Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Visi Inks and Auto Tanks

Every so often you come across a theme in any collection which grabs you. I know some pen collectors who love a particular material, or a type of nib, or capless pens like the Pilot Vanishing Point and Lamy Dialog. For me, it's Visi Inks and Auto Tanks, and other bulb fillers with clear midsections.
The photo shows three Visi Inks - two Platignums and a Mentmore. Other than the slight difference in clip treatment, the only real difference is the size of the nib; Platignum being the Mentmore sub-brand, their nibs, though gold, are half the size - ridiculously small for the size of pen.

But there is also the National Security Auto Tank. I don't have one of those yet and really should get one, though these pens seem to crop up on eBay only once in every so many blue moons. One of the delightful things about bulb fillers is that they've comparatively easy to restore, since you don't have to remove the section to replace the sac. That appeals to me, as a total amateur at pen restoration!

Now I've found that the American brand Drexel also produced quite a lot of these transparent barrel pens, though personally I find the transparent barrel doesn't go well with the streamlined ends - there's a clash between the straightness of the band and the pointiness of the ends that I don't find very attractive.

I've also found a delightful pen with similarly beautiful marbled ends (in acrylic) and a clear barrel being made by Astra pens of Aurangabad, and on sale in Abhay Pens in that city. One of the things I like about this company is the way it goes back to the golden age for many of its pen designs; and these are lovely little pens, eyedroppers rather than bulb fillers. (More details about these pens in my FPN Indian Pen Odyssey.) They have very similar shapes to the Platignum/Mentmore pens I own, and I find them extremely attractive.

To my delight I find that Edison can make nearly all its pen models as bulb fillers, though at $350 these are considerably more expensive than any of my small collection! (I only have one Edison at the moment, a Herald I acquired on eBay, and by coincidence that's the one pen that Brian Gray can't make bulb-fill).

Of course my photos don't show you the chief attraction of these pens - the fact that their translucent barrels allow you to see the ink, just as you would with a demonstrator. Never mind having an 'ink window', these pens are all ink window! - or pretty close.

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