[Posted on L&P and FPN on Sept 19, 21, 2010.]
Here’s an Eversharp “Skyline” with a blue-striped cap and a navy blue barrel, but here’s the interesting thing about it. It has an aluminum section that has either been anodized, or particle-coated, or enameled a transparent, dark cobalt blue, and it has a simple curved-cone tip that holds a proprietary ballpoint refill that screws into the section. The section does not have to be removed to exchange the refill. The barrel has no imprints and no air-holes, and it shows no signs of ever having had a lever that has been removed, so it is definitely factory made and not an after-market adaptation or customization. So I asked Syd what the model name and catalogue number was.
This is what Syd “the Wahlnut” Saperstein wrote about the pen on FPN. “It is an Eversharp CA (Capillary Action) Pen Model 25 or 25L lady’s depending on size. The 25 series was in the Skyline design. There were Fifth Avenue CA pens, too. They were the Models 26 and 27, and there was a Repeater (click) version in all metal, but that one did not have the screw in refill. These pens sold for $3.95 new in about 1946-7.”
And I wrote, “About the only book that shows the pen is the Gostony & Schneider ballpoint book, but it isn’t called a “CA” there. It appears on the same page as some paper for the “CA Repeater” refills, but I couldn’t make the leap. Also, the refill pictured there is the spiral one that I have seen in the “Fifth Avenue CA” and “CA Repeater” pens, not the straight one in my pen.”
Richard Binder wrote on Pentrace that he had converted dozens of Fifth Avenue CA pens to take modern refills, and that he had seen both straight and spiral refills in them. “Unscrewing the refill from the front of the nose cone is not what Eversharp intended. As George Cloutier’s 1945 US patent no. 2,428,960 describes it, the ball unit itself was designed to be a permanent part of the pen, and the refill screwed into the back of it. This is one of the many reasons for the pen’s unreliability. There was no guarantee that the ink in a new refill would make contact with the remnants of the old ink to re-establish the flow.”
And I wrote, “My refill seems to be glued into the cone tip by dried up ballpoint ink, so it now comes out as a unit along with the cone with the ball tip, and I don’t want to separate them. It looks like a precursor to the modern “BIC Stick” refill with a built-in cone with ball tip.
“Most ballpoint refills have ball tips, or ball and socket units that are meant to last only a little longer than it takes to use up the ink supply. Before Gel pens came along, some intrepid users of Rollerballs, who loved their wet writing characteristics, would open the refills and refill them with their favorite fountain pen ink. But after a few refills the ball would fall out from over use, and wear on its socket. It’s also the reasoning behind the Parker Jotter click mechanism, which rotates the refill a quarter turn with every click to allow the ball socket to wear evenly on all sides. This must have been one of the other “many reasons” that the CA refill system was a failure. If the ball was meant to be used through many refills, eventually it would fail. I use a Staedtler Gel pen with 0.3mm ball that sometimes falls out before the supply of ink is used up.”