Monday, December 18, 2017

January 2018 meeting info!

A big 'thank you' to everyone who came to our meetings in 2017! It's been a great year for our club (I still can't believe we celebrated our 100th meeting back in February!) and we have some interesting new topics/themes planned for our 2018 meetings, so I hope you can make it to at least one of them.
Since we don't have meetings in December, the next one won't be until January...but here is some info about it:
January 2018 Vancouver Pen Club meeting info:

Date: Thursday January 18, 2018

Time: 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Place: The Community Room (Meeting Room) of the Vancouver Public Library's Oakridge branch (at the back of Oakridge Mall), 650 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver, BC.

Topic: To be announced (soon!) Iconic Fountain Pens

One of our longtime members (Mark H.) recently suggested we do series of short talks on some famous fountain pen models. I asked if any of our members wanted to do presentations, and I got some responses, so here is what our January meeting topic/theme will be about:
the Esterbrook "J" (I--Maja--will be talking about them), the Montblanc 149 and 146 (Ray G), the Sheaffer Balance (Stuart), and possibly the Parker '51' (not confirmed yet).
If you have examples of these pen models (including matching mechanical pencils/ballpoints/rollerballs), please bring them with you to the meeting. Oh, and if you have a modern Sheaffer Balance, bring it along, too, so we can compare the vintage and modern ones. Someone might be doing a talk on the Parker '51' pen, however I am still waiting to hear back from him...but if you want to bring your Parker 51's just in case, that would be great.

Our secondary theme is always Newest Acquisitions, so if you've acquired any new pen-related items (pens/inks/pen cases/paper/etc), please bring them with you to show us.

Until the next meeting, have a safe & happy holiday season!
~Maja (Vancouver Pen Club President)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Inventive packing! (my new Jinhao 992)

Unpacking my brand-new ivory white Jinhao 992 fountain pen, an eBay purchase that arrived from China earlier this week:
At first glance, I thought the seller had sent the pen in a box, but it felt like styrofoam...
...and it was styrofoam! Removing the packing tape from the styrofoam left a bit of a mess...
...but it was worth it, to find out that the pen was safely nestled inside! (clever, huh?)
Photo below: At first I thought the pen (essentially, a clone of the Sailor ProColor 500) had a defect in its plastic, but it turns out that this little 'bump' on the barrel end is a feature of the Sailor Procolor 500 model, as well!

I own an original Sailor Procolor 500 (one of Sailor Procolor 500 Shikisai's---"Four Seasons"---series) which I love--it's in the last photo in this old post ---but this Jinhao is a great value at $4.49 USD (shipped!), if you're looking for an attractive, inexpensive pen.

Please note: I have heard of some cracking issues with some of the clear Jinhao 992 pens (at the barrel end) so I opted to buy a solid-colour model. I don't know if the solid colours are less prone to cracking during the manufacturing process or not, but my ivory white pen doesn't have any cracks that I can detect. 

Adding a couple of photos (almost 5 years later lol)...

I just got a request for a photo of the Jinhao 992 next to a Sailor ProColor 500 from a reader today (June 5, 2022) so here they are----the Sailor is my 'Procolor 500' in the lovely Shikisai (Four Seasons) Hoshikuzu (Stardust) material

The Jinhao is a bit thicker than the Sailor, but they are the same length--capped and posted --and look very similar. I'm glad I got that photo request because I just realized I'd never posted a photo of the Jinhao outside of its packaging---whoops!

My new Jinhao

An arty shot of my wonderful new Jinhao X450 fountain pen in stainless steel and beautiful 'thank you' card (a creation of longtime VPC member Glenn Marcus, he of items I received at this month's VPC meeting :)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Last meeting of 2017!

Many thanks to the fifteen VPC members (including newcomer Jim M) who came out to the Terry Salman branch of the Vancouver Public Library on a rainy night for our November 16th meeting!

The evening's primary theme/topic was "What pen-related gifts did you get for Christmas/the holiday season in the past, and what pen stuff would you like to get this year...and why? " (many thanks to Mido for the theme idea!) and our secondary theme/topic was -as usual- Newest Acquisitions.
We saw many interesting items for both themes, so I snapped a few photos of them...
(~ click on images to enlarge ~)

Mido's green Pelikan M200, a gift from his family. Mido is hoping to add a Pelikan M800 or M1000 to his collection, in the form of a Christmas gift. Great choices, Mido!
Some really nice vintage Waterman fountain pens that Stuart recently acquired. The black pen with gold cap is a Waterman 'Duo 7', and the one below it is a gorgeous silver Waterman C/F in the Moiré pattern. There's a nice little writeup on the Duo 7 here (interestingly, the pen uses a glass ink cartridge and writes on both sides of the nib)
Two more new pens of Stuart's---a modern fountain pen (Lamy 'Studio' in the Special Edition "Racing Green" colour) and a vintage one (teal Waterman C/F). I'm sorry that I didn't snap a photo of the two pens Stuart received as Christmas gifts---two handsome Sheaffer 'Legacy' fountain pens (I'll try to photograph them at January's meeting). Being a vintage pen fan, the #1 pen on Stuart's wish list is an original Parker 'Duofold'.
Jerred always has some very interesting new pen-related acquisitions to show us. This time he brought (bottom to top) a jet-black M&G fountain pen (a very Lamy cp1-like pen), a Spalding fountain pen in black maple, a Paper Mate 'Monogram' fountain pen, and a pen-of-unknown-model from Aliexpress in a bright blue colour (I photographed its light-blue counterpart at last month's meeting). Jerred's dream fountain pen?
A Nakaya Vermillion Emperor.
A cool Muji 'Aluminum Round' fountain pen recently purchased by Tsung-Yen at the Muji store at Metrotown mall in Burnaby. His wish for a Christmas/holiday pen-related gift is the ever-popular Pilot 'Vanishing Point' fountain pen.
Longtime VPC member Christopher showed us his latest vintage pen finds, including: (L-R) an Aikin Lambert retractable dip-pen made of rolled gold & ebony (ca. 1860), three Wahl-Eversharps (including two lovely Dorics), an E.Faber in a colourful green & black marbled design, and his best find - a black Waterman '52' with wide gold band & mercantile clip.
A photo showing (in the foreground) the adjustable nib on one of Christopher's Wahl-Eversharp Dorics. Christopher's Christmas gift wish was granted a few years ago when his wife Chris bought him the Montblanc '149' he really wanted. I asked Christopher which pen was currently at the top of his wish list, and he immediately said an over-sized Parker Vacumatic (ca. 1932-1933) in red stripes, with double striped jewels, a matching section and perfect clarify. Wonderful choice!
One of Ricardo's newest fountain pens is the Martemodena 'Federico' in the red marbled "Hell's Bells" pattern at the top of the above photo. It came with a second barrel in orange (not pictured) and is a chunky, but light fountain pen. The other two pens are his blue Pelikan M805 in Vibrant Blue and a clear TWSBI 580. All great pens!
The beautiful swirly-green fountain pen at the top is another recent acquisition---a Visconti 'Van Gogh'in the "Irises" pattern (the colours were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's famous paintings of the flower). He's only received fountain pens for his birthday and work, but Ricardo's Christmas wish-list pen is another Visconti - their popular 'Homo Sapiens' model.
Rohit brought in two pen-related Christmas/holiday gifts for the meeting's topic --- a gold Lamy 'LX' (not pictured) and this handbook on cursive writing---but he prefers to buy his own pens, given that he knows exactly what he wants, and where to find it! The amazing fountain pens in the photo are (L-R) Rohit's two Visconti 'Homo Sapiens' pens, an Aurora '88 Minerali' Azurite Blue Demonstrator (a limited edition---only 388 pieces were made), a glossy black Montblanc 'Heritage 1914', and a Lamy '2000' Stainless Steel. All iconic modern fountain pens!
I'm sorry I didn't photograph it, but Dana brought in a really cute pen roll made of a cloth material with bananas on it---a Christmas gift from a friend of hers. I did photograph two interesting eyedropper-filling pens she recently acquired (see photo above)---a huge ASA 'Galactic' fountain pen (top pen) and a Franklin-Christoph Pocket '66' in the "Solid Ice" colour. The pen Dana would love to get is the beautiful Pelikan M600 Pink Special Edition (that'd be one of my choices, as well ;)
Martin swung by our meeting to ask about a pen he got many years ago as a gift---this handsome Parker Duofold with a large 14K gold '50' nib. These pens are known as "English Duofolds", to distinguish them from their American counterparts, and often come with very nice gold nibs.
Barry's newest writing instruments (top to bottom)---a black Lamy '2000' fountain pen, a Conway Stewart mechanical pencil, a red marbled vintage Waterman fountain pen & pencil set of the Waterman "2 Lady size" model, and a grey marbled Parker 'Parkette' (ca. 1938). He acquired all of these items, except the Lamy, at a local antique store on the day of the meeting (well done, Barry)!
Barry's current pen wish list includes an Aurora Optima in Aurolide Blue, a vintage classic---the Waterman 'Patrician'---and a modern classic---the Montblanc '149'.
A shot of one of my newest acquisitions--a bottle of J Herbin's "Bleu Pervenche" (blue periwinkle) ink, purchased (along with some beautiful Monteverde "Rose Noir" ink & a white Lamy 'Safari') at Charal's the night before our meeting. Charals is a wonderful pen store in downtown Vancouver (near BC Place) that has an amazing array of fountain pen ink, fine paper, writing instruments at every price point, and other gift items.
Our newest member, Jim M, holding up one of Bruce's Christmas gifts from 2016----a large calligraphy set in a very nice box! Bruce's Grail Pen is a maki-e fountain pen.
Bruce's wonderful Christmas self-gifts (L-R): a gorgeous Visconti 'Metropolitan' (one of a very limited # made---Bruce's is 03/22), a Montblanc 149 from the mid-1960s, and a Pilot 845 with juicy BB (double-broad) nib.
That's one of Jim's newest purchases---a beautiful Edison 'Pearlette' in the "Sonoran Sky" colour, made by Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company , a highly-regarded American maker of handmade writing instruments.
The black pen above is a Pilot 'Vanishing Point' in black carbonesque, a self-gift that Jim bought for himself. The VP (as it's known) is a modern classic, a fountain pen with a retractable nib that operates using a clicking mechanism, much like a ballpoint. On his Christmas wish list is another Pilot---a vintage Pilot 'MYU' with black stripes.
My (Maja's) Christmas haul from the last few years! From L-R: Sheaffer '300' ballpoint, Noodler's 'Ahab' in the "December 25" pattern, red Pelikan M205, ThINK fountain pen in the "Giraffe" pattern, black Sheaffer 'NoNonsense' and an ivory Delta 'Journal'.

The Sheaffer ballpoint was a self-gift, the 'NoNonsense" was a Christmas gift from my cousins in northern California, the Delta was purchased with money from my in-laws and the others were given to me by my parents (after I "steered" them towards those particular pens ;).
The pens on the right-side of the pen case were all given to me for Christmas by my very generous friend Glenn, who lives in Australia. From L-R: two Parker 'Facet' fountain pens and a FPR (Fountain Pen Revolution) 'Dilli' model with flexy nib. I brought a few more pens that Glenn sent me (a beautiful Sheaffer Slim 'Targa', a Waterman 'Kultur', and a FPR 'Triveni') but they're not pictured. At the top of my Christmas wish list is a Pilot 823 amber demonstrator fountain pen.
That's Mindy's amazing celluloid snake pen, created by Fisher of Pens, a maker of handmade pens located in South Carolina. Mindy's only pen-related Christmas gifts were some Sheaffer NoNonsense fountain pens from her brother, but her dream pen is a Nakaya fountain pen with a snake "rolling pen stopper"!
Alejandra's pens (including a clear Pilot 'Penmanship' she just bought from Mindy at the meeting :) and some inks she brought in for our voluntary pen & ink trade. Alejandra is hoping that Santa leaves a vintage fountain pen with an adjustable nib under the tree.
Mindy's Neo Critz pen case, which transforms into a pen stand!
The pen case is made by Kokuyo and is sold by (among others). In their writeup on the company, JetPens writes Kokuyo Co., Ltd., was founded in 1905 to manufacture book covers for account books. Back then people perceived Kokuyo as a "trash business" as few cared about book covers. However, Kokuyo's founder Zentaro Kuroda made tremendous efforts to change this perception and motivated his employees to make products needed by society. Today, the company has become a conglomerate called the "Kokuyo Group" that produces almost every type of office product imaginable.
A very quick photo (taken at home that night) of the gifts given to me at the meeting by my fellow VPCers as a 'thank you' for running our club---a bottle of nice rosé wine and a handsome stainless steel Jinhao X750 fountain pen! The gifts came with a nice 'thank you' card created by Glenn Marcus (not pictured) and signed by my fellow VPCers :)
Thank you so much, everyone, for your thoughtful presents...and also for your contributions to our meetings. This club wouldn't be the same without your enthusiasm and participation!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Our next meeting won't be until January 2018 (it will almost certainly be held on Thursday January 18) as we don't have December meetings, so please check our website for more info/updates. Alternately, you can sign up for email alerts about new posts by entering your email address in the "FOLLOW BY EMAIL" field on the far left-hand side of each webpage on this blog. Thanks again to my fellow VPCers for a great 2017!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

June & Bart's Japanese Pen Store Adventures!

In which we, once again, live vicariously through June & Bart's pen-related trips (see their 2017 Los Angeles pen show report here) ... this time to two Itoya stores in Tokyo and Tokyo's Bungubox store!

First up---the two Itoya stores in Tokyo's Ginza district....

(All text in italics from Bart's emails to me... Click on photos to enlarge images )

The Itoya store is actually split into 2 stores. The one with the giant fountain pen above their store sign used to be the main store that housed fountain pens and ink. Now it carries notebooks, art supplies, regular pens, globes and a few other categories of stationery...
They opened up a new store just across a small street (the one with a giant paper clip above their store sign) and moved over all the fountain pens to that store---(that's) the new flagship store:
They must have really expanded their selection since you last visited... (note: this is in reference to a trip I---Maja---made to Tokyo in 2008, when there was only one Itoya store on that street)
The entire set of photos from these trips can be accessed by clicking this link ---double-click on individual photos to open files, and then hit the "+" button to see the image close-ups.

Here is a small sampling of what the flagship Itoya store had for sale (and yes, it does look like a pen museum!!)...

First, some amazing Namiki pens (Namiki being the sister company of Pilot, and the division that produces their high-end pens).....
Some Platinums....
Lovely Sailor pens...
...and some Pelikans, too!
Caran d'Ache...
David Oscarson...
Vintage Conway Stewart pens...
Some pens made by a couple of smaller European manufacturers---first, two pens made by URSO, a maker of handmade luxury writing instruments, located near Milan, Italy:
...and these ebonite & urushi lacquered Manu Priopria (Latin for "signed by hand") fountain pens, handmade by Martin Pauli in Switzerland:
"Regular" Pelikans (ha) for sale, too!
...and a very pretty Sailor ballpoint...
Now, onto the Bungubox store in Tokyo's trendy Harajuku district...

Until I visited I never knew they (Bungubox) were that small...
That is the actual president of Bungubox! President Kaoru Yamagishi served us some nice cold tea, chocolate, and sparkling wine to support Premium Friday! Very cool.
Premium Friday we learned is this odd sort of government initiative to encourage people at work to leave work early on Friday to shop and support the economy. Stores all around will have little special promos on the last Friday of the month called Premium Friday.
A very interesting Pelikan fountain pen June bought at Bungubox:
(below) A photo of June's Pelikan taken with my (Maja's) camera in September (click on image to enlarge) . The pen has a delicate, hand-painted sakura (cherry blossom) design on it, done in gold lacquer (maki-e)--- a rare and lovely writing instrument!

Wow, what a great trip! Many thanks to Bart & June for the great photos and report!! Once again, all the photos from Bart & June's Japanese pen store visits can be found at this link .