Please, if you find errors in the information about these fountain pens kindly let me know! Especially chime in if you have valuable information to contribute. I refer to the pen as the “Wahl Oxford” without a hyphen as it listed in Eversharp catalogs. Commonly today the pen is referred to as the “Wahl-Oxford.”
In the 1930’s the Wahl Oxford fountain pen afforded an alternative to the more expensive Doric and Equipoised pens made by Wahl-Eversharp. Today, the Wahl Oxford (as well as the Wahl-Eversharp Skyline) still offers an affordable entry into Wahl-Eversharp collecting and even flexible nibs.
There were two distinct Wahl Oxford versions manufactured a few years apart. The first version was made from 1931 to approximately 1935 or 1936. The second version appeared around 1939 and was finally put to rest in 1941. (Dates based on Lambou’s book referenced below and Wahl-Eversharp catalogs. If you have other source material indicating more precise dates, please advise.)
The easiest method to disguish the versions is the size of the pen and the placement of the clip. The 1939 model is short and stubby with the clip near the top of the cap. The earlier model is long, slender and the clip is set further down on the cap.
Both versions of the Wahl Oxford offered matching pencils and Desk Sets were also available.
Early Wahl Oxford
Introduced in 1931, according to the book, Fountain Pens: United States of America and United Kingdom by Andreas Lambrou, the Wahl Oxford was launched as a low-priced lever-filling pen with gold-plated trim and 14K nibs. A 1935 Wahl-Eversharp catalog states the “pens are of the lever-type equipped with 14 Karat nibs, available in Fine and Medium types only.” The clip has the Wahl Oxford imprint and a ball shape on the end. The catalog photo shows the Wahl Oxford fitted with a 14K Warranted #3 nib. Pens are also found with “Oxford” imprinted nibs and Eversharp nibs. The cost was $1.95 for a pen and pencil set.
Size: The early lever-filling fountain pen is sized approximately 5″ capped, 4 1/2″ nib to barrel. These pens are often still found today with a 14K warranted #3 nib as listed in the 1935 catalog.
Colors: The same 1935 catalog lists the colors for the Wahl Oxford as Black, Pheasant (green), Sardonyx (red) and Silver Green. Other colors can also be found such as black and pearl, marbled brown, and a hatched pattern silver and black. (See Munson Pens blog post for the hatched pattern, marbled brown with red veins, and two other colors. Reviewing archived copies of Gary Lehrer’s fountain pen sale catalogs will net other photos of Wahl Oxfords such as one in black and pearl.)
Desk Sets: Desk pens were also made with a variety of bases. A 1935 catalog lists six different kinds of bases made from formica, brass, marble or glass. Desk sets ranged in price from $2.95 to $4.95.
Twist-Filler: I’ve seen two variations of this model and do not know if there are more. The two colors are a burgundy/green/blue marble and a silver/black hatched pattern. The band and clip are gold-plated. The size of the twist-filler in my collection is 4 7/8″ closed, 4 1/2″ nib to barrel, and 5 7/8″ posted.
The marble patterned twist filling pen sports a single rhomboid style band. My pen sports an Oxford imprinted nib and I don’t know if it is original to the pen. The clip has the Wahl-Eversharp imprint and I suspect it is not original to the pen. A repair diagram of the twist-filler boasts what looks like a short Wahl Oxford imprinted clip similar to a photo in this FPN post containing the hatched patterned twist-filler. The shorter clip differs from the lever-filler clip which has a round ball at its base. The shorter clip has an inverted “V” shape at its base. The hatched Oxford cap has two slim rings near the base.
The is filled by removing the blind cap and turning a knob (several times) which twists the sac inside the pen. In 2008 on FPN Syd Saperstein posted a complete repair diagram which shows all the innards. My pen was restored by Ron Zorn who told me the pen will hold as much ink as a vac-fill Parker 51 (approx 1.8ml plus). These pens are hard to flush, in my experience, and so I use a single in color in mine.
The “Large Bantam:” There are Wahl Oxfords which look like large-sized Bantams. These are bulb-filling fountain pens. The distinctive colors on these pens are different from the Wahl Oxford lever-filling model. I’ve only seen the Titan Red and a Brown color. Paired with the Wahl Oxford in a 1935 catalog is the tiny Bantam fountain pen.
Later Wahl Oxford
Introduced around 1939, the 2nd version is less distinctive in appearance and may be the most affordable version found in the wild today. This fountain pen also offers some interesting colors and can be found with flexible nibs. Sometimes these pens are found with Wahl Oxford imprinted nibs, Eversharp nibs and even Warranted nibs without an Eversharp imprint. It is difficult to say if they are original to the pen or not.
A 1939 Eversharp catalog lists three types of Wahl Oxfords:
1. Wahl Oxford Select-O-Point fountain pen which came in Jet Black, Brown Swirl or Green Swirl colors. The pen was touted as a “Quality Dollar Pen” with interchangeable screw-in nibs (like an Esterbrook J). “A new point at any time for 35¢.” The nibs were gold-plated iridium tipped. The point sizes were listed as “A” fine firm, “B” medium firm, “C” fine flexible, “D” medium flexible. The nibs are imprinted with “Select-O-Point” and either A, B, C or D.
The Wahl Oxford Select-O-Point was a lever-filling pen. Eversharp called this a “lever-vac filling mechanism.” An ink window was available on these pens.
2. Wahl Oxford Special fountain pen came with an ink window. The colors were Jet Black, Green Pearl, Red Pearl and Gray Pearl. The pen cost $1.50. In the catalog the nib for this pen is shown as Warranted #3 14K Made in USA.
3. Wahl Oxford Regular fountain pen had all the same features as the “Special” except for one: there was no ink window on the “Regular” version. The pen cost $1.25. I cannot tell what the imprint is on the nib in the catalog print.
The 1939 catalog lists over 15 different Wahl Oxford desk sets.
I don’t know whether these are “real” Wahl Oxfords or pens that have been cobbled together with Wahl Oxford nibs. I have seen these ringtops so proclaimed as Wahl Oxfords on eBay and Martiniauctions. Also I don’t know which era they would have come from. Perhaps these Wahl Oxford pre-date the 1931 version. (See Syd Saperstein posts below on Wahl Oxford history and use of the name.)
Selected Reading List
- Wahl Oxford Fountain Pen (Munson Pens blog…beautiful restorations that inspired my initial interest in Wahl Oxfords)
- Syd Saperstein writes that Wahl-Eversharp’s use of “Wahl Oxford” appeared in the 1920’s on some hard rubber models and some pens meant for Gregg and Palmer Method users.
- More from FPN:
- Writing Without Rhythm Blog post on an early model Wahl Oxford
- Wahl Oxford Pencils – very extensive collection of early and late style Wahl Oxford pencils. Shows great range of colors.
- Wahl Oxford Information – my original post on FPN. Although very little interest has been generated on FPN, you might check the thread for any updated information.
Note: The Eversharp catalogs referred to regarding the Wahl Oxfords are available from Pen Collectors of America as PDFs, or from Bill Aker at BillsPens in both color PDF and hard copy forms.