Friday, August 17, 2018

Local pen history...and more!

One of our long-time members (and long-time collector), Christopher, brought a couple of interesting 2nd/3rd-tier vintage writing instruments with him for our June meeting topic. I snapped a couple of photos but they turned out horribly, so Christopher was kind enough to send me his own shots, starting with this marbled Spencer’s "Write-Away" fountain pen:
( ~Click on images to enlarge~)
Christopher writes: "Further research makes this pen second-tier in name only. Spencer’s was a quality local department store until it sold out to Eatons....This pen was produced by Waterman and supplied to Spencer’s under their branding." The case in the photo above is an original Spencer’s Optical Dept. glasses case and cleaning cloth that belonged to a woman Christopher knew who worked for Spencer’s before they closed and sold to Eaton’s in 1955.
Old photo of Spencer’s Department Store in Vancouver, BC
Spencer’s Downtown Vancouver First Floor pen counter
Another item that Christopher brought in for our topic of 2nd- and 3rd-tier vintage writing instruments was this early ballpoint made by Wahl-Eversharp called the "Wahl Ball Pen"
Wahl Ball Pen ad ca. 1948
As for our secondary topic, Newest Acquisitions, Christopher told us about a vintage Parker 'Duofold' set he recently acquired in the lovely Lapis Lazuli Blue material (pictured above). Christopher's set has excellent colouration---ie. there is very little visible darkening of the material
The vintage set with a modern Parker Duofold pencil in Lapis (in the middle)
Last, but not least, another new find of Christopher's--a Sheaffer desk pen with a lovely marble base. Christopher removed the original plaque and replaced it with a plaque from a literary award he won.

Great vintage writing instruments, all of them! Thank you, Christopher, for sharing your photos and an interesting bit of Vancouver pen-related history with us :)

June meeting photos - part 2

Ricardo was kind enough to take photos during our meeting, so here are some of the ones he shot... starting with his wonderfully-illustrated notebook...(~Click on images to enlarge~)
That's René in the middle, talking about some of the 2nd- and 3rd-tier pens he brought to the meeting for our topic (from L-R: John P, Rene, Stuart, Maja)
René's case with the cool 2nd- and 3rd-tier pens he brought with him (there's a complete list of the pens in part 1 of our June meeting photos)

(L-R: Kelley, Christopher, John Parnell, Barry, Stuart)

John came all the way from London, Ontario to attend our meeting (he's one of the founding members of the London Pen Club). I didn't have a chance to photograph them, but John brought some nice fountain pens with him; I recall seeing a lovely Sheaffer PFM, an Esterbrook and a Lamy Safari (and I'm beginning to think every fountain pen user owns a Safari :)
That's Justin, wearing a cool Pentel 'Sign Pen' t-shirt from Uniqlo:
Two Kaweco 'Sport' fountain pens in the blue stonewashed colour belonging to Justin and Stuart. Justin’s 'Sport' is the uncapped one, and Stuart's is the one that's capped, with less wear:
Justin talking to Melodie, who attended her first VPC meeting that night:
Melodie brought some beautiful fountain pens with her, starting with this gorgeous OMAS 'Bologna' in the "La Magica" swirly white & purple pattern.
A close-up of the beautiful nib on the OMAS, showing Bologna's famous porticoes, nominated for inclusion in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
More lovely fountain pens belonging to Melodie! From left to right: Sailor ProGear, Pelikan M805 'Ocean Swirl', Nakaya 'Naka-Ai' model in the Aka-tamenuri (reddish-red) finish. This urushi lacquer finish lightens in colour over time when exposed to light.
A close-up of the three beautiful finishes...
Re: the Nakaya 'Naka-Ai' model (description from "Naka-ai" has the meaning of middle or in-between, and brings to mind the Middle Way of Buddhist practice with its emphasis on balance, integrity, and centeredness. Appropriately, the Naka-ai occupies a midway position between Nakaya's smaller Piccolo series pens and the longer desk pen with its long tapered tail."
Jerred speaking to Melodie...
Jerred's great PENBBS pen collection:
Close-up of the collection, showing the wonderful colours of the acrylic material...
Delta fountain pen:
Natasha's elegant Namisu 'Studio' in ebonite, with Titanium nib---a discontinued model:
Ricardo's completed illustrated log of our meeting :)
Many thanks to Ricardo for taking (and sharing) these great photos!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

June meeting photos - part 1

We had a good turnout for our June meeting, held at the Terry Salman branch of the VPL on June 21st. It was game night at Nat Bailey stadium (which I completely forgot) so I apologize for any parking issues members might have had!

Nonetheless, seventeen VPC members (including a brand-new member, Melodie) showed up that night, along with a special guest from London, Ontario---John Parnell, one of the founding members of the very active London Pen Club (who meet weekly!).
Group shot: Back row (L-R) Melodie, Tony, Natasha, Barry, Ricardo, Jim, Jerred, Justin, Christopher, John Parnell, me (Maja) and Stuart. Front row (L-R) Julienne, Dana, Kelley and René. Not pictured: Alejandra and Bill M.

Top group photo taken by Tony's daughter; bottom group pic taken by Melodie.
Our topic for June was "Pens/Pencils made by 2nd-Tier and 3-Tier Vintage Pen Companies" (description of the topic posted here) and I remembered to snap some photos (apologies for the picture quality), so here we go....
(~Click on photos to enlarge~)
Here are a couple of nice examples that René brought in for our meeting theme---a marbled blue British-made vintage Conway Stewart '12' lever-filler (made of casein) and a lovely no-name fountain pen. There's a veritable wealth of information about vintage CS writing instruments here .

Jerred's vintage Platignum fountain pen (top), Barry's Mabie-Todd 'Swan 100/60' fountain pen (middle pen). Jerred also brought in a new acquisition, a glossy black Niole fountain pen with an urushi lacquer finish made in Japan.
Esterbrook was a well-known 2nd/3rd-tier American pen company that produced affordable but well-made fountain pens. Dana brought in two examples---a cute pastel Esterbook 'CH' and a red Esterbook 'J' model. Dana's newest acquisition was this vintage striped Pelikan NN (with a great OB-oblique broad-nib!)
Monogram fountain pen made in the late 1930s - early 1940s, brought in by Jim. Monogram was a brand of vintage writing instruments made for the Rexall drugstore chain by several different companies. There's an interesting post about this particular model here, which claims that it was made by Moore, a highly-regard vintage maker of pens.
Stuart brought in several nice examples for our topic, including this brown (or "root beer", as some call the colour) Esterbrook J pen and a pale blue Wearever 'Pennant'.The company promoted the 'Pennant' in ads with the tagline "World's Largest Fountain Pen Manufacturer"! (good article on the 'Pennant' models here)

A multi-coloured Penco 'Pen Jr.'fountain pen belonging to Stuart. According to this source, Penco was a 2nd/3rd-tier sub-brand of Parker (a 1st-tier manufacturer). Some other Parker sub-brands were: Writefine, Safford and others.
A mix of old and new! (top to bottom) Jerred's Alster fountain pen (vintage brand from Germany), Melodie's gorgeous new OMAS 'Bologna' and Stuart's pearl Wearever & Esterbrook J in the grey "icicle' colour. According to, Esterbrook made these pin-striped (and harder-to-find) versions later in production.
Newest acquisitions is always our secondary topic and here are two examples that vary wildly in price-Justin's black Wing Sung 618 & Julienne's new Delta 'Dolce Vita' Chatterley Luxuries LE in the beautiful Mahogany colour. I'm sorry I didn't photograph it but Justin also brought in his new Moonman 'Wancai Mini' (a small FP) & a Franklin-Christoph '45'.

One of Stuart's newest purchases---a British-made Parker 'Duofold'. The pens were made in England and can often be found with really nice nibs. I have a few myself, and I think they're one of the most-underrated Parker pens :) Another of Stuart's new pen-related purchases was a vintage 'Lady' Sheaffer fountain pen (not pictured).

An Epenco (not to be confused with Penco) fountain pen owned by René. Epenco was a sub-brand of the Eagle Pen and Pencil company. There's some good info on this sub-brand here (under "Eagle").

Melodie's beautiful leather pen roll made by The Superior Labor. The roll was made in Japan and is hand-stitched. The line is carried by Wonder Pens in Toronto (no affiliation to store :)
The red pen in the middle of the photo is Melodie's beautiful new Nakaya'Naka-Ai' fountain pen, lovingly handmade in Japan. The Nakaya is flanked by three other beautiful writing instruments---a Parker Sonnet Prestige with rose gold trim on the left, and two Pelikans (an M805 in Ocean Swirl pattern and an M400 in white tortoise)

More pen cases filled with great pens! This is Jerred's 24-pen vinyl case made by Artist's Loft, filled with some wonderful new acquisitions-- a colourful array of fountain pens made by PENBBS.

This Chinese company has become a fast favourite with some of our members (including myself) with its brightly-coloured acrylic fountain pens in a wide variety of styles.

René's 48-pen case filled with some great 2nd and 3rd-tier vintage pens!
<--Upper row, from left to right: Esterbrook CX-100 (student pen), Esterbrook J transitional (version 1), 2x Estie J pens, Esterbrook LJ icicle, Wyvern No. 7, Wyvern Perfect Pen No. 81 (1930s version), Wyvern 60C, Wyvern Envoy, Wyvern 404, Wyvern Perfect Pen No. 81 (1950s version), Conway Stewart 12.
Lower row, from left to right: Mabie-Todd Swan 100/60, Mabie-Todd Blackbird, Mabie-Todd Swallow, Waterman Aikin-Lambert Skywriter, Conway-Stewart 388, Moore L-92, Bayard 561, Nova (no model name), Sager Inkmaker (WWII version of the "trench pen"), Uhu Primus, Newark Pen Company Secretary.

Upper row: "Cardinal" (no maker identified) promotional pen, Pioneer, Burnham No. 49, three Arnolds, Osmiroid (?) (no model name), no-name, Streamline (no model name), Foreign (1920s "cheap Chinese pen"), no-name French vintage pen, Spors (crescent-filler).
Lower row: Universal ink-o-graph, Pioneer (no model name), Burnham B48, Mayfair (no model name), no-name, Epenco (Canada, no model name), Wearever (dolphin-nib clone), Wearever (taperite clone), Wearever Zenith, Wearever flat-top, Eclipse Hooded Knight, franken-pen (Waterman body, ?? cap).

Many thanks to René for bringing in so many examples for our topic. I didn't individually photograph the Arnold pens he brought to this meeting, but there's a great photo of them here in this post that Ricardo took at our March meeting.

And speaking of Ricardo...He took some photos (much better than mine!) during our meeting, which I will post a bit later, along with some pics from Christopher and July's meeting photos. Apologies for taking so long to post my own photos!

Many thanks to all who came to the June meeting! It was a pleasure meeting John and chatting with him about our London counterparts :)

Don't forget---there is NO regular meeting this month, just the VPC Members' Summer Dinner on August 16th (tomorrow night)--info is in the group emails I sent to members.
Regular (themed) meetings will resume in September, most likely on our usual third-Thursday of the month (venue and theme: to be announced in a couple of weeks).

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

VPC Summer Dinner information

The annual summer dinner for VPC members will be held on Thursday August 16.
Details are in the group email I sent out on August 1st to our membership.

Please note: this is just a dinner, not a regular meeting ... and there will be no regular meeting in August. We'll return to our regular (themed) meetings in September, most likely our usual third-Thursday-of-the-month, which will fall on September 20. (date, place and theme - to be announced later this month).

Have a great summer, everyone! :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July meeting information

When: Thursday July 19, 2018 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
(Don't worry if you're late---we usually start at around 6:30)

Where: the KITSILANO branch of the Vancouver Public Library at 2425 Macdonald Street (between Broadway and West 8th), Vancouver, BC
The meeting will take place in their Program Room (community/meeting room), which is on the lowest level of the library basement. This is where our club met in February.

The meeting theme covers fountain pens you bought but later regretted buying (Buyer's Remorse) plus fountain pens you didn't buy and regretted not doing so (Non-Buyer's Regret). Please bring 1-3 examples of fountain pens that you regretted buying, and then tell us about a pen or two you wish you'd bought but didn't (if you happened to find and buy the pen/pens at a later date, please bring them with you to show). If you don't have any remorse or regret about your pen-buying, lucky you lol! But seriously, please come anyway and see what others have brought :)

Our secondary topic is always NEWEST ACQUISITIONS (pen-related)---eg. new pens/inks/paper/pen cases/other accessories/etc, so if you have any you wish to show, please bring them with you. No need to RSVP for this meeting. Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

6th Annual Northwest Pen Round-Up! (Portland, OR event)

Here's some info from co-organizer Michael McNeil about a fun, one-day pen extravaganza being held in Portland, Oregon next month. It's free, it's open to everyone and it's the closest pen event to our fair city, so I hope you'll try to attend! (photos from previous Round-Ups can be found here and here)

The 6th Annual Northwest Pen Round-Up! will be held on Sunday July 15th, 2018 at the Lucky Labrador Brewing Co., 1945 N.W. Quimby St., Portland, Oregon, from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

It is the same weekend as the largest antique show in the Northwest, the Christine Palmer Antique Show.

Note that the show has moved from Saturday to Sunday due to scheduling conflicts.

The show is free to attendees and there is a nominal fee if you would like a table or tables to sell pens or other items.

If you plan on selling, I would suggest that you book a table ASAP, as the space is limited and tables book quickly. For tables contact Stuart Hawkinson e-mail:

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Photos from our May meeting

(all photos by Ricardo, except where noted ~ Please click on images to enlarge ~)

Our May meeting theme was "Nib Tuning" and featured an excellent presentation by VPC member Jerred:
Jerred's presentation was done in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and a live demo.
The Nib Tuning Powerpoint presentation can be viewed here:
We had good attendance for our meeting---17 members, including one newcomer (Kelley) showed up. From L-R: Jim M, Mark S, Dana, Justin, Mark H, Natasha, Grace, Joie, Maja, Christopher R, Barry K, Sabrina, Jerred:
Jerred's talk was thorough, informative and entertaining, and had many very useful tips & techniques for both the beginner and more advanced "nib tuner"...
Jerred setting up the camera for the live nib-tuning demonstration:
From L-R: Dana, Justin, Julienne, Mark H, Natasha, Grace, Kelley, Joie, Maja, Christopher R, Barry K, Sabrina, Jerred:
Live fountain pen nib-tuning demo!
(photo below) Jerred demonstrating some nib-smoothing techniques using Micro-Mesh Sanding Discs (available from Lee Valley Tools here). Lee Valley Tools also carries the Micro-Mesh Pen Sanding Pads here.
Please note: for nib smoothing purposes, only the 6000, 8000 and 12000 grit are recommended. Coarser grades can be used for nib reshaping, but that topic was not covered at our meeting.
Jerred's invaluable Nib Tuning Demonstration notes can be found here:

As usual, our secondary topic is Newest Acquisitions, so Ricardo snapped a few of them, including Sabrina's lovely Pelikan M805 "Ocean Swirl":
(below) Ricardo's orange TWSBI 580 AL and someone's new Pilot Decimo fountain pen. I can't remember who brought it, so please let me know if you're the owner :)
Mark's wonderful vintage Parker 'Duofold' in Mandarin Yellow:
Now, a few more photos from our May meeting, these courtesy of Christopher's camera...

Happy VPCers (L-R) Alejandra, Mark H, new member Kelley, Maja and Christopher:
Alejandra between the "two Marks"---Mark S (left) and Mark H (right)
Barry holding a classic vintage American fountain pen---Mark's Parker 'Duofold' in the prized Mandarin Yellow colour (there's a nice writeup on this famous pen model here):
More new recent acquisitions....

Christopher R's Waterman Taperite Crusader set, Circa 1953
(~Click on images to enlarge~)
Christopher writes: "(This) Crusader set is a Canadian one differing from the usual model with a higher quality stainless steel brushed and lined cap. This model was produced in the Waterman Quebec plant and is considered a better pen than the US aluminum cap model." It's a somewhat rare pen, and Christopher's particular fountain pen even has a wonderfully-flexy nib, so congrats to him on this great find!
Christopher's Waterman Taperite Stateleigh, Stars & Stripes model Circa 1945:
Christopher's notes that the Stateleigh has a clutch grip in the cap to catch on the section ring (very similar to the Parker 51 which Waterman was trying to copy and/or compete with), whereas the later Taperite Crusader model went back to a threaded cap/barrel.

That's all the photos from May's meeting! Our sincere thanks to Jerred for his great talk :)
(Photo by Barry K)

Hope to see you at the next meeting, which will be held later today - Thursday June 21st- at the Terry Salman branch of the VPL from 6:00pm to 8:45pm---all info here!