PenHero

Eversharp Slim Ventura 1953-1957

by Jim Mamoulides, April 14, 2004, updated October 4, 2015

PenHeroGold-Filled Eversharp Slim Ventura fountain pen

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Slim is in!

The Slim Ventura, introduced in 1953, was the last high end quality pen marketed by Eversharp. The new pen shared its name with the prior lever-fill Ventura, which was not much more than a revamped Symphony sporting a new cylindrical cap to replace the final bullet-shaped cap the Symphony wore from 1950-1953.

PenHeroSterling Silver Eversharp Slim Ventura fountain pen

Though not a continuation of the Skyline to Symphony to Ventura theme, the Slim Ventura is still a very derivative pen, borrowing design elements from a number of Eversharp and competitive models. It shares the new cylindrical look introduced with the Ventura throughout its entire design from the cap through the blunt barrel. It's a softer statement than the Fifth Avenue, perhaps a nod to the all metal tubular Wahl Eversharp pens of the 1920s. A December, 1953 advertisement shows the new Slim Ventura alongside the Ventura. Slim Venturas are seen in Eversharp advertisements at least through late 1956, so it is conceivable that the design lasted until the company was sold to Parker in 1957.

PenHeroEversharp Ventura fountain pen, left, with Eversharp Slim Ventura fountain pen, right

The Slim Ventura continues the Eversharp tradition of very smooth and even writing nibs, a quality Eversharp never failed to advertise. Early examples and advertisements show the pen fitted with a small version of the familiar "banner" engraved nib, though it's much smaller and more slender than the design used on previous Eversharp pens, going back to the Skyline pens of the 1940s. Most examples in the field will have a newer, plainer nib, that drops the banner style engraving in favor of the rather simply stated "14K" over "EVERSHARP" in block letters. The feed retains the very distinctive Eversharp design carried forward from the Skyline to the Symphony.

PenHeroGold-Filled Eversharp Slim Ventura fountain pen cap and nib detail

The short and slender profile of the pen seems to draw its inspiration from the general trend to narrower pens heralded by the Sheaffer TM, introduced in 1950. The spring-loaded clip recalls a Sheaffer inspired feature, as well, though the Slim Ventura's clip has more play and is much less stiff.

The clean, unbroken line of the barrel would be no surprise to modern pen users, but the modern cartridge pen we know today was still a few years away. Clean line pens were being made in the early 1950s, like the Sheaffer Touchdown and Parker Aerometric, but lever fill pens were still commonplace and familiar. People expected to see a lever on the side of an Eversharp pen in 1953, so the Slim Ventura would have been something new, indeed.

Under the hood, it's obvious that Eversharp drew its filling system inspiration from Parker. It's accessed by unscrewing the barrel from the section to reveal a metal cage with press bars wrapped around a traditional rubber ink sac. No ply-glass here. Rather than invent a new filling system, as Parker did with the Aerometric 51, introduced in 1948, Eversharp left the sac in place and built a "filling activator" around it. In effect, the Slim Ventura is a fancy bulb filler.

Packed with features

By the 1950s Eversharp was longer a major player in the pen business, having spent itself on a failed ballpoint venture in the mid 1940s, so high value and lists of features were emphasized in its advertisements, and many of those features had gimmicky names. The company also continued to trade heavily on a reputation for extra smooth nibs and excellent Repeater pencils.

PenHeroEversharp 1953 Slim Ventura advertisement showing complete pen line

Competitors weren't immune to inventive names for the mundane. An early name for Parker's Aerometric filler, essentially an update to the early sleeve filler type, was the "Foto-filler," due to the clear ply-glass ink sac, which gave the user a quick view of the ink level. Eversharp did have a tendency toward the dramatic, with a "magic" name for many parts of the pen, including the feed, in the 1940s as just one example. With the Slim Ventura, some new jazzy names enter the Eversharp lexicon, including:

PenHeroGold-Filled Eversharp Slim Ventura Pen open showing the Diamatic-Filling Unit

Concealed Diamatic-Filling: Eversharp's long-winded name for its rubber sac aerometric style filler. Eversharp essentially ditched the traditional lever and J-bar system, but left the rubber sac and long breather tube in the section. A flat metal cage is bent into a cylinder around the sac and attached to the base of the section. The cage has two press bars on opposite sides, making the system a modified bulb filler. The cage protects the sac from accidental discharge when the barrel is removed and also protects the breather tube from getting broken. Eversharp patented this filling system in 1953.

PenHeroEversharp patent US 2749883 A, filed on December 14, 1953, published on June 12, 1956

Air Jet Exhaust: "Allows the pen to be filled with 40% more ink." This really is all about the extra long breather tube used in the aerometric style squeeze filler. One last squeeze with the nib out of ink "burps" the last air out of the sac, and the nib is inserted before releasing, allowing it to suck ink into that last space. Breather tubes regulate the air pressure inside the sac.

Duo-Angle Nib: Slim Venturas were fitted with two-way nibs, a feature that was fading in interest in the 1950s. Two-way nibs make a brief comeback with the late 1960s Sheaffer Stylst and late 1970s Parker 180 models. The nib can write the normal way, or inverted, making a narrower line.

Protecto-matic Clip: The clip has an inner spring with a lot of travel, making it quite easy to slip on over many different thickness fabrics. This spring clip is much easier than the very stiff Sheaffer innerspring clips. And since Slim Venturas are only metal cap pens, there is no cap cracking problem from vigorously exercising the clip.

The complete model list is as follows, in general order of original price:

Plastic barrel models

The plastic barrel models differ only in their treatment of the cap and clip, made either in sterling silver or gold filled metal. The only combination not offered was a sterling cap with a sterling clip.

Slim Ventura, Model 717: The standard model, featuring a plastic barrel and gold filled metal cap. There might be some debate on what the most commonly produced model was, but the all gold fill cap model was the entry level pen. There was no plastic cap Slim Ventura and no trim bands on any model. All following models have the same engravings and nibs, varying only by material combinations.

PenHeroEversharp Slim Ventura Green fountain pen

Identification guide and features:

  • Gold filled cap chased with a repeating pattern of four straight engraved lines and a blank space
  • Gold filled spring loaded "Protecto-matic" clip
  • Plastic barrel in six solid colors: Black, Blue (a dark navy), Brown, Green, Dubonnet (burgundy), and Silver Gray
  • Screw on cap
  • Conventional "Duo-Angle" 14 karat gold tapered nib, stamped in three rows "14K" over "EVERSHARP" over "MADE IN USA"
  • Nib grades included extra fine, fine, medium, and broad, with both flexible and manifold nibs available
  • Diamatic-Filling rubber sac aerometric style filler
  • About 5 1/8 inches long capped and 6 inches posted
  • Retail price for the pen was US $7.50 and matching Repeater pencil, model 1717, US $5.00
  • Pen and pencil set presented in alligator-grained gift case, US $12.50

Sterling Cap Slim Ventura, Model 719: The sterling cap model retains the gold filled clip from the standard Slim Ventura. Other than the cap itself, it's identical to the standard model. It's interesting to note that the sterling cap model is an upgrade from the base Slim Ventura, but the all sterling silver Slim Ventura model is second to the all gold-filled model as the top of the line.

PenHeroEversharp Sterling Cap Slim Ventura Blue fountain pen

Identification guide and features:

  • Sterling silver cap chased with a repeating pattern of four straight engraved lines and a blank space, hallmarked "STERLING" on the back cap lip
  • Gold filled spring loaded "Protecto-matic" clip
  • Plastic barrel in six solid colors: Black, Blue (a dark navy), Brown, Green, Dubonnet (burgundy), and Silver Gray
  • Screw on cap
  • Conventional "Duo-Angle" 14 karat gold tapered nib, stamped in three rows "14K" over "EVERSHARP" over "MADE IN USA"
  • Nib grades included extra fine, fine, medium, and broad, with both flexible and manifold nibs available
  • Diamatic-Filling rubber sac aerometric style filler
  • About 5 1/8 inches long capped and 6 inches posted
  • Retail price for the pen was US $10.00 and matching Repeater pencil, model 1719, US $6.50
  • Pen and pencil set presented in suede gift case, US $16.50

Sterling Clip Slim Ventura, Model 721: The sterling clip model replaces the gold filled clip from the standard Slim Ventura with a sterling silver one. The clip is not hallmarked. In strange Eversharp logic, there is obviously more sterling silver in the sterling cap model, but it is priced lower than the sterling clip model. This model represents the top of the line for the plastic barreled pens.

PenHeroEversharp Sterling Clip Slim Ventura Black fountain pen

Identification guide and features:

  • Gold filled cap chased with a repeating pattern of four straight engraved lines and a blank space
  • Sterling silver spring loaded "Protecto-matic" clip
  • Plastic barrel in six solid colors: Black, Blue (a dark navy), Brown, Green, Dubonnet (burgundy), and Silver Gray
  • Screw on cap
  • Conventional "Duo-Angle" 14 karat gold tapered nib, stamped in three rows "14K" over "EVERSHARP" over "MADE IN USA"
  • Nib grades included extra fine, fine, medium, and broad, with both flexible and manifold nibs available
  • Diamatic-Filling rubber sac aerometric style filler
  • About 5 1/8 inches long capped and 6 inches posted
  • Retail price for the pen was US $10.50 and matching Repeater pencil, model 1721, US $8.25
  • Pen and pencil set presented in suede gift case, US $18.75

All metal models

Sterling Silver Slim Ventura, Model 723: The all sterling silver model is the only version that has a sterling cap with a sterling clip. Only the cap is hallmarked. Interestingly, though advertisements show a sterling section, examples with plastic sections are commonly found.

PenHeroEversharp Sterling Silver Slim Ventura fountain pen and pencil set

Identification guide and features:

  • Sterling silver cap and barrel chased with a repeating pattern of four straight engraved lines and a blank space, hallmarked "STERLING"
  • Sterling silver spring loaded "Protecto-matic" clip
  • Plastic barrel in six solid colors: black, navy, green, gray, burgundy, and brown
  • Screw on cap
  • Conventional "Duo-Angle" 14 karat gold tapered nib, stamped in three rows "14K" over "EVERSHARP" over "MADE IN USA"
  • Nib grades included extra fine, fine, medium, and broad, with both flexible and manifold nibs available
  • Diamatic-Filling rubber sac aerometric style filler
  • About 5 1/8 inches long capped and 6 inches posted
  • Retail price for the pen was US $15.00 and matching Repeater pencil, model 1723, US $10.00
  • Pen and pencil set presented in suede gift case, US $25.00

Gold-Filled Slim Ventura, Model 725: The all gold filled model is the highest priced version, and though advertisements show a gold filled section, examples with plastic sections are the only ones I have seen in the field, including mint unsold sets. The Eversharp Service Parts Price List only lists one section for all Slim Ventura pens, so even if they may have been sold with gold filled metal sections, it appears that all replacement sections were plastic.

PenHeroEversharp Gold-Filled Slim Ventura fountain pen and pencil set

Identification guide and features:

  • Gold filled cap and barrel chased with a repeating pattern of four straight engraved lines and a blank space
  • Gold filled spring loaded "Protecto-matic" clip
  • Plastic barrel in six solid colors: black, navy, green, gray, burgundy, and brown
  • Screw on cap
  • Conventional "Duo-Angle" 14 karat gold tapered nib, stamped in three rows "14K" over "EVERSHARP" over "MADE IN USA"
  • Nib grades included extra fine, fine, medium, and broad, with both flexible and manifold nibs available
  • Diamatic-Filling rubber sac aerometric style filler
  • About 5 1/8 inches long capped and 6 inches posted
  • Retail price for the pen was US $18.00 and matching Repeater pencil, model 1725, US $12.00
  • Pen and pencil set presented in suede gift case, US $30.00

Performance

I tested all of the pens shown in this article except the mint gold-filled set. Without exception, they all displayed the same excellent writing qualities, very smooth, even and wet lines. These are smaller size pens, noticeably shorter and more slender than the Sheaffer and Parker pens they competed with. The blunt cap and barrel ends accentuate this more than a tapered design would. Capped, a Slim Ventura is about 5 1/8 inches long, and opens out to about 6 inches posted.

PenHeroEversharp Sterling Cap Slim Ventura Dubonnet fountain pen

The plating on the gold-filled caps is heavy and experience from carrying them around as daily users shows that the plating holds up quite well with regular use. Eversharp chose to put the threads on the metal barrel and plate over this, and with the action of the metal cap threads on the barrel, this encourages plating loss. I have an example where this is starting to happen. The sterling silver pen seems to hold up better. All of the various sterling silver caps and barrels are nicely finished, but because the engraving is not very deep, the design tends to get lost in the finish more than on the gold-filled models. Makes photography more challenging, too!

The all metal pens are noticeably heavier in the hand, especially posted. This is a plus, if you like a small, but solid pen. The short barrel will encourage posting the cap, which will sit snug, but beware finish scratches on the all metal models. I felt the balance was better with the cap posted, but that may be because of the size of the pen. As expected, the lighter plastic barrel pens seem more substantial in the hand with the cap posted.

PenHeroEversharp Sterling Silver Slim Ventura fountain pen cap and nib detail

Unscrewing the barrel reveals the "Diamatic-Filling" system, essentially a bulb type with a sac protector. If you gently squeeze all the way, you'll feel the breather tube inside the sac. This "system" is efficient enough, and the long sac holds quite a bit of ink. In the field, you may find examples with loose metal squeeze frames, or, as I did, the frame stuck inside the barrel. Some crimping work is needed to secure the frame to the section. Don't glue it! The frame is designed to come off so the rubber sac can be replaced, as in a conventional lever filler. This is actually a plus for simple repairs.

A few short squeezes and the pen is ready to write. No matter how I tried, I couldn't make any of these pens "burp," as in the Eversharp advertisements, and I read the instructions thoroughly. Guess I missed out.

Ink hits the page on the lightest touch, and all the examples displayed the same firm yet smooth feel on paper. None were flexible, and it's not clear from the limited literature I have on the model that flexible nibs were offered, as on all prior Eversharp lines.

The Slim Ventura turns out to be a great note taker and a great knock around pen. It's just the right size for most pen loops and the clip has enough play for most garments. I had a lot of fun carrying around the various versions of the pen, but kept coming back to the sterling silver model, liking the extra weight and its looks the best.

PenHeroEversharp Gold-Filled Slim Ventura fountain pen

The Slim Ventura is an overlooked pen. Two of the pens in this article were included in two separate "bag o pens" finds, thrown in with old ballpoints, Wearevers and other cheapies. The fact that both of those pens were virtually undamaged and show little visible wear is a testimony to Eversharp's ability to make a quality product in their fading years. Because of this, an interesting collection spanning all models and colors could be put together for a modest sum, with the benefit of owning durable, smooth writing everyday pens.


Acknowledgement

Thanks to Lynn Brant for loaning the gold-filled cap and barrel examples photographed in this article.

References

LIFE - September 21, 1953, page 95

LIFE - December 14, 1953, page 87

Popular Science - July, 1953, page 128

The Saturday Evening Post - December 3, 1953

The Saturday Evening Post - May 15, 1954

Wahl-Eversharp Service Parts Price List, dated December 15, 1953

Wahl-Eversharp Advertisement © 1953

Writing instrument patent US 2749883 A, Eversharp Inc, filed on December 14, 1953, published on June 12, 1956

 

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