Saturday, March 3, 2018

February meeting photos!

Thanks to all who came to our February meeting at the Kitsilano branch of the Vancouver Public Library, and thank you to the VPL for letting us use their meeting room downstairs. Eighteen members were in attendance (including four newcomers---Chris B, René, Rizelle and Tyler) to hear the presentations on the Parker 'Vacumatic' and the Lamy Safari "family", the two models featured in our "Iconic Pens" theme at this particular meeting. Last but not least, many thanks to Christopher R for his excellent presentation on the 'Vac'!

Now, onto the photos (all photos taken by me---Maja---except where on images to enlarge photos)....
Group shot: (counter-clockwise from lower left) Jim M, Ricardo, Jerred, Sabrina, Dana, Chris B, René, Tyler, Rizelle, Barry K, Stuart, Maja (photo taken by Ray):
Photo taken from the other end of the table (that's Ray at the far end):
A few members arrived a bit late, so they're not in the group shots (Carmen, Christopher, Mairi, Ruth-Erin and Tsung-Yen) but we're so casual, so there's no problem if you can't arrive at our "start" time....or if you have to leave early :)
I started the evening with a talk on the German-made Lamy Safari/Al-Star/Vista/LX models (which are essentially the same design, but made of different materials). The Safari came out in 1980 and was designed by Wolfgang Fabian and Prof. Bernt Spiegel, with input from experts in youth psychology as Lamy wanted to create a product that would appeal to students aged 10-15. Many features of the Safari reflect how well-suited it is for this target market: its durable ABS plastic material (the same material used in LEGO pieces), the flat-sided barrel design which prevents it from rolling off a desk, the moulded grip section that ensures the fountain pen is held at the proper angle for writing, and the handy ink-view window which allows its user to see if the pen's ink supply is running low (very handy when you're taking notes or writing an exam!).

A lot of thought went into the creation of the Safari (which won an iF design award in 1994) and the fact that it has been in continuous production for over 37 years reflects its enduring appeal and popularity. There's some good info on the Lamys on this website , as well as the official Lamy website, and some useful info comparing the models above here on

The photo below shows the Lamys I brought in for my talk (note the custom-made red-marbled barrel in the top row---made by Penchetta Pen & Knife in Arizona), as well as five Parker 'Vacumatic' writing instruments I brought in for Christopher's presentation, and four new fountain pens I recently acquired:
Our secondary topic is always "Newest Acquisitions" so I brought some of my newly-acquired fountain pens: (L-R) Rotring 'Core', Senator 'Windsor', Pilot 'Kakuno', Pelikan 'P10' and a Parker 'Vector' in a Batman design. All are what I'd call "school pens"--fairly light, inexpensive, but reliable writing instruments:
Jerred's new Pilot Deluxe Urushi fountain pen:
More of Jerred's newest acquisitions: (top to bottom) three colourful fountain pens by PenBBS---a '309', a '323' and a beautiful '308'--- and a black Osmiroid '65':
Ray's classy Pelikan M800 'Golf' Limited Edition, which came out in 1996. Production was limited to 2500 pieces worldwide:
Ray's new Porsche 'TecFlex fountain pen (the braided metal is the same material that is used to protect high-performance brake lines) and Ricardo's opaque Franklin-Christoph '45', which uses international ink cartridges but can also be used as an eyedropper-filler:
Mairi's vintage Art Deco-styled Fount-O-Ink inkwell. This neat-looking vintage inkwell was made by the Gregory Fount-o-ink Company, which was located in southern California (Los Angeles):
A couple of very nice new acquisitions belonging to Tsung-Yeng--- a Sailor ProGear (bottom pen) and a Pelikan M200 in the Smoky Quartz Special Edition colour (Smoky Quartz was Pelikan's "Ink of the Year" in 2017):
One of René's "Grail Pens"---a gorgeous British-made Yard-O-Led 'Viceroy Standard' made of sterling silver in the lovely "Victorian" hand-engraved (hammered) design:
(top to bottom) A nice mix of modern and vintage fountain pens: René's Pelikan M805 "Stresemann" (another one of his Grail Pens!), his Wearever 'Zenith' fountain pen, Christopher's black hard rubber vintage Waterman '52' (with an intact latex ink sac imprinted "Waterman 52"!) and René's vintage all-metal Eclipse fountain pen:
Dana's newest fountain pens--a Wing Sung 698 clear demonstrator with golden trim, a very cool vintage all-metal Twinpoint mechanical pencil/fountain pen "combo" and a marbled Waterman '3'---and Christopher's vintage grey Osmia fountain pen:
(Photo below) Jim's Lamy Al-Star fountain pens in the "Copper Orange" colour and "Pacific Blue" colours, which he brought in for our topic of "Iconic Pens".

The Lamy Al-Star models came out in 1997 (17 years after the Safari) and are made of aluminum. They are slightly heavier (22 grams vs. 17 grams) than the Safari and have a slightly larger diameter, but come with the same nibs. Like the Safari, the Al-Stars were made in a multitude of colours, including several Limited Editions, which first came out in 2007 (the first Safari LE came out in 2004---it's the orange pen in the top row of my 24-pen case near the top of this blog post).
(photo below) Part of Christopher's amazing Parker 'Vacumatic' collection, which he brought in for his very interesting and informative presentation on this iconic pen. For a detailed description of the pens in the photograph, please click here to see the complete list, along with a higher-resolution image.

There's an excellent profile of the 'Vac' here on . Parker 'Vacumatics' are classic vintage American writing instruments that were made from 1933 to 1948 . They featured a vacuum-filling mechanism (which gave the model its name) where the fountain pen's barrel served as the ink reservoir. The Vacumatic came in five horizontally-striped laminated plastic colours, three marbled colours, a lovely "Golden Web" design, five vertically-striped colours (the so-called "Shadow Wave" Vacumatics) and others. If you are looking for Vacs in the wild, make sure you check for small cracks in the barrel... and expect to pay a premium for examples with high barrel clarity (which enabled its user to see how much ink was left in the barrel).
(Photo below) A corner shot showing the items brought in by a couple of our newest members. You can see Rizelle's clear Lamy 'Vista' (basically, a demonstrator version of the 'Safari' model) in the middle of the photo, along with René's 'Colorverse' inks. This new line of Korean inks are made from natural pigments and dyes of plant origin.

That's Barry in the upper-left of the photo, trying out a fountain pen. He didn't bring it in for our topic (he did bring in his shiny black Safari), but Barry has a charcoal Safari with an oddly-coloured clip---the pen originally had a black clip, but when its black paint started peeling off, he removed the rest of paint, exposing the brass metal underneath. I think it contrasts very nicely with the pen's charcoal colour. The Lamy 'LX' line (a fancier-looking cousin of the Safari/Al-Star/Visa) has a model with a metallic-yellow clip, but I wish Lamy would make a dark-coloured Safari/Al-Star with a gold-coloured clip :)
(Photo below) Sabrina's beautiful green-striped Parker 'Vacumatic' fountain pen and mechanical pencil set in original box. This colour was officially called the "Emerald Pearl" and was made from 1935 to 1948. The least-common version of the striated Vacumatics is the "Burgundy Pearl" model, which was only made for eight years (1933-1941).
Jerred's handsome Delta Dolcevita 'Federico' with faux piston-filling mechanism (which is really a captive converter):
Hope to see you at our March meeting, which will be at the Oakridge library on Thursday March 15---all details here! (no RSVPs required for any meeting not held at a restaurant)

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