14 kt gold - equivalent to 58.5 % gold

585 gold - equivalent to 14 kt gold

750 gold - equivalent to 18 kt gold


Accommodation clip - A clip that was added to a pen cap that was manufactured by an independent clip company and not the actual pen manufacturer.

Acrylic -Polymethylmethacrylate PMMA ("acrylic") plastic. A hard, high-clarity, alkali-resistant, thermoplastic resin with good machineability -- hence its choice for the Parker "51". Chemically identical to Plexiglas, a Rohm & Haas trademark. Soluble in acetone, attacked by alcohols..

Adjustable Point - Nib with a slide-bar that allowed the user to adjust from stiff to flexible. Used by Eversharp in the 1930's

Aerometric - Filling system used by Parker on the post 1948 51s

Ambering - discoloration of plastic to a tan or dark brown. This devalues the pen.

Aztec - One of the most famous pens produced by Parker at the turn-of-the-century-with a stunning Indian motif. (very rare and valuable).

Balance - A streamlined or torpedo-style used by Sheaffer in the 1930's and 1940's.

Barleycorn - A pattern on metal overlay pens that appears to be tiny diamond shapes giving the overall look of a file's surface.

Big Red - The senior-sized orange Duofold from the mid 1920's. This is the most often imitated pen from that era.

Black hard rubber - Vulcanite used for early pens(BHR).

Bladder - Rubber sac to hold ink in lever filler pens and others.

Blind cap - The rubber or decorative end of the barrel that hides the filling button.

Blow-filler - A pen that was filled by blowing into the bottom of the pen to depress the sac. Crocker and Mooney were two manufacturers that used this system.

Blue Diamond - The lifetime guarantee on the Parker pen was identified by a blue diamond on the clip. This began in the mid to late 30's.

Blue green ripple - A color of a late 1020s Waterman pen in hard rubber combining blue and yellow. Waterman was trying to compete with the other manufacturers that had begun using pretty colored plastics.

Brassing - Wear on a pen through the surface on gold filled covering exposing the brass core.

Breather hole - One of several holes drilled into the cap of a pen to limit condensation.

Breather tube - The slender plastic tube that comes out of the bottom of the feed in Parker 51s, vacumatics and some Eversharp Skylines

Broad - Nib that puts done a broad line.

Bulb filler - Filling system that uses a manual squeeze bladder

Burnishing - A method of smoothing gold or other metal with a special tool. Technique used to straighten nibs.

Button-filler - Filling system employing a button to compress the press bar used in Duofolds and other pens.

Cardinal - The term Waterman used for red hard rubber (RHR).

Casein - Sometimes called Galalith, a plastic made from milk protein, usually obtained from cow's milk. Dyed a range of colors and hardened with formaldehyde. Not commonly used for molded or machined items, but used in a few pens from the early 1920s and some limited editions today. Poor dimensional stability with changes in temperature and moisture content. Resistant to organic solvents but decomposes in alkalis and strong acids.

Celluloid - Originally, Celanese trademark for cellulose nitrate or nitrocellulose plastic, one of the oldest plastics in use. Combined with alcohols and camphor, and molded into a variety of articles. A tough, easily machined resin with unlimited color possibilities. Used for pens from the 1920s to the present. DuPont Pyralin nitrocellulose was used by Parker under the name Permanite and by Sheaffer under the name Radite. Extremely flammable! Soluble in ketones and esters, Soften or slightly soluble in alcohols. Decomposes in strong acids and alkalis.

Chasing - Machine etched design in a repetitive pattern on metal or hard rubber

Clipless - A pen, usually around and before 1900, that came without a clip.

Clutch ring - The metal band on the Parker 51 that engages with the clutch to hold the cap on.

Clutch - The metal collar in the cap that grips the clutch ring on the barrel.

Coin filler - Waterman filling system operated by putting a special coin in a slot on the barrel to depress the pressure bar.

Collector - The intricate plastic ribbed collar that acts as a feed on the Parker 51.

Combo - A pencil on one end and a pen on the other (combination).

Cone cap - A cap without threads (friction fit) whose interior is tapered to conform to the section of the pen.

Continental overlay - A fancy overlay pen made by jewelers in Europe.

Convertible - Term used in reference to a desk pen that can be changed to a pocket pen. Most commonly found in Parker and Eversharp offerings.

Crazing - A spidering or cracking that can occur in celluloid and other materials.

Crescent filler - Filling system, used most notably, by Conklin.

C-Ring - A thin metal c-shaped ring that hold the lever in place on many pens.

Deco band - Greek key design used on decorative bands (Eversharp and Chilton)

Demonstrator - Clear pen or part of a pen to show the workings.

Depression pens - Pens made during the Great Depression usually identified by unique colors and poorer quality.

Dip Pen - Pre-Victorian pen that did not hold ink. The user dipped the pen in ink and re-dipped when the pen went dry.

Disappearing clip - A Parker "innovation" that had a clip that was flush to the cap until the cap was placed on the barrel. This forced the clip out so that it could grasp a shirt pocket.

Doctor's Set - Usually a 3-piece set with a thermometer holder included.

Duofold - Parker's pen of the 20's and 30's.

Empire cap 51 - A cap design used by Parker of pink and yellow gold emulating the Empire State building. First offered in 1944.

Eversharp - Company name after the name Wahl was dropped from Wahl- Eversharp in the late 1930's. Also used by some to refer to any mechanical pencil.

Feed - The piece of hard rubber that aligns under the nib to control ink flow.

Ferrule - The pointed metal end of the pencil.

Filigree - A metal overlay with some open work.

Finger tip - A space-aged looking nib made by Moore in the late 1940's.

First year Parker 51 - The 1941 version of the Parker 51 having certain characteristics including specific caps, aluminum end jewels and lower end imprint.

Flat top - Flat ends on a pen used as a design feature in the 1920's

Flexible Nib - A nib that is long tipped so the user can flex it to create a flourish or sweep to the written word.

Flighter - Any of several pens made by Parker constructed of stainless steel.

Gold filled - A jacket of brass and gold that is more durable than gold plate.

Gold plate - Electroplating, or coating, which is not as durable as gold filled metal.

Gothic - A metal overlay consisting of many small squares on Waterman pens.

Greek key - A design that is a continuous flow of attached squares

Guilloche - Machine turned pattern usually on silver. Sometimes covered with enamel.


Hard Rubber - Derived from natural latex and produced by curing the crude rubber with sulfur and heat in a process called "Vulcanizing". A tough material, easily machined, and used for pens from the earliest days. Mostly encountered as black, red, or red/black mottled, due to the use of carbon black and iron oxide as common fillers. Other colors uncommon. Softens easily with heat. Tendency to discolor as excess sulfur blooms to the surface.

Hatchet filler - Filling system used by Crocker and John Holland employing a hatchet type lever near the bottom of the barrel.

Heath - Famous metal company in Newark New Jersey that made many of Parker's and Waterman's best overlays.

Ideal - Trademark name of Waterman.

Imprint - The makers mark on the barrel or the cap of a pen.

Inner cap - A small BHR cylinder inside the pen's cap that the section meets when the cap is screwed in place.

Iridium - The hard ball of silver metal on the tip of the nib.

J-bar - A metal j-shaped flat bar that is pressed to compress the sac to fill a lever- filled pen.

Jewel - Decorative end piece on pens such as the Parker 51 and Esterbrook.

Jointless - Filling system made by Parker at the turn-of-the-century that required the owner to pull the nib and feed out to fill the pen. (Bad idea!)

Knockout block - Tool made to knock the nib and feed out of a section.

LEC - Lower End Covered. Part of the nomenclature of Waterman overlays.

Lever box - The frame that holds the lever on some pens.

Lever filler - Filling system employing a flat piece of metal hinged to be lifted and compress the pressure bar against the sac.

Lock ring - The "donut" on Conklin crescent fillers that holds the crescent in place.

Lucite - Originally, DuPont trademark for polymethylmethacrylate ("acrylic") plastic. A hard, high-clarity, alkali-resistant, thermoplastic resin with good machineability -- hence its choice for the Parker "51" and Parker "51" Ink. Chemically identical to Plexiglas, a Rohm & Haas trademark. Soluble in acetone, attacked by alcohols..

Lucky Curve Logo - Used by Parker referring to the curved lower end of the feed.

Maki-e - Means gold dust. The gold dust is used to create elaborate work that is covered with many layers of lacquer (Urishi).

Mandarin - Yellow color of Parker's Duofolds. The most sought after and the most fragile.

Manifold - A nib with no flex used by bookkeepers.

Match stick filler - A filling method utilizing a match to depress the press bar through a hole in the barrel. Sometimes the pen had a poker at the top of the cap that could be used. Weidlich was a company that used this system)

Maxima - The largest of Parker's late 1930's vacumatics.

Military clip - A pocket clip that went up to or over the top of the cap to allow the pen to sit low in the pocket.

Model number - Sometimes found on the bottom of the pen's barrel

Moire - Fine lines patterned after watered silk.

Moss agate - Waterman color of green and gold flakes.

Mottled - A random combination of black and red hard rubber

Music nib - A nib with three tines and two slits to write musical notes. Much sought after.

Nacre - A combination of black and white-pearl celluloid

Nib size - Sizes range from #1 (scarce) to #12 (scarce). Sizes are not standardized.

Nib - The gold point of the pen


Nib Block - A highly polished block with a tapered channel to smooth out nibs.

Nozac - An innovative model sold by the Conklin Pen Company in the Mid 1930's derived from the words No Sac.

Oblique Nib - Cut at an angle.

Olive ripple - Combination of olive and black hard rubber used by Waterman in the late 1920's

Overfeed - An early feed that went on top of the nib in conjunction with one under the nib.

Oxidation - A browning of hard rubber due to exposure to light and /or moisture.

Parker 51 - Perhaps the most popular and successful pen of all time. Named because of its development in 1939, the 51st anniversary of the Parker pen company.

Parker Snake - a pen produced first in the early 1900's and more recently reproduced in the 1990's in an updated version.

Pearltex - A trademarked name for plastic pens made by Carter in the 20's and 30's.

Permanite - A name used by Parker for their plastic.

Peter Pan - Small novelty pens made by Salz Bros. with rhinestones, flowers or ribbons.

PFM - A snorkel-filler pen made in a large size for men by Sheaffer around 1960.

Piston filler - Filling system utilizing a rubber gasket that forces air out and pulls ink into the pen.

Posting - Putting the cap on the back end of the pen while writing.

Pregnant Parker - Model #47 Parker with fabulous bulbous pearl slabs and repousse GF cap rare and desirable.

Presidential - Any of Parker's solid gold pens

Press bar - A flat metal bar that is pressed against the sac to force air out and ink in.

Pump filler - A rare and short-lived filling system that Waterman used. One unscrewed the bottom blind cap and pumped the little piston to fill the pen. Unfortunately when the pen was full the pump would pull ink onto the hand that was holding the pump. Short lived for obvious reasons!

Radite - A name used by Sheaffer for their plastic

Rainbow - An alternating colored metal cap on the Parker 61.

Red hard rubber (RHR) - Orange colored rubber that was used into the 1920's

Repousse - Raised metal work that was created by pushing out from the inside. The most beautiful eyedroppers were of this type.

Ripple - Alternating colors fashioning a contrasting wave appearance.

Rose-ripple - Combination of red and yellow used by Waterman in the late 1920's. Very fragile and scarce to find in good condition.

Safety - A Waterman pen (also made by many other manufacturers) of 1907 that used a twist knob on the bottom to expose, an otherwise hidden, nib.

Schnell Penselpen - Famous combo maker of the late 20's to early 30's. Most famous for the Airplane clip commemorating Lindbergh's trans-oceanic flight.

Section - The barrel insert that holds the nib and feed.


Sheraton pattern - A straight lined engraved pattern on Waterman overlay pens.

Skyline - Deco, streamlined, model offered by Eversharp in the 1940's.

Sleeve-filler - Filling system with a collar that is lowered or rotated to expose the press bar which is then compressed by the user's thumb

Slip cap - A cap without threads.

Snail Pattern - A metal overlay pattern of small elaborate coils.

Snorkel - A Sheaffer filling system which had a thin tube that appeared from under the nib when the end knob is turned. The nib would theoretically stayed dry while filling.


Straight holder - An early production eyedropper with a cap interior that was not conical.  Most had short caps that rested on a shoulder or platform.

Streamlined - A slightly tapered or rounded-end style prevalent in the 1930's

Stub - A nib style that is flat and wide at the tip. Most common on pens
made for the non-American market.

Taper cap - A pointy cap introduced in the 1880's.

Taper - The pointed end of a desk pen that is often removable.

Thumb-filler - Any system that operated by moving part of the barrel and exposing the bar to be manually pressed

Tine - One of the tapered ends of the nib.

Trench Pen - A pen marketed by Parker during WWI that allowed the user to fill the pen with water while adding an ink pellet stored in the pen.

Trumpet - The pen holder on a desk base

Tulip - Another term for a pen holder on a desk base.

Turquoise - A combination of blue and gold celluloid (used most notably by Waterman)

Twist knob - A knurled knob on the bottom of the barrel to operate some piston fillers (e.g. Conklin)

Two tone nib - A nib that is partially coated with platinum to create an attractive look (Parker Vacumatic). Sheaffer also used this technique in the 1930s

Vacumatic - Filling System invented by Parker that forces air out by pumping a plunger at the bottom of the barrel.


Vacuum Filler.  One of the first generation of vacumatics made by Parker.  Also used by other companies to describe a pump-type filling system.

Vermeil - Gold metal over sterling silver.

Vest pocket - A small pen meant to be kept in a vest pocket. There is no ring on the top of this type of pen.

Visualated - Clear barrel or section allowing user to see ink flow or supply.

Wood grain - A combination of red and black hard rubber creating a faux-wood look.