Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vacuum Vintage Fountain Pen

Update below.

Among the fountain pens I found at the Annex flea market some weeks back is this snakeskin/diamond diagonal style pen simply identified as "Vacuum" on the barrel and nib. The cap and barrel are slightly different greens, with the cap a darker green and the barrel lighter and more iridescent. I seem to recall that they were separate in the case when I found them, and likely came from two different pens that looked enough alike to make up one complete set.

The pen itself is in decent condition: the nib still has a tip, the lever was working fine, and the pen just needed a new sac and some polishing (all done by 777PenRepair). The clip and band show heavy wear and brassing, but I find some wear on a pen a feature. I think about who used it before me, or how many owners it had before I came along.

The nib is in good condition, while the entire nib/feed area just seems quite long--it's actually longer than the section and adds a nice touch to the overall look of the pen.

As for how well it writes, this is one flexy nib! It's very wet as well, and the line is somewhere around a medium to broad. I've filled it with Noodler's LE Boston Brahmin Black and like the way the pen and line look when I'm writing.

I haven't found anything on Vacuum fountain pens, not even old adverts. There were two I saw for sale on eBay and another auction site, but no information about the company. Likely this pen came out in the 1930s, when colorful celluloids added some cheer to a bleak and unrelentingly difficult decade. It's a great looking pen, even with the slight color difference between cap and barrel, and I'm hoping to find out more. In the meantime this Vacuum snakeskin gets a lot of second looks, quite rightly.

Update--Posted a query over at Fountain Pen Network asking if anyone could identify this pen and got this response:

Vacuum-Fil Sheaffer sub brand circa 1935. Looks like Sheaffer changed the name to WASP by 1936. I'm not sure how these are always imprinted but the pattern of yours was in use by late 1936.

Roger W.


  1. How dignified-looking, and the writing looks lovely! You're talented at finding great pens!

  2. That is an incredibly cool looking pen. I love that design! The nib does look an awful lot like the Sheaffer Feathertouch 2-tone nibs, except mine doesn't have any flex.

  3. The design really is what caught my eye, literally--the pen was slightly sticking out from under a pile of old photographs and jewelry inside a glass case. I saw the barrel and then found the cap. Wasn't sure about the make, but I thought it might be a Sheaffer. Now to decide on replating, or just let it be. :)

  4. Love the pattern on the pen. This looks like a great catch, especially since the nib is flexy. The ironic thing is that if I were to go to a flea market in search of vintage fountain pens I wouldn't find anything good at a decent price.

  5. I really like this pen so much. Its pattern is superb and looks fantastic. It is very hard to get from market.

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