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Just what is considered modern?


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#1 milojinx

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:52 PM

Vintage or Modern? When people describe a fountain pen as modern, just what are the dates on that? I have many Pelikan pens that are considered modern but they reach back into time to 1955, 1974, 1980, and my last one was 2003. The 1974 looks and operates just like the 1955, and is very close kin to the 1980 and 2003 models? So is 60 years not vintage? I have many Parker pens that fall under the same question of modern or vintage. Is it the materials? The filling system? The nib? It is like arguing cars, the cars I grew up with are now "vintage" To me, they are not. I can not imagine my father's 64 Mustang as vintage, but I can his fixed up Model A at the same time period. So what makes it Vintage and what makes it Modern? My first post here. I am a retired librarian (I guess that makes me vintage, but I still feel modern).

#2 david i

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:02 PM

Hi,

 

One popular definition:

 

A vintage pen is any pen no longer in production when I started collecting (or became aware of)  pens.

 

Another popular definition:

 

A vintage pen is any pen older than I.

 

It can get messy after that... ;)

 

regards

 

David


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#3 milojinx

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 12:18 AM

So if Pelikan reintroduced a 100N, then it is Modern. But the old one would still be vintage even though it is now technically in production? Car example, Ford Mustang has been in production since it was first made in 1964, but a 1960's and now 1970's mustangs are consider vintage. A Parker 75 is vintage even though the production stopped in the 1990's (not sure), and the filling system is considered modern piston converter, but that has been a hallmark of Parker since the early 1960's. My black and white mind wants to know! Devil's advidcate at work here.

#4 milojinx

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 12:22 AM

Or better yet, how about a Visconti Voyager pen, out of production, vintage?
(I feel so evil).

#5 rpk1204

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 01:51 AM

I like David's definition - I am old, therefore anything older than I am is REALLY OLD...  I always tell people I'm not older than dirt, but I am older than fire.  So somewhere in between that.   On a more serious note, it must be a scale that moves... Pick a starting point for old vs. modern  .... 1950?  One other possibilty is by "system".... cartridge pens are modern?  Have fun with this one...

 

Randy



#6 BrianMcQueen

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 03:24 PM

My personal definition is that any pen introduced after the invention of the modern cartridge/converter system is a modern pen, with a few exceptions. The Waterman C/F was introduced in 1953, and I consider it the first modern cartridge pen.

 

What about models which were introduced before the C/C system but later were changed to use it, you ask?

The Parker 51 was introduced as a Vacumatic filler, then evolved to Aerometric, then to C/C.  I consider all variations to be vintage, since the model was introduced before the C/C system.

 

So which models introduced after the Waterman C/F are vintage pens, you ask?  Man, you guys are on the ball today.

Well, I consider the C/F itself a vintage pen. I also consider the Sheaffer PFM to be a vintage pen. The Parker 61 and Parker VP are vintage pens to me, but I do not consider the Parker 75 to be vintage.

 

So, you don't really have a good definition after all, do you?

No. I guess not. It's a pretty fuzzy line. Hope I helped you out!



#7 david i

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 03:26 PM

So if Pelikan reintroduced a 100N, then it is Modern. But the old one would still be vintage even though it is now technically in production? Car example, Ford Mustang has been in production since it was first made in 1964, but a 1960's and now 1970's mustangs are consider vintage. A Parker 75 is vintage even though the production stopped in the 1990's (not sure), and the filling system is considered modern piston converter, but that has been a hallmark of Parker since the early 1960's. My black and white mind wants to know! Devil's advidcate at work here.

Hi,

 

I imagine that most collectors do not consider remakes to represent  continuity to a series/model, especially when the re-do simulates an old finish. Should not be a problem then with Pelikans.

 

Regards

 

david


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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#8 Saleem ali

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 04:17 PM

Some people hold that, "vintage" means , a product  representing  of its time which has past .  Surely,  the making of pens has undergone  tremendous evolution since last decade of 19th century  ,or even before it . But by this time , we see some serious efforts to make a writing instrument which is portable , have a reservoir of ink , can be owned or used by most people , not only for " princely " people. The pens were dip pens , eye-dropper fillers , piston-fillers , various type of other filling mechanisms introduced at different times , to modern "swap-away " converters,and cartridges . There has been  profound  changes in nib  materials and types,  as well design of pens and pen materials ,such as hard rubber ,celluloid, plastics , precious metals like gold ,silver or platinum. if you look pens of a particular time they exhibit similar features in materials , filling system ,and nib types. Lets have a look at "celluloid " era , when most pens were made from this  hand -turned  material , had gold nibs which were flexible to suite the hand-writing style prevalent at that  time.This IMHOP, may explain the term "vintage"., which by above quoted-example represents design ,material ,trend and innovation of a pen of a particular past period. People love vintage items , because they love "classics " , or they pamper their inherited treasures , or simply a love for older or antique items.



#9 milojinx

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 11:00 PM

Saleem ali,
I do like your definition and the way you used it in your explanation. But a Parker 75 is 50 years old. And a PFM pen has style of nib and shape that are still being made today by sheaffer. To me a converter no longer makes a pen "modern". I read another topic in this forum on how "modern" pens are bad because of this or that. Some are, some are not. Just like vintage pens some are great, some not so cool. It really is not fair to generalize about your pens. I have many old pens and many new ones as well. Some of my old ones are just not that great, and some are wonderful. I have a Duofold Junior that is now 80 some odd years old. hate it. have a 1980's Duofold international that I absolutely love. An example in reverse, my father's Wahl Eversharp Doric is simply wonderful, power plunger, works great and smooth. My Visconti power plunger, not so great, sometimes leaks, and I need to really have it repaired. I guess I hate generalizations of fountain pens. If it is new, old, really old (vintage) or really new (modern) they should not be criticized in a general statement. I think they are all wonderful and should all be appreciated for what they give each of us. Another note, I tend to write in Italic style, and not a cursive style, who cares or needs flex? Yes, it is nice once in a while, but it is not that great of characteristic of a nib. I can not see myself writing like Thomas Jefferson and reading "in the purfuit of happineff". (favorite Stan Frieberg line).

#10 Saleem ali

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 05:56 PM

Dear Milojinx ( and all readers !),    thanks for reading ,and commenting. I never tried to lay down any set criteria for defining  a "vintage" pen. I am very much interested in knowing the history of making things ,esp. fountain pens. I thought and re-thought ,but an exact definition of "vintage " acceptable to all is virtually non-existant  . I present before you  , the example of three very famous and well-appreciated pens ,and ask where they should fall  ? . First of all Parker 75 , which was made in about 1964 or  65 ,and discontinued in 1990 , where this pen lies  ?  its about same age as mine , it has  passed thru some changes ,esp by french workers , who altered some ergonomics of this pen i.e rotation of the nib ,but still improved the pen. Some authorities call it a "modern classic"!    Second example is legendary Mont Blancs 149 and 146 ,made more than 50 years ago , still in  production  and vogue ,and sought by pen -lovers;  they have too  undergone  profound changes,  from celluloid to "precious " resins ,flexible to rigid nibs , some alteration in the feed and piston designs , the only vintage character left  is piston-filler,  should we call the present models modern with vintage touch? and older ones  a vintage ? Third example is Sheaffer Targa ;    it reflected innovation in design and wide range of finishes , nothing special in filling mechanism , now discontinued  , but still available  in  original un-restored condition, is this a vintage pen ? . I have honestly  shared my views , and  I would like all FPNers  to reach some conclusion of this problem of definition . ( Defining   things always excite controversies  ! ) Liking a particular pen , is a very personal matter because of varying taste ,and writing needs of different  people.   Any  modern  or vintage  pen can be your favorite .


Edited by Saleem ali, 17 January 2014 - 06:05 PM.


#11 Wahl

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 07:13 PM

To me, the golden age of vintage, or maybe we should say classic FP´s ends around 1950.



#12 Peterg

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 11:57 PM

I would push that forward to about 1959 by which time most of the smaller (and many larger) manufacturers had been pushed out of the market and the biro was supplanting the fountain pen, forcing most manufacturers to choose to produce high volume low end pens or move into the luxury (rather than writing) market.



#13 Saleem ali

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:53 PM

Coming back again to the definition of Vintage, I have searched the various definitions by collectors and lexicographists.First ,as David I  quoted , : "A vintage pen must be older than me ". David Nishumara says , "For most part , collectors define vintage pens as those made before c.1965 " . Many ,like Wahl , believe that the " golden "era of pens ended around 1950.

Some of various authetic dictionaries of english  give definitions of vintage as , for example :Oxford , "The time that something of quality was produced ". Macmillan , "a vintage object or vehicle old but is kept in good condition  because it is interesting or attractive".Cambridge ,  "of high quality and lasting value or showing best and typical characterestics of particular of thing from the past".   Collins ," representative of best and most typical ,of lasting intrerest "

 Now , by carefully analysing  the literature ,and thinking , I conclude , " A vintage pen is  a representative of a time past ,showing all characteristics (or features)  of designing , innovations of material and function , best thought and worked-up  at that time, well-received and appreciated by collectors or writers,  very hard to find  in mint / unused  condition ,   some 20-30 years must have passed since its making for the first time  ,and  is no longer in production ." . This is no attempt to impose some fixed-up ideas , or being  over-whelmingly dogmatic , but an honest endeavor to help fellow hobbyists  to reach atleast a working conclusion IMHOP. I request that this post must be read after reading my  earlierposts of 16 17 Jan ,2014



#14 pajaro

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 01:31 AM

I suppose stuff made in the 1970s and before is really becoming vintage.  I find this depressing, because I graduated from the university in 1970 and bought a new Parker 51 at that time.  So, the pen and I are both vintage.  Thirty to forty years ago becomes a fuzzy border between vintage and modern.  Think about all the stuff from the sixties and seventies.  You will no doubt think of it as vintage.



#15 Frank(Federalist Pens)

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:04 AM

I would push that forward to about 1959 by which time most of the smaller (and many larger) manufacturers had been pushed out of the market and the biro was supplanting the fountain pen, forcing most manufacturers to choose to produce high volume low end pens or move into the luxury (rather than writing) market.

 

 

I would agree- I have seen this discussion elsewhere. IMO, most agree that the P45 was the first "Modern" FP...


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#16 amk

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 01:51 PM

There seem to be two different senses of the word 'vintage', as used (1) by fountain pen users and collectors, and (2) by ebay sellers.

 

(1) We're having an interesting debate here. I wonder if most of us haven't defined the word to ourselves, but we still have opinions on what is and isn't 'vintage'? For instance I feel that Parker 51 is vintage and Parker 45 isn't. Or Waterman... no, the Laureat isn't vintage. In the latter case because I remember buying the Laureat new, but I'm not sure why I have that feeling about Parkers.

 

(2) 'Vintage' means 'I don't know how I came to have this strange pen I know nothing about, but I'd like a lot of money for it.' cf 'rare'.



#17 jonro

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 08:44 PM

I think of the delineation between vintage and modern as the time when fountain pen manufacturers stopped competing with each other for innovations and when fountain pen companies became oriented toward collectors rather than writers. There isn't a sharp line; but I would put it in the 60s, with the PFM, the last truly innovative fountain pen, or with the Parker 75. After that time, fountain pen companies became more collector-oriented, and prices escalated accordingly. 

 

This isn't a hard rule. There are still plenty of pens made today for writers, starting at the level of the Platinum Preppy and Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens. There is also a certain amount of innovation in materials and filling systems. But, in the twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties, the pens reflected the design ethos of those decades and the manufacturers were touting their technological advantages over their competitors. That's not the case today and design takes precedence over functionality in advertising.

 

There's nothing wrong with great design. A Sheaffer Connaisseur is a great writer as well as a great design, and is a very collectible pen. But, even though they are about 20+ years old, I don't consider them to be vintage pens. That's my two cents on the question of vintage vs. modern pens.


Edited by jonro, 26 August 2014 - 08:45 PM.





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