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Thread: The Ford Paten Pen

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default The Ford Patent Pen



    Most pen designs have been copied at one time or another. Sheaffer copied the Onoto, Conway Stewart made a half-hearted attempt at copying Sheaffer's Touchdown, and so on it goes. The one pen that has not been historically copied – though it may be copied by the Chinese now – is the Ford Patent Pen. If one had to define it, it's a syringe filler, though it's rather more than that.



    Unlike the Sheaffer Vacuum-Fill or the De La Rue Onoto Plunger Fill, the pen fills on the upstroke and the ink is transferred past the seal to the ink chamber on the downstroke. The “valve” (actually part of the seal) remains open in use to allow passage of ink to the nib and the long breather tube allows air in to equalise the pressure. Because it was recognised that pens which held ink in the barrel were particularly subject to blobbing because of the transfer of heat from the hand, the whole assembly is housed in a sleeve.



    The Ford pen appears in four sizes: the Lady, the Standard, the Magnum and the desk pen. Mine is a standard measuring 14.6 cm when capped. The other notable thing about the Ford, apart from its filling mechanism, is the quality of the work in hard rubber. The knurled pattern on the ends is quite outstanding. It is not known who made the Ford pen. It was financed by the Ford Blotting Paper Company but the actual manufacture may have been carried out by Wyvern, De la Rue or Valentine. Present opinion seems to favour Wyvern. It went into production in 1931. It was the brainchild of George Stewart Vivian.



    There are two versions. The first version, the one I have, has a celluloid barrel to contain the ink. Later pens had a Perspex-like inner barrel. I believe that these are subject to crazing and cracking.

    Mine was a gift more than ten years ago so I don't know what it cost then. Depending upon condition, a Standard Ford pen may go for £500 or more today. Obviously, the larger Magnum will fetch a higher price. My pen had been serviced when it came to me and I used it a lot. It was rather remiss of me that I set it aside for a time without filling it with water and when I returned to it some time later it was seized. I got a trickle of water into it and left it for a while. That was enough and the pen returned to full working condition. I think I got off light!



    As you might imagine, because of its girth (around 14 mm) it takes a little getting used to. Despite the large quantity of ink that it holds I don't find it heavy. The nib is an absolute delight: somewhere between fine and medium with considerable flexibility should I wish to invoke it. Having learned my lesson, I keep it in almost constant use and fill it with water when I rest it.



    It may be the most expensive pen I have – certainly it is the most interesting. These pens are said to be rare but that isn't true. Like any ebonite pen, they can sustain damage particularly in the cap lip and in some of the inner parts. That being the case, Ford pens in good working order are quite uncommon.

    With thanks to Dr Laurence Oldfield.
    https://www.penpractice.com/page10.html
    Last edited by Deb; February 25th, 2020 at 12:44 PM.
    Regards,
    Deb
    My Blog
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    azkid (February 27th, 2020), catbert (February 25th, 2020), Chrissy (February 25th, 2020), christof (February 25th, 2020), Fermata (February 26th, 2020), FredRydr (February 25th, 2020), penwash (February 25th, 2020), Robert (February 25th, 2020), sgphoto (February 25th, 2020)

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    Default Re: The Ford Patent Pen

    Very interesting pen and you did a good job at explaining it. I find your blog most enjoyable.

    Cheers.
    Sg

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    Deb (February 26th, 2020)

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    Default Re: The Ford Paten Pen

    Fascinating pen, Deb.

    And actually recognizing the heat transfer's undesirable effect (dripping or burping) and counter it with the design of the pen, that's brilliance.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Deb (February 26th, 2020)

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    Default Re: The Ford Paten Pen

    Thats an amazing pen Deb, I have only seen one other, perhaps that was the same pen before restoration.

    A technical Tour de Force.

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    Deb (February 26th, 2020)

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Ford Paten Pen

    Thank you all for your kind comments. My one regret about this post is that I didn't photograph the inner barrel when it was not full of ink. It's pink/amber and semi-transparent and would have given some sights of the filling mechanism. However, if you follow the link to Dr Oldfield's site you will see a much more in-depth explanation with good illustrations.
    Regards,
    Deb
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    Default Re: The Ford Paten Pen

    I can see the ink inside the inner barrel.
    Can I ask if you find it uncomfortable to hold if you are holding it on the screw threads?
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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