Glossopedia of Pen Terms

(This page revised September 4, 2013)

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Zaner-Bloser (Zaner-Bloser, Inc.) An educational publishing company based in Columbus, Ohio, that grew out of a partnership between Charles Paxton Zaner, founder of the Zanerian Art College, and Elmer Ward Bloser, an instructor in Spencerian penmanship. During the 1930s, Zaner-Bloser commissioned Parker to manufacture special fountain pens and pencils based on the Duofold Special. These instruments had a unique shape, said by Zaner-Bloser to “fit the hand,” that featured a contoured extra-long section and a “wasp-waisted” barrel. One of the most attractive Zaner-Bloser models was made in Parker’s Modernistic Blue color (shown here). Parker-made Zaner-Bloser pens and pencils are now rare. See also Modernistic Blue. (Pen lent by Gary Lehrer, pencil lent by Joe Nemecek.)
Fountain pen
Mechanical pencil
Zanerian An American round hand writing system developed by Charles Paxton Zaner (1864–1918), known by his contemporaries as “the world’s best all-around penman.” Like Platt Rogers Spencer’s styles, Zanerian is less formal and more “alive” than most copperplate work. Shown here is a short exemplar typeset in a font called P22 Zaner. See also calligraphy, copperplate, round hand, Spencerian.
Zanerian script exemplar
Z-clip A type of clip that was used on many pens throughout the earlier two-thirds of the 20th century; so called because it is bent into a Z shape that can be seen clearly when the clip is viewed from the side as shown here. To install a Z-clip into a cap, the worker slips the top tab through a small lateral slot in the cap and pivots the clip downward to its final position. Inserting the inner cap secures the clip in place by pressing the tab against the inside surface of the cap. See also inner cap.
Zebra A Japanese pen company founded by Tokumatsu Ishikawa, known for producing the first Japanese-made metal nibs in 1897.
Zenith A model name used by David Kahn, Inc., for a gold-nibbed post-World War II Wearever lever filler that was near the top of the company’s line (shown below, upper). The Zenith was also made as a ballpoint (below, lower). See also Kahn.
Fountain pen
Fountain pen
Zephyr A lever-filling bottom-line pen model (properly the Parkette Zephyr) produced by Parker beginning in about 1940. See the illustration below. See also Parkette.
Fountain pen
Zigzag A chasing pattern used by Wahl on metal pens, with groups of nine zigzag longitudinal lines opposed by one line zigzagging in the other direction to create rows of triangular or diamond-shaped areas. Shown here is a close-up of the Zigzag pattern.
Zigzag pen barrel
zogan A type of decorative metal inlay work, created by engraving grooves in the base metal and then hammering a precious metal, usually gold, into the grooves. The grooves are cut wider at the bottom than at the surface, forming a “key” that prevents the inlaid metal from working loose.
Zoom nib A nib shape developed by master nib designer Nobuyoshi Nagahara of Japan’s Sailor company. A Zoom nib produces a line that varies in width from broad when the pen is held at a relatively low angle to the paper, to very fine when the pen is held nearly vertically relative to the paper. See also nib.

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