English pens are not my forte, but lately they’re all English.
I usually don’t buy English pens, color, is the main reason I buy them. It’s only after receiving and dissembling them does one realize that some of these are quality pens, very well made.
The Stephens button filler is one of these very well made pens. This is my first exposure to the brand and pen, as I have not heard or known about the them. After research, it seems that Stephens are mostly known for their ink, but not their pens. Vintage inks is not my thing, this pen however, is a different story. In the hand, this pen has heft, not flimsy or thin-walled like many pens in that era.
Another factor that makes this a quality pen: the filling mechanism. Though a button-filler, it utilizes a brass bushing and an internal screw to actuate the filling process without the need to take off the blind cap — saving user the potential of a lost blind cap — similar to the Montblanc 122/124/126/128/129 Meisterstück button fillers.
Difference being the earlier Meisterstück button fillers didn’t come in Lapis (even if it did, the price would probably be so ridiculous that I will not bite the bullet) and they are not as well made as these Stephens pens. Not to mention the variety of colors too!
I have a thing for blue pens — particularly, lapis blue.
However, these lapis color pens don’t appear too easily and often commands a premium. That is especially true with brands like Waterman, Conklin, Pelikan, and Montblanc. Any old vintage pens in top condition of the names above can cost a pretty penny.
“DOUBLE TANK” by the U.K. brand National Security was one of those lapis colored pen that I scored recently.
This particular pen has an interesting filling system, it doesn’t have a button or a lever on the barrel like other pens of its era. But rather, has a threaded opening one-third in from the end of the barrel. From there, you can fill the ink by squeezing the sac with your fingers.
This pen came with a warranted 14K nib, nothing special but does get the job done.
Truth be told, the color on this pen is simply stunning! Many shades of blue complimented by sparkling areas of gold, just wonderful! Now, how exactly can we revive these lapis color celluloid? I can only dream.