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Thread: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    I posted about not accepting my grandfather's Sheaffer fountain pens (being a wrongheaded barbarian).

    So my first fountain pen was a gift from a favorite lit prof who told me I might have a future as a writer: a black Osmiroid that was inhabited by a demon.



    It had a medium italic nib that was catchy—months before I could write a page without several nasty blots. It was also subject to clogs and fouling (perhaps I used India ink at first). But, in any event, I used it to write letters, keep journals, and draft the poems that became my first book.

    Later, when I sent off the manuscript of my first nonfiction book to a NYC publisher, I decided to buy a fountain pen to celebrate and commemorate the event. Since water— rain, snow, lakes, streams— was central to the book, I decided on a blue pen, but had no idea— living in a remote cabin in Wyoming— where to find one. A girlfriend handed me a Levenger catalogue and I fell in love: a luminous blue Sheaffer Connaisseur.



    Since then, I celebrate significant publications with a pen that recalls the event. For instance, when a couple poems appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, I bought vintage Sheaffer jade pens to restore, followed by matching pencils.



    Are there untold stories behind your collection of pens?

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Not really.

    My pens generally have expressive nibs. The pens are more expressive than i am. There’s a germ of a story in there. “Makes ornate letters but only writes nonsense and dirty words in several languages.” Someone else will have to write it because i am narratively challenged.

    Then there are the work pens. The story they tell is “this guy loses a lot of pens.”

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    Senior Member Sailor Kenshin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    I'm sure mine do, but they're snubbing me at the moment.

    ...whispering about the time I said, 'I hate piston-fillers!' to when I changed my tune: 'Must have MOR!'
    My other pen is a Montblanc.

    And my other blog is a tumblr!

    My eBooks. Because why not.

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    If there's a theme I am unaware of what it may be... perhaps, it's pens I've not been able to offload yet?

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    For a moment, very briefly, I thought, 'Yes, it's Anglo-centric.' But then, I remembered the number of German-made pens I have -- almost as many as British-made, and that with that the idea of a theme was gone.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    I have a "mini-collection" of vintage pens from various manufacturers from various countries, with the theme being that they're all made of ray-celluloid (some call it chevron). Examples are this Soennecken, Montblanc and Waterman.

    IMG_2084.jpeg

    Check out the mini-collections thread under the Pen Photos subform, where several FPGeeks posted their theme collections, e.g. a photo of a drawer in my pen chest:



    Proof that we can be like pack rats, attracted to and gathering shiny things that catch our fancy.
    Last edited by FredRydr; October 7th, 2021 at 09:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Stories, plenty, I've been writing short "stories" about the pens I found and restored for several years now.
    There's no end in sight, and I'm not complaining

    A Theme? this is more difficult for me.

    I like German piston fillers.
    I am also crazy for woodgrain ebonite.
    Oh by the way, some celluloid patterns are really attractive to me.
    Aaand, those safety fillers, I like them, both Waterman and Moore styles.
    Come to think of it, I like Sheaffer flattops, especially big ones. And "dolphins".
    Parker-wise I'm oddly attracted to duette, thrift, and moderne, y'know stuff that other collectors won't even bat an eye for.
    Wahl, the dainty ones, gold filled, with those curvy clips.
    Not only that, I am a sucker for vintage pens with brands/names like Smooth Point, Baldwin, Victor, Roxy, Alexander, Lifelong, Euclid, Eisenstadt, Indian, Lakeside, Biltwel, etc. etc.

    I can go on, but you get my drift.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    After a while, I shifted from marking personal events to a more general sort of collecting. Friends sent me their junkshop finds, and I restored the worthwhile pens and gave some back in thanks. I also searched for estate and drawer lots on eBay, restoring the best ones and selling some to support further acquisitions.

    I decided to get iconic pens from my favorite makers (Conklin, Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl Eversharp) with examples of notable pens from Pelikan, Conway Stewart, Aurora, Platinum, Sailor, Moore, and other quality marques. A friend who sent me lots of old pens is a nut for Esterbrook, so my restored pieces went to her.

    I also restored lower-priced dimestore pens, such as Cavalier and Arnold knockoffs of the Parker Duofold, and assembled several Frankenpens from the parts bin.

    Yellow Cavalier.


    Arnold body with Wearever cap.

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    No theme beyond "pens I want to write with."

    Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member VertOlive's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Um. Lamy Safaris. For the same reason I have driven so many VW Bugs.
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...” —St. Augustine

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    I enjoy the nitpickery of restoring old fountain pens, first puzzling why one doesn't work and then coming up with a remedy.

    So far, most challenging jobs have been vintage Sheaffer vac/plunger fillers, which are difficult to take apart, with replacement parts and specs (e.g. rod size) an issue.



    Sheaffer Touchdowns (a favorite) can also be touchy, getting all the gaskets to seat and seal.



    Sheaffer Snorkels are even touchier, given the same vacuum setup as the Touchdown with added complexity of the weird floating thread retractor. I've done a few and have a queue lying in wait for a time when I feel very patient.

    After the work of restoring a pen, I put it to a writing test. The ones that didn't suit me, I sold to support further acquisitions.

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    I have Safaris, too. And some Sailors, vintage pen that we like repairing, a small but growing collection of Pelikans....you know.

    My ink collection probably has a focus: bottles. I just got a Diamine InkVent bottle with little cute glass feets....Some day I need to get an Akkerman bottle.
    My other pen is a Montblanc.

    And my other blog is a tumblr!

    My eBooks. Because why not.

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    …So far, most challenging jobs have been vintage Sheaffer vac/plunger fillers….
    I agree. I surrender my plunger fillers to those wise men with experience and parts so that the seals are good and tight. It’s rewarding to hear them suck a gulp of ink with a “thump!”

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    No theme beyond "pens I want to write with."
    Do you live in a city with pen shops? Or go to shows and test pens? Otherwise, how can you tell?

    From my place to the nearest pen shop or show is a three-hour drive. When I visit a city, I look in at the pen retailers and antique shops, but since my spouse retired that's much less frequent. Of my most recent acquisitions, one (a Pelikan Souveran 800) is beaut, one (a gift: Levenger True Writer Anniversary) is so-so, and one (Conklin All American oversize with stub nib) is a dog. As an average, not very good.

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    No theme beyond "pens I want to write with."
    Do you live in a city with pen shops? Or go to shows and test pens? Otherwise, how can you tell?
    I live in Maine. There are no pen shops in my state, nor in NH. There are two in Boston (2 hours away). I have been to both each one time, and have tried pens at both. Only purchased one, in part because most of the prices were out of my league.

    98% of my purchases are on line. It's trial and error. I watch a lot of review videos. I rarely buy a pen over $50. If I buy something I don't like, I sell it (or put it away if it is really cheap). But there is no pattern to what I keep except that it work well in my hand and not hurt me to use (I have a few pressure points with tweaky nerves). Had to sell my Lamy 2k cuz it hurt my hand. I also like clips, but I'd hardly call that a "theme."

    I've never been to a show, nor to a group gathering.

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    There some active makers who seldom miss the mark: Sheaffer, Parker, and Pelikan are my picks. I've not had one of their pens that I actively disliked. But the prices tend to be higher. Since I have a solid collection, I'm rather choosy about buying a new pen. And in the sub-$50 range, it's hard to sell a new pen for more than half the retail tag: a losing proposition in the long run.

    Whereas, higher-quality pens, especially limited editions, seem to appreciate in a short time. A Pelikan M101N limited edition bright red that I got about three years ago (at a discount) has, judging from eBay, nearly doubled in value.

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    Yeah, I am not in pens to make money or upsell or anything like that. I just want a few decent pens that work and feel and look good.

    And I want one nice retirement pen, which will be a splurge (the only pen splurge I've ever done).

    Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    My theme is: "Oooh! I like that one, and that one, and that one...." I considered trying to narrow my focus but gave that up after some thought.

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does your pen collection have any supporting themes or stories?

    There are also pens that I love because they're beautiful objects. For instance, the Eversharp Skyline, which is a marvelous form with some unique color patterns.



    It was designed by Henry Dreyfuss, who also did locomotives and cars for the New York Central Railroad in the late 30s, such as their famed 20th Century Limited streamliners:



    Pretty strong resemblance—



    That background enhances the value of the pen for me.

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