Good day, pen friends.
As the year draws to a close and we enter 2019, we have many things to look forward to, and many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for celluloid.
Celluloid is a compound created from nitrocellulose (cellulose nitrate) and camphor. As such, it is highly flammable, and very dangerous. But it's pretty, so naturally it has been used extensively by us silly humans. One of the reasons early cinema fires were so deadly is because nitrocellulose was commonly used for film base, which had a rather nasty habit of auto-igniting when overheated by projector. Celluloid was also used in the production of cheap jewelry, faux veneers, slide rules, musical instruments, dolls, and, of course, pens.
Today, I bring you two examples of celluloid pens, years apart, vastly different, and yet strikingly similar. We have an American Sheaffer's Balance, a 1929 long standard ringtop Lifetime model with white dot, in their Pearl & Black pattern. I have outfitted this lever-filler with a size 18½ silicone sac, as the off-gassing of latex sacs quickly darkens the pattern. It is worth noting that the nib on this pen is the same size as what is commonly found on most oversize Sheaffer pens.
The second pen, released sixty years later, is a Japanese 1989 Platinum #3776 Limited Edition, in their Stone pattern. This pen, unlike the far older Sheaffer pen, is a cartridge/converter filler, and is also an example of "wrapped celluloid," a manufacturing technique which eliminates the waste from turning a block of celluloid into a pen on a lathe, but leaves an unsightly seam in the material.
These pens are 90 and 30 years old now, respectively. They write just as perfectly as the day they were sold, and I expect them to last for a good while longer. Perhaps in another 60 years, we can see another example of this beautiful pattern?
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