Why Demonstrator Pens?
In the early days of fountain pens, the Teens, Twenties, and Thirties, people were curious about how fountain pens worked. The manufacturers were eager to show off their unique filling systems, clip assemblies, and special ways they had of sealing the nib inside the cap. So all of the major manufacturers provided their sales representatives with hard rubber pens that were cut away to reveal the inner workings. This was the origin of the demonstrator pen.
Parker showed how a button filler worked, by providing a window in the side of the barrel allowing a view of the pressure bar compressing the bladder when that button was pushed. Sheaffer’s did the same for their lever filled pen. Later, in the days of vacuum filled pens, a few models were made using clear materials so that the filling could be observed without cutting a hole and while maintaining the necessary integrity of the barrel itself. Today, many of these pens are rare and collectible.
Today all the major pen companies, including Japanese, German, and Italian companies, have produced contemporary demonstrator pens. The invention of clear and durable plastics has made possible great pens that you can see right through.
Seeing the pen fill with ink, watching the bubbles disappear when the ink floods the reservoir, knowing exactly how much ink is in the barrel – this is the appeal of demonstrator pens for me and many other pen lovers. So much is revealed. Seeing the gripping section seal with the inner cap, such as with the Platinum Century, is also gratifying, as it clearly illustrates why the nib does not dry out when the pen is capped.
I am seeing one of our all-time most popular demonstrator models, the Pelikan M805 Clear Demonstrator, come back into stock at a special reduced price for what might be the last time. When filling, I can follow the progress of ink from the nib into the feed and through the gripping section and into the barrel.
Aurora has also produced large capacity piston filled demonstrator pens in the 88 Minerali Limited Edition series, among other. The wide range of available nibs from extra-fine to stub and oblique broad makes these pens especially appealing.
When I have more than one pen in rotation, I like being able to see which color of ink is inside. Red ink is particularly good for editing.
Remember that demonstrator pens show all. Ink in the barrel, ink in the section, and the few drips of ink in the cap. But you will never be taken by surprise with ink in a place that you do not expect…