It's all about the written word...

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Celebrating 85 years

Omas is introducing the limited edition Fusion, which combines an interesting profile, with materials for which the company is well known, including titanium. There are just 850 piston-filled fountain pens in the edition, each priced at $4,000. The 18-karat gold nib is available in extra fine, fine, medium and broad.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dado Penworks

I love all the creativity involved in pen making, from the actual production of a writing instrument to the marketing and sale of it. I've been lucky over the years to meet quite a few independent pen makers, and each brings his own signature to his products. In fact, this is my very favorite part of what I do. I like to learn about an individual's motivations, as well as his process and goals, since as far as I'm concerned, a pen is just a pen unless there is something unique breathed into it by a real live person. It then reaches even greater heights in the hand of someone who cherishes it and uses it.

Several weeks ago, I met Dallas pen maker David Stephenson in Houston for a cup of coffee and a look at some of his pens. We met at everyone's favorite office away from home: Starbucks's. So over some icy drinks we talked about his pen company, Dado Penworks, and his plans--and he's got a lot of both. Here's a sampling of his work...a web site is coming soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's the write thing

We just produced this bumper sticker for pen lovers worldwide. Email me for details about how you might obtain your very own. Of course, you don't have to use it on a car bumper. You can stick it anywhere you'd like.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

To be understood

Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I flipped on the TV in hopes that it would lull me back to sleep. Instead, there was a very "non-soporific" discussion on one of the news stations about what the college class of 2014 will be confronted with. Among other things was the fact that they will neither use nor understand cursive writing, since that age group has dabbled on a keyboard virtually since birth. Sad--not so much that they can't write it (There ARE other ways to communicate these days), but that they can't read it. This means that much original research will be unavailable to them and in my opinion, it also means that some very pleasurable opportunities in life will be lost to them. For example, one of the highlights of my travels is seeking out museums where old manuscripts are on display. It's a visceral experience, and I cherish each encounter. Love letters, scientific journals, political treatises--imagine not being able to decipher them simply because you can't read the script.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

If Pelikan makes it, I buy it

Pelikan is introducing its new line of inks called Edelstein (which means "gemstone"). They supposedly are kind to fountain pens and have a special ingredient that ensures extra-smooth writing. There are seven new colors in all, with pretty names like Topaz, Mandarin and Jade. The bottle shape, I think, is quite pretty as well. One important note: the name is pronounced, EY-dell-shtine (which reminds me of the Cloris Leachman character in Young Frankenstein every time I say it). But anyway, I thought you'd want to get it right when you ask for it at your local pen shop. The inks are priced at $20.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Anello is Italian for "ring"

Graf von Faber-Castell is introducing the Classic Anello in titanium, each segment accented by platinum-plated rings. The matte finish of the titanium is highlighted by the gleam of the platinum plate--but the feel in the hand is seamless. The pen is available as a cartridge- or converter-filled fountain pen with a bi-colored 18-karat gold nib, a rollerball pen, a ballpoint and a pencil with an eraser. Great news: six nib sizes are available for the fountain pen! The Classic Anello Titanium is priced from $395-$595.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coming very soon

Bexley is introducing its new Imperial International collection, making its debut at the Washington, DC, pen show, August 13-15. It has the same sleek and unadorned look of the Oversized Imperial, but it is .5 inch shorter--and less expensive at $189. It comes in three colors of acrylic (gray, burgundy and green), and it has a two-tone steel nib available in fine, medium or broad. An 18-karat gold nib is available upon request and, of course, for more money. There will be a rollerball added to the collection later in August priced at $169. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Very cool in the heat of summer

Every year, Caran d’Ache creates a new Ecridor Eclat Winter Edition. The latest is the Sonate d’hiver collection, available in September. The hexagonal ballpoint pen ($365) is platinum-coated silver plate, accented with 57 Swarovski crystals—eight black and 49 white. The crystals conjure notes on a swirling engraved stave to create a lovely winter sonata. The pen is fit with Caran d'Ache’s Goliath cartridge for a long write out, and it comes in a black velvet pouch accented with yet another Swarovski crystal. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

It takes a tumble

The Kaiser pen, first introduced by Laban in 2005, is now available with a choice of beautiful hand-painted designs, each of which takes more than eight hours to complete. The pens are crafted from ivory-colored resin and are tumble polished for 48 hours to create a perfectly smooth body (Too bad my gym doesn't offer something like this...) before painting. Finally, each pen is coated with ten coats of transparent spray lacquer to protect it. A final polishing ensues, insuring a flawless and durable finish. The Hand-Painted Kaiser fountain pen is priced around $270 with a steel nib available in fine, medium and broad.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Largest sale ever

Bonhams is having its largest pen sale ever on August 19 at 7 p.m. Rick Propas, veteran pen collector and expert (and Stylus contributor), will be giving a lecture on limited editions at a reception at Bonhams on August 17. Bonhams is located at 580 Madison Avenue in New York City. For more information, visit the Bonhams site. To attend the reception, RSVP to

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Great time in NYC

I spoke with Maryann Zucker this morning. She and her husband, Steve, are the show hosts for the NY pen show held each year, and this fall they will host their tenth annual event. I've been to just about every one of the shows throughout the years and have had a wonderful time at each, though the venues have been different. This year it will be held, like last year, in Manhattan at the Park Central Hotel on Seventh Avenue, just south of Central Park.  I love NY in the fall and I love pens anytime of the year, and it's never too early to make travel plans. Come to the Park Central on Friday, October 15 (11 am to 7 pm), Saturday, October 16 (10 am to 5 pm) and Sunday the 17th (10 am to 4 pm). Check out the web site for more info or if you wish to be an exhibitor. Some final notes: I suggest the Carnegie Deli just down the street for sustenance (in the form of huge deli sandwiches) in between those hot pen negotiations. A walk in Central Park is just a few minutes away, and a mere 15-minute walk will take you to the theater district. All this and pens, too? Oh yeah, and Stylus magazine is the sponsor.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bigger and better for Shaw Pens

Alan Shaw of Shaw Pens is moving to a larger building in Glenside, PA, to accommodate the increased pen production needed for his growing business. The new location is more than twice the size of his previous pen shop, and he's expectantly awaiting a new laser engraver and other cutting-edge machinery. Shaw is planning an open house in the fall. Stay tuned, or wait for your invitation to come in the mail. Congrats, Alan.