Friday, June 29, 2012

VPC Summer Dinner

As per tradition, the VPC summer dinner will be held at Moxie's Classic Grill restaurant on Davie Street in downtown Vancouver on Thursday July 19. VPC members: please RSVP by July 14th, as per the instructions in the Vancouver Pen Club members' group email I sent to members on June 28th. Please note: this is not a regular meeting...We will return to our regular "themed" meetings in August at Perks.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A visit to the Delta pen factory!

~A wonderful report from VPC member Glenn Marcus on his recent visit to the Delta pen factory in Naples, Italy (all photos & text by Glenn)~

"The visit with Delta Pen was very interesting. I have visited the major companies in Italy and France and I must say I was very impressed with the amount of hand work that goes into the pens. Delta has a small factory, with about 45 or so people working to manufacture the pens."

Left to right: Marco Paracenzo (Novelli Pen in Rome), Glenn Marcus, Ciro Matrone (one of the three owners of Delta Pen), Antonio di Maio (Sales Representative). "No one speaks very much English, and when I wrote Marco and told him I would be going to the factory, he offered to come down from Rome to Naples, to be my translator. He also wanted to see the new factory they moved into last year. I would have been lost without his help. Only so many times you can say ci, benne..."

"Delta is launching a new nib, the "fusion" in the next month. They fuse a gold layer onto a steel layer, and the chemical process creates an extremely good writing nib. They presented me with a Dolcevita piston fill fountain pen, fitted on the spot with the new nib. So I truly have a numbered one of a kind pen. I have been using it to write in my travel journal and I can attest to the smoothness and responsiveness of the nib."

"This is a photo of one of the employees filing down the metal to make the lever for the side-lever ink filling part of a pen. At some of the other pen manufacturers there was much more machine based production of parts. With the Delta pen you are truly getting a hand made pen."

"As I walked about the factory the employees would show me the various pens they were working on. Here they tricked me by showing me again the Pompeii Rediscover."

"When I saw the rods of stunning yellow with black streaks... It was one of those must have pens" [note: as Glenn said in a subsequent email: "I now have it"--see photo below]

"My wife, Karen, bought me the Pompeii Rediscover, for our 25th wedding anniversary. They call it the Rediscover because of what they found out about the colour. The first Pompeii pen was produced in a brick red. That is the colour you see today on the walls of the buildings at Pompeii. But scientists have concluded the walls were actually painted yellow, it was the chemical reaction with the lava and gases that changed the colour to what we see today".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [Glenn also wound up with another lovely fountain pen on his trip to Italy:]

Glenn writes: "My other Rome pen is the OMAS vintage 360 in red, just 360 pens made, this is #156. Has a great broad nib and writes like a charm".

[note: Glenn had previously mentioned on his blog that this particular pen was on his "wish list". Glad you finally got it, Glenn...and many thanks for your report from beautiful Italia!]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pen Club 101 and a bit of VPC history

I've been having fun checking out the articles and forum posts on Fountain Pen Geeks (they of the informative & humorous weekly podcasts of which I blogged earlier here ). A few days ago, Eric Schneider (who runs the site, along with Dan Smith) asked if I could do a short write-up on how to start a local pen club. I put something together and they posted it on their site. After I wrote the article, my mind drifted back to the early days of our own pen club, so I thought I'd share this bit of history with the readers of our club's blog (yes, both of you... I jest ;)

The Vancouver Pen Club was started by Tim Conklin, who posted a query on the Zoss List back on October 1, 2006 asking if there were any people in the Vancouver, B.C. area who were interested in forming a local pen club. I missed this post, but saw a later (Nov. 2) Zoss post by Tim, whose subject line was "Announcing the Vancouver Pen Club". I think there were only a couple of members at this point (Tim and his fellow swim club member Bill K.) but at least they were off to a start! My pen friend Brian asked if I was interested in joining, so both he and I wrote to Tim, informing him of our interest. I told Ryan I. (who was also on the Fountain Pen Network, as was original member Bill S.) about the club, and the first meeting was set for December 7, 2006 at Moxie's Classic Grill, a restaurant in Vancouver's West End.

Five of us showed up that night (Brian had just flown back from a trip to Europe and couldn't make it) and we were shown to a very large circular table (with a privacy curtain, no less!) near the front of the restaurant. With the dance music blaring in the background, we managed to introduce ourselves and talked about our love of fountain pens and how we came to be fountain pen users and/or collectors. I don't remember what I ate that night, but I will never forget how friendly and welcoming everyone was. From that date, our club has grown by leaps and bounds and now has over 90 people on our membership list. I hope that some of you reading this will be inspired to start your own local pen club; it's not as difficult as you might think. Many thanks to Tim for taking the initiative to start this wonderful pen club; hope you can make it to another meeting soon, Tim---we miss you!

(photo taken at the first VPC meeting on December 7, 2006---from L to R: Bill S, me (Maja), Ryan I, Bill K and Tim)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Mrs. Chris's Pens for Sale

Dear VPC members....Just posting some pens for sale on behalf of VPC member Christopher's wife Chris, who has decided to sell some of her vintage pens. (all text below by Christopher--click on photos to enlarge) ~~ Just got an update from Chris' husband today (Sept 5, 2012) that all the pens are sold, except for the Waterman's 13 chased hard rubber eyedropper ~~
Let's start off with a mint Parker True Blue set (the later year 'Streamline' models) colours definitely a tribute to the Parker quality and may I add in their original box. Lots of flex in the gold nib and no flaws in either the fittings or finish on pen or pencil. To cut to the chase, Chris is offering this impressive set for $400, which I think is a very good and responsible price.
Round two, involves a mint Big Red Parker set, from the late 1920s. Both pen and pencil are mint and well imprinted with the Lucky Curve designation. The nib on the fountain is big as is the pen, sitting on a Christmas tree feed, and talk about a beautiful writer, this pen takes the cake. The flex in the nib is the best I have ever written with. It is just a joy to use. Pen measures 6.75 inches posted and is totally restored. It draws ink like a Trojan and has a lovely even flow. Chris is selling this set for $500.
Round three is a mint Parker Mandarin Yellow Duofold Jr. also Lucky Curve designated and this pen is both flawless and writes impressively. Once again, lots of flex in the beautiful gold nib and it has a 3 gold cap rings and a brilliant yellow finish. Chris is selling this beauty for $325.
Finally, she is selling a lovely early Waterman's 13 chased hard rubber eyedropper, also in mint condition with two wide brilliant gold overlay barrel bands. The 14K gold nib which also has lots of flex is a number two and the pen measures all of 6.75 inches posted. I inked this pen yesterday and used it to write in my journal. Definitely a lovely pen to write with, with a even smooth flow. Chris is selling this flawless beauty for $225.