Onoto the Pen

onoto-the-pen

My good friend from across the pond, Stephen Hull, has just advised me that his latest fountain pen book, Onoto the Pen, is now available.

This 416 page book details the 80 year history of De La Rue’s development of Onoto and De La Rue pens and contains:
– more than 1000 colour images of these writing instruments, most at actual size;
– other images of related items, advertising and leaflets;
– tables with the approximate introduction dates of all models; and
– a 40 page comprehensive colour catalogue from c.1931, reproduced in its entirety!

My limited edition is on its way and I cannot wait to read it.  You can find more information about this book, including sample pages and how to buy it at Onoto the Pen.

Those of you familiar with Steve’s previous books already know the quality of them and their wonderful contribution to the history and knowledge of the subject pens.  For those who are not, I can personally attest to their excellence as I purchased and own each and every one of them.  I acquired them, in part, because Steve has generously shared his time, knowledge and expertise with me whenever I have asked him a question about the fountain pens that I collect – Conway Stewart, Onoto and Swan; however, the main reason for getting them is because his books are the essential reference source for them – you cannot collect any of these pens without them!

For information on all of Steve’s books and how to purchase them, please visit English Pen Books.

Onoto the Pen

Noodler’s El Lawrence Ink and Fluorescence – by LPC Member Rick M.

I read a post on Fountain Pen Network (FPN) this morning about how Noodler’s El Lawrence ink was supposed have some fluorescence to it. As I just so happen to have pens filled with both El Lawrence (thanks to Mike W) and Blue Ghost inked at the moment {the Blue Ghost is in a Platinum Preppy (pen on the left) and the El Lawrence is in a Lamy Al-Star (pen on the right)], AND I just bought a new ultraviolet flashlight, I naturally had to have a look.

Noodlers pens loaded

The Blue Ghost is invisible on paper until you shine a black light on it. The El Lawrence sort of glows when the black light shines on it.

Noodlers fluorescence

I have got to hand it to Noodler’s, they’ve got some (ed.’s note – pretty, pretty) cool stuff!

Have you found El Lawrence or any other fountain pen ink to have fluorescence?  We would love to hear from you!

Noodler’s El Lawrence Ink and Fluorescence – by LPC Member Rick M.

PENCILS: AN OVERVIEW – By LPC Member David B.

pencil

Which type of pencil is best for writing? My intention is to compare the different types of pencils to determine the quality of writing experience. Secondly, to find if writing pencils made by pen companies are superior to those designed for drafting, math or drawing. I have large hands so I find most mechanical pencils shorter and thinner than I prefer. Categories are wood pencils, drafting lead holders (2.0mm or greater) and mechanical pencils (0.5, 0.7 and 0.9mm).

My interest is to test the smoothness and consistency of writing and the relative ease or complication of use. When drafting the knurled grip allows one to rotate the pencil between the thumb and fingers which helps maintain the sharpness of the point. It is useful to turn the pencil a bit at a time when writing as well. Leads come in degrees of hardness from very soft (6B) to very hard (6H) with the familiar HB sitting in the middle. There is a direct correlation between durability and smoothness. Compared to an HB lead, a B lead will be smoother but an H lead will last longer. Not all H/B labelled leads will be the same.

We are all familiar with wood pencils – particularly the common no 2 HB used in grade school. Cost can range from 12 for $1 to $2 each for Blackwing and other premium brands. Sharpeners can be mechanical, hand turned or electrical. KUM (Blackwing) makes a long point sharpener that uses two stages while most others use one. This point seemed, in my experience, to be better suited to writing but wears quickly. As a pencil wears it obviously diminishes and, upon becoming half used, is uncomfortable to hold. A holder or extender can allow the rest of the pencil to be used. Frequent sharpening is a necessary hassle and can be messy. I found HB leads scratchy so B or 2B leads wrote more smoothly but wore quickly. The Palomino does not use the H/B grading. The 602 and Pearl seem more suited to writing than the Blackwing, which is softer.

Drafting lead holders (also known as clutch pencils) are used to make mechanical or architectural drawings. 2.0mm leads are standard but other diameters are available. These can be sourced in many lead grades from 6B to 6H. They are pricey($2 apiece) as are the holders ($10 and more). One advantage of this design is that almost all the lead can be use without affecting function. The lead retracts into the holder protecting the point when not in use. Most are similar in length and thickness to a wood pencil. With a proper rotating sharpener, maintaining the point is less mess and hassle. The sharper point does wear quickly so a compromise to smoothness may be necessary.

Mechanical pencils are very popular and can be quite inexpensive. Bic makes a quality for value 0.7mm pencil that is ideal for crosswords and everyday use. Pencils and replacement leads are stocked in Dollar stores to Art Supply outlets from less than $1 to $50 and more. Quality models can be found for less than $10 in 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 and other sizes. No sharpener is required and lead size resembles nib widths(0.3/XF to 0.9/B). Most units are relatively thin and short. Fixed pipes are preferred for drawing but retractable models are fine for writing. TWSBI makes a quality version of both. The compromise of wear vs smoothness is less because the leads are made with a polymer additive. Also, the lead is continuously useable without sharpening. So one can write without interruption.

There are many videos and blogs specializing in pencils for different uses. My testing was not expansive, limited to common examples of each type. I found the quality of HB wood pencils satisfactory since going to a softer grade wore too quickly. A long point would only last a few lines so frequent sharpening is necessary. However, this is definitely the better choice for writing. Before this comparison, my first pick was the 2.0mm lead holder. HB leads wear too quickly and 2H leads are too faint and scratchy. The 0.7mm pencils work well in standard HB while 2B makes it write more like a 0.9mm. The writing experience is smooth and consistent.

I borrowed a few pencils to find out if pencils designed for writing are better. I had the following examples: Lamy Safari(0.5), Cross(0.9), Parker(0.9), Sheaffer Imperial and Targa(0.9). Jim R made a custom 0.7mm wood pencil – fatter than the normal version. The three 0.9mm pencils wrote well but are quite thin and short. The Lamy was more comfortable but the triangular grip makes rotating difficult. The Lamy 2000 MP comes highly recommended, however at close to $100 I would have to try before I buy. Phidon had none in stock. Jim’s custom pencil is close to ideal weight and balance for me. Using a 2B lead, the writing is smooth and noticeably darker than an HB. So it is the winner and my new favourite pencil. The 0.7mm seems to be a better balance of smoothness and wear.

We would love to hear about the pencils that you find best for writing – all non-fountain pen suitable writing, of course!

PENCILS: AN OVERVIEW – By LPC Member David B.

2016 National Handwriting Day – Practice, Practice, Practice

Several of our more enthusiastic members practiced their handwriting as part of their celebration of 2016 National Handwriting Day, and one even wrote some postcards to be mailed to some very lucky people!

Handwriting sample1

Handwriting sample2

Handwriting sample3

Handwriting sample4 postcards

What did you do to celebrate 2016 National Handwriting Day?  Let us know, we would love to hear from you by email or by responding to our poll below:

2016 National Handwriting Day – Practice, Practice, Practice

February 13, 2016 – “Green” Lamy Safari & Safari Al-Star Fountain Pens

A number of our members are enthusiast collectors of Lamy fountain pens, and their Safari and Safari Al-Star(Al-Star), in particular.  Lamy has just released a “Charged Green” Al-Star, which prompted one member to show us his new Charged Green Al-Star and matching ink, another brought his collection of Green Lamy Safaris and Al-Stars and others to show off their collection “just” Al-Stars.

First up, the Charged Green Al-Star followed by a Charged Green Al-Star and a Parker 75, both with matching ink on a Rhodia pad:

charged green LAMY al-star and ink@ charged green LAMY al-star and ink

The next picture is of the almost all the Lamy “Greens”, from the left: Yellow Safari, Lime Safari (2008), Apple Green Safari (2012), Neon Safari (2013), Neon Lime Safari (2015), Silver Green Al-star (discontinued 2008), Bluegreen Al-Star (2014) and on top is the Charged Green Al-star (2016).

Lamy safari greens

And here is the collections of Al-Stars – the first is missing a Graphite model and the second is missing a Raspberry one.  Here are the colours and dates of the first collection, from L-R:

Aluminium(the original Al-Star, released in 1997, discontinued is 2015)
Graphite (missing from photo)
Silver Blue (discontinued around 2010)
Raspberry (2008 Special or Limited Edition)
Ocean Blue (2007 Special or Limited Edition, now in regular line up)
Ruby (2011 Special or Limited Edition)
Black Purple (2009 Special or Limited Edition, now in regular line up)
Silver Green (discontinued around 2008)
Pearl (2013 Special or Limited Edition)
Blue Green (2014 Special or Limited Edition)
Coffee (2010 Special or Limited Edition)
Black (2013 Special or Limited Edition, now in regular line up)
Copper Orange (2015 Special or Limited Edition)
Charged Green (2016 Special or Limited Edition)

 

LAMY al-stars

and the colours and dates of the second collection, from L-R:

Aluminium (the original Al-Star, released in 1997, discontinued is 2015)
Graphite
Silver Blue (discontinued around 2010)
Silver Green (discontinued around 2008)
Ocean Blue (2007 Special or Limited Edition, now in regular line up)
Raspberry (missing from photo) (2008 Special or Limited Edition)
Black Purple (2009 Special or Limited Edition, now in regular line up)
Coffee (2010 Special or Limited Edition)
Ruby (2011 Special or Limited Edition)
Pearl (2013 Special or Limited Edition)
Black (2013 Special or Limited Edition, now in regular line up)
Blue Green (2014 Special or Limited Edition)
Copper Orange (2015 Special or Limited Edition)
Charged Green (2016 Special or Limited Edition)

LAMY al-stars2

The owner of this second collection is looking for a “2008 Limited Edition Raspberry” Al-star, if anyone has one for sale at a reasonable price (the one on eBay currently offered at $236 is not reasonable!), let us know as he is quite interested.

The dates are from this helpful page – http://kmpn.blogspot.ca/2011/03/lamy-al-star-collection.html

February 13, 2016 – “Green” Lamy Safari & Safari Al-Star Fountain Pens

Sample of Blue and Blue-Black ink swatches

I was recently asked for a sample of some of the more popular, at least in my view, blue and blue-black inks so I thought I would share them with you.  I hope you find these interesting and helpful to your search for the ultimate blue and blue-black ink:

Sample of Blue and BB pg1 scans Sample of Blue and BB pg2 scans

 

Sample of Blue and Blue-Black ink swatches

January 23, 2016 at the LPC

LPC Hancock_header scans

Handwriting Day “aka John Hancock Day” was established in 1977 and is celebrated on the birthday of – you guessed it, John Hancock.  Mr. Hancock, who was the President of Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the U.S. was born, is perhaps best known for his iconic signature on the U.S. Declaration of Independence. 

For an excellent discussion of why cursive handwriting is so important, please read “10 Reasons to Teach your Child Handwriting in the Digital Age” 

We at the LPC decided to celebrate by having everyone submit a sample of their handwriting of a passage, quote, etc… that holds particular meaning to them.  Of course, some had more to say than others (the lawyer, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more).

Without any further ado, here they are:

LPC Hancock1 scans LPC Hancock2 scans LPC Hancock3 scans

LPC Hancock4 scans LPC Hancock10 scansLPC Hancock11 scansLPC Hancock12 scans
LPC Hancock5 scans LPC Hancock6 scans LPC Hancock7 scans LPC Hancock8 scans LPC Hancock9 scans

 

 

January 23, 2016 at the LPC