It's all about the written word...

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

More from the DC Pen Show

Brian Gray, founder of the Edison Pen Company, was at the DC Pen Show in August, and his array of pens just keeps growing and getting stronger. The Collier, his latest production pen, is crafted from acrylic and is priced at $150 with a steel nib and $275 with an 18-karat gold nib. It is available from a select group of retailers. Visit Brian's site for more information, including an interesting video about the Collier's production.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I like Richard, and I like his pens

Have you seen the new Terzo pen from Richard Greenwald? I saw the new models firsthand at the DC pen show a couple of weeks ago, and I really liked it. Terzo, meaning "third' in Italian, was first designed in 2008 as a button-actuated ballpoint pen approximately 5.5" long and weighing about 1.1 ounces or 32 grams. The plastics, internal brass fittings, external sterling silver fittings, and the engraving were all produced "in house" in Potomac, Maryland, as were most of the tools and taps used to produce the pen. The easyFLOW 9000 refill is from Schmidt. Greenwald's pens are available at Bertram's Inkwell the Pen Haven, both in Kensington, Maryland, or directly from Richard.

I visited Richard's home-based manufactory a couple of years ago, and it if you like well-equipped and well-organized workshops, which I do, you'd like this one. He mixes all his own plastics (some are quite interesting), and his first-rate operation is right in his basement. But this is no ordinary basement, and Richard is no ordinary guy. He retired from his former career a few years ago and now structures his day around this new avocation. He has a variety of other interests he avidly pursues, including art, photography and cars--and fine cigars, which I had the pleasure of experiencing "second-hand" in his smoking room that, no surprise, is also well-equipped. Fun.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DC Pen Show

The DC Pen Show, held last weekend, was lots of fun. Many pen manufacturers and distributors were in attendance, including David Oscarson, Yair Greenberg of Yafa, Jerry Yeh of Laban, Joel Blumberg of Kenro Industries, Mark Cole of Visconti, Jin Takemura of Sailor, Mary Burke of Conway Stewart, Scott Franklin of Franklin-Christoph, Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company and more--including the amazing and ever gracious Joe Cali. Two pen manufacturers from Europe--first time visitors to the show--were there, and I think they had a good experience: Luca Viti of Stipula (now distributed by Yafa) and Carlo and Samuel Naldi of Edelberg. Welcome!
Luca Viti of Stipula
Samuel Naldi of Edelberg

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Here's Tsuka

It's one of a kind, it's faux ivory and Damascus steel, it resides in a museum, it's a collaboration with sculptor Jose de Braga, and it took several months to complete. Oh, and it's from Grayson Tighe...but you probably already knew that.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dinner with Smokin' Joe

Do you own a Montegrappa Thrilla in Manila sterling or gold limited edition fountain pen? Montegrappa has just announced the possibility of a private dinner with Smokin' Joe Frazier in either New York or Philadelphia for owners of this fabulous pen. Dinner will run about $2,000--but, hey, that probably includes dessert. No transportation is included. If you are interested, respond here--and soon, since numbers will be limited. Incidentally, I met Joe at the Philadelphia Pen Show earlier this year, and he was an enthusiastic and interesting conversationalist, though I was a bit tongue tied in such a sport icon's presence. Should be a fun time. Oh, and Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Location, location, location

ACME is opening its first shop-in-shop in the US at the Art Brown International Pen Shop in Manhattan. The official opening is this month, and the store location is 2 West 45th Street near Fifth Avenue. The display--located at the front of the store--houses ACME's collection of pens, card cases and accessories created by an eclectic selection of architects, artists and designers, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Shepard Fairey. Lesley Bailey, ACME's co-founder and vice president, says, "To say that Art Brown is the obvious choice for an ACME shop-in-shop would be an understatement. Their reputation and prestige coupled with ACME's design and production standards make this the ideal partnership." Art Brown has been a Manhattan staple for 87 years. Family owned and operated since 1924, it has welcomed a number of prestigious clients, including Norman Rockwell back in the day. If you're in NYC, it is well worth a special trip to visit Art Brown--both to meet the friendly and knowledgeable Browns (Warren and Marilyn) and to view ACME's absolutely gorgeous display. Congrats, all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Man with a mission

Ralph Stillwell, Michigan pen collector, member of the Pen Collectors of America (PCA) and personal friend, likes to spend some of his free time teaching children the joys of using fountain pens. His classes include the history of pens and writing and the correct way to use a pen, and each child comes away a little smarter (and all smiles). He is an enthusiastic supporter of the Pens for Kids program, hosted by the PCA, and he has held his classes for children all over the country via pen shows. Ralph frequently teaches in his home territory at public libraries; here he is pictured in a Detroit public school.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Great curves

Always one to buck tradition with amazing new shapes and materials, Jean-Pierre Lépine elevates penmaking into a realm much closer to sculpture than anything else on the market today. His recently introduced Sunday Afternoon ballpoint pen, while not yet available in the US, is a gentle curve of a pen that required, according to Lépine, special tools and mechanisms that he produced himself. Lépine's manufactory is in the Jura region of France, a picturesque place I visited many years ago. Its pastoral setting and long winters have been conducive to watchmaking and, at the hand of Lépine, pens. The Sunday Afternoon is aluminum and will be available in various lacquer finishes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tibaldi honors Michael the Archangel

         The Sanctus Michael Archangelus limited edition of fountain pens and rollerball pens is trimmed with either sterling silver or gold. The silver version comprises an edition of 324 pens each; the number represents the earliest reference to Saint Michael in the Old Testament. The solid gold version comprises 50 pens each to represent the 50 angels in Christian and Islamic tradition. The pen has a hand-painted resin body; the fountain pen nib is 18-karat gold. The sterling silver fountain pen is priced at $10,500 and the gold, $37,900. The silver rollerball is priced at $10,050 and the gold, $43,700. Tibaldi was founded in 1916, with headquarters in Florence, Italy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bring out the biker in you! The new Harley-Davidson collection from Retro 51 is available in matte black with orange pin stripes or brushed charcoal with textured etching. The magnetically capped ballpoint has a sculptural metal mid-ring design; it uses an Easy-Flow refill. The pen comes in a canvas pouch and is priced at $60. Also new from Retro 51 is the Stroker--a click-top ballpoint that also comes in two styles: Ivory Eagle ($25) and Pink Exotic, with 19 Swarovski crystals in the clip ($30). Finally, the new Flathead ballpoint, with its unique rectangular body, has an extra large clip and shiny chrome accents. It is priced at $22.50.