Heavy Metal (Pens that is)!

Somewhere in an alternate universe, with the music of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Metallica blasting in the background, the rebels of the London Pen & Motorcycle Club gathered at their Williams on Wonderland HQ to binge on coffee and show off their new ink, like this beauty that Doc showed up with (he’s not a real Doctor, that’s just a name he picked up somewhere):

From Fenix Tattoos in Seattle
From Fenix Tattoos in Seattle

Well, that’s not exactly what happened … we did binge on coffee and heavy metal, pens that is …if a pen sticks to a magnet, it meets the test!! Bring your flighters, filigrees, overlays, signets, silver, gold (more likely gold-filled), aluminum, titanium, gunmetal, shiny or matte and all combinations and permutations thereof. Some like their pens with a patina (you might say potana) and others like them looking brand spanking shiny new. They could be factory or farm fresh – maybe have a few scratches and dents or even some brassing, we won’t hold that against them. And don’t forget your pens that are part-metal, i.e., they might have a metal cap with a resin or other body; however, metal trim-only is not enough metal, sorry.

To wit, a great collection, in a large variety of makes, models and finishes – Sheaffer Targas and a significant number of Parker:

whole bunch more

Anyone for a Parker 75 – just pick your finish:

whack of 75s

Some Parkers, at least one Sheaffer (a Targa, I think) and a Pilot Birdie(?):

table shot

A Waterman 452 1/2V sterling silver filigree (pierced work) overlay and a bottle of Herbin Vert Olive:

small waterman w overlayA true classic, the Parker 75 Cisele:

parker 75

Another Parker 75, a Sheaffer Connoisseur and a Pilot Birdie:

P75 connoisseur and birdie

Quite a mixed bag here from L to R – a Montblanc Meisterstuck Sterling Silver Solitaire Le Grand 146, a Dani Trio Phantas aka the “snake pen”, a Sheaffer Imperial and an older model of the Visconti Travelling Inkwell:

MB146 and snake pen

A close-up of the Dani Trio Phantas (snake pen) …


… and a close-up of the Sheaffer Imperial Brass engraving:

sheaffer imperial brassA couple of one-piece metal pens, i.e., an integrated nib, a titanium Parker 50 aka the “Falcon” and a Namiki-Pilot M90:
integrated nibs M90 and P50 falcon

Not sure this Stipula/Chatterley Pens Carbon Future Oversized Etruria LE qualifies but it is one sweet writer with that 1.1 mm stub nib!


Remember these Cross pens – graduation presents, wedding gifts, they were ubiquitous:

cross cross cross

Can you say vermeil?  Rotring 600s, Sheaffer Targas and Imperials and a couple of Parkers:


The old hidden compartment pen … how did that bottle of ink get in the picture?

hidden compartment pen

What – is this a remnant from the alternate universe, a Waterman Harley-Davidson:


A number of Parker Flighters with a couple of 75s for good measure:

flighters and 75s

We have some Sheaffers, a Lamy Studio and a blue Kaweco off to the side


The pen in focus is an Aurora 80th Anniversary Limited Edition, a brilliant guilloche pattern cut in sterling silver while the pen slightly out of focus is a Conway Stewart “Drake” LE:aurora guilloche untitled

A side shot (above) and head-on shot (below) of the Aurora 80th anniversary LE, a Conway Stewart “Drake” LE (this is a massive pen, made from a solid rod of sterling silver, guilloche engraved in a classic wave pattern), a Conway Stewart J. Rake Demonstrator (based on their classic Duro design), a Parker 51 Special Edition (from 2002), a Parker 51 Flighter, a Visconti Spider, a Visconti Skeleton, a Waterman Carene Deluxe, a Waterman Exception Night and Day Gold, and of course, a Waterman Edson:


What about you?  We always love to hear what you think of these Heavy Metal Pens as well as about your own Heavy Metal pens.  Do you have a particular favourite?  Surely you have at least one?

Demonstrator Pens – January 31/February 7, 2015 meeting

Demonstrator pens are clear or transparent pens that allow the user to view the internal components of the pen. They were originally given by pen manufacturers to dealers so that they could “demonstrate” to their customers how the pen worked, how the filler worked and how the cap fit on the pen. This was a great selling tool, particularly in the 1930s when it has been suggested that Parker and Sheaffer first created them and the then new and different filling systems (that are commonplace today) were first introduced.  Accordingly, the demonstrators were produced in limited number and not typically sold to the public, as the dealers needed them. Today, demonstrator pens are regular production pens, and in some cases, limited editions, owing to their popularity.

While the purists consider transparent versions of pens as the only true demonstrator, most people accept that the many translucent versions (typically in different colours) produced today also qualify as demonstrator pens.

A big thanks to official club photographer Rick for taking the pictures below (except for the black light picture)!

Great turnout to kick off the New Year!

great turnout

John with the TWSBI Vac 700 and bottle.  You can get 5 and one-half fills of a Vac 700 with the special TWSBI bottle.  The life skills you learn at a pen club meeting!

twsbit vac 700 and bottle

Doug and the Visconti Travelling Ink Pot, right before an “incident”.  Good thing he was demonstrating with water – only rookies use ink (and end up wearing it!).

visconti travelling inkpot

Most pen users have at least one Lamy in their collection – the first one pictured is a clear Lamy Vista with Noodler’s Blue Ghost highlighting ink under black light – very cool indeed!

lamy vista blue ghost

Here’s another Lamy Vista used for writing and filled with Parker Washable Blue – of course, it would have been a better picture if all that graph paper had a sample of how the ink writes, doh!

lamy vista parker blue

Now you can’t come to a pen club meeting and not get ink on your hands; but really Doug, that’s it?  Let’s see a bit more effort the next time!

you gotta have inky fingers

Someone likes demonstrators – and this doesn’t include any of his translucent pens, except for the blue Pelikan 205.  This group includes, from left to right: a Pelikan M800 (limited production), an Aurora Optima LE (available in an edition of 1936 corresponding to the year it was introduced/the red auroloide on the cap and blind cap really pop!), an Omas Ogiva guilloche model, a Stipula Etruria Nuda (from the now defunct Swisher Pens), a Visconti Voyager LE (the swirling black markings on the barrel really stand out when the pen is filled), a Pilot Custom 823 (also comes in smoke and amber, and it holds a ton of ink), a Delta Fusion 82 (this came in a great fountain pen/rollerball gift set),  a clear Pelikan 205 (an early Levenger model) and a blue Pelikan 205 (just one of several colours it comes in).

which one is yours

Here is a neat close-up of the Pelikan 800 – all the parts are labelled with laser markings and you can clearly see the large ink reservoir and Pelikan’s piston-filling system at work:

pelikan 800 with labels

Still more demos -I think the red swirled cap one is a Recife, then another Stipula Etruria Nuda (the Etrurias are wonderful pens, whatever the flavour) and TWSBI Vac 700:

more demos

and a few more – TWSBI Diamond 530, a Visconti Travelling Ink Pot, a Noodler’s rollerball and a blue Pelikan 205 (and a bottle of Fountain Pen Hospital’s exclusive Noodler’s Henry Hudson Blue ink lurking in the background).

more and more

Another week and another rogue’s gallery – I put this at the end on the assumption that most people have tired of reading my post, so would never get this far!  Just kidding, you handsome devils! 8~)

rogues gallery

Fooling around with ink and paper

I recently received a truckload of ink from our friends at Swisher Pens.  I also decided to buy a few pads of the Staples Bagasse paper – made from sugarcane – which seems to be the rage on pen-related discussion boards.

One of the things that I had noticed was the significant drying time for ink used on the Bagasse paper – it just seemed to stay wet forever (imho).  So with Rick ready with his Timex, we compared two inks (Noodler’s Dark Matter and Private Reserve Fast Dry Midnight Blues) on Staples bagasse paper and Rhodia graph paper (from a notebook).  You can see that the Dark Matter took quite a bit longer to dry on the bagasse paper – over 1 minute – compared to just over 15 seconds on the Rhodia paper.  Interestingly, the Fast Dry Midnight Blues lived up to its billing – it dried very quickly on the bagasse paper – less than 15 seconds – and almost immediately on the Rhodia paper.  I should also note that the PR Fast Dry ink was laid down on the paper with a Sheaffer’s Legacy medium nib that has flow like a firehose so we were most impressed with the fast dry qualities of this ink – it was really quite amazing!

ink and paper drying tests July 2009_extra

ink and paper drying tests July 20094

ink and paper drying tests July 20091

One of the other items that has come up for discussion is the apparent difference in the colour of Pilot blue ink – from the bottle and in their V pens.  The proof is in the pudding – as you can see below, the Pilot blue bottled ink appears to be much lighter in comparison to that used in the V pens. 

ink and paper drying tests July 20092

Finally, I was asked to do a comparison of light blue/turquoise coloured inks for someone on the FPN – here are some of the main brands and the colours on Staples bagasse paper.  I tried to use a blotter on the Dark Matter ink used to label the various blues – you can see that there is a faint line running down the right hand side of the page (yet more proof of the slow drying time of this paper!).

ink and paper drying tests July 20093

Review of Renaissance Art Folder Holder (by KR)

So, my friend kindly sent me a bottle of Old Manhattan. I fell madly in love with it and absolutely had to find the right pen for the job. Decided that it had to be something black and subdued and preferable not shiny, just like Old Manhattan. Since said friend knows better than I do, he sent me this for my 40th birthday:

Yellow Omas Emotica
Yellow Omas Emotica in the process of being attacked by a snake!

(The pen, not the snake. The snake is in love with the pen. Long story, but the pen is extremely lovely.)

So. We now have the perfect pen/ink combo. Now what? Hm. I seem to have a separate Apica notebook for everything that interests me. I have a New Music Canada/CBC Radio 3 notebook and a History notebook and a NY Times crossword notebook where I write unfamiliar words for further study so that I can kick tail at the 2010 American Crossword Championship and an “Interesting Things I Hear on the Radio” notebook and… You know where I am going. An absolute nightmare to go to the library lugging all of those notebooks.

Enter the Renaissance Art Folder Holder! Excellent! Rather than a whole notebook dedicated to one subject, I can have all of my subjects, plus work, meal planning, grocery shopping, household chores, calendar and personal goals folders with me at all times, everywhere I go. Sweet.

Drat! I use Rhodia pads and they won’t fit in the traditional Folder Holder! No fear, as Arthur the Magnificent from Renaissance Art kindly just made me one that would accommodate A4. Two days later it was in my hot little hands.

Renaissance Art Folder Holder
Enter the Renaissance Art Folder Holder

The leather is fabulous. Hands down, the nicest leather I have ever seen. It even smells good. For those who ride motorcycles, this leather has the same feel as a Hein Gericke jacket. The stitching and everything exceeded my expectations. Bliss. Now to fill it with lovely, useful things. Because it was purchased to 1) make life easier and 2) look (absolutely!) fabulous with the Emotica and the ink and the Rhodia, yellow, black and orange would figure exclusively.

What a hat trick - Folder holder + Emotica + Rhodia!
What a hat trick - Folder holder + Emotica + Rhodia!

I do use different little useful things depending on where I am going, but the folders generally stay the same. When I have finished a page of, say New Music, I take the page out of the folder and put it in a matching folder in my desk. That way, I don’t fill up my Folder Holder too much. There is ample space for extra folders and a Behance Action Pad, which I carry everywhere in case a spontaneous meeting erupts. If you haven’t tried this stuff, you should. Very cool.

Check out the Behance in that folder holder
Check out the Behance in that folder holder

Anyway, I usually have a Clairefontaine Age Bag address book in the middle pocket (yes, I know my address book is black, not brown. Noodler’s Heart of Darkness and a Q-tip fixed that little problem), Behance Action Pad in orange and a Crane 3×5 card case with a Behance Action Card in the CD pocket. My Mikado fits snugly and happily in the business card pocket (I used to carry a Visconti traveling ink pot there but because of the Mikado’s ink capacity, I no longer run out). The Emotica fits securely and happily in the large pen loop and the material used to make the loop doesn’t stain the yellow rubber. Bliss. Because of a recent development (details below) I now carry a Preppy eyedropper highlighter filled with (wait for it) Noodler’s Orange highlighter ink in the pen loop. Oh. The Rhodia pads have yellow paper. Sigh.

Okay, now we’re cooking. I had a part time job at our local Farmers’ Market and the good bathrooms were upstairs so I used to pass by and chat with an artist who worked up there. Very nice man. One day, I linger a bit longer and take a really good look at one of his little tiny paintings (I had glanced at it every time I went up there, but I hadn’t really looked at it).

"The Gang's All Here" (ed. note - and what a motley crew it is!)
Photo otherwise known as “The Gang’s All Here”.

Enter the missing link: Jim Pescott is his website. Amazing stuff and those of you who get the Unicef Christmas cards may see his work this year, as he was selected to participate. This is a very great honour and I am proud to know him.

Now, as all such adventures go, I found that I needed another piece of the organization puzzle. I am a notoriously bad housekeeper. I don’t plan well and I forget that things need doing, such as taking library books back on time, sending birthday cards and cleaning the kitchen. That one constantly falls out of my head. I was using a folder for it in the Folder Holder, but I’d keep forgetting to look in it to tell me to do things like clean the kitchen. I needed something more “in my face”.   Enter the 3×5 card case with composition book!

Enter the card holder
And gimme one of those card cases too!

While I am not thrilled with the leather used on this one (I got spoiled by the batch used to make my Folder Holder) it is a well made and thoroughly well designed item. I’ll get used to the leather (nothing wrong with it, but I don’t like shiny leather). I scoured the city and have found some composition books that might work. I am still in the process of finding exactly what I want. I may end up cutting the covers of my Apicas and putting those in (the opening is a bit too small).

Everything in its place - Oops, where are my glasses?
Everything in its place - Oops, where are my glasses?

So. The Folder Holder and his little brother, the card case have changed everything. Seriously. I can now have all of my various hobbies documented in one place and it is effortless to drop one subject and pick up on another very quickly. I have orange folders for my personal hobbies and yellow for my work projects. The card case serves as a constant reminder of what needs to be done when and how. It is impossible to open it and not see that my copy of Spaced needs to be back to the library on the 25th. I have a running shopping list in there and a myriad of other lists and doodads, with a composition book that is for note taking and is also perforated so I can dispose of my ramblings.

Renaissance Art has been fabulous to deal with (slow answers to emails aside-their spam filter is apparently too efficient) and there is no denying the quality of their goods (shiny leather aside). The Folder Holder and his little brother are extremely cool tools in quieting the frenetic mind (I think the expression is “mind like water”). I have never been more organized, although the kitchen is still a mess. I lost that card, I think. Oh, well.

Thanks to LPC member KR for writing this and taking the great pics!