Sheaffer’s Imperial 
Waterman Philéas 
Cross Radiance 
Bexley 5th Anniversary 
Modern Pens, Page   1 
The Pen That Started it All
In the 1960s, I bought and used this Sheaffer’s Lifetime Imperial cartridge/converter fountain pen that looks like, but is not, a PFM (“Pen For Men”). It’s a good pen: Classy, masculine, and a surprisingly smooth writer as fine points go; but for all that, I put it away because I never really liked its styling — too modern for my anachronistic tastes. This pen is 55/16” capped, 55/8” with the cap posted. I’ve just had Sheaffer change the nib to a Medium, and the pen writes better than ever.
Art Deco in the 1990s
This Waterman Philéas has a sleek Art Deco design that’s straight out of the 1930s. (Norman Bel Geddes would probably have been proud of it.) With its fine, smooth performance and classy styling, it turned out to be a great inexpensive “beginner’s pen” that’s good enough for serious users as well (perhaps as a pen to be left at work). I recommend the Philéas highly. It’s 51/4” capped, 53/4” with the cap posted.
Inexpensive and Attractive
A friend who knows I like fountain pens gave me this Cross Radiance. It’s inexpensive and a pleasant, smooth writer — like the Philéas, a good beginner's pen. In many ways, it’s very much like a Cross Solo that I once owned; and although that Solo wasn’t my ideal pen, I liked it. I like the Radiance, too, and I keep it filled with red ink for use in editing documents as part of my work. The Radiance is good sized, 51/2” capped, 513/16” with the cap posted. It’s very practical: The cap snaps into position when posted so that it can’t fall off.
A Modern “Antique”
This exquisite Bexley Carved Obsidian Ebonite pen is Number 148 of a limited series of 500 made in 1998. (Ebonite is a hard rubber that has been used in the manufacture of writing instruments since the 1850s.) The double-diamond pattern is hand-chased into the material. This cartridge/converter-filled pen has the heft and character of the great old Parker Jack-Knife Safety Pens of the 1910s, before plastic took over the world. Many of those pens, too, were chased. This is my main axe; I carry it with a matching ballpoint that I use for signing obnoxious things such as credit-card counterfoils. It’s a big pen, 511/16” capped, 71/4” with the cap posted.
Modern Pens, Page   1