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Wahl Art Deco Machine Engraved Patterns 1921-1929

by Jim Mamoulides, January 12, 2004, updated October 17, 2017

PenHeroWahl Model 433A Colonial Design gold filled fountain pen c1921-1924

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A canvas for wonderful designs

The first self-filling pens made under the Wahl name, the "Wahl All Metal Fountain Pen," were introduced in 1921. They were not constructed as other contemporary pens using metal overlays around a hard rubber core. That method was a logical step for companies converting from eyedropper pens, which used the hard rubber core to store the ink, to self filling pens.

PenHeroWahl Model 22 Barleycorn Design pencil c1921

Entering the fountain pen market late, Wahl skipped this step and used the metalworking expertise learned from mass producing Eversharp pencils to create an all metal fountain pen line. Wahl took advantage of the larger internal space from a thin wall metal pen and used larger capacity ink sacs. The new pens were lighter and stronger than hard rubber pens, and Wahl advertised them as "wear proof" and "unbreakable."

PenHeroWahl Model 36 Crisscross Design pencil c1921

The all metal construction also made a great canvas for a host of wonderful machine engraved designs, which were very popular and stylish in the 1920s. Most of the patterns are cut into the metal with an engraving machine, or "engine turned" as described in Wahl catalogs and advertising. Almost all patterns have a blank space, or cartouche, for personalized engraving on the barrel. Many examples found today will include jeweler personalizations, some of which are quite ornate in themselves and can enhance the attractiveness of the pen.

PenHeroWahl Model 308 Diamond Design ringtop fountain pen c1922

Leaving out the hand engraved and partially hand engraved designs, such as Hanlin, this is a list by catalog date of machine engraved or engine turned designs. Lacking a complete set of catalogs from 1921 to 1929, there may be a few missing patterns or date gaps.

PenHeroWahl Model 326AW Grecian Border Design gold filled ringtop fountain pen c1922-1924

Wahl marketed pens under the Tempoint name from about 1918 to at least as late as 1920 before branding their fountain pens as Wahl in 1921. This list of designs begins with the 1921 catalog.

PenHeroWahl Model 305 Ribbon Design ringtop fountain pen c1921

A chronology of common Wahl engine turned designs

The Hanlin combined machine and hand engraved design is not included below. It was offered from 1921 to 1924. Hanlin is a variation of the Ribbon Design with hand engraving done in wider blank panels. Plain, unengraved pens were offered in 1921 and 1922, and pencils from 1921 to 1929. A hexagonal plain pencil was offered in 1921 and an octagonal plain pencil was offered from 1922 to 1925.

PenHeroWahl Model 431D Check (Unique) Design silver filled fountain pen c1921-1924

1921 Patterns

Illustrations of the 1921 designs are shown starting from the beginning of the article, above. As new designs appear, they are in each year's section below.

PenHeroWahl Model 23 Waveling Design pencil c1921

  • Barleycorn Design: A barleycorn engraved pattern repeating around the cap and barrel, offered only on pencils.
  • Checkerboard Design: A repeating pattern of panels of squares in plain blocks and straight lines repeating around the cap and barrel, offered only on pencils. Introduced on pens in 1924 and illustrated in that section below.
  • Colonial Design: A repeating pattern of straight lines around the cap and barrel.
  • Crisscross Design: Repeating panels of crisscross engraving around the cap and barrel, offered only on pencils.
  • Dart Design: A repeating pattern of panels of straight lines with a small curve out that create an arrowhead effect around the cap and barrel, offered only on pencils. Introduced on pens in 1922 and illustrated in that section below.
  • Diamond Design: A repeating pattern of diamond shapes in a diamond pattern on a straight line background around the cap and barrel.
  • Grecian Border Design: A repeating panel consisting of a continuous wide line with square turns set in a line pattern around the cap and barrel.
  • Ribbon Design: A repeating pattern of four straight lines and a space around the cap and barrel.
  • Ripple Design: A repeating pattern of straight lines with a small curve out that create a ripple effect around the cap and barrel. Introduced on pens in 1922 and illustrated in that section below.
  • Unique Design: A repeating panel of checks in a line pattern around the cap and barrel. Called Check from 1922 onward.
  • Waveling Design: A repeating pattern of wavy lines in a zigzag around the cap and barrel, offered only on pencils.
  • Zigzag Design: A repeating pattern of wavy lines in a zigzag around the cap and barrel.

PenHeroWahl Model 657A Zigzag Design gold filled fountain pen c1921-1924

1922 Patterns

PenHeroWahl Model 322AW Dart Design gold filled ringtop fountain pen c1922-1924

Check (formerly Unique), Checkerboard (pencils only), Colonial, Crisscross (pencils only), Dart, Diamond, Grecian Border, Ripple, and Zigzag continue. Waveling becomes Waveline. Dart and Ripple first appear on pens.

PenHeroWahl Model 329AW Ripple Design gold filled ringtop fountain pen c1922-1924

1924 Patterns

PenHeroWahl Model 214 Checkerboard Design ringtop fountain pen c1924

Check, Checkerboard, Colonial, Dart, Diamond, Grecian Border, Ripple, and Zigzag continue. Checkerboard now offered on pens. Added is:

  • Chancellor Design: Repeating panels with diamond shapes on a straight line background around the cap and barrel.
  • Wave Design: A panel of straight lines with a small curve out grouped evenly that create a series of two waves repeating around the cap and barrel, offered only on pencils. Introduced on pens in 1925 and illustrated in that section below.

PenHeroWahl Model 218 Chancellor Design ringtop fountain pen c1924

1925 Patterns

Check, Checkerboard, Colonial, Dart, Diamond, Grecian Border, and Ripple continue. Wave now offered on pens.

PenHeroWahl Model 645D Wave Design fountain pen c1925

1927 Patterns

Check, Checkerboard, Colonial, Dart, Diamond, Grecian Border, and Wave continue. Added are Gold-On-Silver Designs where part of the gold fill is cut away and a design is engine turned on the silver base:

PenHeroWahl Model 3214P Niagara Design ringtop fountain pen c1927

  • Niagara Design: Coral shapes cut into the base metal.
  • Wedgewood Design: Engine turned straight and ripple line patterns cut into the base metal.

PenHeroWahl Model 6413P Wedgewood Design fountain pen c1928

Also added is an Oxidized on Silver Design:

PenHeroWahl Oxidized Grecian Border Design fountain pen c1927

  • Oxidized Grecian Border Design: Oxidized black Grecian Border on plain silver plate finish on the cap and barrel.

1928 Patterns

Check, Grecian Border and Wedgewood continue. Oxidized Grecian Border continues on pencils. Added is:

PenHeroWahl Console Design fountain pen c1928

  • Console Design: A set of repeating panels of bell and flower shapes around the cap and barrel.

Also added are Tinted Designs where part of the metal fill is cut away and a design is engine turned on the metal base and then covered with translucent enamel:

PenHeroWahl Model X3218G Straight and Ripple Line Panels Design with blue-green enamel ringtop fountain pen c1928 and Model X7332 Colonnade Design ringtop fountain pen c1928

  • Colonnade Design: A stacked ring design with cut out black enamel tinted panels repeating up the cap and barrel.
  • Ring Colonial Design: The Colonial design with a pair of black enameled wide rings cut in repeating up the cap and barrel.
  • Straight and Ripple Line Panels Design: Engine turned straight and ripple line patterns cut into the base metal and then overcoated with a translucent enamel. Blue-green and rose-pink enamel was used.

PenHeroWahl Model X7164 Ring Colonial Design fountain pen c1928

1929 Patterns

Check, Colonnade, Diamond, Grecian Border, and Ring Colonial continue.

Table of Patterns 1921-1929

Pattern 1921 1922 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
Barleycorn X
Chancellor X
Checkerboard X X X X X
Colonial X X X X X X
Colonnade X X
Console X
Crisscross X X
Dart X X X X X X
Diamond X X X X X X
Grecian Border X X X X X X X X
Hexagonal X
Niagara X
Octagonal X X X
Oxidized Silver Grecian Border X X
Ribbon X
Ring Colonial X X
Ripple X X X X
Straight and Ripple Line Panels Design X
Unique/Check X X X X X X X X
Wave X X X
Waveling/Waveline X X
Wedgewood X X
Zigzag X X X

 

PenHeroWahl Grecian Border Design and Console Design fountain pens

Wahl machine turned pens have become a focus niche, with some collectors seeking complete sets of the patterns across all the pen lines, including hard rubber pens, which also carried some of the same patterns as the metal pens. Other collectors focus on just the pencils, in their various sizes and designs, or the ringtop pens, tiny jewels, which also came in several styles. Wahl pens and Eversharp pencils were very popular and durable so many good examples exist today, allowing for the possibility of a large and varied collection of quality writing instruments.


Acknowledgments

Thanks to Sid Saperstein for providing 1927-1928 catalog reference material.

Thanks to Scott Miller for providing a Niagara Pattern photo for reference.

Thanks to David Nishimura for data on pattern names.

References

Eversales The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1927

Eversales The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1928

Eversharp and Wahl Pen, General Catalog No. 100 The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1921

Eversharp and Wahl Pen, General Catalog No. 101 The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1922

Eversharp and Wahl Pen, General Catalog No. 103 The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1924

Eversharp and Wahl Pen, General Catalog No. 104 The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1925

Fountain Pens of the World by Andreas Lambrou, © 1995 Zwemmer, London, United Kingdom

Wahl-Eversharp, Christmas Catalog The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1926

Wahl-Eversharp, General Catalog The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1927

Wahl-Eversharp, General Catalog The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1928

Wahl-Eversharp Personal-Point Fountain Pens, General Catalog 298 The Wahl Company, Chicago, IL, 1929

 

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