CHILTON WINGFLOW INLAY PATTERNS
The Wingflow line of pens offers several varieties for the advanced collector wishing to acquire a series of all inlay patterns. Some of the patterns seem a bit more elusive, and others are very common, but we must remember, that all Wingflows are quite difficult to find, and even one with the most common inlay pattern are to be a treasured piece in a pen collector’s hands.
The Wingflow was introduced around 1935, as seems the popular year of its introduction, thru all resources available to me. The pen proved to be a terrific deco period design that Chilton was able to promote thru limited, but several, national advertising campaigns. The pen was like nothing ever produced, and probably had wide appeal. I imagine it was common to find it stocked in the New England area, but the further away from the actual assembly facility one would go, finding the pen in a dealer’s stock was probably quite rare.
What this research is attempting to do is to interpret the factory assigned code on the bottom of the plunger “pull” of each wingflow model. This factory code denotes the model series (which tells the pen’s length, girth, and nib size) as well as the specific inlay pattern the pen sports. This might be somewhat “esoteric” in scope, but should benefit the hardcore Chilton collector, mainly by offering the framework to document and interpret the factory coding on the pens that are either in their personal collection, of being offered to them. Enjoy!
Chilton offered several model variations thru it’s Wingflow line, each pen offering a difference in the length, girth, and nib size, all engineered for the individual writing tastes of the consumer. These styles were coded at the end of the barrel for size reference, which also included the inlay code for each pen, if the pen was fitted with an inlay pattern.
It appears that Chilton offered the following sizes its regular inlay line:
8 ½ This is the senior sized pen offered in the wingflow line. The same pen as the number 7 below, but equipped with inlaid initials.
7 ½ This would be the senior sized model, and as noted above, the same would apply, as to denote the model and inlay pattern. This pen would share the girth and length as an 8 sized model, but not be equipped with the same inlaid initials as the 8 1/2 models. This model would only have the inlay design.
5 Models noted as such would commonly be referred by the collector as the standard size model, similar to how Chilton differentiated models in the Long Island line, the equivalent would be the 6 size, with the 7 and 8 size in the Long Island series being the senior and Oversized models respectively. This model seems to have the same length (or ever so slight variation, which is likely manufacturing variation) as the 7 or 8 sized pens above, but the girth of this pen is significantly less. This model designation would only have the inlay pattern, and no inlaid initials.
5S This model, while the same girth as the above 5 model, would have a shorter cap, and a slightly shorter barrel, I guess to more fit the writing tastes of the 1930’s lady.
6 This model puzzles me, for I have never handled a model marked as such, but I have to theorize that this model is the same dimensionally as a 5, but with the inlaid initials, and perhaps even an inlaid design, but that might be a bit flawed in theory. Maybe someday in the future I can figure this one out. someday, is today!
So that pretty much sums up the model line offering by Chilton for the Wingflow line, with the exception of the pencils, which seem to be offered in 3 size, and pretty much follow the offered pen line.
It needs to be noted that Chilton appears to have numbered the solid gold inlay line a bit different. Since I have never handled any of these pens (they are obviously quite rare) I can only offer what is available from the 1937 Wingflow catalog, which is available on my website if you wish to view this information.
So far, I have either seen, or owned 10 different Wingflow inlay pattern pens. I doubt very much that there are any other patterns in existence, but not knowing what one off or experimental pieces were made, it is hard to determine what else can or may be out there. I offer thru the design patents made available to me, and research that I compiled, maybe some sort of decipherable code to read and understand the wingflows that may be in your collection. Each of the inlay patterns was available in 1/20th 14 K gold fill, in either yellow or white gold. There is a misconception that these pens were offered in silver, which is not correct. I have in the past owned one example of a white gold fill inlay model with what looked to be a white gold wingflow nib, which probably borders on the unusual. With one exception, the above is pretty much the standard, the exception being an inlay pattern that falls under design patent 100970, which seems to be an exclusive solid gold inlay pattern. (And one pen for which I would love to have an example of in my personal collection.)
Listed below in order by design patent are the Chilton Wingflow inlay patterns, and the factory code for each inlay pattern, where it is available (with one exception).
This is one of the more common inlay patterns, probably in the top three of the patterns you are likely to see. This pen seems to be available in the Larger pens as well as the 5 size models, the letter code from the factory was “N”.
This pattern is less common than the noted “3 common patterns” and quite often shows up in ladies models, in the “X5S” size, and might very well be the only size this inlay pattern was ever offered in. I have seen this in lay pattern in both pocket clip models and ringtops. The factory letter code for this model was “K”.
This might be the most common Wingflow pattern that a collector will encounter, at least in my experience. This pen is most often found in the 5 sizes, and I am not entirely sure it was made available in other sizes. The factory letter code for this inlay pattern is “A”.
Probably the most elusive inlay pattern (with exception to 100970, see below) that had me confused for several years. Outside of the 1.5 examples I own of this pen, I have never seen another complete pen (save, one cap, on a 100962 barrel) The .5 pen I got coincidentally has the 100962 barrel, which would be nice to marry the correct caps to barrels, but so time goes on…. I consider this inlay pattern quite rare, not because I have never seen it otherwise, but in the years I have been collecting you would think it would have turned up again. Hopefully someone else out there has an example floating around; maybe this research will bring a few fro the woodwork… All of the pens I own are of the larger models, both 7 sizes, and to make it more confusing, are labeled “ O7H” which leaves a lot for interpretation, as to what the actual letter code is. It is assumed to be an "O", however, any additional help on this would be greatly appreciated!
This is the last of the “common 3 patterns” I have encountered several of this inlay pattern over the course of collecting. It seems to be all of the examples I have seen are in the 5 size, whether it is a ladies model or the standard 5 size. My first Wingflow that I ever owned was one of these models, in the original box, which I sold early on, and I was able to buy it back several years later…. The factory letter code for this model was “C”.
This pattern has been a bit elusive, in terms of ownership. I have seen but a few examples of this pattern, and every time I tried to purchase an example, I have been unable to obtain one. This pattern seems to be quite available in white gold, surprisingly, a large number of the pens I have seen carrying this inlay pattern were in white gold. All of the examples I have seen were of the 5 or 5S size. The factory letter code for this pattern is “B”.
Another pattern I consider rare, but not very attractive is this pattern for which I got little to no information. The only time I remember even seeing an example of this pen for sale was perhaps a year ago or so, on eBay. I would like to say the example I remember was offered by the folks at Berliner Pen, but cannot be sure. The pen also (if my poor memory is working) had white gold inlay. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the factory letter code is for this pattern, seems to be the only missing code in my collection. If anyone out there knows it, please feel free to contact me!
Coincidentally, I bought this pattern for a parts pen, that unfortunately, had so many problems, that it had to be put in the parts bin. It did supply a good senior size nib, section, and feed, which are hard to find items in their own regard. This is not a real stylish pattern, but seems to be difficult to find. I remember seeing this offered twice on eBay over the last several years, it took several tries for the one to sell, being that the owner really wanted to keep it, or so it seemed. This pattern was letter coded from the factory as “Q”.
This might very well be considered the “King of all Wingflows”. I have never seen this pen available, or even heard it mentioned in any Chilton collecting circle, I can only imagine what this pen must be like. Solid gold inlay, wow, that pretty much sums it up. I cannot imagine that a lot of these were manufactured; mainly the cost alone prohibited their manufacture. Designated from the factory with the letter code “S” this indeed would be a spectacular specimen to own.
The last in the chain of known designs for the wingflow line of pens, this might be the most elegant, and somewhat difficult to find. I have seen this pen on maybe three occasions, making it quite rare, and likely so, due to the fact that it was more or less a late production model for the wingflow series. This pen was designated from the factory, with the letter code “R”.
A NEW ONE!!!!
(no patent number!)
Don't know much about this one. Just had it pointed out to me. This is very similar to the 100962 (B pattern) likely was shelved for the more popular B pattern, but again this is a best guess. I would have to assume this is a pretty rare pattern, mainly due to the fact that, in my sample group, I have never encountered one.