Monday, August 20, 2012

Sheaffer cartridge pens, 1959

[Life, August 17, 1959.]

[An old coot turns the pages of Life and finds this ad.]

“The kids today . . . what with their hula hoops and rocket ships. And cartridge pens! A pen should fill from a bottle!”

Be cool, imaginary coot. I like the picture of things this ad presents: high schoolers and college students thinking about their writing instruments. If you click on the ad, you’ll get a larger view with readable text. Let me prove it. Here’s what Sally Cunningham, a junior at Birmingham (Michigan) High School has to say:

“By carrying Skrip cartridges in your pocket or purse, you can fill your Skripsert pen right during a class or exam! And quickly!”
Very practical, Sally! No embarrassing ink spills for you!

Mike Redman, Yale freshman, says:
“In addition to my Skripsert fountain pen, I’m taking a matching pencil back to school! After all, whoever heard of going through a year of solid trigonometry without an eraser?”
Smart choice, Mike! Your enthusiasm — and your sense of humor — are contagious!

What makes this ad especially great is the appearance of Ann Marget Olsson (last name misspelled as Olson). Yes, Ann-Margret. Yes, Ann-Margret, who indeed attended Northwestern.

I’m so stuck on fountain pens that at first I didn’t realize what should be immediately clear to any reader of this ad: Sheaffer is trying to keep the kids away from b-ll-p--nts. Shh.

[All kidding and coots aside, bottled ink is a better choice for fountain pens: far less expensive. The fountain-pen cartridge is the precursor of the inkjet-printer cartridge.]

comments: 8

Inter Glossa said...

I remember these very well but I had forgotten that the nib was recessed like the much more expensive Sheaffer models.

Geo-B said...

I suppose that ink cartridges is one early step in our present culture of throw-away one-use products (like individual coffee pods and Lunchables), but this did solve some problems, including lugging an ink bottle around and the messy-quirky membrane fountain pen liners. I've used nothing but a fountain pen since 4th grade, and my scientist-father provided me with a hypodermic needle with which to fill up the cartridges (not something one would do these days), but the present solution is great and similar: reservoirs with a screw apparatus that allows you to suck up the ink. I've got a bottle of ink at home and one at school.

Michael Leddy said...

I. G., these are before my time, though I remember mediocre Wearevers, which came with ten or twelve “free” cartridges.

George, thank you for mentioning the converter, which is a great alternative for a pen that take cartridges. I use converters in my Lamy Safaris.

Adair said...

I must have used the next generation of Sheaffer cartridge "school pens." They were not as streamlined as these Skripserts, and they leaked like heck. It was a big deal when I was given a Parker 45 for Christmas--suddenly my experience of fountain pens was on a much higher level.

Michael Leddy said...

Adair, I suspect that school pens must have left many users forever wary of fountain pens. As I think you and I both know, a good fountain pen never leaks.

Adair said...

In Germany there were amazing school pens---especially Geha and Pelikan. They were of very high quality. Geha has kicked the bucket, unfortunately, but Pelikan is still going strong, although their school pens have so much more plastic now than in the past. Faber Castell also makes school pens, available chiefly at the German Woolworths (yes, it still exists there!) but they are not as good as their pencils: they...leak!

Michael Leddy said...

I should have said American school pens. I have several Pelikano Jrs. that are quite serviceable. My favorite pen is a Pelikan, an 800. Yours?

Adair said...

I have an 800 too, and it is great, but I have to confess that my very favorite is a Parker 51. I can't believe this pen dates from the late 40's and still looks and works like new. ("Like a pen from another planet!", as an early ad said.)