Oops, I’m doing it yet again, welp I guess this is going to be a semi-regular featured post, but still only when I’m feeling uninspired (or lazy), then I will dig up and share an original post from yesteryear. In honor of consumerism, let’s flashback and look at the “extensive research” conducted by Sheaffer determined that there is a market for a pen designed exclusively for women. I wrote this in the spirt of 1958, yes it could be considered sexist, but I took inspiration from advertisements of the time. Making amends for spelling and grammar issues I present the Lady Sheaffer. Click the Ping Back to read the full story.
“Results show that women generally considered pens made for them were nothing more than scaled down reproductions of men’s writing instruments while their fashion interests were centered in fabrics, costume jewelry and accessories. The results was a new line of cartridge pens named ‘The Lady Sheaffer’ developed to include all these features. The Lady Sheaffer Skripsert fountain pen debuts in April 1958, offering 19 models with patterns inspired by fine fabrics, like tweed, corduroy, paisley and tulle.”
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In this post, I thought I’d introduce dip pens. They are most often associated with calligraphy, though correct, it is not the only application. I use dip pens primarily for drawing, rarely as my choice of writing instrument.
Dip pens are pens you dip in ink – they hold ink in the small yet deep grooves in their nib or there is an over-reservoir. As you write it is necessary to dip the nib every few words or sentences. So why would anyone still use these antiquated pens when we have pens that are so much more efficient? Welp, here are a few reasons:
It’s super easy and quick to change ink colors – dip the nib in water, wipe on a tissue, and be ready for the next color.
Some specialist nibs are only available for dip pens.
They can use inks that can’t be used in fountain pens, including pigment inks and ink with shellac added for shine.
Then there’s the nostalgia, some people just enjoy the experience.
They are often used in Calligraphy. Dip Pens have certain advantages over fountain pens – they can use waterproof and pigmented inks or even traditional iron gall ink which would corrode fountain pens.
Example of damage by ink done to a fountain pen nib. No, I cannot take responsibility for this damage.
Dip pens work best with thinner fountain pen inks because the thin grooves don’t allow the more viscous calligraphy ink to flow well. Plus thicker pen ink lies in the tip and dries, making it difficult to clean.
Types of Dip Pens
Most dip pens are a handle into which is inserted a nib, most are wooden, some are glass, and others metal. Then there are glass dipping pens – the entire pen is made of glass. They can be elegant and often art pieces unto themselves. Glass nibs are not new. I have several Spor glass nib pens made in Japan prior to the war. It is said, the first glass pens were created in the 17th century on Murano island in Venice, Italy.
Nibs for dip pens are available as vintage or new, this market primarily services the needs of calligraphers. New nibs are readily available in craft stores, Amazon, and specialty pen/stationery stores.
Nibs for dip pens come in a variety of types, manuscripts, drawings, and calligraphy. My preference is for vintage Esterbrook Drawlet pens.
Using a Dip Pen
Writing with a dip pen is odd, their nibs are often extraordinary shapes and patterns. It can be intimidating. I write and so most of my drawings with round nibs as they look and feel like a fountain pen.
As I am a bit accident-prone, I made use of a plastic storage box and converted it to hold pens, nibs, and ink. For storage and security while in use. I like to use ink samples, let’s face it, they are an accidental spill waiting to happen.
Homemade Handy-Dandy Dip Pen, Nib, and Ink “box”
I drilled holes into the lid large enough to hold an ink vial secure and using leftover pen sleeves, I was able to layer pens and nibs. No thrill and No spill.
This year I was planning on just buying a new ink, which I did but then I stumbled across a special offer on a Sheaffer Prelude. The pen was being offered (FPD only) at the bargain price of $25. Amazon offers it at $65. I hummed and hawed for several hours. I wasn’t in the market for this pen, or any pen really, just some ink. It got the better of me.
Of course, when checking out, the seller was nice enough to remind me that for a couple dollars more I would qualify for FREE shipping. That’s right FREE shipping. There is a sucker born every day. The next thing I knew two inks, and a Kaweco short converter has joined the pen in my cart. But I got FREE shipping.
Gorilla Deep Maroon Red
The ITF technology used by Monteverde is an additive to improve ink flow – I’ll let you know how that works out. Additionally, all three inks are due based inks, they are not waterproof, and lack sheen.
I was in the market for the converted – the Benu Skull pen uses short ones and I needed a couple more dollars on the order for FREE shipping! Looking back at this ordeal, I came to realized that FREE shipping cost me nearly 4x what I would have paid for standard shipping. My wife, being the compassionate soul that she is, reminded me that I am a gullible loser. Yeah, but a happy one.
In February I asked if you have heard the fountain pen myth “don’t lend out your fountain pen to others because the way a person writes can cause changes to the nib.” At the time I was referring to my Waterman Laureat. The pen wrote well with one exception – the sweet spot. Unless I held the pen at a 45-degree angle to the writing surface followed by a half-turned to the left, the pen tended to skip. Must be some truth to the myth.
The Waterman Laureat was introduced circa 1985, enjoying a 15-year production as a midline pen, not a top-shelf model but not a pen to off-handedly dismiss. The pen is reasonably close in looks to their Le Man series – a top-shelf model from the same era.
Is a sleek thin, brass body pen in black lacquer with gold-plated trim. There are 4 equal-sized gold bands on the pen, one at the top. The typical era-specific Waterman clip is attached to the cap just below this ring. Another at the bottom of the cap, one at the end of the section with the phrase “Waterman Made in France,” etched into it, and another at the bottom of the barrel. Returning to the cap, it has a plain gold plate flat top. The clip and the jewel at the post end of the barrel are embossed with the signature “W” logo.
The section is black plastic with a unique design of tapered concentric rings creating a grip that fits well in hand. I was skeptical when I saw the section. After writing with the pen, I was surprised that my fingers did not feel like they were slipping.
The nib is a gold-plated steel nib, writing MEDIUM. An interesting feature is the lack of a breather hole, welp there is a faux breather hole imprinted as a circle on the nib. A breather hole has two purposes, 1) to improve airflow and 2) to relieve pressure at the base of the slit. Be sure to review my post detailing nib mechanics for more information.
Breather holes are sometimes dispensed with firm nibs stiff enough to resist the bending forces imposed during use. Resulting in finer written lines lacking some variation (sounds like a future topic). Anyway, this nib is stiff, just add fins and use it in a game of darts.
Let’s ink it up and give it a go. I spent some time with the nib and a micromesh cloth, trying to smooth the writing surface. I can happily say I was successful.
The Waterman Lauteat is a fantastic pen, an equal to the Hemisphere. I know fountain pen users either love or hate the Hemisphere – I love it. It fits very well in my hand and is a lovely writer. If you notice this model at your local flea market or antique store, don’t pass it by.
One of my absolute favorite things about having fountain pens is the options when it comes to inks. Inks can be pigment or dye based, some are waterproof, some shimmer with glitter, and some are fragrant. There are so many options, so many colors, and shades, the nuances are incredible and some are made from wine. Today, I am highlighting a couple inks made from wine by de Artamentis of Germany. I don’t usually review or comment on inks, don’t be critical.
So Why Wine
Wine has been used in the manufacturing of ink since the Middle Ages. Wine, and sometimes vinegar beer, were used in place of water to mitigate the impurities introduced by water-borne contaminants. Sure, they wouldn’t bathe but they worried about their inks. Wine ink is not particularly popular in these times. A couple of the retailers I’ve spoken once sold wine inks but no more. Be warned, many ink names lead one to believe the ink is from wine when in fact the manufacturer is referring to the color and no wine was included in the recipe.
The Company Line
Wine has been added to ink. In accordance with traditional manufacturing processes. These inks consist of concentrated wine and some other ingredients which, for example, bind residual alcohol and the wine acid, and which improve the writing characteristics. Writing with pure, concentrated wine, no additional water is added to the ink. Furthermore, wine ink has unique writing behavior. It flows in an unmistakable, wonderful Red out of the nib. This Red is dependent on each wine. On paper, a chemical reaction occurs and oxidization occurs. Something very remarkable about these inks is the scent of wine, which caresses the nose. These inks fulfill the greatest demands regarding ink techniques and are suitable for all fountain pens. Writing with wine inks is an extraordinary experience and a symbol of the fine writing culture.
Chianti –A deep crimson ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of blue-grey along the edges.
Riesling –An ochre-colored ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of yellow along the edges.
Brandy –A yellow-brown colored ink when written that blends easily with water fading out with a hint of yellow and green along the edges.
In addition to eliminating water contamination, wine introduces alcohol which has two important properties; dries quickly and prevents fungus from growing in the ink.
All three inks were fragrant, the most aromatic is the Riesling. I didn’t notice the aroma so much while using the ink as I did when I opened the bottle. The color of the written words look nearly the same to me, thus I introduced a little water, illustrating the color differentiation. As the ink dried the color stabilized to the shade you see.
I was a little biased towards the Chianti before the sampling. All three inks flowed well. Each feathered substantially on cheap paper so I switched to a 120 gsm paper used with watercolor.
If wine ink tickles your interest, in the US, sample size bottles are available from Vanness Pen Shop; in Europe, order directly from de Atramentis. I am not compensated for these recommendations.
Happy FPD11, it has arrived. For those who don’t know, Fountain Pen Day was established 11 years ago, it is celebrated internationally on the first Friday in November. The day was established “to help embrace, promote, and share the use of fountain pens in day-to-day life, as well to help revive handwriting as a whole.” YES, proof that I am not the only weirdo out there.
As a “penthusiast,” this is our special day to proclaim to the world that we use fountain pens. On this Fountain Pen Day, take your pens with you wherever you go. Show them off in a public display of penthusiasm. Indulge the curious, let them hold your pen and write with it (if you feel comfortable of course).
This Fountain Pen Day, I have gone back to Papier Plume and selected another limited edition ink. The ink is no longer available and not connected with FPD, but I bought it on the last day it was available (November 1st) so close enough.
Papier Plume offered up a limited edition ink to commemorate Halloween, naturally, I indulged. The ink which is called Rougarou, is depicted in Cajun folklore as a man with a wolf or dog’s head, closely resembling a werewolf.
How to Celebrate Fountain Pen Day
Start a personal collection of pens. This is a good day to begin your collection of fountain pens. Create a suitable budget for purchasing them, and begin your journey as a ‘penthusiast’.
Write a letter to someone with your favorite fountain pen. Words written with a fountain pen surely resonate differently than words penned with a ballpoint pen or typed. Compose a letter to a friend or relative with one, and let them feel special.
Share your collection of fountain pens and inks on social media with the tags #fountainpenday & #fountainpenday2022
Buy a journal, and start writing. Exercise your pens, choose cool inks and make everyday fountain pen day.
If you’re a person who loves to write, draw, and create, but you’ve never used a fountain pen before, then this is the perfect excuse to try one out. The reason why the love for fountain pens exists in the first place is that they are way-cool tools of self-expression. I wrote this with a pen embossed with skulls. Go and ask anyone you see writing with a fountain pen and they’ll tell you how much more fun it is to create with a fountain pen.
Last month I reviewed the Kaweco Student Demonstrator. I really enjoyed the pen. I liked the feel, how it writes, and the pen aesthetics but the cap clip worries me. The cap is a screw-on and I’m probably a little overzealous when tightening the cap but each time I remove it the pen clip bends to the left or the right. How easy the cap clip blends worries me.
I’ve mixed up the usual suspects this month. The Pilot Prera and Parker Duofold are still inked. I have rotated out the Monteverde Black Tie. Replacing it with the Benu Skull pen.
For November, I have inked the Benu Skull pen. Look the skulls are smiling. I just published my review, and I’m enjoying it. BTW, this pen made my Wish List for 2022,
Did you miss any of the past month’s blog posts? Welp, here is your chance to catch up…
It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup?Let’s see how I started September with a review of August. It’s a new month and time to shelve your current choice of pens in favor of new pens or those that may be long forgotten and feeling neglected. Also, let’s review how the pens from last month fared and recap the month’s postings.
Celluloid – Real, Fake & FIRE! In this last discussion of my favorite vintage pen materials, I am presenting celluloid. Celluloid comes in a variety of formulas, and all are flammable so why would I like it as a pen?
Stylograph BlackSometimes things look better in the picture than in person. SURPRISE! And what a surprise it was. Did I mention it also smelled?
Happy All Hallows Eve Not all pens are created equally. Some are inspired by our childhood dreams of piracy and adventure. Sound exciting matie?
#ThrowbackThursday From time to time when I’m feeling inspired (or lazy). Today it was lazy, so I will dig up and share an original post from yesteryear. This time I am going back 97 yesteryears and presenting a Waterman 52.
In the News
Conid Pens of Belgium is back and selling their bulkfiller fountain pens with the aid of new business partner Penworld who will be operating the retail front and worldwide sales.
Cosmo Air Light paper being discontinued Nippon Paper, manufacturer of Cosmo Air Light, has announced production termination of a number of papers, by March 2023. Demand for these papers has become so small that it is difficult to meet the minimum lot sizes required for production.
Florida’s Official New Book-Banning Council Was Quietly Packed With MAGA Moms. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “curriculum transparency” agenda, the Florida State Board of Education hastily assembled a council to create new restrictions for public school libraries and librarian training. Nominees with years of teaching experience were snubbed for self-nominated candidates including Michelle Beavers, the local chapter of the MAGA group Moms for Liberty.”
GOP candidate slammed at debate for obsession with book-banning. Michigan Governor candidates were asked how they would balance student access to inclusive literature with parental and teacher concerns. GOP candidate responded, “I stand with those parents that want to make sure we go back to the basics of reading, writing, and math in our schools.”
George M. Johnson’s young-adult memoir All Boys Aren’t Bluehas become one of the most banned books in the U.S. The book is about growing up Black and queer. At least 29 school districts have banned the book because of its LGBTQ and sexual content. “Any time you write a book where you write about your truth, there are going to be people who want to silence that truth,”
During this holiday season, I was sneaky. For those of you who don’t understand, my daughter and I enjoy playing Halloween pranks on each other. She got me with spiders last month so I retaliated by decorating a doll to scare her. Dolls and clowns are some of the scariest things.
This year I used a porcelain doll. I placed it in her car, on the passenger floor. She puts her stuff on the passenger seat. I’m adding a before picture of the doll just to appreciate the transformation.
So I ask, would you be startled or scream if you found this doll in your car?