The missing Bexley

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My red headed pens, a couple probably brunettes.

I’ve been using a fountain pen for quite a while as a user and haven’t really lost any, except maybe during my high school days when we didn’t care about our school stuff. I know I’ve lost a couple and dropped another couple of Parker fountain pens in the 70’s when in high school. Come 1980, forced to maturity in a coed premed, a Parker 75 flighter with a fine nib and a black Jotter (recessed clicker button and brass bushing) would see me through premed, medicine proper, internship and general surgery residency in the 90’s. Because I trained in a Government hospital which gave a higher salary, I was entitled to a separation pay after 5 years of surgical training. So in 98, I would use the separation pay to gift myself with my first Rolex and a Black Sheaffer Connaisseur. The smarter ones kept the funds to see them through a starting surgeons life.

I would lose the Sheaffer in the OR (operating room) dressing room in 99. I would then buy a Pelikan M600 at a DFS and later on a Sailor 1911 in Singapore. Since losing the Connaisseur, I’ve been both careful and lucky. Through the years, the pen collection has grown with nary a pen accidentally leaving the flock…until that fateful Monday evening January 23, 2017.

I got home after having dinner with the family at UP Town Center. I removed the 149 and the Duofold Rollerball from my shirt pocket and returned them to their space in a Somes 3 pen case. When I returned the Somes in its place in a Tumi Alpha 2 Organizer Travel Tote, the leather sheath containing a favorite Bexley was missing. I ran my hands through the Tumi, emptied it, turned the bag upside down and inside out but it was missing. Checked all my pockets again and again, still missing. Ran to the car and searched every space, every nook and cranny but it was nowhere to be found. Took out my torch to check the garage and driveway but nothing. I even checked the toys of the French Bulldog thinking she might’ve picked it up still nothing. I decided to call it a night, took a shower, then steeped a cup of Chamomile and while waiting for it to brew, I retraced my steps of the past day. Morning rounds…administrative duties at a Maritime Health clinic…out patient clinic duties…quick meeting…a Judges Seminar organized by the Judges Development Licensing Committee of the Philippine Canine Club Inc….late dinner with the family. It was the realization that the pen probably fell during a moment when I went down the car that made me sigh, a sigh of sadness because it probably is now in someone else’s hands.

The pen, as previously mentioned is a Bexley, a reissue of the Prometheus, this one in raspberry ebonite with a recently bought fine gold Bexley nib. It has been a favorite for the past 7 months because it made me appreciate fine nibs. The photo is my humble collection of red pens, from L-R. A Sheaffer Balance in Carmine Red Fine Gold Nib, Parker Mark I Duofold Centennial Burgundy Medium Nib, Montblanc 146 Bordeaux Medium Nib, and the missing Bexley Prometheus Raspberry Red Ebonite Fine Gold Nib, Visconti Wall Street LE Burgundy 1.3 Stub Palladium Nib. Some have told me “At least it’s just a Bexley.” With me, it never is about the brand, it’s always a case of “I know it when I see it” and when I saw and held the Bexley, I knew it. She had that warmth they say an ebonite pen gives you when you hold it and a guilty pleasure of mine, the industrial smell of ebonite. The fine gold nib instantly turned it into a favorite.

I was using this Bexley than the 149 this past 7 months. I was whipping her out on almost every occasion, till that 23rd of January when I had to dress to impress. So the 149 and the Duofold RB took center stage when I slipped them into the pocket of my Brooks Brothers white long sleeved shirt and the Bexley stayed in the bag. My wife said “Baka nag tampo yung Bexley when she realized she wasn’t good enough (Maybe the Bexley sulked in jealousy…).”  Yeah, she probably did…I’m hoping she will pop up when I least expect it and make my day.


The Difficult Right

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From “Civil Society Now”

Here is something nice to read. Imagine the bigger problem when somebody was never taught at all…seems like a lot of them going around. In management, failure to formulate and implement, processes and procedures, guidelines and improvements of internal controls is a criminal offence in some countries. How about when nothing was actually stolen, like the corporate officer who uses the credit card of his girlfriend in every possible corporate transaction so that the girlfriend gains credit card points beneficial to the couple instead of the corporation? How about outgoing Directors who arrogate to themselves high end computer equipment prior to their departure? Interestingly quite a number believe nothing is wrong with this.



From “Cheating Politicians”

Below is a related post that I wrote. Anyway, I made this post because of the interesting HBR article.


Something to Start the Year

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From the Jesuit News “New Year’s Resolutions:The #PopeFrancis List


A Happy and Prosperous New year to all of you!

A RB Duofold, a MB 161 and a MkI Duofold Centennial. The last three for the year?

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So when I thought the M1000 with the Masuyama nib was it for the year, 3 black beauts come along. The 2 pens on the left came from a thrift shop in California. The MkII Duofold Rollerball was supposedly missing the gold section which was why it was a bargain, I decided to buy it remembering seeing a section for sale online. The MB 161 had a stuck twist mechanism and was labeled as defective and was also a bargain. After keeping a poker face while calmly paying the bargain price, I headed back home and drove along the 101 with half a smile wondering what I had to do. When I got home I did a quick examination of the Duofold, then I lifted the plastic shelf and lo and behold the missing section was just under the plastic shelf together with a rb refill and its papers. The twist action of the 161 was stuck but had some give, I thought that maybe the lube in the mechanism gummed out. So I patiently rubbed the pen to heat it up and used a few drops of mineral oil and it eventually started to give some more. More rubbing and then it started to twist, and guess what, the bp refill had ink. A quick scrounge of my brothers toolbox and my nephews robotics equipment came up with a tube of Simichrome and the mineral oil. Both pens cleaned and polished well and by then I had a big smile. The Duofold MkI Centennial is from good friend Prof. Butch Dalisay. As Atty. Anthony Goquinco said-it has been a good year. The biggest bargain was the CS Churchill #176, the 149 Desk Set with pen and this Duofold RB and MB 161. With just a little bit over 2 weeks left in 2016, I’m wondering if this is it.

Merry Christmas

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Image from “The Master’s Table.”



A May December affair or relationship may sound romantic and cute. Having a trophy wife, much younger at that is not always a bed of roses relationship. So many things can happen to the relationship aside from an ending of living happily ever after. In her case, her partner had an affair with someone older than her but younger than him, when most senior men would rather philander with a younger woman like her. To make matters worse he had children with the other woman and a place of their own. They were, what we call a happy family. The news was dumped on her lap right during the Christmas holidays. She didn’t mind the FYI, thinking that he would still come home to her every night. But the biggest bombshell was that he would be moving in with the other woman, this Christmas. Now she knew why he was never around during the holidays these past years. She was assured that she gets to keep the house and that she would be well provided for.

At the height of this informational swirl, with thoughts forcibly intertwining themselves with confusion and denial, she decided to run away. The monogrammed leather duffel was thrown in the boot, she got behind the wheel and sped off northwards. The occasional stream of tears, the occasional banging of the steering wheel and constant thoughts of why did this happen occupied her. She was pretty and fit for her age, she was a doting mother and wife, a soccer Mom, as well as a lady who lunch. She even studied in culinary schools in Asia, Europe and the US so she could serve him. Longer, stronger streams of tears, now a tighter angrier grip on the steering wheel. Pia was headed to Baguio. She would be alone this Christmas.


Baguio has changed so much through the years, some argue the inevitable urbanization others call it the rape of the original Baguio that Burnham built. There are photos of a present Baguio covered by rooftops mimicking a grotesque Hypostomus Plecostomus (janitor fish) albeit with colorful scales. Compared to an old photo of the beauty of Baguio when it was covered lushly with pine trees. Years ago, the glamour of Baguio started as early Camp 1 (depending on the season) as you could smell pine in the cold air. When you reached Camp 3, you would switch off the a/c of your car because the cold of Baguio could already be felt. But now, even the picturesque view of waterfalls, have all diminished if not totally gone. The omen they say was when the Pines Hotel burned down and not rebuilt. Then the property was bought by a mall magnate, the rest they say went down hill, literally.

But inspite of the loss of what gave her her glamour, Baguio still has her stature. Temperature readings dropping south to sub 10 degrees. At 15,000 meters altitude, the cold that is Baguio is still there and can be wrapped with just the right amount of fog, with enough sunshine or moonlight peering through, and still make a beautiful sight. Some say she never lost its glamour because it’s glamour is it’s memory, of what she was. She’s now called the “City in the Clouds” as compared to “City of Pines.” This time it is to be someone’s place of refuge.


She was well bred, imported in dam. Her sire was a multi titled working Belgian Malinois in France and her dam was multi titled as well. The breeding was a proven Bruce-Lowe line breeding, making her line-bred to the top working and producing Belgian of all-time. Her breeder was like every rich man, some are into horses, fighting cocks, birds or fishes, all with one thing in common they don’t really care for them with only bragging rights on their mind. The breeder, kept his horses and fighting cocks in Lipa Batangas, his fishes and birds in Tagaytay, and his dogs in Baguio. All this would mean that he hardly had time for all of them.

The historical purpose of the Belgian Malinois was for it to be a herding dog. Through the years, it has evolved into a super dog. Its popularity has leaped frog the popular (think Rintintin) German Shepherd Dog. For SAR (Search and Rescue), tracking, bomb sniffing, sentry, military and police duty, chances are you will encounter a Belgian Malinois. Whether it is ground zero of a calamity, war zone, search and rescue or someone’s backyard or even a happy place such as your favorite mall, chances are the ubiquitous Belgian is doing those jobs. More stories have been written about the Belgian that was part of SEAL Team Six in taking down Bin laden than any individual member of Seal Team Six. In the Philippines, so popular is the Belgian, that she has been given her own monikers- “Mall Dog”, “Bomb Dog”, “K9” or “Canine.”

But like all breeds that become popular, right behind it are the backyard breeders with the intent to cash in on the bandwagon. Even if she was from a well bred litter, she unfortunately was the runt of it when it came to temperament. She was pounced on by her littermates that further weakened her drive. All her siblings are successful working dogs, with two of them sent to an east bloc country and a third to the US. She wasn’t so lucky, she was thrown in as a bonus to the purchase of one of her litter mates. She ended up in the hands of a trainer who believed in punishment than reward so she was further broken. She got passed on to someone else for bomb scent training who also gave up on her. At the age of 3 Baluts (because of her fondness of Balut, fertilized duck egg) would end up back home where she was whelped. She was going home.


He loved December in Baguio but part of him would always be sad for being alone.

Born in Ilocos Norte, Laoag to be more specific. He was educated by the public education system of the time, his teachers were students of the Thomasite education system. So good was the public school system during his time that graduating High School gave you the same chance of entering any of the renowned universities in Manila as any other private high school graduate. Lakay (Ilocano term of respectful address to an older man) Pepe did not go to college and had to work early to provide for his siblings. He found employ at a tobacco plantation in Vigan. Lakay was everything Ilocano and because of this Lakay Pepe moved up the ranks. Like most Manongs (Ilocano term of respectful address of an older male sibling, Manang older female sibling) or Manangs who end up taking the cudgels raising and sending siblings to school, Lakay Pepe did not marry. His siblings would become professionals and have lives of their own. A brother settled in the West Coast, a sister in Canada, and another sister in Cagayan de Oro. He raised them with strong Ilocano values which is why they always made sure to provide for him.

He was a head above most, dark and leathery skin, lean and wiry for laboring under the sun. A stroke would make him aphasic. He had no other deficit from the stroke except speech would be difficult and resulted into a guttural note. His condition made it difficult for him to continue his managerial job. The owner of the tobacco farm trusted and valued his person so much that he was given a job to watch over his house and kennels in Baguio. Lakay was a natural at being a handyman at maintaining a house and most of all he turned out to be a natural dog person. Baluts is just one of many sob stories that he turned into a happy ending. It has been a good 2.5 years since she left his care.

When Baluts jumped out of the car, she ran all over the expansive yard. When Pepe stepped out of the house keepers cabin and gave that familiar whistle that only he and his aphasia could make, Baluts stopped on her tracks for a moment, cocked her head to where the sound came from, she would jump a quick twirl then took a deeper bead at where the whistle came from, and with a bark and gleam on her eyes sped off with that efficient gait only a sheepdog doing its job has and leaped into his arms. She would be Lakays constant companion thereon. Under the care and informal training of the old man, she would become an efficient watchdog. He knew she wasn’t sharp enough for protection, so he trained her to be a watchdog and she turned out to be very good at it. When he noticed her penchant to dig, he trained her for search and rescue, and found her calling.

Search and Rescue is one of the most rewarding canine work. However sometimes a search and rescue turns into a recovery, meaning the likelihood of a survivor is nil. Baluts was one of them, she never found anyone alive. During 9/11, a lot of the canines developed behavioral changes, a lot developed changes in eating habits and lost weight. It was labeled as canine depression but could not be proven as such. When handler and best friend arrived at Ground Zero, all the handlers would be overwhelmed by what they saw and could feel in their gut the expected carnage. All of the canines would be excited to work and serve their master, even when most of the masters had an ominous feeling. In a few days, after starting excited to serve, some of the dogs would show signs of sadness. A lack of enthusiasm, ears and tails down, triste eye expression, all easily observed even by non-dog persons. It was like they knew that 3000 bodies were lost in the depths of the wreckage of the worst attack on US soil.

Baluts never found anyone alive. She was one of the first in Leyte, she found 18, 18 without a heartbeat. She suddenly refused to eat, had to be given a tug to start working even after giving the command “Hanap na (search now)!” Lakay knew the tell and decided to pull her out. When the handler told him all this, he was instructed to bring her home. Her eating would be erratic for a month, she lost weight, blew her coat and wasn’t herself for a month. She had all the signs of what seemed to be canine depression, a diagnosis now easily made but difficult the prove. Lakay would scratch her head and tell “bantay ka nalang Hija, pahinga ka na. (Ok girl, you’ll be my watchdog, time to rest.) Not all working dogs, no matter how well bred make the cut when it comes to work. Baluts would retire from SAR at the age of 6, a good retirement age. She would become Lakays lap dog. She would now have the pun of a name-“Bum Dog.”

3 years later at 1 AM, early Christmas Eve day, the cell phone rings, Lakay picks it up with one hand and puts on his reading glasses with the other. Guttural phrases of “Retirado na siya, ocho anyos at wala sa kondisyon! (She’s retired, she’s 8 and not in shape)” followed by “Eh lintik, kahit ako wala sa kondisyon (Hell even I am not in shape)” could be heard. Baluts pricked an ear and popped an eyelid. He sat bedside and rubbed Baluts with his feet, “Trabaho tayo, huli na talaga ito (we have work, I promise you this is the last) he would tell Baluts. He gathered their gear and loaded it up on the vintage more derelict Land Cruiser Jeep. Apparently, the 3 SAR dogs in CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) where still in Samar working and the retired unofficial Cadaver Dog was all they had.

Earlier a young man and someone who seemed to be his wife went to the front desk of the Country Club. Rang the manager and asked for assistance, he received a txt that sounded desperate and worrying. He gave a description of the guest. They entered the room that she was billeted in and found a neat and tidy room. Further investigation and queries revealed that she left noontime, dressed in jeans, running shoes and a hoody and was seen by some horsemen walking out to one of the trails behind the country club. Temperatures averaged single digits, constant fog with a visibility of a meter, with drizzling or short pours, being present the past days, all refusing to abate.

The local police and Barangay Kapitan (Village leader) were already at the take off point, a point that was just past a Barangay Chapel and the end of any vehicular traffic. Lakay suggested that she probably was headed towards the more difficult path, a path that is closed during the rainy and foggy season, locally called “Babala (warning)” trail. The Kapitan believed, because of the fog, she would follow the path she could see and would just keep walking. Lakay wanted to remind the Kapitan but didn’t, that the woman was depressed, alone, and ill prepared and with probably only one thing in mind…a reason why she would take the more difficult path, a reason Lakay tried not to think about. The search split up, the Kapitan and an EMT; Lakay, Baluts and a driver/EMT.

Lakay fit Baluts with an orange vest and a beacon. At a genuflect and Baluts smartly at sit, Lakay made the sign of the cross and evoked St. Anthony de Pauda and St. Roch, ”…please provide us the same star and its shining light that guided men to your humble manger” he prayed in his heart. He knew that there were so many red flags with this search, all of which troubled him. As he stood up he gave Baluts clothing of the missing woman to smell, he gave the long shelved command “Hanap na! (Search now) It was difficult to keep up with her, she always started with a few moments just standing, then galloping for 15 minutes then slowing down, the fog made it hard to keep up with her but the beacon kept her in sight. Some waist to shoulder high drops had to be jumped to keep up and a stream had to be crossed. All the difficulties of a search were present, fog, winds washing off scent pools, drop-offs and ravines that can misdirect winds and scents were all present in this search. All of this made the search difficult, all this made serious injury probable and survival almost impossible.

After 2 hours of slipping and sliding, of jumping and climbing, the beacon disappeared. They kept on hiking cautiously till they got to a ledge. It was something Lakay was aware of but hoped Baluts wouldn’t lead to. It was a cliff with a 30 foot drop, but had a path that would take 30 minutes to the bottom. They peered their best in the dark and managed to see the faint blink of a beacon at the bottom of the drop. 30 minutes later they made it down the path. He went to the beacon and there was no tail wagging but the triste eyes, the ears pulled back, patiently waiting beside a prostrate figure. When they shifted all their torches from their headlamps and handhelds and the lights pierced through the fog and lit the figure on the ground, their worst fear would squeeze their gut. She was prostrate, with a small pool of blood under her right lower leg. A quick trauma assessment was done which revealed her being barely alive. She did want to stay alive as she managed a tourniquet above the fracture wound. Breathing was very shallow, pulse was feeble, she was unconscious, distal to the leg wound, the pulses were next to none, all the extremities were cold, probably also her core. A collar was applied to her neck, a splint was applied to the fractured leg, she was carefully wrapped in a Mylar blanket, then transferred and strapped to a stretcher. He grunted to Baluts “balik yung madali (back the quickest). It was 3 in the morning and now the hike back included dead weight on a stretcher.

After a lot of grunting, huffing and puffing, counts of “on 3” and sprints on better terrain, they eventually made it to base camp. The 2.5 hour hike back, considering everything, was fairly quick. But not quick enough, initial vital signs were absent. CPR was started, an IV line was hooked, resuscitative procedures started. Baluts on a sit position, watched intently, when Pia was hooked to the defibrillator, the ominous tone of a heart that seized was what filled the cold dusk. Lakay decided to walk to the car that was further up the road, he was tired and knew. “Baluts tayo na! (Baluts let’s go)” he grunted as he walked away. This time Baluts uncharacteristically did not follow him, instead she suddenly stood on all fours, tail and ears up in full alert and took a step towards the 2 EMTs working. An anxious young couple watched and waited a few meters from the scene. Then a second defibrillation. Amidst the commotion of the resuscitating EMTs, Misa de Gallo at the Barangay Chapel was ending with the choir singing the Christmas song “Bituin (star)” for its closing hymm- “Hesus, bugtong na Anak ng Ama; Tala ng aming buhay; Liwanag, Kapayapaan; kahinahunan, kapanatagan ng Puso…”

Lakay was walking away when he heard the characteristic beep of a normal sinus rhythm, as he turned around to look, Baluts jumped into his arms and on to him, barked and licked his face as he landed on his back. The couple approached the patient while she was being loaded into the ambulance. “Giliw ng Diyos at pagasa ng maralita, ng abang ulila…” “Don’t worry Mom we’re here” as he held her hand, and just as she disappeared into the ambulance, she gave the young mans hand a firm grip. “Biyayaan Mo Kami…” Sunrise started to set aside dusk, with patches of fog and the just the right amount of crack of light, a vision that some scientists agree must have a powerful being as its artist. “ng pagtulad sa Iyo, nang ningning bilang ‘Yong mga bituin.”

Pikit matang napatingala sa kalangitan ng Kapaskohan si Lakay, huminga ng malalim, bahagyang ngumiti na parang nabiyayaan at ibinulong ng puso niya-“maraming salamat Po!” (Eyes closed, Lakay looks up to Christmas heavens, takes a deep breath, and with a slight smile as if blessed, whispers in his heart-“Thank you very much!”)














The Final Journey of My Conway Stewart Churchill

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I managed to find this Churchill book in my horde of books. Written by William Manchester who also wrote another favorite, the “American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964.” The books that Churchill himself authored, that I have, are at my Tagaytay crib. The books that he wrote are difficult reads, you really have to be in the proper mind set and zone.

These 2 woodgrain pens made it back together with Prof. Butch Dalisay PenManila. 42, the one on the left, is my most travelled pen unaccompanied by me. It flew to the previous owner in NorCal from across the pond. When I won the auction it travelled to my brother in SoCal. Then went on a cruise to the Mediterranean, then a plane ride from somewhere to the Philippines. After 3 months with me, it sprung a leak. Went on a plane ride with Butch to Chicago, got mailed in Chicago to Indy-Pen-Dance in Indiana. 176, the one on the right, is also an auction win and was a non runner. It was shipped to SoCal then shipped to IPD in Indiana to join 42 in the work queue. 6 months later they travel back to SoCal, journey on to San Diego and for their final leg they fly home with Butch, again.

They write smoother after the Binder smoothening procedure. The levers are now firmly in place and doesn’t rattle when the pen is shook. The lever action is now smooth, deliberate and not ratchety hard or vague. I took a peek at the lever system while it was on the extended position, and saw some kind of rail where the lever slides. This probably is the reason for the solid, not wiggly action. They still had some watered out blue ink in them, flushed it out after a few figure of 8s and the italic medium was now smoother in every stroke, the horizontal strokes were not catchy anymore which was my main beef. Thanks Prof! Hope I’m not raising your blood sugar.

The travails of a Conway Stewart Churchill owner

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Sir Winston Churchill, at his desk, holding a cigar, with pen by his side. Recent access to letters that he wrote, mentions his use of CS “Self Filling Stylo,” Miles Martin, Onoto and Swan “Red Dwarf Stylographs.”



The Conway Stewart Churchill, unlike Sir Winston himself, suffered from problems they say that were brought about by design flaws. Sir Winston lived up to the age of 90, his physical self was abused by war, accidents, and personal health neglect. Obviously overweight, he loved his Scotch and his large Maduro Romeo y Julieta cigars yet still made it to age 90. Unfortunately the CS Churchill a fountain pen named in honor of the man, suffers from reliability issues even if the pen lives a well cared for life. So frustrating it is for some owners, that they choose to sell it or bury it in a drawer after a few failed attempts of filling or once it springs a leak.


Duro No.1T on the left  beside a Churchill. Photo from ebay mhys10cd

The pen was released in 1996, during the watch of Don Yendle. The pen was to celebrate the life of Sir Winston Churchill. It was based on the 1920’s CS Duro No.1. The Duro No.1 was one of the largest pens of it’s time. It was bigger than a Duofold, bigger than a modern 149. It had a huge nib measured to be between a 8-10 nib depending on your measurement system. The similarities of the Duro No.1 and the Churchill are in its general shape, length and clip. The Duro No.1 however, has a beefier flanged lever with the CS shield at the lollipop end and the bigger nib. One of the rants of the modern Churchill is the rickety flimsy looking lever, with owners complaining of looseness and that the nib is smaller than that of a modern 149 and M1000.

It was suppose to compete against flagship models such as the Montblanc 149 and the Pelikan M1000. I cannot find any mention of who was the actual designer of the pen but who ever designed it came out with what would become such a recognisable pen. The pen has been described as “Edwardian” in design, an era that chose to dial down the extravagance of the “Victorian” era. A clear example of this would be the Montblanc Charles Dickens Writers Edition that has been described as having a “Victorian” design as compared to the Churchill having an “Edwardian” design. When set beside each other, these characterisations becomes evident.


Beefier flanged lever on the Duro No.1. Photo from  ebay mhys10cd

Unfortunately the Churchill had issues, issues declared, explained and solved by it’s owners but muddled by corporate cover ups, denials and Churchill sheep. The problems were never acknowledged by CS but solved by them under the condition that no one opened the pen and had a  look see before it was sent back to them for repair. Not all Churchills have issues, the most common problem is a lever filler problem. The net mentions that an earlier batch of Churchill sacs, during the Yendle watch had issues. The design of the Churchill intended to use a sac and J-Bar, readily available in the parts bin and with suppliers (component/platform manufacturing sharing.) There was probably no dedicated designed sac or J-Bar. The design used an available small sac that fit the small opening at the section but could use a way much bigger sac in the large barrel. The available J-Bar had to be bent downward for it to compress the small sac. When the lever was cycled, it would push the J-Bar down, the end of the J-Bar would have a downward cutting motion into the sac where it is attached to the section. This motion would eventually tear the sac.

Richard Binder would mention in FPN that another problem was a defective sac. There are a lot of illustrations online on the design flaw. Eventually pen men would find out the problem and its fix. I chose to send 2 Churchills to Mike and Linda Kennedy of Indy Pen Dance. Binder was one of the first to find out what the problem was and came up with a fix. Mike and Linda Kennedy are proteges of Binder and he personally endorses and vouches for the Kennedys. I was also in touch with Danny Fudge who is familiar with the problem and knows the fix, he has fixed Churchills. The website of Ron Zorn has a testimonial of a very satisfied customer who had 2 CS Churchills repaired.


The basic problem was that the lever location could not press on the J-Bar enough to compress the sac. The bandaid solution that CS did to get max J-Bar movement resulted into the J-Bar cutting into the sac. Symptom would be leakage at the lever. Since Binder had retired from repairing pens, I went to his students. The fix can be a DIY but not for the ordinary Joe as described by Binder in his above post. An additional task for the DIYer is that the poorly designed J-Bar is glued at the bottom of the barrel and needs to be drill tapped just enough to release the J-Bar. Probably glued because the available J-Bar probably rattled/moved around in the large Churchill barrel. The service provided by Indy Pen Dance is called the “Binder Sac and Pressure Bar Fix.” I presume this would include the appropriate size sac that would fill the most with the least pressure, that would be durable and agree with Dubiel principles. Further, the use of the appropriate J-Bar, that would compress the sac the most with the least amount of pressure needed from the lever and most of all do no harm to the sac.

In 2002, CS would introduce the c/c Churchill while somewhere between 1996 and 2002 a button filler was introduced. When Glenn Jones became Managing Director, in 2003, replacing the resigned Don Yendle, the Churchill sac tearing problem got solved but they used the same J-Bar which continued to give poor filling problems in the form of miniscule filling. Additional problems included flow reliability, from drying up to blobbing problems. These problems where diagnosed to have feed issues and sac to section issues. A pen with flow problems was lucky enough to be sent to Binder with cost being foot by CS.

So let’s sum things up-

  1. There are lever fill, button fill and c/c Churchills.
  2. It seems early Churchill’s are the ones with problems, but there are some later ones with problems.
  3. The lever fill problem is leakage from the sac, brought about by a poorly designed lever fill system. If the sac hasn’t been torn yet by the J-Bar, the symptom would be poor filling.
  4. The c/c isn’t trouble free. The most common problem of c/c’s are flow problems and converter problems.
  5. Button fillers also have problems with the most common being difficult and inadequate filling.
  6. The good thing about all of this is that they are all repairable.
  7. Most of all, not all Churchills have problems! Except that you wont know if what you have has issues.

I own 2 woodgrains (I really don’t know if it is a red ripple or a woodgrain), #042/500 with an Italic Medium Nib and #176/500 with a Medium Nib. 42 was an auction win, was left in a pen cup for years, I got it at a very good price. When I took receipt of the pen. It was in some minor neglected form. I masked the furniture and engravings and it was polished back to its former glory. I flushed the sac by eyedropper with water. After 3 months, it leaked at the lever. So it flew back to the US c/o of my friend Prof. Butch Dalisay of penmanila, it was mailed in Chicago and made its way to Indy Pen Dance in Indiana. 176 was another auction win, a drawer find and non runner , that I also got for a steal. This time I asked that it be delivered to Indy Pen Dance and join the work queue with 42. I asked for both to undergo the “Binder Sac and Pressure Bar Fix” and the “Binder Nib Smoothening and Tuning.” I also asked a restoration work on 176, if needed, as it was a drawer find that I haven’t seen yet. Exactly 6 months later, as promised, the pens were done. They both underwent the “Binder Sac and Pressure Bar Fix” and the “Binder Nib Smoothening and Tuning,” 176 didn’t need a restoration as the routine service polishing was good enough to bring it back to it’s glory. Binder claims his Churchill fix will “Increase capacity and enhance reliability” (some who have had the Binder fix questions the increase in capacity claim) which is what I’m hoping for. I’m also hoping that the Binder nib work will address Churchill flow issues. The pens are still in So Cal, being packed and consolidated by my brother with other pens (a Montblanc 149 Desk Set!) and then shipped to San Diego. You guessed it, Prof. Butch Dalisays daughters home.  My pens should make it back to Manila by the end of the month with Prof. Butch. Really can’t wait!

So, should you buy a Churchill? Of course! I believe any collector worth his salt, if he has to have only one modern CS, it should be a Churchill, unless of course you buy some Limited Edition like a Michael Jecks. If you are a large fountain pen collector, then it is a must have. Is it worth the pains? Yes it is! There are a lot of Churchill owners who use it as an edc and an only pen. I’m constantly on the hunt for a Churchill.

The Churchill is like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’ll get, but whatever it is, even with it’s quirks, it’s one hell of a chocolate…after you sort out the nuts.

Write away!

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