Today on My Favorite Pens we take a look at a Weidlich & Simpson Matchstick Filler with gold filled filigree overlay!
I purchased this pen several years ago at the Michigan Pen Show. A gentleman came to our table with photographs (actual 35 mm photos, not a digital printout) of pens in his collection. One of the first pens I saw was this interesting filigree overlay. After looking at all the photographs, and knowing this was an all or none deal, I said we’d make a deal. “Ok”, he said, “they’re in my truck outside.” So, out we go in the rain to buy pens from the back of this guys pickup truck. While there, he offered ink bottles, pen magazines, pen boxes and all sorts of other pen related items. I’m lucky I came back with any money at all!
Each pen was adorned with a cardboard tag with the month and year he purchased the pen, approximate price, and a note or two. This was impressive considering half were inexpensive third tier pens not worth much, but this pen, the filigree overlay was worth the price for the whole lot.
The matchstick filler idea is a simple one, and several manufacturers made them in the early part of the 20th century, with Weidlich being issued a patent as early as 1904, although I don’t believe this pen to be quite that early.
To operate the pen, one could use a matchstick, inserting it into a small hole near the end of the barrel to depress the pressure bar, compressing the sac and thus filling the sac with ink. Weidlich went a step further and actually included the matchstick on top of the cap! As you can imagine, this small piece of black hard rubber can easily break off, making complete examples hard to find. Add to that a gold filled overlay and you have a hard to find pen.
Besides being an interesting early filling system, this one has a gorgeous gold filled overlay, and I love overlay pens. Like many, this one has an engraving on the barrel with presumably the original owners initials.
Part of the charm of this pen lies in how I acquired the pen, as it was such a surreal experience buying pens out of the back of the truck in the rain. I could have easily elected to let this one slide and not have purchased all the rest of the Sheaffer school pens, Parker 21’s, Wearevers, and cartridge pens, but to get this pen was worth it, and every time I pull it out of the pen chest to look at it, I smile. As they say, you’ll never regret purchasing a pen you want at nearly any price, but you will regret those you passed on. For me, this is what makes it one of my favorite pens.
Ink it up!
Brian & Lisa