Saturday, January 29, 2011



OK, What the heck is this now?  I may be the only person in the world that would make this connection, but I find it fascinating.  This Hi Standard 102  Supermatic Trophy .22 target pistol is one of my favorite pistols.  The Esterbrook "J" fountain pen is one of my favorite pens.  They were both made about the time I was born.  I have many of each in all their different varieties.  But, for the sake of mood, I chose rich, dark hues for the comparison.  The contrast is irrelevant. The similarities are almost bizarre.  Hi Standard was the only manufacturer to come up with the idea of removable, interchangeable barrels.  Except for the earliest of Hi Standards and the fact that they changed the mechanism shortly after implementing it, essentially any Hi Standard barrel will fit on any Hi Standard frame.  Esterbrook, America's oldest pen company, until they went out of business, about the same time that Hi Standard also pulled the plug is the only pen company to market a fountain pen that had interchangeable nibs.  Rather than being press fitted into the section, the nib and feed are one unit that screws into the section so, one pen can take essentially all Esterbrook or Venus nibs.  The marketing idea was the same.  One pen barrel (yes, the body of a fountain pen is called a barrel) and several nibs rather than several other entire pens. 

 Hi Standard sold some of their higher end target pistols with sets of three barrels of different lengths.  This particular model, or series, the 102-104 Supermatic series, was called the "Space Gun" because with the weights and the futuristically shaped muzzle compensator made it look like the Ray Guns in the robot from space movies of the 50s.   Well, ok, the marketing was probably a good idea, but imagine for a moment what they did to me.  Yep, I've got barrels and nibs....barrels and nibs.  Don't say that fast too many times.

Now that you've read this...can you admit that two things that you thought you had absolutely no interest in actually are quite interesting now that you know some stuff that you probably wouldn't have ever heard anywhere else?

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