Monday, June 30, 2008

Portland Pen Show July 11-13, 2008

Just a little reminder about the upcoming Portland Pen Show ( This is a wonderful opportunity for both newcomers to the hobby and seasoned experts to mingle, buy, sell and trade writing instruments (both vintage and modern) and attend free educational seminars on everything from pen repairs to calligraphic writing to tips on pen collecting in general.

I plan to travel down on the 10th so I can be there for the Friday bargains (open to dealers and those with a $50 full-weekend pass only). I try to go every year because the show is the closest one to Vancouver... and also because the folks that organize the show do such a darned good job of making sure everyone has an enjoyable time.

The pen show coincides with America's largest antique show (the Palmer/Wirfs antique show, being held on the Portland Expo grounds), so how many more excuses do you need to head down to Portland that weekend??
Hope to see you there! (I'll be the one drooling over the vintage Sheaffer pens for sale ;)

Photos from this year's Portland Pen Show show added:

(Fellow VPC member Mike A. inspecting some pens for sale by Ray Kuncz and his wife Louise on the show's last day)

(A lovely selection of Parker fountain pens for sale by the friendly dealers at

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Don't take this too seriously...

...But am I the only one with a nostalgic affection for the Bic Classic? Humblest of the cheap throwaway ball-points, this pen was introduced in 1950 by Marcel Biche, in France, and remains virtually unchanged since.

The Bic’s runny and uneven ink flow graced many a school notebook of mine in the 1960s. And this is where nostalgia kicks in. As anyone knows, ballpoint tips wear down with use. It’s only in the last stage of the refill’s life that it loses its typical uniform, uninteresting ballpoint line and spreads to a glorious, rich, runny blobbiness.

Call me perverse, but I like that last inch of a Bic the best. So naturally it occurred to me that it should be possible to put a new ink tube on an old tip, and if course it is. It’s easy to pull the Bic refill apart, keep the old worn tip, and slip in just the ink reservoir from a new one. You might have to blow gently down the top of the tube to prevent an air bubble forming as you press the two parts together. Then you have a fresh Bic that will be runny all the way down! It won’t last as long as a new one, but of course Bics are cheap! Only be warned that the tip will break down completely in time, and start to leak horrendously after you’ve used it about five times. Then it’s time to start another one.