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Thread: Iconic pens

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    Icon: a person or thing regarded as representative of a concept, phenomenon or a category of things or persons. Obviously that includes a wide spectrum of interpretations of what's iconic.
    Exactly. Somehow I can't quite see how any brand or model of a fountain pen might be considered iconic. For a long time I thought I could but the more I looked at the examples the less sure I became.
    Sure it can.

    Let's say Parker 51, to me, it represents the idea of "I mean business", "I'm ready to sign important documents, treaties, contracts," in other words: The concept of being official and serious, and expensive.

    Contrast that with the Lamy Safari, which (again) to me says: "I'm fun, collectable, and I will cheer you up or match your mood with my colors," in other words: The concept of fun, cheerful, inspirational, and not expensive.

    Am I close?
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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    Icon: a person or thing regarded as representative of a concept, phenomenon or a category of things or persons. Obviously that includes a wide spectrum of interpretations of what's iconic.
    Exactly. Somehow I can't quite see how any brand or model of a fountain pen might be considered iconic. For a long time I thought I could but the more I looked at the examples the less sure I became.
    Sure it can.

    Let's say Parker 51, to me, it represents the idea of "I mean business", "I'm ready to sign important documents, treaties, contracts," in other words: The concept of being official and serious, and expensive.

    Contrast that with the Lamy Safari, which (again) to me says: "I'm fun, collectable, and I will cheer you up or match your mood with my colors," in other words: The concept of fun, cheerful, inspirational, and not expensive.

    Am I close?
    How do you measure iconic-ness


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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post

    But the key thing for a Lamy fan might be that Lamy designers (German) specifically have cited the 51 as an inspiration for several of their iconic fountain pen designs, including the obvious one, which is the Lamy 2000.
    The 51 was the inspiration for the 27.

    The 2000 was meant to get away from that and become a uniquely Lamy design. That is why the company all but ignores their pre-1966 history.

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura N View Post

    Even today, I think Europe tends to be ahead of the US in its appreciation of modern design. And even today the Parker 51 is a design known in Europe by those in the fountain pen world. I have had a conversation with the Parisian owner of Venvstas where he mentioned the 51.

    I don't know how to draw the line between historical significance and product design, when one is talking about historically significant product design, but I do think that the Parker 51 is the very definition of a historically significant product design. YMMV, of course.

    & then of course there is the Sheaffer Balance, which not only changed the pen game completely but spurned (like the 51) imitators that themselves became iconic.

    Put a Montblanc 146 and an oversize Sheaffer balance side by side some day. They are nearly the exact same size and dimensions.

    but is influential the same as iconic? not really.

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    iconic?

    Sheaffer school pen, because at least part of the processes of becoming icon is that people recognize it on sight. Sheaffer cartridges pens, esp. the first 2 versions were, along with the Parker 45 EVERYWHERE in the 1960s and 70s. If you are my age or a little older you can probably grok the pen, even in a partial view in fractions of a second.

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by top pen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    Icon: a person or thing regarded as representative of a concept, phenomenon or a category of things or persons. Obviously that includes a wide spectrum of interpretations of what's iconic.
    Exactly. Somehow I can't quite see how any brand or model of a fountain pen might be considered iconic. For a long time I thought I could but the more I looked at the examples the less sure I became.
    Sure it can.

    Let's say Parker 51, to me, it represents the idea of "I mean business", "I'm ready to sign important documents, treaties, contracts," in other words: The concept of being official and serious, and expensive.

    Contrast that with the Lamy Safari, which (again) to me says: "I'm fun, collectable, and I will cheer you up or match your mood with my colors," in other words: The concept of fun, cheerful, inspirational, and not expensive.

    Am I close?
    How do you measure iconic-ness
    Per the conversation above, the iconic-ness of a pen depends on whether the pen embodies a concept well.

    Another example I can think of is the Montegrappa "Chaos " pen. In my mind that pen is iconic. The concept it represent is: Gaudiness
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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    Icon: a person or thing regarded as representative of a concept, phenomenon or a category of things or persons. Obviously that includes a wide spectrum of interpretations of what's iconic.
    Exactly. Somehow I can't quite see how any brand or model of a fountain pen might be considered iconic. For a long time I thought I could but the more I looked at the examples the less sure I became.
    Sure it can.

    Let's say Parker 51, to me, it represents the idea of "I mean business", "I'm ready to sign important documents, treaties, contracts," in other words: The concept of being official and serious, and expensive.

    Contrast that with the Lamy Safari, which (again) to me says: "I'm fun, collectable, and I will cheer you up or match your mood with my colors," in other words: The concept of fun, cheerful, inspirational, and not expensive.

    Am I close?
    You're close to describing what you assign to certain objects but not to what makes the objects themselves iconic. All of these lists seem related to the individuals prejudices and perceptions rather than to any objective characteristics.
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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Why not the Esterbrook J? It sold more than any other pen during its time, as I understand, and today it remains the most recommended vintage starter pen out there.
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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    Why not the Esterbrook J? It sold more than any other pen during its time, as I understand, and today it remains the most recommended vintage starter pen out there.

    If as jar describes "iconic" meaning a certain new function--i.e.,something that made it stand out--then the fact
    that one could change the nib on the pen to any of the choices that Esterbrook had would make it iconic.
    Thing is,Wahl did that before them in the late 20's with their Personal Point system. If indeed that is what
    makes a pen iconic,then the Parker Duofold would have to be iconic for being he first pen to use color and
    introduce celluloid instead of just BHR(black hard rubber).



    John

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    Icon: a person or thing regarded as representative of a concept, phenomenon or a category of things or persons. Obviously that includes a wide spectrum of interpretations of what's iconic.
    Exactly. Somehow I can't quite see how any brand or model of a fountain pen might be considered iconic. For a long time I thought I could but the more I looked at the examples the less sure I became.
    Sure it can.

    Let's say Parker 51, to me, it represents the idea of "I mean business", "I'm ready to sign important documents, treaties, contracts," in other words: The concept of being official and serious, and expensive.

    Contrast that with the Lamy Safari, which (again) to me says: "I'm fun, collectable, and I will cheer you up or match your mood with my colors," in other words: The concept of fun, cheerful, inspirational, and not expensive.

    Am I close?
    You're close to describing what you assign to certain objects but not to what makes the objects themselves iconic. All of these lists seem related to the individuals prejudices and perceptions rather than to any objective characteristics.
    What I describe for each pen above is hardly individual prejudices and perceptions.

    If we were to take a statistic sampling of 100 random fountain pen users who have at least heard of these two pens, how many do you think will agree with my description? I think most of these people would agree.

    It is a consensus such as this, (if achieved or realized) made the objects fit to be called "iconic" within the context of the fountain pen subculture.

    Besides, I left out my "real" prejudice and perception on both pens, which are:
    On Parker 51, it's a boring pen if it were not for the extremely elegant cap designs and its variety.
    On Lamy Safari, it's a boring pen. Period.
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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    Icon: a person or thing regarded as representative of a concept, phenomenon or a category of things or persons. Obviously that includes a wide spectrum of interpretations of what's iconic.
    Exactly. Somehow I can't quite see how any brand or model of a fountain pen might be considered iconic. For a long time I thought I could but the more I looked at the examples the less sure I became.
    Sure it can.

    Let's say Parker 51, to me, it represents the idea of "I mean business", "I'm ready to sign important documents, treaties, contracts," in other words: The concept of being official and serious, and expensive.

    Contrast that with the Lamy Safari, which (again) to me says: "I'm fun, collectable, and I will cheer you up or match your mood with my colors," in other words: The concept of fun, cheerful, inspirational, and not expensive.

    Am I close?
    I think you are describing the spirit of the particular pen as it strikes you. I agree with your descriptions of the pens, mostly.

    What is an icon seems to me to be the brand as far as the public perceives it. Parker, Sheaffer and Cross in the United States represented quality over the brands. BIC represented inexpensive and good. Montblanc represented prestige in the 90s, and reached the stage of being jewelry for the pocket or the purse. Brands like Esterbrook were not iconic in my opinion. I never even saw one until I joined here. In the US, other brands which pen cognoscienti know like Waterman, Pelikan, Reform and others are not iconic except among collectors. Waterman who?

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    I think perhaps the proverbial cart is before the horse.

    One definition(from many sources) cites the word "icon" as "A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something". That would make--
    f'instance--the 51 a representative symbol of Parker(as some point out) a symbol of quality,or,as in the case of the MB149,
    a symbol of luxury and prestige(for that matter,Esterbrook would be seen as the common man's inexpensive pen). That said,
    the emphasis is on the company,not on the pen model.



    John

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    So, an icon can be anything representing anything.

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    So, an icon can be anything representing anything.

    Technically,yes. But it depends on what those creating the image want you to see. A fountain pen is still
    a fountain pen--whether it's top tier or really lower tier--but how good is the quality? This reflects on
    what kind of effort is put into creating the pen. If the quality is half-hearted or cheap due to the materials,
    then advertising is used to make it seem like quality. It's also the reason why pen manufacturers resorted
    to gimmickery like ink windows and only adding cap bands and cap rings on the next level.In other words,
    a fountain pen is a fountain pen is a fountain pen--it's a writing instrument used for communication. What
    can be done(says famous XYZ pen company) to make our pen better than our competitors?




    John
    Last edited by pengeezer; July 26th, 2016 at 07:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    Icon: a person or thing regarded as representative of a concept, phenomenon or a category of things or persons. Obviously that includes a wide spectrum of interpretations of what's iconic.
    Exactly. Somehow I can't quite see how any brand or model of a fountain pen might be considered iconic. For a long time I thought I could but the more I looked at the examples the less sure I became.
    Sure it can.

    Let's say Parker 51, to me, it represents the idea of "I mean business", "I'm ready to sign important documents, treaties, contracts," in other words: The concept of being official and serious, and expensive.

    Contrast that with the Lamy Safari, which (again) to me says: "I'm fun, collectable, and I will cheer you up or match your mood with my colors," in other words: The concept of fun, cheerful, inspirational, and not expensive.

    Am I close?
    I think you are describing the spirit of the particular pen as it strikes you. I agree with your descriptions of the pens, mostly.

    What is an icon seems to me to be the brand as far as the public perceives it. Parker, Sheaffer and Cross in the United States represented quality over the brands. BIC represented inexpensive and good. Montblanc represented prestige in the 90s, and reached the stage of being jewelry for the pocket or the purse. Brands like Esterbrook were not iconic in my opinion. I never even saw one until I joined here. In the US, other brands which pen cognoscienti know like Waterman, Pelikan, Reform and others are not iconic except among collectors. Waterman who?
    Good point. The context in which the term 'icon' could be applied to is definitely important to clarify.

    As you said, outside of the FP community, maybe only Parker, MontBlanc, and BIC is known.
    But since we're in an FP forum, I assume that we're talking about more brands that is known within the community, not outside.

    So the remaining issue is whether 'iconic' can be applied to a particular brand and model or only to the brand. I say, within the context of FP enthusiasts/community/geeks, we can apply it down to a single pen model.

    Why do it? Because it's fun to talk about it
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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    I have a Conway Stewart 87, which looks like a teal Parker 51 with a rolled gold cap. The 51 is iconic and was widely imitated.

    In the US the German pens are fairly unknown except among pen people, and this persisted until Montblanc became a fashion accessory. Most foreign pens are probably still relatively unknown in the US, except among fountain pen people. Until you get into this hobby and join with one of these fora or until you get a catalog from a pen seller introducing you to worldwide brands, Americans won't know about foreign pens. I believe that most of the "iconic" pens are icons to pen collectors. If you belong to one of these fora, you are a collector or you are on your way to being a collector.
    Absolutely true, pajaro. Ten years ago I had no idea that Visconti made luxury fountain pens, nor had I ever heard of Conway-Stewart, Lamy, Pilot, Platinum or Sailor. The only names I associated with fountain pens were Parker, Sheaffer, and Waterman.

    My #1 icon would unquestionably be the Parker 51, along with the early Parker Duofold Big Red and any snorkel filler Sheaffer from the "50s. I think the MB 149 would also merit consideration as an iconic pen, as would the uniquely designed and affordable Lamy Safari.

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    I have a Conway Stewart 87, which looks like a teal Parker 51 with a rolled gold cap. The 51 is iconic and was widely imitated.

    In the US the German pens are fairly unknown except among pen people, and this persisted until Montblanc became a fashion accessory. Most foreign pens are probably still relatively unknown in the US, except among fountain pen people. Until you get into this hobby and join with one of these fora or until you get a catalog from a pen seller introducing you to worldwide brands, Americans won't know about foreign pens. I believe that most of the "iconic" pens are icons to pen collectors. If you belong to one of these fora, you are a collector or you are on your way to being a collector.
    That means that I got no business on this forum: neither am I a collector nor do I intend to become a collector of fountain pens. I just like to write with them...

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    stub!
    The CP1 (Cylindrical Pen 1) was the first pen to (re-)popularize the "slim cylinder" or pencil format in a mass-produced pen in 1974. After that most European manufacturers seemed to embrace the concept and bring out their own slim cylindrical model.
    After that? The Aurora Hastil, a pen that had the most enormous commercial success, a pen that had a major effect on Aurora's position, came out in 1969/70. It is a pen worth knowing about.

    I do not say German manufacturers lagged very far behind Aurora. Montblanc commissioned a VIP that was a rebranded Hastil. Finding it successful, they went on to a number of other cylindrical pens, two of which I have owned. And, all right, "most European manufacturers seemed to embrace the concept and bring out their own slim cylindrical model." But if indeed the CP1 came out in 1974, it wasn't the first.

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome Tarshis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inklord View Post
    stub!
    The CP1 (Cylindrical Pen 1) was the first pen to (re-)popularize the "slim cylinder" or pencil format in a mass-produced pen in 1974. After that most European manufacturers seemed to embrace the concept and bring out their own slim cylindrical model.
    After that? The Aurora Hastil, a pen that had the most enormous commercial success, a pen that had a major effect on Aurora's position, came out in 1969/70. It is a pen worth knowing about.

    I do not say German manufacturers lagged very far behind Aurora. Montblanc commissioned a VIP that was a rebranded Hastil. Finding it successful, they went on to a number of other cylindrical pens, two of which I have owned. And, all right, "most European manufacturers seemed to embrace the concept and bring out their own slim cylindrical model." But if indeed the CP1 came out in 1974, it wasn't the first.
    No doubt about that. The Hastil should be up there. But if you were perusing shopping windows in the 1970's in Germany you'd be more likely to stumble across Lamys and MB's than Auroras; I probably looked at the whole thing from a much too personal viewpoint: iconic to me, or my personal context; sorry. As I mentioned above, I'm not a collector, just a fountain pen user who's occasionally impressed by a certain pen.
    Last edited by inklord; July 28th, 2016 at 04:52 AM. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: Iconic pens

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    I have never quite understood what an iconic pen might be.
    Maybe iconic means iconic like Brexit means Brexit. Different things to different people - the precise definition still up for grabs.

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