Reynolds Rocket Ball Point Pen

Added January 28, 2015
  • Reynolds Rocket Ball Point Pen
  • U.S.A.  1946

As I have mentioned in other posts, I have several different things I have collected over the years, besides books. I have collected vintage toasters, Dinky Toys, Jazz records, among other things. But the collection I am having the most fun with right now is ball point pens and mechanical pencils.

reynolds-rocket-clip_ This is my first post about anything other than books, but I have recently decided to write the odd post about some of the interesting pieces from my pens and pencils collection. After all, where would writing and books be without pens and pencils?

So, this is the Reynolds Rocket; the first ball point pen ever made in the US. Find out more about how Milton Reynolds “borrowed” the idea from Laszlo Biro’s Eversharp Company here. The Reynolds Pen company started in 1945 and that is the year this pen was made. I love the rocket themed pen stand that came with it. Made of solid aluminum, the pen and stand are as light as feathers. reynolds-rocket-stand_

The original box is here too. It is very rare to find these pens complete with the stand, the box and the instructions (which are printed on parchment paper).

reynolds-rocket-owners-manual-2 Check out the boastful (and humorous) owner’s manual claiming that the average writer could get 15 years use without refilling. In fact, most of these pens leaked badly in shipping. Note the blue stains on the box lid. This pen arrived empty of ink and was put away for decades. reynolds-rocket-box_-top_

The ones that did work, worked sporadically. Sometimes the ball would go out of alignment and leak blobs of ink onto your work. There is a actually a note in the instruction booklet about how to blow into the top of the pen if it stopped writing, and another one about how you had to ‘hold it like you would a pencil’ for it to work properly. reynolds-rocket-owners-manual-1

No surprise, The Reynolds Pen company went out of business within a few years. I read somewhere that more people returned their pens for refunds than kept them.

One thing the owner’s manual doesn’t say is that the pen could only be refilled by returning it to the manufacturer. There, they would actually unscrew the top of the pen and fill the metal cylinder up with ink.

By the time Reynolds was going out of business, Parker had invented their revolutionary ball point refill, and the rest, as they say, is history.