A friend sent me a surprise in the mail. It was a Frankensnork. There are at least five different Sheaffer Snorkels in this Sheaffer Snorkel, and it makes me smile every time I pick it up and write with it.
(On the permutations of “Franken:” in my line of work, we’re used to cobbling together pleasant-looking wholes from parts of images. “I like her hair there, but only the sides. Can we take the front from this other image here?” The aim is perfection. In Frankenpens, the aim is more likely to be, “I’ve got this great nib/cap/barrel, it’s a shame to leave it lying around unused and unloved.”)
The Sheaffer Snorkel fills using, what else, a snorkel: twisting the end piece extrudes a metal tube underneath the nib. Plunge the metal tube into your choice of ink, twist the end piece the other way, and the pen fills with ink. My friend walked me through the process via IM, as I’d never had a Snorkel before, and I was worried about accidentally extracting blood from my thumb.
The Frankensnork is a one-of-a-kind pen, and it certainly has a rare nib: a flexible stub, marked FS5 on its underside. Sheaffer rarely made flexible nibs, as far as I know. That it’s a stub as well adds to the rarity.
This vintage stub’s stroke is thinner compared to a modern Sheaffer factory stub. It widens with pressure on the downstroke. (I’ll post a side-by-side sample of this stub compared to the only modern flexible stub I know that’s available without modification, the one from Danitrio.)
Rarity is a thrill, but what matters more to me is the generosity of spirit behind this gift. Perhaps fountain pens, and the shared love for them, do take us back to a kinder time and place.