Sheaffer’s WASP Addipoint Fountain Pen

Information for this posting came from the three sources listed in the “Very Short Reading List” below. The information is not by any means inclusive as the literature available to me on the Addipoint pen is scant. You may have a variant of an Addipoint that does not match my description. I hope you detail any such pen in the comment section. Any unintentional errors in this posting are mine and I hope you will kindly point them out in the comment section. I’m not an expert. I’m merely a dweeb with a pen.

Wasp Addipoint Clip

The WASP Addipoint was one of Sheaffer’s sub-branded entries into the low-priced pen market. WASP stood for “Walter A. Sheaffer Pen” and was the name of the company producing the pens. Thus, not all WASP pens are Addipoints. In addition to the AddiPoint other known pens produced under the WASP company brand were the Clipper pen and the Rite-O-Way desk pen. WASP pens were produced between 1934 and 1940. The AddiPoint was the cheapest pen in the WASP line.

The section of the Addipoint unscrews; a feature which allows the user to easily install a different nib point size. A 1938 WASP brochure promotes nine “Replaceable Point Units.” The brochure details the interchangeability of the nib, section and ink sac as one unit:

…everytime the point is renewed, a whole new interior for the pen goes with it. This means that when the WASP ADDIPOINT pen needs a new point, replacing the point means new service for the whole pen, because the writing fluid reservoir is replaced along with the whole point.

From the description and illustrations in the brochure, the nib was apparently stocked complete with the ink sac already attached.

Addipoints units were available in nine sizes in either steel or gold nibs.

    Stainless Steel

  • 231 Flexible Extra Fine
  • 232 Flexible Fine
  • 233 Flexible Medium
  • 237 Flexible Stub
  • 241 Gregg Shorthand
  • 243 Manifold Medium

  • 75 Extra Fine
  • 75 Fine
  • 75 Medium

(Note: In the 1938 brochure the chart detailing Rite-O-Way nibs looks very much like the illustration of the brochure’s Addipoint nibs except for the numbering of the gold nibs. See the “Wasp Addipoint” article below for a chart of Rite-O-Way nibs.)

The Clipper and the Addipoint were available as lever- or as vaccum-filling pens.

In 1938 the colors for the Addipoint included Red and Blue, Red and Green, Rust and Green, Black, Green Pearl, Grey Pearl, Brown Pearl. The cost for a fountain pen was listed as $1.00 or $1.50. Additional AddiPoint units cost $.25 for stainless steel or $.75 for gold.

Restoring a WASP Addipoint Lever Pen
Finding an old, unrestored AddiPoint means at least installing a new ink sac in the pen. The restoration of the pen below began with a long soaking of the nib in some diluted Rapido-Eze pen cleaner. After the soaking the nib, the section was warmed just a wee bit and was slowly worked until it unscrewed from the barrel of the pen. Patience was key because the plastic felt fragile whether by imagination or age (mine and the pen’s). Once the section was removed it was soaked to make it easier to scrape off the bits of remaining shellac on the nipple. The old ink sac pretty much fell out of the barrel in pieces. Remaining pieces of the sac in the barrel were gently scrapped out. The lever appeared functional and so that was left in place.

Once the section was clean and given time to dry it was time to install the new ink sac. I did not know what size should be used for an Addipoint. In his book on Fountain Pen Repair, Frank Dubiel recommends a handful of ink sac sizes that are handy to have in the repair kit (sizes 12-22). I used Richard Binder’s suggestion to use a sac that was two sizes smaller than the size that fits snugly in the barrel. I found the size 20 fit quite snug, and moved down to the size 18 pen sac. It also fit snugly and so size 16 seemed just the right size.

I cut a bit off the open end of the sac so that it would fit inside the barrel. Then brushing a bit of shellac lightly around the nipple I pulled the sac over it. The section and sac were set aside for about 30-40 minutes to dry. Finally, the sacced section was screwed into the barrel.

The nib on my Addipoint is marked No. 233, a flexible medium. While there is some give of the nib I wouldn’t call it flexible. (I’m not a good flexy writer either.) The nib shined up quite nicely from the Rapido-Eze cleaning. The nib was a bit askew on the feed and I did some work with my fingers to line it up properly. There seems to be quite a bit of iridium on the nib.

As seen in one of the photos below, the imprint on the Addipoint pen is strong. The imprint declares: “WASP, ADDIPOINT, Ft. Madison, IA, USA.”

Inked up with J. Herbin Lie de Thé the pen wrote nicely. Smooth like an Esterbrook. Addipoint fountain pens and spare nibs, however, are not as easy to find as Esterbrook fountain pens and renew points. Addipoint pens can be found unrestored for as little as $6 and restored for up to $60-$100. My Addipoint cost me $6.50 plus $2.00 for a new sac.

The pen in the photos is approximately 70 years old, weighs 9g inked & 14g posted. It measures 5″ in length with the cap on, 4 1/2″ with the cap off, and 6 1/4″ posted.

A Very Short Reading List
Very little has been written about the WASP fountain pen. Here’s the best, if not the only, articles available online:

  • Mamoulides, Jim, “Wasp Addipoint 1934-c1940,” updated 9/30/03, Great detailed account of the Addipoint.
  • Binder, Richard, “Profile: The Wasp Clipper,” Some interesting celluloid patterns for the Clipper, a higher-end WASP fountain pen.
  • WASP Brochure, February 1938, courtesy of the PCA and available to members in the PCA library. Contains information about the Clipper, the Rite-O-Way, and the AddiPoint.

Pen Trivia
The WASP acronym was used by the company from time to time serving a variety of needs. According to a Spring/Summer 2004 Pennant article about the Sheaffer, the company yacht was also named the WASP.

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