Author Topic: Some Spencerian history questions  (Read 221 times)

Offline AAAndrew

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Some Spencerian history questions
« on: November 13, 2017, 01:47:21 PM »
I know there are others here who know their Spencerian history better than I. (not a difficult bar to surpass)

I was recently able to purchase a gold, oblique nib. It has two interesting markings.

On one side, it says "Spencerian Pens" and on the other "Piquette - Detroit".

Piquette identifies it as made by Charles Piquette, a jeweler and early gold pen maker who made gold pens in Detroit from 1845 until about 1860. By 1861 there's an advertisement for Charles Dunks "successor to C. Piquette."

So, the pen can most likely be dated to that period right when Platt Rogers Spencer was getting his colleges off the ground, but Ivison Phinney had not yet formed the Spencerian Steel Pen Co. in New York (1858).

Has anyone else heard of or seen a gold, oblique pen with this stamp? I've written to one of the top gold pen collectors, but haven't heard back yet. I'm trying to understand the context for the making of this pen. As far as I can tell, it's a pen made for Spencer or his colleges, presumably to his specifications, while Spencer was alive and active. Would this have been made for one of the colleges? For a graduate? Would it just be marked so to advertise it was good for Spencerian, and have no connection to Spencer himself?

It's in great shape and writes beautifully. It still has some ink residue, and is missing the wooden or MOP end of the handle, but the nib itself has no cracks, no bends, and the tip is in quite good order. It's a rather interesting object. It would be quite interesting to see a real Spencerian expert take it for a spin.

Andrew




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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Some Spencerian history questions
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 04:57:13 PM »
Very interesting. Never seen one quite like that.
PRS's first publications were from 1848, "Spencer & Rice's System of Business and Ladies Penmanship," a series of copy slips and instructions. His first school, the Spencerian Commercial College in Pittsburg was founded in 1852 So, the timing looks right for the manufacture to have been in his lifetime. Looks like a presentation piece, or a prize for excellence in executing his system of writing in one of his schools. His books were also given as prizes to students who excelled at Spencerian.
Does the nib appear to be plated? Worn to base metal at the tip?
I'll ask around about it.
Love to take it for a spin, if you think my Spencerian is good enough. Wouldn't advise using iron gall ink with it though, although the gold should stand up better to the acidity than most base metal nibs.


Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Some Spencerian history questions
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 05:56:11 PM »
Itís gold. Most likely 14k. Piquette only made gold pens. Itís tipped with iridium or rhodium like a fountain pen. Charles Piquette also offered retipping service.

I suspect itís not very common. The Spencerian Pens imprint is intriguing. It could have been a prize, thatís a good suggestion. I wonder if the family had thought about a pen line earlier than 1858. I found a reference to Platt Jr and Lyman teaching (or at least listed on the faculty) of a Detroit Business University, but I donít have a date. If I could tie the two dates together, that might be a clue.

Andrew
Check out my steel pen history blog
https://thesteelpen.com/

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Some Spencerian history questions
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 01:20:41 PM »
I have written up a little more information and my speculation on the pen on my blog.

https://thesteelpen.com/2017/11/14/a-gold-oblique-nib-for-spencerian-writing-piquette-of-detroit/

Check out my steel pen history blog
https://thesteelpen.com/