Vintage Pen Collector Supplies Props to ‘Mad Men’

Just read a brilliant story about a man named George Fox who collects vintage ink pens from the 60s and 70s and loans items from his collection to the TV show ‘Mad Men’ to use a period props.

(If you haven’t seen Mad Men on AMC, it’s about the people at a New York ad agency in the 1960s.)

Fox lives in Killeen, Texas and told the local newspaper that he grew up enjoying trips to buy school supplies – and just never stopped. Now retired from the military, he has accumulated a collection of more than 2,000 pens and pencils, most of them common brands such as Bic and Scripto.

From the Killeen Daily Herald:

Fox has so many pens at his disposal that he has a pen rotation — one pen in the morning and one in the afternoon.

But the gem of Fox’s collection is a near-complete set of eight Papermate Ops N Pops pens released in 1968. The pens reflect the time period, with groovy designs on colorful backgrounds.

They retailed at $1.50 each and are now worth about $150 each, said Fox. The swirly designs were prone to rub off with extended use, so finding one in near perfect condition is rare. As a result, Fox won’t use those pens, but many of his vintage finds still work.

Apparently, the prop master from Mad Men was looking for the kind of pen a secretary would use in the 60s — not an easy thing to do — and found Fox online. Now, he allows the show to use pens from his collection to help maintain its historical authenticity.

Fox has a great blog about his vintage and new pens called My Supply Room.

This is his list of Top Five Pens from the 60s and 70s:

  • 70s Pentel R-4 Rollerball
  • Papermate Ops N Pops Ball Point
  • BIC Yellow Fine Point
  • Scripto T220 Ball Point
  • Sheaffer School Fountain Pen

Also check out these old Paper Mate Contours from the 1970s. They came with astrological signs on them…so groovy, man!

Papermate 1970s Contour Pens

Image By My Supply Room

Next time you’re watching Mad Men and see someone using a cool old pen, think of George. It probably belongs to him.

Photo of author

Tony Bridges

As a seasoned journalist and freelance writer, I've spent over three decades telling stories and exploring the world through the written word. With a passion for writing instruments, I found my niche at The Pen Vibe, a blog that shares our collective fascination with pens, pencils, and other tools that have shaped the art of writing.

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