Earlier this year, I posted a description and pictures of a brass desk set by Bradley and Hubbard of Meriden, Connecticut. At the time, I had acquired and restored three pieces: the oval blotter, the oval pen tray, and the hand-held ink blotter. You can read the original post by clicking here.
At that time, I had found a nearly identical set in the Smithsonian collection and realized that the original set included three more pieces: the lidded inkwell, the letter opener, and the letter holder. That set me on a quest to find the missing pieces.
Black and chrome, it practically screams Art Deco. This Sheaffer dual pen desk set is definitely from the Art Deco era. My expert tells me that this is a a model P074 base from 1936 and originally sold for $12.50 with two pens with number 3 series nibs.
The sockets are second generation Dry-Proof sockets. The enlarged top part of the socket can be turned to lock the pen into the socket, presumably keeping it from drying out between uses. Again according to my expert, this system did not succeed in keeping the pens wet, but it did not break as easily as the first generation. One of these sockets still turns to lock in the pen, while the other has been broken and glued together.
In the pictures below, you can see that the lip of the section has a slight taper which was designed to mate with a tapered inner surface inside the socket, sealing the nib from the air. Earlier Sheaffer desk pens have a flat face on the section.
The pens are correct for this base, one with a number 3 nib and the other with a number 33. These are base model pens; the 3 series nibs were the smallest Sheaffer made. The 5 series was mid-sized and the Lifetime nibs were the largest. One of the pens, like its socket, is not in great shape. The fill lever is missing and someone has used pliers on the section, leaving some ugly dents there. I’ll be looking for suitable replacement parts.
I purchased two Pelikan 120 pens, one from the 1955-65 era and the other made by Mertz & Krell in the succeeding years, both set up as desk pens. Whether these were factory models or a very well-done field modification is not clear, but the Pelikan factory has definitely produced similar items, as this picture shows:
I don’t have the matching pen for this base, but the base itself is the epitome of Art Deco design – black and chrome with geometric figures. Just look!
This was my first Eversharp Skyline desk set. I just really like the elegant burgundy color and the understated design. The green and brown onyx base gives the set a more casual feel than some others.
Eversharp Skyline pens are a fascination of mine, and when I discovered that they had made desk sets in the same series, I had to have one. Well, I now have more than one because it seems that I can’t stop with just one.
This one is a fairly high end version, featuring a gold “derby” on the trumpet, much like the gold “derby” on the higher end pocket pens. It also carries the Wahl-Eversharp gold seal with double check marks and has a first generation Skyline “banner” nib with the teardrop imprint around the breather hole and slit.
My friend and penturner Darrell Eisner of Halifax, Nova Scotia, made a fountain pen commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I saw a similarity between the cap of the Titanic pen and my Eversharp Skyline desk sets and asked Darrel to make a new cap top with a small hole drilled in the very top.