It's all about the written word...

Celebrating three years in publication. Thank you for visiting often!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

From Cuervo y Sobrinos

The Mille Miglia collection from  fine watchmaker Cuervo y Sobrinos includes a fountain pen ($2,900) and a rollerball pen ($2,500), each crafted from red resin. The decoration of the overlay, engraved with the Mille Miglia logo, recalls the typical grille of the Formula 1 cars of the pre-war era. The clip is reminiscent of the silhouette of the Esplendidos watch case—an important icon of Cuervo y Sobrino’s timepiece collection. There are just 1,609 pieces in the pen collection as a tribute to the 1,609 km of the legendary Mille Miglia race (605 fountain pens and 1,000 rollerballs pens). The fountain pen has an 18-karat gold nib and is filled by cartridge or convertor. Each pen comes in a collector box.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Race to the finish

Krone is introducing the Le Mans pen collection, which celebrates the 24 Heures Du Mans, the world’s oldest endurance sports car race. A colorful interpretation of a vintage 1956 Le Mans image is hand painted on mother-of-pearl on the barrel. The pen’s cap has a mother-of-pearl inset, hand painted in a classic font: “24 Heures du Mans.” The shortened clip is adorned with lacquered racing stripes in crimson and white.  A distinctive three-dimensional pattern in .925 sterling silver forms the base of the pen. There are 388 fountain pens ($5,900) and 38 rollerball pens ($5,700) in the edition. Each comes in a great-looking collector’s box.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Man With Many Pens

With one he wrote a number so beautiful
it lasted forever in the legends of numbers. With another

he described the martyrs' feet as they marched
past the weeping stones and cypresses, watched

by their fathers. He used one as a silver wand to lift
a trout from its spawning bed to more fruitful waters

and set it back down, its mouth facing upstream.
He wrote Time has no other river but this one in us,

no other use but this turn in us from mountain lakes
of late desires to confusions passed through

with every gate open. Let's not say he didn't take us
with him in the long current of his letters, his calligraphy

and craft, moving from port to port, his hand stopping
near his heart, the hand that smudged and graced the page,

asking, asking, his fingers a beggar's lucent black,
for the word that gave each of us away.

                     --Jonathan Wells

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Larger than life

I recently learned about a most interesting project. Seattle-based artist and comic-book author Jim Woodring is raising funds to produce a giant dip pen, with a 16-inch steel nib and a six-foot holder. Woodring plans to learn to write with the larger-than-life pen to give public demonstrations, using it to ink drawings on  3’ X 5’ sheets of paper. The $4,500 he is hoping to raise before September 2, 2010, will provide ink, paper, graphite, an eraser and a drawing table, in addition to the pen. To learn more about Woodring, the pen and the project--or to donate--visit Projectsite.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Who are you REALLY?

Take the following pen personality quiz just for fun.

  1. I like pens
    1. from well-known manufacturers.
    2. from small companies with great reputations.
    3. produced by artisans—the one-of a kind stuff.
  1. The mode I prefer is
    1. a fountain pen with a traditional filling system.
    2. a fountain pen with a cartridge or converter filling system.
    3. anything that suits my mood.
  1.  Speaking of style, I like
    1. black pens, preferably with silver trim.
    2. Maki-e and other art forms.
    3. colorful pens that really stand out. 
  1. I purchase my pens from
    1. reputable pen shops, after much research and testing.
    2. pen shops, online, and via catalogs.
    3. from all of the above, as well as via pen friends and pen shows. 
  1. I own
    1. more pens than I dare count, each reflective of my personality and finances.
    2. a group of well-chosen pens that I will always enjoy.
    3. a fluid bunch of pens to which I add or subtract as I see fit.
If you answered mostly a’s, you are probably on the conservative side—no impulsiveness here; mostly b’s, you’re a moderate who enjoys life and pens within set personal boundaries; mostly c’s, I’d like to buy you a drink.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mini me and thee

Sheaffer just introduced its newest addition to the Prelude line—the Mini Ballpoint. Though it’s not launching until September, here’s a preview of the translucent red with gold-tone trim. The diminutive twist-action pen also comes in brushed chrome plate, black onyx laque with a chased palladium cap, gloss white and rose gold shimmer, all with nickel-plate trim. There’s a black laque that also has gold-tone trim like the red model shown here. The pen is intended to toss in a purse or pocket, since it’s quite a bit smaller than other pens in the Prelude line that we’ve come to know and love. Priced at just $40, I’d certainly find a few reasons to own a couple. The pens take standard Sheaffer refills, by the way, which I think are quite good. The Mini has a three-year limited warranty and comes in a gift box. Note the White Dot. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Test drive

Alan Shaw of Shaw Pens recently told me about his new partnership with the Porsche Club of America. The result? A great-looking carbon fiber fountain pen produced by Shaw and available exclusively through the club. At the moment, the pen is only available with a steel nib but it looks like a future holds the option of an 18-karat nib. The pen, priced at $460, was introduced at the Porsche Parade in St. Charles, Illinois, in early July. The cap crown features the club's logo. Shaw has introduced some interesting limited edition pens of late. I am impressed with their bespoke craftsmanship and, of course, Alan's absolute enthusiasm.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Here, there and everywhere

Where do you think most pens are made? Of course they are made around the globe, but if you’re “into” pens, you probably know that most hail from Germany, Italy and Asia. Unfortunately, just a few are still made in the US, and Bexley and Michael’s Pens are two examples. 

In the UK, Conway Stewart has gained a reputation for its limited editions and beautiful bespoke craftsmanship. Its newest Belliver collection is crafted from pearlescent brown resin (in shades of amber, bronze and cream), and it has gold trim and an 18-karat nib. Personally, I think the name is as interesting as the pen, and I’m a huge fan of creative names for pens—particularly since there aren’t many. “Belliver” (also sometimes spelled “Bellever”) is derived from the location where the Conway Stewart factory is located on the outskirts of Plymouth Devon. It is also the name of a tor situated close by in the Dartmoor National Park. Tors are small hills usually capped by granite outcroppings, and they are popular tourist attractions, with hikers seen trekking from one peak to another during their holiday vacations. Tor granite was used to construct the pillars outside the British Museum in London and also to build London Bridge.

The Belliver may be ordered through July 25. The fountain pen is priced at $430: the rollerball, $395.The cartridge/converter-filled fountain pen is available with the following nib grades: fine, medium and broad, and italic fine, medium or broad.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Share the love

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who said that he never fails to get a comment from friends and colleagues when he takes one of his great pens out of his pocket to sign the lunch or dinner tab, flourish his signature or take notes in a meeting. The same holds true for me. So it got me to thinking about how important it is for all of us to share our interest in fine pens and get others excited about the possibilities they offer. Whether you consider a pen a fashion accessory, a writing tool, a collectible, or even a status symbol, let others know about the joy and fun they bring. Tell them there’s a whole community of people who love them, talk about them and read about them (and, of course, buy them). We, after all, are the ones who drive the pen market and incite manufacturers to stretch the limits and offer new and exciting products each and every season. Unfortunately it sometimes seems like pens are the world’s best-kept secret. Pass on your interest and insure their future. And leave the hotel pens where they belong—in the room.