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Paper Wants A Pen

~1938 WASP The Clipper Vacuum-Fil fountain pens

~1938 WASP The Clipper Vacuum-Fil fountain pens

Regular price $252.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $252.00 USD
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An excellent, if brief, article in the Spring 2021 Pennant provides some details about the interesting history of the Sheaffer sub-brand WASP. First, the name is an abbreviation for Walter A. Sheaffer Pen. This is the third name (after Univer and Vacuum-Fil) for the sub-brand Sheaffer established in 1928. The pens were made of celluloid and to the same standards as the mainline Sheaffer pens. However, they carried 12 karat nibs rather than 14 karat and were priced below most of the Sheaffer pen models.

Sheaffer introduced their plunger filling mechanism in Vacuum-Fil pens in 1934. That filler came available in Sheaffer Balance pens in 1935. It 1936 the Vacuum-Fil company was renamed to WASP.

The WASP advertisements list this pen model as The Clipper. Collectors like to call it the circuit board pen. As you can see from the ad the pens came in various sizes. There are something like 4 generations of The Clipper denoted mainly be changes to the tops of the cap and blind cap. These pens are both first generation with peaked, faceted metal ends.

Both pens have "visualated" barrels. That is, they have bands of transparent celluloid and the ink level is easy to see. The celluloid of each pen has very good clarity but has darkened a bit to an amber color. The ink levels are easy to observe and it's fun to watch the pens fill with ink or with water when cleaning. The gray pen has 2 wider window panes while the golden brown pen has 4 pairs of slender transparent bands.

The celluloid of each pen is in excellent condition. The blind cap of the gray pen has a small area of blemishes from pliers. They are almost invisible but too deeps to polish away and too shallow to fill. Both pens have some minor plating wear on the clip and cap band. The cabochons on the cap and blind cap have more plating wear. I think the patina on the underlying brass makes the cabochons look great.

The nibs are in excellent condition. They are not hallmarked but historical information says they are 12 karat. They have excellent writing feel that is bouncy and dynamic.  They produce lovely line variation under normal writing pressure. They should never be treated as if they are flexible nibs. They are too thin and the tines are too short to withstand much use as flexible writers.

The Vacuum-Fil system has been restored with modern synthetic materials that should last decades. The gray pen has been fitted with a new, black oxide coated stainless steel rod to replace the broken, celluloid covered carbon steel rod. The brown pen has its original, stainless steel rod that is in excellent condition.

These are slender pens that are approximately the size of a Sailor Professional Gear slim when capped and uncapped. These pen cap may be posted gently but I have large hands and find they are perfectly comfortable to use uncapped.

Capped - 126 mm (5”)
Uncapped - 112 mm (4.43”)
Posted - 151 mm (6”).
Cap - 12 mm (0.47”)
Barrel - 10.5 mm (0.41”)


Golden Brown - Extra-Fine

Gray Pearl - Fine







Cap Posted:





Filler Type

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