In my mind there are two kinds of safety pens: the Moore kind, and the Waterman kind. Like eyedroppers, they are designed to hold ink in the barrel; unlike eyedroppers, they have a mechanism (usually a built-in seal and a retractable nib) that ensures ink doesn’t leak when the pen is in any position other than upright. Richard Binder explains this all very well, with cross-sections to boot.
RMHR is red mottled hard rubber, one of my favorite pen materials. This safety’s fanciness is all in the material. The shape is a simple tube, no curves, no steps. I think this pen is from the mid-1930s.
The end of the barrel has a knob you turn clockwise to push up the nib.
The markings seem to say “The Untout” (?) and “Made in England.”
Back in the day, if your pen didn’t come with a clip, you could buy one. This one has a simple stamped star.
I try to remember to hold the pen upright when I’m unscrewing the cap. Safeties have threads near the lip of the barrel. It’s filled like a standard eyedropper, while the nib is still retracted.
I don’t think the act of twisting the knob to expose the nib will ever be mundane. It feels almost like a ritual.
The warranted nib is on the toothy side, but pleasantly flexible. The ink flow is more than generous. And this is where the artist part comes in. The great thing about eyedroppers is fewer parts.I plan to try drawing ink (like Winsor & Newton) in it, Ecoline, or diluted gouache. Wish me luck. I’ll post results in another blog entry.
Both these safeties came to me by way of Tom, and you should read what he wrote under “Safety Dance.”
I am now the grateful guardian of four safety pens. Talk about safety in numbers. (Badabing!)
There’s something indescribably sexy about a pen that gushes ink the way this one does.
The ink pools when I pause the nib. I can’t wait to play with that effect with other inks.