The Moore Pen Company started in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900 making high quality safety pens originally under the American Fountain Pen Company name. In 1917 the company changed its name to the Moore Pen Company, after Morris W. Moore, who had the idea for the original "Moore's Non-Leakable Fountain Pen" a well made pen that is in many collections. Moore was not known for being a design leader, except in one instance, with the Moore Fingertip Pen, made from 1946 to 1950.
When Parker introduced the 51 in the 1940s it ushered in a period where pen design would become more industrial and less ornate. Flexible nibs would give way to stiff nibs that could write through carbons. The 51's hooded nib was a complete departure from previous designs and was very popular, making the 51 one of the most successful pens ever made. Sheaffer responded creatively with the Triumph nib in 1942 and many other manufacturers rushed to design hooded or tapered pens.
The Moore Fingertip Pen is obviously a design response to the very popular Parker 51 and Sheaffer Triumphs, but does stand apart on its own merits, copying nothing from the design leaders. As is typical with Moore pens, this is a substantial and well made lever fill pen. The most notable element is the namesake, the Fingertip section, which is made of solid stainless steel and shaped like the end of a bullet.
The nib is inlaid flush into the top of the section with only the writing tip extending past the section end. This gives the entire barrel and section of the pen the look of a bullet cartridge. Not stopping there, the cap of the plastic model pens has a long narrow over the top clip and radial chasing cut into the bottom third of the cap above the cap ring. This gives the pen a very futuristic look, that one reference likens to "Buck Rogers."
Moore capitalized on the look of the section and the lack of exposed feed in its advertising by touting that the hidden feed
With obvious quality and design elements going for it the pen was not a sales success, probably helping lead to the demise of the company. Moore follows the Fingertip with a cheaply made brass capped pen called the Specialist, made from 1950 until Moore ceased making pens in 1956.
Moore Fingertip nibs are notable for being very stiff and have at least two variations. This nib has a single heart shaped vent. Other nibs may have two round vents, possibly a later design improvement to improve ink flow. The Moore Fingertip inlaid nib precedes introduction of the famous Sheaffer PFM nib by thirteen years.
Fingertip - The standard size pen came in eight colors, including molded plastic and striped celluloid. The full size pen is the most common type and the solid color pens are more common than their striped siblings, with the striped pens commanding a significant premium. The plastics seem to hold up very well with age, except for the Eiderdown White, which is very prone to discoloration and ambering.
Some Fingertips have a single heart shaped breather hole in the nib, while other ones have a second round breather hole closer to the tip of the nib. It's sheer speculation, but the second breather hole may be a later design element to improve ink flow and may indicate a later, rather than earlier pen. This appears to be the only modification to the model, and there are no other distinguishing differences among full size Fingertips that might indicate changes or dating.
Identification guide and features:
Demi - The smaller, metal cap Fingertip is decidedly different looking than the larger all plastic standard model. There is very little information on this model so much is derived from observation. Even the name "Demi" may be a collector given moniker, as the one complete set I've seen was stickered and had inserts that simply said "Fingertip."
I've examined gold plated cap pens and have photos of a silver capped set, with what appears to be stainless steel or chrome plated caps. I believe the silver caps are probably stainless steel, as Eversharp, Parker, and Sheaffer all used non-plated stainless caps in the late 1940s. The silver color caps are completely smooth, where the gold plated cap pens have radial engraving at the cap band, as on the larger, all plastic models. The section on the Demi Fingertip is shorter and also has radial grooves. Unlike the larger pen, the Demi sports a pull off cap.
Identification guide and features:
Two Models Or Early / Late Versions?
It would be very helpful to have more data points on the Fingertip and especially the shorter "Demi" Fingertip. With some speculation, the Demi version may actually be a later version of the pen. Clues to the "later version" theory include the following differences in the "Demi" Fingertip, which is priced the same as the full size Fingertip:
With some more data points we can solve the mystery, but for now, the differences are most interesting!
I had the opportunity to get a Starlight Blue Moore Fingertip and jumped at it. This particular Fingertip is fitted with a very stiff, almost manifold medium nib. This nib is very much in the smooth nail category. The pen size is deceptive, only about 5 inches long capped but a very long 6 3/8 inches posted. The over the top clip makes it ride deep in the pocket.
The pen has a very lustrous plastic that has a really nice shine. The detailing is nice and gives a very strong quality statement. The fingertip section is always very cool to the touch when first used, but warms up in the hand. The cap posts only on the very end of the blunt barrel, snug, but not deep enough for me. It does feel like it will stay put.
The pen fills easily with a stroke of the lever. One caution: wiping the section requires some care to avoid inky fingers. Ink seems to like to get in the spots next to the nib inlay and will wick up and get your fingers a new color. This is annoying, and belies the otherwise well made presentation of the pen.
To say this pen has a stiff nib is to say that it gets dark at night! Very stiff but very smooth. I did not have any carbon paper around and I was very interested in trying this pen on it. A very wet writer with consistent lines and typical lack of character that stiff nibs show.
In spite of the solid color, the pen does stand on its own side by side with competitive pens from the same period. The striped pens are very attractive and eye-catching. The metal capped pens, are more of an acquired taste, in my opinion.
The rarity of the Moore Fingertip and its obvious high quality make it on the pricey side of plastic vintage pens, garnering similar prices as Sheaffer PFMs, for example, with the striped pens and the metal capped pens getting about twice what the all plastic pens get. , If you find one of these, it's definitely collectible. Being a lever filler, if the pen body and section are in good shape, it should be reasonably easy to restore. In my opinion, it's also a solid daily user, if you like a smooth stiff nib.
Thanks to Ross McKinney of RossPens.com for background information, pen photos and advertisement scans.
Thanks to Richard Binder for an update on the Specialist. He pointed out that the squeeze filling system is not an aerometric type.
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Last Update 3/29/05