Posted in Pens, Stories

It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup?

Just have to mention, that this is a special post – not because it is a new month but because this is the 101st blog post. Yup, I was so busy doodling I failed to notice the 100th blog post – yeah me! Who would have thought I could think up 100 topics relating to pens, etc..

At the beginning of June, I inked up an uncommon Parker Parkette circa 1951. I am happy to say it performed marvelously. The only issue, which was my fault, as I left it lying horizontally over the weekend and we had a “monsoonal” weather pattern blow through resulting in much-needed rain and a variety of pressure changes, thus causing the pen to leak. When you live at 7,000′ the weather can be crazy.

As a side note, the Parkette and the usual suspects all took part in the doodling post.

The usual suspects are inked up and still in use, including a Pilot Prera, Esterbrook J, and the Scrikss 419 (with red ink).

For July, I have inked up the Esterbrook Jr, in Tuxedo Black with Palladium trim (whatever that is). This is the first time I’ve used this pen so I am super geeked. It is sporting a steel Broad nib. The ink is DeAtramentis Document Brown. At first glimpse, the ink color does not impress me. More on that next month.

Did you miss any of any of these blog posts? Here is your chance to catch up…

  • It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup? 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 did the pens from the prior month fare? A recap of the month’s postings.
  • Wait, My Pen is Made of What Pens are manufactured from an interesting variety of materials, many of them you “know” but do you really? I’m willing to wager you will think twice before putting another pen in your mouth.
  • TWSBI, Nope, Notta, Not Now I had planned on spotlighting my TWSBI today but notta. Instead, I thought I’d highlight their poor behavior and bring you other Pen/Pencil-related news stories.
  • 10,004 Days (part 1) I am going way off topic but that is my prerogative. As a warning, if you are of a sensitive nature read no further, this doesn’t end well. This begins the 5th anniversary of the worse nightmare any parent will experience.
  • 10,004 Days (part 2) I am going way off topic but that is my prerogative. As a warning, if you are of a sensitive nature read no further, this doesn’t end well. Today marks the 5th anniversary of the worse nightmare any parent will experience, part 2.
  • The 1950’s Parker Parkette The Parkette is Parker’s first pen to make use of a lever-filling system, generally considered a third-tier pen. It is common for pen companies to introduce pens based on past names. Parker introduced this last model to the Parkette family in 1950.
  • Breathe Just Breathe(r Tube) Breather tubes were unknown to me until I unexpectedly ran into one in the 1951 Park Parkette. I got to thinking “what are breather tubes and why are they only in some pens?”
  • Doodling: Scribble absentmindedly, Stress relief, and Creativity A doodle as defined is “an aimless or casual scribble, design or sketch.” Or it’s a memory aid, a natural stress reliever, a creativity stimulus, and a relaxation tool.

In the News

There has been an update in the TWSBI drama. Narwhal and TWSBI have issued a joint statement (on Narwhal letterhead) announcing the cessation of hostilities. TWSBI has half-ass apologized and did not acknowledge their poor behavior unless you consider “any confusion” an acceptable definition of that behavior. I recommend this post on Rachel’s Reflections blog for an in-depth, cynical discussion of this topic.

Excerpt from the joint letter:TWSBI acknowledges that Narwhal has not violated any intellectual property rights of TWSBI or any third party. In particular, TWSBI’s primary concern was Narwhal’s use of the piston filler mechanism, which was the subject of U.S. Patent No. 1,706,616 titled “Fountain Pen” issued to Theodor Kovacs on March 26, 1929. This patent expired on March 26, 1946. After reaching an understanding on that issue, TWSBI has been convinced that its use of the terms “knock-offs,” “unethical,” and “design infringement” concerning the Narwhal fountain pens was unfortunate and retracts those terms. TWSBl and Narwhal agree the piston filler mechanism is available for anyone to use as a result of the expiration of the patent. TWSBI apologizes for any confusion that may have been caused by its statement sent to retailers.

Gianfranco Aquila, known as “The Lord of the pens,” and owner of “Montegrappa” and “Tibaldi” companies for over 40 years has died. To his credit, the Montegrappa name is now synonymous with Italian quality. No immediate successor has been named.

Posted in Collection, Pens, Restoration, Reviews, Stories

The 1950’s Parker Parkette

The Parkette

A family of pens manufactured by Parker, but generally considered a third-tier pen. Evolving from the Parco, Parkette produced began in 1932 and ran through 1941. The pen was Parker’s answer to inexpensive competition while providing the Parker name and mystique. The Parkette generally lacked the quality of flagship Parker pens of the time (Duofold, and Vacumatic).

The Parkette was Parker’s first pen to make use of a lever-filling mechanism. A common option amongst other manufacturers but not one Parker pens ever would regularly embrace. Eventually, the lever-fill mechanism would find its way into other “third-tier” Parker pens, including the Duo-Tone (not to be confused with Duofold) and the Writefine.

The 1950s Parkette

It is a common practice for pen companies to reintroduce former names as a means of adding nostalgia. Parker introduced one last model to the Parkette family in 1950. The new pen included a lever-filling system and contemporary styling (a metal cap and a hooded nib). The newest Parkette did not fare well against period Parker’s.

My Pen

I have a grey 1951 Parkette. It is in very good shape, without any bite marks, or scratches, but it leaks. I know grey is boring but I like it with the shiny metal cap. It appears to have the same “defect” other hooded Parker’s shared – a gap between the hood and the nib. While researching the Parkette, it seems this pen is not favored amongst collectors and is considered cheap and not worthy of the time and effort to repair it – got my attention now.

This seemed odd to me, when I removed the ink sac I found the pen had a breather tube (more on these another day). A breather tube is used in better pens when the filling system fails to completely fill the reservoir with one cycle of compression and vacuum. This is a feature commonly not found in cheap pens and I would know, I have 3 Arnolds.

Refurbishment

I replaced the too-short ink sac, being careful not to remove the breather tube. I tried to remove the hood but found it is held firm by glue. I made a valent effort to remove it but when all options failed and applying solvents was the only choice, I stopped. The cap retention ring thingy was a little tarnished, nothing a Sunshine cloth could not remedy. The only real damage is a minute amount of brassing on the cap clip.

Not wanting to leave the feed, nib and breather tube as is, I used a bulb syringe to flush them out. I was surprised to see flakes of dried ink accumulate in the sink. My concern appeared warranted.

All done and ready to ink up and give it a go.

Welp, I’m happy to say it writes well. It is a fine point nib which is not one of my faves but this one does very well. The nib is a little wet but that may be excess ink from the filling fixing in the hood.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 132mm
  • Uncapped length. 121mm
  • Barrel diameter 11mm
  • Cap diameter 12mm
  • Weighs in at 16g

For a “cheap” pen not worthy of my time, the only complaint is a manufacturing defect (in my opinion). The cap is secured is pressure the cap retention ring thingy. The pen lacks a clutch ring as found in a 51, thus the cap is not adequately secured. I picked it up one day by the cap and the pen went flying. Luckily I made a good catch.

Posted in Pens, Stories

TWSBI, Nope, Notta, Not Now

Six months ago I planned on presenting my TWSBI Eco-T but given the current bad behavior of TWSBI, I cannot in good conscience promote their pens. I’m not going to dispose of my TWSBI, I’m simply not buying another or promoting them in general.

What’s Up you ask?

Welp, TWSBI is accusing Moonman and Narwhal of selling copies of some of their models, and retaliating against retailers who sell TWSBI pens along with Moonman and Narwhal pens. Stating they can no longer sell TWSBIs as long as they sell the “impostors.” My position in this is simple, if TWSBI had a patent on their piston-filler mechanism (the issue), they could defend it but they don’t or they have already lost this battle in court. Bullying retailers is not the answer and I’m not going to support them.

My final thoughts, if you are in the market for a TWSBI Eco-T might I suggest a Pilot Prera instead. Or if you want to get back at TWSBI, there are some very nice options available from Narwhal and Moonman.

As I do not feel inclined to reorganize my posting schedule (it goes out through September 2023), instead I am going to highlight Pen News stories (those are super hard to find BTW).

In the News

TWSBI declares war on Moonman and Narwhal – enough already said but if you are interested in reading more might I suggest the post on Rachel’s Reflection, Goodbye TWSBI. It contains many links sourcing additional information on TWSBI’s behavior.

Monblanc Haus opened in Hamburg with a museum, art gallery, hall of fame, and school. A unique destination blends a museum, art gallery, hall of fame, and school elements. Located next to Montblanc’s headquarters, and production facilities for resin writing instruments and hand-ground gold nibs, the three-story structure also boasts a café, exhibition spaces, an archive, and an academy. “It’s about celebrating writing,” Montblanc chief executive officer Nicolas Baretzki.

Montblanc Haus

BIC Launches U.S. Program To Recycle used Pens, Pencils, Markers The “Write” Way. Stationery Recycling Program, allows consumers to send in all brands of pens, markers, mechanical pencils, highlighters, glue sticks, watercolor dispensers, and paint sets to be recycled for free. Participation is easy: sign up on the TerraCycle program web page, and a prepaid shipping label is provided. Simply packaged the used items and drop them in the return mail. The returned pens, etc are melted down to hard plastic that is remolded to make new products.

Pen pals, one from Ohio and Brazil, were finally able to meet each other in person after 33 years of letters. My hand hurts thinking about this.

Staedtler Upcycled Pencils announced a process to manufacture upcycled wood pencils from wood chips produced in the wood processing industry. Upcycling transforms residual or wastes materials into something new.

Pelican announces M605 Tortoiseshell-Black special edition. “Each writing instrument is a truly unique piece. The distinctive series, consisting of a piston fountain pen and a ballpoint pen with a twist mechanism, captivates with its appealing and individual play of colors with black and white nuances. This means that no two writing instruments look the same, which is what makes this series extremely interesting.”

Nibs.com merges with The Pen Family. “Nibs.com will continue as an online retailer of brands such as Nakaya, Sailor, Pilot-Namiki, and Platinum, and as a retailer of Pen Family brands such as Armando Simoni Club, Bexley, and Wahl-Eversharp. All pens will continue to be offered with the options for tuning and customization developed.”

Posted in Pens, Stories

Wait, my pen is made from WHAT?

Some time ago, I was researching something (the first thing to go is your mind) when a revelation hit me, “wow they produce pens using all kinds of weird stuff.” I started taking notes, found websites providing generic dictionary-style explanations, and well that wasn’t going to work.

As I am not a chemist if I misspeak, my apologies, and please feel free to correct me. Also, if by chance you manufacture your own pens, feel free to comment.

I came across this quote and burst out laughing. I knew then I had to learn more.

“Casein doesn’t burn well but a celluloid pen in flames is memorable.” Deb @ goodwriterspens.com

Pen Material

Thermosets vs Thermoplastics: Thermoset is a material that creates bonds between polymer strands forming a tangled grid when heated that cannot be remolded or reheated after the initial forming. While thermoplastics can be reheated, remolded, and cooled repeatedly without causing any chemical changes.

Bakelite. It is not often used for pens due to its brittleness. It is the first plastic made from synthetic components via the condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde (thermosets).

Celluloid (trade names Permanite, Stonite, Pyralin). The first widely-manufactured synthetic plastic combining cellulose nitrate with camphor and alcohol. It replaced ebonite in the late 1920s. It can be made in virtually any color or pattern, and is easy to machine, yet slow to produce and is flammable. As celluloid ages, the camphor molecules are ‘squeezed’ out causing deterioration generally known as “celluloid rot.” Celluloid was replaced by cheap plastics in the 1940s. Celluloid acetate is not celluloid.

Pen Injection Mold

Casein aka Galalith (trade names Casolith, Lactoloid, Aladdinite). A milk-derived plastic, susceptible to moisture. Derived from 80% of the phosphoproteins in cow’s milk. It is rarely seen in American pen production but is more commonly used in the UK and Europe. It is a synthetic plastic material produced by the interaction of casein and formaldehyde.

Photo credit: Crimshaw.com

Ebonite (hard rubber or vulcanite). Early naturally-derived plastic is made by vulcanizing latex rubber with a large proportion of sulfur (25% to 80%) and linseed oil. Used to manufacture fountain pens until the late 1920s, thereafter primarily used to produce pen feeds and sections. The origin of the name reflects its intended use as an artificial substitute for ebony wood (thermosets).

Plastic. A generalization referring to celluloid, resin, and acrylic. Excludes hard rubber even though hard rubber is technically plastic.

Resin (aka Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene or ABS). A fancy modern name for plastic (honestly how else can one justify sales prices for a “plastic pen”). Resin actually undergoes a chemical reaction in the mold and cures from a liquid into a solid (thermosets).

Acrylic Resin (trade names Lucite or Perspex). Parker 51s is acrylic resin. It is typically derived from acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, and butyl acrylate, and/or methyl methacrylate. In the case of acrylic, the material is melted and poured into the mold to cool (thermoplastics).

How can I tell what my pen is made of?

Firstly, you must have an idea of your pen’s age, then as a general rule, pens predating 1925 are usually made of hard rubber, casein, transparent bakelite, or celluloid. Multicolored pearlescence or translucent pens are typically celluloid, as are most streamlined pens. Postwar, most penmakers transitioned from celluloid to cellulose acetate and injection-moldable polymer plastics (thermoplastics).

Hard rubber is easily identified by its distinctive smell (like a tire). Wet a celluloid pen and it gives off a distinctive smell (odor of camphor – honestly I have no idea what camphor smells like). You can also, test for celluloid by removing a tiny, tissue-thin shaving from the inside of the cap or barrel. Place the shaving on a glass slide, then add a drop of acetone. If the shaving is celluloid, it will dissolve; if casein, bakelite, or acrylic nothing will happen.

——————————- Reference Material ————————-

Posted in Pens, Stories

It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup?

The only May flowers are the ones I planted. I started May with a Shaeffer Taranis, sporting a medium nib. The Taranis was inked up with De Atramentis, Fog Grey. Personally, I would rename the ink “Blue Fog.” The pen performed great, and the ink impressed me.

Still inked up and in service are the Pilot Prera, Esterbrook J, and the Scrikss 419 (with red ink).

The usual suspects inked up and ready for use

For the new month, I pulled out a 1950’s Parker Parkette. As with similar Parker pens of the era, the new Parkette sported a hooded nib. The Parkette is inked up with De Atramentis, Dark Green, because it is Springtime and if I had grass….

Yes, this is a Parker lever-filled pen.

In case you missed any of these last month…

  • Storing Your Pen Up/Down or Somewhere Between. A topic near and dear to my heart. Mostly I think it is because I use vintage pens and some are in need of heat setting their feeds. My problems started last summer when my vintage Esterbrook and Duofold pens both decided to leak excessively into their caps…
  • Happy Nurse’s Day – Pen Sets. “Nurse’s Pens” are a genre of fountain pens that were marketed to nurses throughout the 1940s and 50s, mainly by Waterman and Esterbrook. So why did nurses need specialized fountain pens?
  • The Airplanes go up, and down, and all around with me and my pen aboard. When traveling try to carry or store fountain pens with their nibs facing up if at all possible. When flying, temperature and air pressure change quickly causing the ink to change, especially in volume. So how best to transport a fountain pen in a plane?
  • Esterbrook M2 Aerometric Pen. Esterbrook introduced their first aerometric filler called “M2.” The pen sported a metallic cap and a funky plastic barrel, but otherwise a nice vintage everyday pen with a 1950’s nostalgic look.
  • The Pens of Madman. Madmen, a show renowned for its attention to period detail which included a variety of era-specific pens. But where did they find the pens?
  • Mabie Todd Swan Leverless. The Swan Leverless model featured a special filling system that makes the pen appear to have a blind cap of a piston for vacuum filler. Looks can be deceiving.

Two questions, are you enjoying the new background paper? I’ve used many of the new sheets in the May posts and as always, what’s in your pen cup?

Posted in Pens, Reviews, Stories

Esterbrook M2 Aerometric Pen

Company Back Story

Esterbrook introduced their first aerometric filler in the late 1950’s calling it the M2. The pen sported a metallic cap and plastic barrel in a period favorite color. The plastic used is soft compared to other pens, or but typical of late Esterbrook manufacture. M2’s are easily recognizable by their indented cap and plastic threads.

Esterbrook marketed for a limited time, a contemporary version of the M2. The new M2 Series incorporated the design of the original model with subtle modern details. The contemporary M2 Series is made from a special resin material developed to authenticate the feel and colors of the 1950’s. Each pen features a brushed metal cap and a specially design clip. The barrel has been etched and colored with an updated Esterbrook logo. Photo Credit: Fahrney’s Pens

My Pen

This M2 is in great shape, no scratches, no teeth marks. I even like the color of blue, seems very 1950’s to me. The pen has an aerometric filler. Admittedly, this is my first pen with an aerometric filler.

M2 Aerometric Filler

The plastic of the barrel and section “feels” odd to me if that makes sense. It’s doesn’t have a hard feeling like celluloid or acrylic, nor is it soft, it simply feels like plastic. The section is made of the same plastic as are the cap threads. The plastic threads are a concern. I imagine with some less meticulously maintain pens the cap threads are stripped.

The metallic cap has horizontal etched rings. Esterbrook is engraved on the cap band, M2 models are easy to spot because of the unique top of the cap – it dips in.

The aft end of the barrel is an air hole but honestly I spent a week looking at other examples under the assumption there was a jewel from the end, but noooooo.

The pen writes nicely, here I was using an Esterbrook 2668 Firm Medium nib. In my hand, the weight and size of the pen are most agreeable. I don’t post the cap. The ink is De Atramentis Black Red.

Bottom Line

I enjoyed using the pen. It feels comfortable when in hand. The Aerometric filler works well. The feel of the plastic is not something I’m familiar with and the air hole in the end is well ugly and cheap looking.

Overall, I am happy with the pen. It makes a nice vintage everyday pen with a 1950’s nostalgic look.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 134mm
  • Uncapped length. 124mm
  • Barrel diameter 11mm
  • Cap diameter 12mm
  • Weighs in at 18g
  • Esterbrook.Net; M2
Posted in Ink, Pens, Stories

The Airplanes go up, and down, and all around with me and my pen aboard

Atmospheric pressure is assumed to be a constant everywhere, but it isn’t. The constant flow of air around the planet brings with its fluctuations in the local air pressure. Normally not an issue for fountain pen users. Altitude also impacts air pressure and does spell troubles for fountain pen users. Why you ask, the sudden drop of pressure outside the pen can lead to a lot of ink being forced out of the pen by a trapped bubble of high-pressure air from a lower altitude.

Do not, become complacent in the belief that modern pressurized aircraft will eliminate the issue unless you are flying out of the lofty airports in these cities: Shennongjia, China; Toluca, Mexico; Arequipa, Peru; Bogota, Columbia, and Cuenca, Ecuador – all located 8,000 feet above sea level (roughly 2,500 meters), or about 75% of the pressure at sea level.

Have you ever opened a bottle of water in mid-flight seal it then looked at it once the plane lands?

Three Options

  • The single best way to avoid ink leakage on a plane is to travel with your fountain pens empty. No ink, no leak.
  • The second best way to avoid problems is to travel with the pen nib pointing up, as cabin pressure changes shouldn’t result in the pen leaking. But if the nib is pointing down or horizontally, it will most assuredly result in some ink leakage.
  • There are those who subscribe to the idea of traveling with an inked fountain pen and keeping it filled with as much ink as possible. The less air there is in the ink reservoir, the less room for an air bubble and the less likely it will leak.

Using the pen in Flight

Using a fountain pen in flight? Yes, once the plane is at cruising altitude it is safe to take the pen out and begin writing. A little care is prudent. Some caps seal extremely well, and pressure equalization within the pen won’t happen until the pen is uncapping. It is best to hold the pen, and nib up, when removing the cap. Also, have a cloth or tissue handy just in case there is a splatter from ink trapped in the feed.

Bottom Line

I do not subscribe to flying with a pen completely full of ink, as it is nearly impossible to achieve. But a little bit of planning will reap benefits and prevent embarrassment.

  • When traveling with fountain pens in a briefcase or backpack, empty them.
  • If a fountain pen is riding in a pocket, as full as possible is preferable, there will be no space to trap air in the reservoir. It is important to keep the nib pointing up to prevent issues.

If vintage fountain pens are your thing and they are accompanying you on the flight, Sheaffer Snorkels, and Parker “51”s, they are less likely to cause issues but they are still subject to leaking. Generally speaking, contemporary pens seem to travel more reliably.

In conclusion, keep fountain pens as full as possible, or completely dry when flying. Give them at least half a chance to not let you down.

Do you fly with fountain pens? What are your experiences?

Posted in Pens, Stories

Happy Nurse’s Day – Pen Sets

At the end of the 19th century, “The Lady With the Lamp” — or as she is more widely known, Florence Nightingale — founded modern nursing. Each year, in recognition of the importance nurses, play in our lives, a week is dedicated to all things nursing beginning on “Nurse’s Day” and ending on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. I’m highlighting specialty pens used by nurses before the digital age.

“Nurse’s Pens” are a genre of fountain pens that were marketed to nurses throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, mainly by Waterman and Esterbrook. Scheaffer also had a minor role in the nurse pen market.

Why did nurses need a specialized fountain pen? Because hospital medical charts were written by hand in different colored inks designating the shift. These pens came with different colored top jewels, in black, green, and red – representing all three common nursing shifts at the time: 7am to 3pm (BLACK ink), 3-11pm (GREEN ink), 11pm-7am (RED ink).

Waterman’s made different varieties of nurse’s pens, their standard set came in “lustrous satin Pearl of white.” They offered the most diverse options, including sets with one pen and a pencil, sets with two pens for two different colors of inks, and sets with a pen case that included a thermometer inside!

Esterbrook manufactured a series of small, white Nurse’s Pens based on their J-Series. Their pens had colored cap jewels, in the familiar black, green, and red to coordinate with the nurse’s work shifts, The green jeweled pens are the least common, while black jeweled pens are the most common.

My Esterbrook Nurse’s Pen Set

I picked up an Esterbrook Nurse Pen set (a pen and pencil) which clearly involved a mix and matching of various pens. The cap of the pen matches the pencil while the barrel is noticeably more white, but that’s ok. I haven’t begun their restoration. It doesn’t appear much is needed. The pencil works, and I believe a new sac is installed. We shall see.

I imagine different pens for different work shifts seem archaic, but how can we appreciate where we are today if we don’t know where we’ve been. At one time, the pen was a necessary nursing tool and the color of ink on the paper patient chart could be vitally important with respect to patient diagnosis and care.

Let’s add some perspective, in 1946, a Register Nurse could expect to earn $170-$175 per month and pay $8.50 for a Waterman Nurse pen set (5% of her monthly salary). That same pen today would set a nurse back $130, which is way more than the cost of a decent stethoscope.

Pen Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 121mm
  • Uncapped length. 110mm
  • Barrel diameter 11mm
  • Cap diameter 12mm
  • Weighs in at 12g
Posted in Nibs, Pens

Storing Your Pen Up/Down or Somewhere Between

A topic near and dear to my heart. Mostly I think it is because I use vintage pens and some are in need of heat setting their feeds. My problems started last summer when my vintage Esterbrook and Duofold pens both decided to leak excessively into their caps – within days of each other. I assumed it was weather-related as I live at 7,000 ft (2,100 m) and life is a little different up here, like breathing. As such, I am always playing with how best to lay my pens overnight.

Let’s start with non-fountain pens.

  • Felt tip pens like whiteboard markers, Sharpies, and highlighters are best stored with the tip down so the felt does not dry out.
  • Rollerballs and ballpoints should be stored upright so they don’t leak or get gummy at the point. BIC Cristal pens are the exception, they are indestructible. As a young person mine never had a cap and was always stored point down in my pants pocket. I never had a problem.
  • Gel pens seem to be okay stored either up or down.

As a general rule, never leave a pen tip exposed. Always put the cap on, it doesn’t matter if it is a felt tip, rollerball/ballpoint, or a fountain. Oh yeah if it is a click pen, click it. This helps keep air away from the ink, slowing how fast it dries out. Also, if in doubt, lay the pen horizontal is best. The ink will be evenly distributed in the pen, which should help it return to action more quickly.

Fountain Pens

I normally, leave my vintage pens overnight at a 45-degree upward angle, while the contemporary fountain pens lay horizontally. If an inked vintage pen is going to sit for any length of time I store it straight up. Yes, a nib pointing up will dry out faster because the ink flows back into the cartridge/converter/section, but this works best for me.

Based on what I’ve read, inked fountain pens should be stored horizontal overnight to keep the ink in contact with the feed. This prevents the ink from leaking into the cap while simultaneously keeping the nib wet enough to write when needed. There is a valid argument to be made, that an inked pen should be stored upright to prevent clogging and leakage. I believe if the pen contains quality ink and is used regularly there is no need to worry about clogging and leakage.

If you store a fountain pen with the nib facing down, gravity and capillary action may pull the ink to the nib and feed resulting in a clog or leak.

If your pen will remain inactive for a long period of time, make sure to remove the ink from the pen. It will prevent clogs and dried ink in a fountain pen from creating many problems. Of course, cleaning the nib of ink is vital before storing the fountain pens. And, if the pen is emptied, you can store it with the nib facing any direction.

Posted in Pens, Stories

It’s a new month, what’s in your pen cup?

April showers bring May flowers, no showers here. I started April by inking up a Waterman Hemisphere with Diamine Aurora Borealis ink. The pen performed great but I wasn’t impressed with the ink. And the Pilot Prera with the medium calligraphy nib is still inked up and in service.

In mid-April, I acquired an Osmiroid nib that fits vintage Esterbrook pens. Suffering from BSO (bright shiny objects) syndrome, I immediately fitted a J series and inked it up. The nib is an Italic Broad Straight nib – does this sound like an oxymoron or what?

For the new month, I pulled out my Shaeffer Taranis, sporting a medium nib. The Taranis is inked up with the De Atramentis, Document Fog Grey.

In case you missed any of these last month…

  • Safety Caps and Pens. The phrase”safety” means the pen has options ensuring safety with respect to ink loss. Waterman, Moore, Parker, and Mabie Todd (Swan) pioneered something we take for granted today.
  • The Fountain Pen Mystery Theatre Presents, Mystery Behind the Blue Diamond. Welcome to the Fountain Pen Mystery Theatre, where “it may be said with a degree of assurance that not everything that meets the eye is as it appears.” In this episode, our hero unravels the mystery behind a Parker “51,” where there are more so-called “first-year” pens than Parker ever made.
  • Pen Nibs, More than Just A Type, its Geometry. If you know anything about fountain pens you know they write in a variety of fashions. Some have firm nibs, while others have flexible nibs. This is normally attributed to the nib material and the width of the tip. There are additional factors, time to grab a pen and your high school geometry books.
  • Heat Setting an Ebonite Feed Without Burning Down the House. Heat setting an ebonite feed is a topic of much conjecture, often viewed as some deep dark secret shrouded in mystery. There is a solution so simply the only required skill is knowing how to boil water.
  • Gold Starry, More Than A Ladies Pen. I present a small mottled ebonite lever-filler with a gold loop to attach the pen to a chain and worn around the neck. As with my other 2 Gold Starry’s, there were surprises, some good, some not so good, let’s see what is awaiting me.

Two questions, are you enjoying the new background paper? I’ve used many of the new sheets in the April posts and what’s in your pen cup?