Parker Duofold Centennial

I had brunch with Jake today in Callicoon, followed by a short but rewarding visit to the Farmer's Market.

When we separated I was just going over the NYS-PA bridge when I spotted a sign for a barn sale. Since that road goes home but with an extra five or six miles, I decided why not, it's a beautiful holiday Sunday.

Well, in addition to getting a bookcase for $7.00; an inkwell for $4.00 and a beautiful hand-crafted basket for $3.00, I discovered at the counter a fountain pen. It appears to be a Parker Duofold Centennial, box, papers, converter, two cartridges and uninked. It has a 14k F nib and seems to write very well.

What a find if it is a Duofold!


Ross is off for his first year at college

I made one convert, my neighbour and young friend, Ross, to fountain pens. This week he is off to college with his new fountain pen, bought by his Mom, and I will be giving him some fountain pen friendly notebooks and some ink to get him started.

I had hoped my own children would take up a fountain pen, but alas, they have not taken to the idea.

However, contrary as I am I have organised a wee package for each of my two grand-daugters in case one or both take a fancy to fountain pens. I am thinking perhaps the Bean will love the red Waterman, and perhaps even Slippers will take flight into the creative world and doodle her way through school.

I was and am most impressed with Beanie's (nickname only) birthday card, rather sophisticated for a four year old. She's always been eager for my gifts of crayons, paints, brushes and her stand-up easel. And whilst at the Children's Museum on our visits, she'd spend ages with tempera.

Slippers (nickname only) is too young yet to make any suppositions about but perhaps she too will wish to express herself with a flourish.


Ink on Paper: Diamine

You can buy ink in many places, fountain pen suppliers, stationary stores, art suppliers and years old, but in my lifetime, in the neighbourhood newspaper shop.

And Diamine ink can be bought at both Pear Tree and Pendemonium, and probably elsewhere, but my first bottle of Diamine--Monaco Red--came from a FPn member on the Market Place, and it is just lovely.

I've just been testing it out in an inexpensive, but wonderful old Pelikano Jr (Red & White body) and on two very different writing surfaces, both the pen and the ink are as smooth as the surface of a still lake on a calm day.

In my 2004 Moleskine Diary, it is one colour and in my Field Notes, Volume 1, a totally different colour, but both splendid examples of a true rich red.

Still needs a Pedigree: Dore


Sensible Sensa

I was thoroughly surprised by the comfortability of this pen, and for the price it is a gem.

Reform Fountain Pens

This small orange Reform found a new home. It is a nice enough pen but I am determined to shed myself of as many fountain pens as I can. This one, too, found a more appreciative home--an attractive Reform aluminum pen.

Both were purchased by a FPn member.

Sheaffer Targa

Four up.

What are they? Three are Targas. The fourth is a TRZ.

A picture of the various size nibs is here.

All four have found new homes.

Edding: not a Lamy but nearly so!

Here's one of the two Edding fountain pens I own. No one seems to know much about them, but the Edding Company exists today and is well known in Great Britain for its technical pens.

This one has some brassing on the cap, but with some of the Simichrome it appears to vanish.

The Nasties

I woke up with the nasties, a head cold perhaps, runny eyes, and a tightness around my head but still thinking and realized that in all the years I lugged around 2 Nikons (an F and F2) I never took indoor photographs; hence, the difficulty with indoor shots of the fountain pens...maybe.

Now I did notice Ross has some indoor lights in his room but he is still out of town and I don't want to mess with them without permission and a quick tutorial.

I think I'll try to shoot outside on the front porch.

Now to feel better!


A little digi ain't a Nikon

I practiced with the Canon, and then the Olympus, both digital, both fixed lens, and all I can say is they are not my old Nikon.

Photographing with a Canon SD600

For someone who is considered smart, I can be as ignorant as all get out. I wanted to take some close up shots of my pens, and needed to borrow a small tripod--mine is hooked up to my Guerilla pochade--and N offered to lend me hers. It is as big and heavy as all get out and I declined.

Then when I was baby-sitting Boomer I saw that Ross had a table-top and got permission to borrow it.

But I thought, I need a macro. While I have a SLR Nikon with every bell and whistle, including a Nikon Macro lens, I don't have use of a darkroom or a local photo shop, so I was struggling with my two inadequate digitals to find the right balance between the settings for portraits. My old Olympus seemed to work better but not good enough.

Then N showed me Martin's Coolpix and its macro feature. Great little camera, by the way, selling for about two hundred dollars these days. But, and the but was big, although they offered to lend me the camera it wouldn't connect to my Macbook, and I didn't want to go through the effort and inconvenience of trying to take all the photographs in one sitting, have them download them and send them to me, or put them on a CD.

I returned the camera to them, went home, and pulled out my Canon SD600 and wonder of wonders, it does have a macro feature!

In the year and some I've owned it, bought it at J&R by phone when I lived in Taos, I never read the darn instructions.

When I come back from Honesdale errands, I'm going to get Ross' tripod, set up a shooting arena on the porch, and take some photographs!


Surge or Splurge

I have found a table top tripod and worked more with my Olympus, and hope I'll be able to take some better photographs of the few remaining fountain pens I hope to sell especially the Montblanc, Laban and perhaps the Gentleman.

Several inexpensive pens I'd also like to sell deserve their own photograph.

Then it is on to other subjects, and other venues.


Gone, but not forgotten

The rush continued and took up some momentum with a sale of the three Targa Sheaffers, two calligrapy pens and the beloved Parker Vac. I didn't even get to take a photograph of some of the fountain pens that will be leaving me today, but alas they will be remembered fondly.

Now, as I consider who else will leave home, I also contemplate another purchase, a purchase I'd like to call the dream pen, the one pen that could be the favourite, the only pen I'd use.

What would it look like? How would it feel? What filling system would I select? What about its colour or its pedigree?

I held my Pelikan m200 in my hand last night. He is grey, light, nice and warm in the palm of my hand and writes well, but, and there is a but, I wish he was wetter and flexed more.

I held my Wality blue demi in my hand last night. She is sleek, smooth to the touch, writes well, but does not spring to life instantly and is neither flexy or wet.

I toyed with the Pilots, both the teal and the green, both are flimsy to the touch, neither writes a wet line, and both could easily be adopted elsewhere.

I had great hope for the Lamy Safari with a larger stub but even with its graceful, 21st century plastic look, it leaves me with the feeling that I would prefer going back to brush pens as it does not produce a sufficient line to capture the writing look I would like to achieve.

The Sheaffer Vacfill is a superbly delicious pen that rests in my palm with ease and splendor, but alas she is a rather narrow sort of woman, and only satisfies my urge to write for short spurts.

What pen will fit the bill: easy to load, writes a wet, flex line, is not heavier than I like to hold for long periods of time, and is not too expensive?

I wonder and ponder this as I prepare to go "down cellar" to finish packing up those guys and gals leaving my nest.


A burst of pentacles

I pulled the King of Coins, twice, two days in a row, from Karen's deck, and it seemed to energize me into posting "for sale" some of the dozens of pens I've been contemplating sending to a new home.

A few sold. Two were shipped at Noon. Another group will be shipped tomorrow.

And Liz came over after dark and helped me put up the pen case and take off the doors so that I can replace the glass.

A wonderful purchase at the Garage in Callicoon for $20.00 (thanks Tom).

Liz and big Ruby Slippers are off to Virginia this weekend, and with Dan gone to Vermont, I am in charge of animals and gardens--not bad chores and having to go down the road will be an added motivation to get on with my disk-dilemma.

Concentrating on fountain pens is getting more difficult as deadlines loom and a new season begins.


Sometimes there are no answers

After speaking with the Holocaust Museum curator, it appears there is no answer, nor a proper conjecture about the fountain pen Anne Frank's grand-mother gave her.

We are left with her description and her words, and our imagination.

My first fountain pen

In about 1947 or even as late as 1950, I regularly visited my father at his law office. It was a neighbourhood office, and not too far from where we lived. My father always permissive allowed me full access to everything on and in the reception desk.

The desk was large, oak and doubled sided. In the middle of the desk's surface was a huge green blotter pad. I can't be certain but I think one of drawers had my Crayolas, the one with 72 colours. It also contained several pens and pencils.

I think one of the pens looked like this:

Before I left the house, my mother who had a penchant for dressing me up like the then popular Shirley Temple, sent me clean, tidy, yes, immaculate. Needless to say, the ink even with a blotter, and a white voile dress did not go together.

If I push and pull at my memories, I can just vaguely recall the white dress covered with blue-black ink, and my mother's intense displeasure at the now ruined outfit she had meticulusely ironed and probably starched to show off my blonde curls and blue green eyes.

Instead of feeling crestfallen at her displeasure I continued to go to my father's office, and fiddle with the ink and pens. If I fiddled too much, my father apparently wanting to avoid farther castigation from his wife, would bribe me with 25 cents and a trip to the ice cream parlour.

All these years later, I relish the idea of holding a fountain pen in my hand, and often find my most sought after comfort food is ice cream.


Calligraphy Pens: Selling

I finally put two of the many calligraphy pens I own up for sale on the FPn. Tomorrow I will list these at Wet Canvas.


What is a favourite?

One of the FPn members asked about the collecting bug, and cycles of buying fountain pens and then, of course, adding inks.

I have consciously bought a pen each year for the last 5-10 years on or about my birthday, a time of the year I am generally on holiday and actively engaged in stopping off at new shops in new geography.

It is only this year that I've bought a fountain pen sight unseen from an internet site or a friendly FPn member.

Of those I've bought on the 'net, I'd say two or three may need new homes, while one or two were delightful surprises.

So having not held her or him, I had no idea if this newest member to the family would be comfortable or fit into the life I lead.

Now up to the same number of pens as I have years lived, I am trying to weed through these, and attempt to sell those that may be beautiful, may be popular in other households, or are just collectible.

I've only sold one, thus far, but as I read this fellow traveler on FPn this morning, I realized I have other pens--some lovely, others loveable, that may also need to find more receptive homes.

One that came to mind is the Waterman Gentlemen, a beautiful pen, but one I rarely take out of the box.



What fountain pen did Anne Frank use?

A thread at the FPn about what fountain pen Anne Frank used fascinated and intrigued me.

The subject never occurred to me and even though I lived 2 short streets away from the Museum and the Prinsengracht, and Beppi and Jose lived across the Canal, I never stepped foot into the house.

The house had some sort of unarticulated terror, a terror that all these years later I am over, but can't validate because now I am thousands of miles away. But then when I lived on the Bloemgracht and often spent a Friday evening across the street, or a market day at the greengrocer, the terror was unspoken and unacknowledged.

At our Friday dinners, it was often a bit of a joke that one or another of my friends received mail intended for the Museum that arrived at their door.

But no joke, and no proximity seemed to move me to enter that nearly identical house I saw almost every day.

Yet, I have always been taken with Anne Frank's Diary.

Anne wrote in her diary, Ode to my Fountain, but fails to name the make or model:


Dearest Kitty,

I have a good title for this chapter:

Ode to My Fountain Pen In Memoriam

My fountain pen was always one of my most prized possessions; I valued it highly, especially because it had a thick nib, and I can only write neatly with thick nibs. It has led a long and interesting fountain-pen life, which I will summarize below.

When I was nine, my fountain pen (packed in cotton wool) arrived as a 'sample of no commercial value' all the way from Aachen, where my grandmother (the kindly donor) used to live. I lay in bed with flu, while the February winds howled around our flat. This splendid fountain pen came in a red leather case, and I showed it to my girlfriends the first chance I got. Me, Anne Frank, the proud owner of a fountain pen.

When I was ten, I was allowed to take the pen to school, and to my surprise, the teacher even let me write with it. When I was eleven, however, my treasure had to be tucked away again, because my sixth-form teacher allowed us to use only school pens and ink-pots. When I was twelve, I started at the Jewish Lyceum and my fountain pen was given a new case in honour of the occasion. Not only did it have room for a pencil, it also had a zip, which was much more impressive. When I was thirteen, the fountain pen went with me to the Annexe, and together we've raced through countless diaries and compositions. I'd turned fourteen and my fountain pen was enjoying the last year of its life with me when . . .

It was just after five on Friday afternoon. I came out of my room and was about to sit down at the table to write when I was roughly pushed to one side to make room for Margot and Father, who wanted to practise their Latin. The fountain pen remained unused on the table, while its owner, sighing, was forced to make do with a very tiny corner of the table, where she began rubbing beans. That's how we remove mould from the beans and restore them to their original state. At a quarter to six I swept the floor, dumped the dirt into a newspaper, along with the rotten beans, and tossed it into the stove. A giant flame shot up, and I thought it was wonderful that the stove, which had been gasping its last breath, had made such a miraculous recovery.

All was quiet again. The Latin students had left, and I sat down at the table to pick up where I'd left off. But no matter where I looked, my fountain pen was nowhere in sight. I took another look. Margot looked, Mother looked, Father looked, Dussel looked. But it had vanished.

'Maybe it fell in the stove, along with the beans!' Margot suggested.

'No, it couldn't have!' I replied.

But that evening, when my fountain pen still hadn't turned up, we all assumed it had been burned, especially because celluloid is highly inflammable. Our darkest fears were con­firmed the next day when Father went to empty the stove and discovered the clip, used to fasten it to a pocket, among the ashes. Not a trace of the gold nib was left. 'It must have melted into stone,' Father conjectured.

I'm left with one consolation, small though it may be: my fountain pen was cremated, just as I would like to be some day.

Yours, Anne

Today I phoned the Holocaust Museum and spoke with the Reference and Research Librarian and asked if they had any information, or rather conjecture about Anne Frank's fountain pen. He referred me to the Arts and Artifacts Curator. I am waiting to hear from her.

The preparation has begun!

I've completed more than half the interviews for "The Art of Convivium."

It is my hope to finish the interviews this week and next, and have the article finished by the time Michel returns so that we can start our adventure with the dairy farmers.


Sheaffer Vacuum-Fil

Another pen has found it's way into the family.

This Vacu-Fil Sheaffer is really a fine pen, sits well in the hand, seems to be working well, and holds an enormous amount of ink.

It appears to have a two-toned 14K nib and the black body is in good shape.

Of course, I do need a better loupe to see it properly but overall I'd say it is ready to go.

PS - It turned out that lovely Sheaffer needed a nib workout. I sent her to H and she did it. Lovely should be back with me in a matter of days.


Selling Fountain Pens

I have inventoried all my pens, and now that I can see which ones I own, alphabetically, it is more than clear that I have too many and that several have not been properly appreciated.
Thus, they are going to be offered for sale or trade.

Today five (5) of my pens are going off for examination and possible repair.

Within the next weeks or months I hope to sell at least twenty of the sixty odd pens I own and stop buying pens.

Each pen that I do own will have a fresh start, a new converter where possible, a likely ink, and a proper home away from my hand while it rests out of rotation

Yesterday I traveled with a Lamy Safari Lime, a Vista, a Libelle, a purple demi Wality, a Pilot 78 g E model and a Pilot Knight.

I also discovered a Staples along Route 6 when entering Milford (PA) and checked to see if they carried the Black n Red writing blocks frequently discussed on the FPN. And yes, they did.
These are not your beautiful acquisition
but they certainly are among the less expensive fountain pen-friendly writing surfaces. I bought two wire bound, polprop cover blocks with perforated pages.

Testing the paper with my on hand fountain pens revealed that this 24lb paper is more than satisfactory: no bleeding with any of the pens; no evident feathering and a good choice for article notes.

Now with 60-odd pens, more journals, diaries, blocks and notepads than I can properly use, two Morriset inkwells, a large assortment of inks and a brass rocker, I should be set for this year of writing.