Sometimes I look for particular fountain pens to add to my collection. Sometimes pens find me. This is one of those pens – I am honored to be its current guardian.
This beautiful and iconic Art Deco lever-filling fountain pen is the Wahl Eversharp Doric. Its celluloid cap and barrel each has 12 sides, and it sports the very unique adjustable 14k gold No. 5 nib. The slider on top of the nib can be moved to any of 9 slots, which determines how rigid or how flexible the nib’s tines will be. The closer the slider is to the writing tip, the more rigid it is; the closer it is to the barrel the more likely the nib is to flex and produce writing with shading and flourishes (if you know how to write Spencerian or Copperplate script. Here’s an example on Youtube).
Wahl Eversharp was one of the top 4 fountain pen manufacturers of its time. This particular Doric was manufactured circa 1935 (later Dorics are plunger-filling pens). It is a standard-size, “Popular Price” Doric, which was sold in those days for USD5. The bigger “senior” or “oversize” Dorics had a Gold Seal above the clip, which indicated a lifetime guarantee (which my pen doesn’t have; but it is no less beautiful to me). My pen also sports the plain clip, not the earlier roller-clip of the first-generation Dorics.
This green marble celluloid is named “Kashmir”, one of a number of lovely colors. Unfortunately, Kashmir is one of those unstable colored celluloids that has shown a tendency to discolor, craze or crystallize (a condition where the pattern becomes somewhat transparent and colors tend to flouresce and create tiny cracks under certain temperature/storage conditions). Luckily, this pen does not exhibit any crazing or crystallization, although the barrel’s green marble now has a faintly olive tinge. This may be due to the fact that it may have been stored through the years until its original latex rubber ink sac had deteriorated and released gasses that changed the color of the celluloid. I removed the section from the barrel to check the condition of the existing sac and was pleased to find that it has been fitted with a silicon sac, which should last for a good length of time.
Here’s a writing sample, using J. Herbin Lie de The ink on a Clairefontaine notebook. I have little experience with flexy writing, so this is what I could manage. I have a gold-filled Wahl ringtop with a No. 2 nib that is perhaps quite a bit softer and easier to flex than this Doric’s adjustable No. 5 nib. (I try to be cautious and not write with such a heavy hand that I may inadvertently spring the tines.) The nib has a slight kink in it, as if someone tried to flex the nib in the past without moving the slider. This does not detract from its writing performance; I am able to write rapidly with it. The Doric feels good in the hand.
The cap band is somewhat brassed (the gold plating has worn off in some areas), but this does not bother me much as I acquire pens to actually write with rather than to display. There are faint use scratches. But yes, the Doric is one of those pens worth restoring to its full glory, as it is not that easy to find.
(For more information on the Wahl Eversharp Doric, please visit The Fountain Pen Network’s Wahl Eversharp Forum, moderated by Syd Saperstein aka “Wahlnut”. Other information for this blog came from Penlovers.net, Richard Binder, and Rick Conner.)