PenHero 365: Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen

by Jim Mamoulides, January 7, 2010

Venus Cartridge Pen
Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen open

When I'm out pen hunting, I don't usually take home cheapie cartridge pens unless they are Sheaffers. Way too many of the cartridge pens out in the wild are really cheap in every sense of the word, and often have the added bonus of being just plain awful writers. Sheaffer paid a lot of attention to the quality of their original cartridge models and by the end of the 1950s, they were outselling, in volume, all the other lines. I think Sheaffer saw the wave of the future.

Venus Cartridge Pen
Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen closed

When I first saw this pen in the antique store, I thought it was another of the common 1950s Snorkel shaped Sheaffer Cartridge Pens, so I grabbed it, intending to add it to the fistful of pens I intended to buy there. Sheaffer cartridge pens have chrome plated caps and solid color barrels, so it took a second for me to notice "Venus" stamped on the clip, and to realize this was something different. I had not yet seen a Venus pen like this one.

Venus Cartridge Pen
Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen cap and nib section detail

I have quite a few 1940s vintage Venus lever-fill pens in my collection and they are very nice pens indeed, coming from the same company that made Venus pencils. I have found them to be solid second tier pens, nicely made, and really nice writers. If you find a Venus President, you have found a nice pen. Even the cheaper hooded nib Venus pens were good pens. This pen might prove quite interesting.

Venus Cartridge Pen
Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen open

Pulling the cap off revealed a hooded nib section, similar in design to the larger, earlier Venus hooded nib lever fill pens. The nib, though gold colored, is probably gold plated, as this pen sold in 1955 for only $1.29.

Venus Cartridge Pen
Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen with the cap posted on the barrel

Venus advertised this pen as the Venus Cartridge pen, and because the pen is the same basic dimensions as the contemporary Sheaffer Cartridge Pen and was advertised as using Sheaffer Skrip cartridges, it makes me wonder if these weren't actually made by Sheaffer under contract. Why go to the expense of developing your own cartridge system when you can get one from the largest pen maker in the USA?

Venus Cartridge Pen
Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen section detail

The Venus Cartridge Pen is essentially the same size and shape as a 1950s Sheaffer Snorkel or Cartridge pen. It weighs 0.4 ounce and is 5 1/4 inches long with the cap on and 5 11/16 inches with the cap posted on the end of the barrel. The gold plated nib just peeks from the end of the section, similar in look to a Parker 51, but there is a much larger, capped opening underneath. As with Sheaffer Cartridge Pens, filling is as simple as dropping the cartridge in the barrel, screwing the nib section back on the barrel, and starting writing.

Venus Cartridge Pen
Venus Cartridge Fountain Pen open showing cartridge

Although similar in design to the Sheaffer Cartridge Pen, I find this example of the Venus Cartridge Pen to have a slightly different and poorer writing quality. The fine nib writes a little dry, and not quite with the Sheaffer character. Perhaps that can be adjusted. Also, the plastic used for the nib section is very prone to ink staining, as this example shows quite clearly. Side by side, I like the way the Sheaffer Cartridge Pen writes much better and kept wishing that this pen had a better writing nib. I think the Sheaffer people must have been amused to have a hooded pen using Skrip cartridges. I would have been! I also think this would be a very interesting pen in clear plastic, as many Sheaffer Cartridge Pens are, especially with a clear section.

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