nib. I adored the pen when I got it and it definitely feels more special now thanks to your insight. Since most Canadian pens have GP nibs it seems, I wonder how many pens were made with these springy 14k nibs. It's a great writing pen for sure.

Also love the pics you posted I'm this thread. Some real beauties.

Thanks again!
-gerald

DanDeM
June 27th, 2013, 01:04 PM
Judging by the number of views to this thread, something has been piquing interest.
Maybe the deathless prose, the eye-candy, perhaps even the brand and its history.
Whatever it might be, here's some more of the above.

This is the first of a series of posts that will attempt to illustrate a time-line for the
Eclipse brand from its early days in the first decade of the 20th Century through its
decline and eventual end about 50 years later.

This is not definitive, and certainly not comprehensive. Merely representative. The
brand was a prolific maker, and I hope that anyone with examples of their work that
haven't been included will please add to the pens that will be shown.

Background:
There's not much to say about the filling technology that Eclipse used. As mentioned
earlier, they weren't very innovative. The majority of their pens are lever fill. Later,
we'll see a bulb and some button fills along some speculation about their rationale.

The brand came to the market at about the time that sacs were introduced. Eyedroppers
and Safety Pens were still in common use, (although I've never seen either from the
brand) and a great deal of experimentation was going was going on elsewhere to find
clean, reliable filling systems. Blow fillers, Hump fillers, Saddle and Hatchet fillers,
Sleeve fillers -- all vied with the lever. Eclipse never really entered that race, focusing
on materials, design and price to be competitive, but early on they may have had
difficulty deciding which horse to back. Here is one of the makers most daring attempts
to run with the innovators.

Early Pens:
A BCHR Sleeve fill utilizing a design licensed from a patent applied for by R.A. Hamilton
on May 26, 1904. The pen is very bare-boned, lacking even a single gold band to relieve
its austere appearance. (Other makers used this system in ornate pens with overlays
and filigrees in silver and gold). The sleeve slides back to expose a metal bar similar to
those used today in aerometric fill pens. Press the bar, submerge the nib and release; the
sac fills. Wipe the section, return the sleeve and you're good to go.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3662&d=1372358838

Licenses cost money, and pens with moving parts and lots of metal are expensive to produce,
so ultimately Eclipse settled on the lever as the delivery system-of-choice, offering full size
BCHR pens with metal bright-work.

An example with gold plated hardware...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3663&d=1372358839

and another with nickel plated furniture.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3664&d=1372358840

The only concession to style is the handsome lever box that adds greatly to the pen's
appearance. Both of these nibs bear the Eclipse imprint, and unlike those used with
the Warranteed mark, are nicely proportioned to the size of the pen. The long, graceful
shoulders yield a pleasant flex to their delivery. To the casual eye, either of these could
have been made by one of the time's pen giants, including John Holland or Paul Wirt.
Only when holding an Eclipse and a Holland in hand do you realize that the Eclipse is
lighter; the material less robust. Also of note, where Eclipse used nickel, Holland would
use silver.


Finally for today, a BCHR Ring-Top sporting an oversized (especially when considering
the size of the pen) gold filled cap band. It starts to become clear that pricing was an
important component of their competitive strategy. If you want a large cap band, you
don't get a lever box. Nor do you get a full size Eclipse nib. This is imprinted Warranteed.
The pen is fitted with what appears to be an unused grosgrain neck ribbon.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3665&d=1372358841

Although I am a proud member of The Black Pen Society, these are likely to be the last
black pens from Eclipse that will be shown. For the next ten or 15 years, black was not
what the brand was about.

More, later.

DanDeM
June 30th, 2013, 02:56 PM
Early Pens: (cont'd)
Into the early '20s Eclipse, as did most makers, continued to produce pens that reflected
Victorian tastes. At that time New York's Jewelry Exchange was on the lower east side of
Manhattan, centered around the Bowery and Canal Street -- a vestige remains to this day.
There, jobbers would stamp out silver or gold plated casings that could be bought by the
gross, sent to a plant and fitted around hard rubber bodies, a usual practice for many pen
makers. The exceptions were notable then and valuable now -- Snake pens, Tree Trunk
designs, hand engraved overlays -- and some more fastidious makers would work with
jewelers to customize the production designs to meet their own tastes. John Holland, for
instance, while based in Cincinnati, sent his son to live in New York for exactly that purpose.

Marx Finstone, Eclipse founder, wasn't troubled by those fussy details. I've seen a photo
of a gold filigree case applied over a green celluloid body. Quit striking, but period incorrect.
By the time celluloid arrived, Victorian tastes gave way to the Roaring Twenties...but
that's the next episode in this rant. However, it shows, just as the Canadian pen that
started this thread, that Founder Finstone used everything at hand.

As a rule, the Eclipse pens were equipped with Warranteed nibs. Other, more up-scale
manufacturers like Wahl or The American Pen Company would use proprietary nibs that they
would roll, cut, stamp, tip and polish in their own facilities, or at least to their own
specifications; a process that involved expensive inventory, skilled craftsmen and high
production standards. (Reading about the security surrounding the Gold Room for some of
these makers is fascinating) The rigorous quality control from the better makers yielded nibs
with highly consistent performance that was often idiosyncratic for each brand. Moore, nee
The American Pen Company, for instance, was noted for very flexible pens (as nibs were
called at the time) which is why today we find so many older, thin Moore nibs bent, broken
or with misaligned points. Holland, on the other hand, advertised pens that could be dropped,
open from shoulder height onto a concrete floor without damage to the nib. I've never used a
Holland with any hint of flex. Smooth, tough as a stump, but not flex.

Warranteed (sometimes Warrented) nibs were not a brand. Made by many manufacturers
with the name merely attesting to the 14k weight of the gold, they necessarily have erratic
performance. Some with great flex, others with none at all.

That's more than enough context, so lets get on with the bling.

First, a flagship from the period. Every manufacturer at the time had to offer a high bizzaz
gold filled filigree overlay. The patterns varied, but this Ribbon cut was typical.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3727&d=1372624228

Next a stamped overlay. When these were done by hand (repousse) the relief was very
high and dramatic like those Snake or Tree Trunk designs mentioned earlier.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3728&d=1372624229

Here we have a ladies Ring Top overlay in a basket weave pattern. These were also made in
chevron, barleycorn and a number of other patterns.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3729&d=1372624230

And finally a silver filigree. While not scarce or rare, they are less common than gold filled
models and more likely to be dented since the Sterling base tends to be softer then its GF
counterpart.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3730&d=1372624231

Next time we'll move into the Golden Age of fountain pens that came with the introduction of
celluloid. Pens with crowns, brilliant colors and great size. This chronology will also get a little
more complicated as some of Eslipse's many sub-brands begin to appear.

Stay tuned.

DanDeM
July 7th, 2013, 10:52 AM
The Golden Age
It was the Golden Age of fountain pens, and Marx Finstone was there to reflect in its glory.

Here is his homage to Moore with a Woodgrain, finished with a crown that would have made
that Boston maker either proud or sore.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3834&d=1373214319

Now a nod to a BIg Red in hard rubber...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3835&d=1373214320

a Park Row Mandarin Yellow (one of his many sub-brands)...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3836&d=1373214320

a Jade Deco Band FT...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3837&d=1373214321

These are all big pens, usually coming in at 5˝ inches capped. To his credit, it must be noted
that after 90 years or so, the metal work is in splendid condition. He certainly didn't scrimp on
the plating, but that doesn't mean that he didn't have some other tricks to play.

Here's what looks like a classic RMHR FT.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3838&d=1373214322

However, if you get too aggressive about cleaning it, all of the black "mottled" coloring will fade
away. It was only painted to resemble Red Mottled Hard Rubber.

Here are some more examples of the wonderful materials available at that special time.

Green Striate double band Flat Top.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3839&d=1373214323

The same material in a crowned RT

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3840&d=1373214324

A red striate ladies pen with nickel furniture.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3841&d=1373214325

And a slender, blue striate also with nickel.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3842&d=1373214326

Black pens aren't exotic, but this little 3Band RT with two concave bands on the barrel is unusual

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3843&d=1373214327

I'm going to close this today with another sub-brand example, a Marxston; an obvious adapt of
Marx Finstone's name.

Here is a green striate with two Deco cap bands...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3844&d=1373214328.

...that will open the door to more of his sub-brands and start to move us into the 30's.

This monolog begs for relief. Doesn't anyone have an Eclipse or twelve to add?

Later.

DanDeM
July 11th, 2013, 01:27 PM
STOP THE PRESSES!




As mentioned earlier, Eclipse came to be when eye-dropper and Safety fill pens
were in wide use. Frankly don't expect to ever see a Safety (Yeah, yeah, I know.
That's a split-infinitive.) -- they were just too complicated for Finstone to make,
but was puzzled by the lack of an eye-dropper. They were so well established and
in such wide use. The only issue they faced was the design of the delivery system
that carried the ink to the tip of the nib. The feed. Paul Wirt alone had patents for,
and manufactured four or five different approaches, but he started making pens
in 1865. About 35 years prior to Eclipse arriving on the scene.

Well, I may have been puzzled, but not any more. This arrived a few days ago.

(Cue: Drum-roll, siren and castanets)

An Eclipse BCHR ED.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3908&d=1373569585

TaDa!

Let's get the issues out of the way.

1. The chasing on the barrel is weak.
2. The cap is not chased; probably not original to the pen.
3. The brand imprint is faint.

But "Frankly Scarlet, I don't give a damn."

And yes, I said brand imprint.
There is a brand imprint ("ECLIPSE") in the indica normally used to personalize the
pen. The first and only barrel imprint I've ever seen on an Eclipse.

In another five years I may find a better example, but right now I'm stoked.

The next installment of this drone may be late. Busy slathering.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3907&d=1373569584

drgoretex
July 18th, 2013, 01:02 PM
Holy smokes. Some serious fountain pen knowledge going on here...

Fascinating reading!

Ken

DanDeM
July 21st, 2013, 02:22 PM
The Sub-Brands
Eclipse had a number of sub-brands that included Park Row, Marxton, Jackwin,
Monroe, Safety, and Deluxe (don't have examples to show for the last three)
and possibly Parkston. I say possibly Parkston because I've not seen that name
confirmed in anything I've read about Eclipse. The pens' appearance combined
with Finston's penchant for coining names that evoke his own are the only reasons
why the pen may be one of his. It is, however, entirely possible that some other
maker may have decided to ape the Marxton name and look. What delicious irony
that would be to have Eclipse build a business copying Holland, Moore, Parker
and Sheaffer while someone else builds a business copying the copier.

There is one additional brand to be mentioned that is not a true sub-brand and
that is Keene. For the following summary I am totally in debt to Phil Munson who
has done some excellent research into the background. Much more here:

http://munsonpens.wordpress.com/category/keene-fountain-pens/

and from Luis Leite here

http://www.oldfountainpensjustforfun.blogspot.com/2011/02/keene-pens-eclipse-sub-brand-with-nice.html

(including some juicy gossip about Keene and Finstone's widow)

Charles A. Keene was a wealthy, high-end, New York jeweler with a shop on
what is today, lower Broadway, near Trinity Church. (I say wealthy because
when Keene died in 1947, his residence was the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria. Pretty
swanky. ) At that time 180 Broadway was mid-town, Greenwich Village was
suburbia and anything north of 14th Street was farms. Established in 1881,
he had branches in Paris and Antwerp. A self described dealer of Wholesale
Watches, Diamonds and Jewelry, in some digging of my own I found that he
also had his own silver hallmark for flatware and accessories, which is why I
called him high-end. Keene commissioned pens from Eclipse that carried his name
on the clip, lever and/or nib. Since they were made for Keene and sold by Keene
I don't think they qualify as a true sub brand.

And now some pens. First a Parkston.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4078&d=1374436373

And a hard to find Marxton Combo in handsome Olive Marble celluloid.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4079&d=1374436374

A Jackwin, this a Blue Vein/Pearl that has sadly discolored with time.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4080&d=1374436375

When it was new, the Pearl would have had a milky glow like this Jackwin Flat Top.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4081&d=1374436376

Another of his painted frauds, this in Woodgrain.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4082&d=1374436377

I'm trying to be selective about the pens being shown, but this Black Ring Top
must appear. In 1925 John Holland introduced a line of pens he called Jewel.
One model had a black body with red end caps, deep imprints and lots of gold
trim. This is such a blatant and sorry knock-off it makes me laugh.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4083&d=1374436378

Now a few Keene's. This a RHR RT with a sticker that reads

Keene’s ‘Baby Bill’
Warranted 14k Solid Gold Point
Compare with any pen sold for $5
Money refunded if not satisfied

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4084&d=1374436379

Really dislike old pens that still have their original stickers, because I would
never ink and use them, but that doesn't mean I won't collect them, when I can.

A few more.

A BCHR Eye Dropper that I'm a little doubtful about. Any one of a number
of makers could have made that body and over time a Keene nib may have
been inserted, but here it is anyway.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4085&d=1374436380

Another painted RMHR FT, whose cap has been over cleaned...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4086&d=1374436381

...and finally another tip-of-the-hat to a Big Red Duofold.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4087&d=1374436382

Notice that these pens really pale next to those made with the Eclipse name
during the Golden Age. The plating is thin, the lever box is gone, often the
levers are simplified. Just doin' what he had to do, to make a living.

Lots of mention of lever boxes, so here's an aside to speculate about their
function beyond being merely decorative. To make a lever fill pen it is necessary
to cut a slot in the barrel. Over time, particularly if the barrel material is thin,
heat--from one's hand or being carried in a a snug pocket--can cause that slot
to distort; bulge along the long sides. A lever box frame will cover that flaw. Don't
know if it is a cost effective solution (the cost of the box vs. the cost of using
heavier material), but Eclipse did use lighter material that would be prone to
mis-shaping.

Well, it looks like this is going to spill into one more post. In the meantime show
us your pens.



You!
Yes, YOU, way in the back.
Wake up!

DanDeM
July 27th, 2013, 05:30 PM
End Game
As the brand approached the 1940's and moved forward, it produced, to my tastes,
increasingly less interesting pens like this,

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4182&d=1374966765

...and this.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4183&d=1374966766

Occaisionally something curious would appear like this confused bulb-flll with its odd
combination of materials...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4184&d=1374966767

...or this deep water blue button-fill...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4185&d=1374966768

but as a rule I find the materials pedestrian. As a result, there are not many examples
for me to share.

But these last two pens have some additional interest, because they so completely
reflect the Brand's core focus on low price. As mentioned, to build a lever fill pen a
slot must be cut into the barrel (and who knows how many barrels were damaged
in that process), a lever with a retaining ring installed, and finally a JBar properly
aligned to compress the sac.

A button needs none of that. Just install a sacked section, slide a pressure bar in
from the other end of the barrel, top it with a button and screw on the end cap.
A bulb-fill needs even less manufacturing. Probably the only filling system that is
simpler to make is an eye-dropper. Not surprising to see the brand move in this
direction as it scraped its way through the depression and tried to compete with
Wearever, the low price king -- who happened to make some rather good looking
pens. The subject of another thread. perhaps.

Toward the end even the workmanship declined. Eclipse made celluloid pens by
rolling cured stock into tubes and sealing the seam. Look at the pens from the
Golden Age and there is not a seam to be found. Now look at this sad example,
probably the newest Eclipse in my lot.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4186&d=1374966769

You can see the seam in the section and another running through the threads
into the barrel. I had to buy this pen because it so completely illustrates the
end of the line.

Old poker expression, "You've go to know when to fold 'em." Eclipse stayed
in the game for a few hands too long.

I can't wrap these comments on such a down note, so as a reminder...

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4187&d=1374966770

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4188&d=1374966771

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4190&d=1374966772

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=4189&d=1374966772

that when they were good, they were pretty darn good.

Hope you found this entertaining, but more important, I hope it tweaks your
interest in vintage pens.

DanDeM
September 1st, 2013, 11:29 AM
Addenda

Because the hunt never ends, as interesting examples arrive I'll just add them
to this sampling.

Here's another offering from Keene, that predates his association with Eclipse.
It vividly illustrates the tastes in jewelry at the turn of the century as well as
the affluence of his customers.

A small, 3 inch lead holder.
Not a mechanical pencil, this lacks any internals to propel or retract the lead,
which is held in the tube at the end of nose by friction. This solid gold, high-relief,
snail pattern, hammered barrel ends with a band that is imprinted:

KEENE N.Y. 12K

He even went so for as to have KEENE imprinted on the snap clip that fastens
the chain to the crown.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=5112&d=1378055914

On a more prosaic note, we see Marx Finstone at his frugal best. In the 1880's
Cross secured a patent for the first Sylographic pens made in the States. For
about twenty years this design was a practical solution to expensive gold nibs,
at a time when their performance could be uncertain. By the 1900's early issues
had been resolved, and making a functioning nib/feed then, was about as
complicated as stuffing a Twinkie now.

Move ahead twenty years. Finstone finds an inventory of Red Hard Rubber at
a time when the industry is racing toward celluloid. He also finds or has made,
a stash of Stylos at a time when they had become totally obsolete. A marriage
made in heaven. Badge them with Jackwin and sell them for whatever you can get.

Unfortunately that probably didn't work. I landed five of these pens; all in a
condition that suggests storage in the back of a drawer for 90 years. The red had
lost its luster, and the hardware had tarnished to a grimy black. Absolutely no
signs of ever touching ink.

A couple of pristine anachronisms from Jackwin.
http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=5113&d=1378055923

DanDeM
September 15th, 2013, 02:15 PM
These pens keep coming in, and the last few weeks brought some
nice examples.

First a little Canadian Ring Top with stepped end caps, lustrous gray
marble plastic, and a highly decorated cap band.



http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=5371&d=1379275062



Next is a jade striate Flat Top with nickel furniture. I mentioned earlier
that these pens were made from rolled flat stock, rather than bored rods.
This example is probably the best illustration of that process in the lot.
Look at the linear pattern on the cap below the black band. Then notice
that the patten for the area above the band doesn't run in same direction.
It's a plug, cemented in place to close the rolled tube.



http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=5372&d=1379275063



Finally, for today, a handsome, late '20's desk set. Tortoise shell plastic
base with a black, lever fill red-banded pen.



http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=5373&d=1379275064



I don't pursue desk sets -- they can take up a great deal of space; maybe
not the sets, but the desks. Just couldn't let this go by. An element I find
interesting about this set, is that the pen, just above the section, is threaded,
and actually screws into the trumpet to make a seal when not in use. Haven't
seen enough examples from other makers to know if this was a common practice
at the time. If anyone can shed light on this, I'd love to know more.



http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=5374&d=1379275064



Well, that's all for today. Hope you enjoy.

DanDeM
December 24th, 2013, 03:44 PM
It's been a while since I added to this thread. Not for lack of activity, but because
most of the new arrivals would likely generate one of Arte Johnson's "Verrry Interesting"
comments...and then you would fall off your tricycle, bored.

I've found a Monroe, a Parker wannabe Zephyr, and cute RT with stepped caps,
a spiffy green marble Combo, another yellow flat top, three Safetys that lead me
to believe that they are not a sub-brand, but actually a model, just like a Hooded
Knight or a Zephyr, and the Pen & Pencil set I'd like to talk about today.

Not only is this High Bling but it illustrates Marx Finston at his waste-not-want-not
best. And the condition is outstanding. The only thing this set lacks is a sticker.

The body of this set is that green striated, rolled plastic shown in earlier posts. A
mainstay during the 1930's, M.F. must have had yards of the stuff. I imagine that
one day he was looking through his cigar boxes of unused parts and had the Eureka
moment that produced this, a pen I had only seen in photographs, that I previously
called "period incorrect". For the record, it still is.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=7978&d=1387924296

Apparently he had no trouble scaling the body to fit the 1920's filigree, but matching
the clips was another case. They are both '20's Klein designs, right down to the
inclusion of the patent date, 9/18/23. The problem is they don't match. The pen clip
reads ECLIPSE in stacked type, the pencil clip reads Eclipse in horizontal script. Just
usin' what ya' got.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=7979&d=1387924297

But look at the ribbon-leaf filigree. You can still see the veining in the leaves. If it
weren't for the ink in the threads you might think the pen had never been used.
Someday, when my anality (is that a word??) is at a peak, I'll take it apart and
clean those treads.

Meanwhile, hope you enjoy.

FredRydr
February 19th, 2014, 03:50 AM
Dan,

What a great thread! I've had a few Eclipses, but have held on to only one. It's an early pen identical to your photo posted above:

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3662&d=1372358838

It was made in the USA for the British Boots chemist chain of pharmacies. The Boots script logo appears not only on the barrel next to ECLIPSE, but also on the 14K No. 3 nib!

I'll take some photos of the pen, but in the meantime, here's Boots the Cash Chemists:

http://www.boots.com/wcsstore/cmsassets/Boots/Library/Icon/Content%20/Health/000_2010/_SEP10/bootssheffield.jpg/bootssheffield.jpg

Fred

DanDeM
March 5th, 2014, 10:24 AM
Fred:
I'm impressed. You held onto one of the most hard to find examples from Eclipse.

This too has the Boots script imprint on the barrel, but not on the nib. This nib shows
Eclipse in the familiar football logo. To have the Boots imprint is really special.

For reference the sleeve fill was licensed from R.A. Hamilton who held Patent #871,649
dated May 26, 1904.

Look forward to seeing your pen.

DanDeM
October 7th, 2014, 11:30 AM
Must bump this old thread.
New arrival; has to be shared.

Posted this desk set earlier.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14218&d=1412702452


Then this come in.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14219&d=1412702481


Sure look good together.

http://fpgeeks.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=14220&d=1412702508


Back into the bushes waiting to jump on the last remaining model, in all black.

Got an eclipse to share?