Sunday, October 25, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 95

 From Andy's "Year of the Rat" PenBBS pen to René's Sheaffer "Dolphin" fountain pens!

(all photos courtesy of  René ~ please click in images to enlarge)

 Rene:"Sometimes included as part of the Sheaffer Imperial pens of the late 1950s - 60s, the so-called "dolphin" (not the official name) pens are pens of a rather odd design that does gain inspiration from the Imperial and PFM lines. They initially came out in 1962, after the Imperial line was released and lasted until 1964. "

"There were three models (see photo below) in the line, numbered after the base selling price point of the particular model (like most of the other "numbered" vintage Sheaffer models): The '500' cartridge model (plastic body, steel cap, steel nib) sold at $5.00, the '800' cartridge model was sold at $7.95, and the '1000' model sold as $10.00.  

Note that I omitted that $10 was the price of the cartridge 1000 model. This was because, while the 500 and 800 models also had Touchdown versions (which sold at $1 higher than the cartridge versions), the top of the line 1000 model oddly did not."

(Photo above, top to bottom: the '1000' model, the '800' model, and the '500' model)

"Some time ago I obtained a (cartridge) Sheaffer 500 from VPCer Jerred, but recently came across an '800' and a '1000' and couldn't resist completing the series. The difference between the two is that the '800' has a plastic cap with a metal cap ring, while the ' 1000' has a gold-filled cap." 


"Unlike the '500', the dolphin nibs of the '800' and '1000' are 14-karat gold. The "diamond" inlay in the plastic isn't actually part of (or connected to) the nib, but a decoration meant to look like the Imperial/PFM nibs. The '800' I got is a (functional) Touchdown model, while the '1000', of course, is the correct cartridge model. The bodies of the 800 and 1000 are otherwise identical and would be interchangeable."


 (the eponymous dolphin's head profile of the pen's nib section)

Love the shape of that nib-section unit! Many thanks to René for another great contribution to our virtual "show & tell" :)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 94

 Brand-new VPC member Andy was kind enough to send in a nice write-up and photos of two very cool PenBBS fountain pens (both belonging to him) with an intriguing filling mechanism...

In his own words:
"A bit about the company Penbbs....

Penbbs is a Chinese online fountain pen community similar to the Fountain Pen Network. They talk about fountain pens and inks and have also produced their own inks and pens since 2005. They use high quality components and acrylic resins to produce very well made pens of unique designs."

 (all photos courtesy of Andy ~ please click on images to enlarge)


"This particular Penbbs Model 492 is a special edition celebrating The Year Of The Rat.
It is a magnetic piston filler demonstrator with a matching ink bottle. I chose this particular pen because it was a recent purchase and I was born in this significant year as well."


"Here it is compared with the standard line-up magnetic piston-fill Model 487.
The 487 is finished in a Cordierite color scheme.
The filling mechanism is a simple neodymium magnetic on the piston and also one in the cap finial."
"Here is a diagram of the filling system and instructions of how to operate it.
I find the mechanism to be very fun but also finicky at first. The silicone combined with the rubber gasket piston needs a bit of breaking-in and with prolonged use, it becomes easier to move."

"The nibs are steel and these ones are in fine with their signature semi-upturned tip.
I find their upturned tips to be an extremely smooth experience without being too wet."

 "The cap band, clip, barrel finial and nib are finished in rose gold and the extra details such as the lantern on the clip and the mouse on the nib make it quite special."

 "Another look at the cap details.
I do like the standard model 487 with its stamped insignia. It gives it a high end look and tactile feel."
Andy---welcome to our pen club and thanks so much for contributing to our online "show & tell"!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 93

Today's featured newest acquisitions are some beautiful inks belonging to VPCer Grace. The inks were made by two companies---one in Japan and the other in the Philippines... 

(all photos courtesy of Grace ~ please click on images to enlarge)

 Sailor 'Ink Studio' swatches (for an exhaustive explanation of the ink numbers, check out this review)


Inks by Vinta

Grace writes: "Vinta is a local ink maker here in the Philippines, est 2018. Here’s the site if you need more info: . There’s a bunch of collections there and I got mine all over the place 😂 I like the sheen on these ones."


 PenBBS 469 - double ended, eyedropper-filler

"The PenBBS 469 usually comes with the ends in the same color. Natasha and I thought it would be cool to switch ends 😂 The smaller one is the glass dip pen I used for the swatches."

Many thanks to Grace for the great photos of her lovely inks and lovely pens!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 92

From one lovely blue fountain pen to another -- Stuart's new Graf von Faber-Castell "Guilloche" in "Gulf Blue", purchased at the Vancouver Pen Shop during their October sale!

From Graf von Faber-Castell's official website

"The Guilloche writing instruments made of precious resin are distinguished by a special process. Each one is engraved individually using a method otherwise reserved for jewellery or silver accessories. The barrel is then hand-lacquered and repeatedly polished.The result is a unique and most interesting surface texture. No two writing implements are identical: each is an individual example of the craftsman’s art.

The coloured barrels of these writing instruments are made of precious resin with a special Guilloche pattern engraved on them. Manual polishing and lacquering processes then provide the special optical effect. All the metal parts are given a high-quality rhodium plating." 

 (photo courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on image to enlarge) 


 Stuart: "I picked up the Graf von Faber-Castell Guilloche in Gulf Blue yesterday, and I’m thrilled with it!  It has a Broad point and is so smooth."

"The Guilloche feels better in hand than the all-metal rhodium one does - the resin section adds a bit of girth and texture that makes it easier to hold.  It’s still on the slim side but that much easier to grasp.  Posted or unposted it works for me, very comfortable, a little tail-heavy but not much.  And the nib is dreamy!"

The Vancouver Pen Shop's annual sale runs all month (Oct 1-31) and almost everything in the store is discounted (October sale details here)! The store is open Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays & holidays) from 11:00am - 4:00pm to the public, and from 4:00-5:00pm for private shopping (please call the store at (604) 681-1612 to book your 30 minute slot---4:00 to 4:30pm or 4:30-5:00pm...more info in this Facebook post )

Many thanks to Stuart for sharing his new purchase with us!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 91

And now, a lovely Pelikan fountain pen that's been in production since 2003--honourary VPC member Glenn G's blue-striped Pelikan M805 !

(all photos courtesy of Glenn ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Glenn: "I already had two M800s in the pretty blue stripe pattern, but for some reason the M805s seem to be a bit more expensive, which led me to wait until one came along that was a better bargain.

This example was sold by a FPN member in London, which at least meant that the postal service was a lot more reliable, especially since he used tracked airmail."



"The only thing that makes this pen in any way special is that the original owner had paid Niche Pens to modify its standard M nib into an M stub, which I’m looking forward to trying out."


"I have a couple of M800s with factory IB nibs (one in the blue stripe), so it will be interesting to compare."

Wow, that stub nib looks like it'll be fun to use ! Congratulations on a great new acquisition, Glenn, and many thanks for sharing it with our club!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 90

Today's featured newest pen-related acquisition is another clever repurposing idea courtesy of new VPC member Kevin...

Kevin: "Having been encouraged by my tidying up of 5ml sample tubes into a shotgun shell box, I began feeling more and more uneasy about my chaotic and growing collection of 10ml Herbin bottles. Surely there was something similar I could find to keep them all tidy and well-ordered.

 A completely un-related trip to the fridge for liquid refreshment of the brewed variety brought me to eye-level contact with a roll of 35mm black and white film patiently waiting for its day in the limelight. Or any light for that matter" 

(photos courtesy of Kevin ~ please click on images to enlarge)

"As is so often the case in these idle moments when one’s mind has been primed to think creatively and then presented with a random stimulus, I was taken by the fact that a roll of 35mm film is almost exactly the same dimensions as a 10ml bottle of J. Herbin ink."


 "A few minutes later and AliExpress was offering me a plethora of options for storing film. Admittedly, the one I chose is at the lower end of the spectrum and quite literally comes with an elastic band as its securing method. But then… it only cost $6.50 including shipping."

Many thanks to Kevin for sharing his new ink storage idea with us!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 89

Back to vintage pens we go now with two vintage Sheaffer fountain pens recently acquired by René...

René: "In 1949 Sheaffer introduced the Touchdown filling system and quickly applied it to their line and replaced the older filling systems with it. They did, however, keep the old models' names and general proportions. By 1950 they redesigned the pens and introduced the more commonly found Thin Model (TM) Touchdown pens, while still keeping the classic names."

 (all photos courtesy of Rene ~ please click on images to enlarge)


Sheaffer "Fat Model" Valiant 

"This particular pen is one of what is now known as the "fat model" pens of that short period of Touchdown pens before the Thin Models were introduced. "


"One of the signatures of this period, other than the larger girth, is that many of the nibs still carried serial numbers, meant for warranty purposes (though some very early TM pens apparently have them too). This one is the Valiant, which is a white dot model with the cylindrical, two tone (gold nib with partial platinum mask) "Triumph" nib."


"When it came to me, the Touchdown mechanism was still intact and functional, though the sac was twisted (I untwisted it) and the piston is still rather stiff. The odd thing about this pen is that the cap appears to be a Statesman cap, rather than the Valiant one, which should have a wider cap band with two engraved rings. Discussing it with VPCer Christopher, we decided that likely it was a factory mismatch from leftover parts, perhaps from a slightly later period just after the switchover to the TM models - not a rare occurrence in pen history."


"Here's the "Fat model" Valiant with another pen I also just acquired, a lovely burgundy TM Statesman (also a Touchdown filler, but unrestored), for thickness comparison"

What a handsome duo! Congratulations to René on acquiring these classic vintage fountain pens, and our thanks to him for sharing his new finds with us :) If you'd like to read more about these Sheaffer models, René recommends this article on - "Sheaffer Early Touchdown Pens 1949-1950".

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 88

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving! Today's featured newest acquisition is a beautiful handcrafted fountain pen I recently purchased from pen maker Ash Lawrence of Rockster Pens in Cardiff, Wales.

It's been a tough year for me and I'd been looking for a special pen to... well, salvage 2020, I guess. I'd seen Ash's Rockster Pens on Instagram and was instantly drawn to a fountain pen made of a remarkable material I'd never seen before...

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge) 

Introducing my Rockster "TroubleShooter 1313" fountain pen in "Doolittle" resin ... 


The "Doolittle" resin is one of Ash's own in-house castings and is named after the groundbreaking album (of the same name) by the legendary indie band Pixies. The colours used in the album's cover art (seen in the above photos) are reflected in the pen's swirly green, brown and white resin. "Doolittle" is one of Ash's favourites to listen to while making pens, and the resin's chaotic-looking-but-it-really-isn't mixture of dark (flat opaque), hazy (translucent) and brilliantly-shiny (metallic) components actually fits the album's tone, too :)


 The pen is incredibly well-polished (it's the very first thing I noticed about the pen when I got it) and the resin really "pops". Unfortunately, my photos don't do the material justice, but I think the shot above --when enlarged---is probably the best at showing its depth and complexity (Tip: if you left-click on the image to enlarge it, and then right-click, select "view image", and then left-click again, you'll see a super-zoomed-in image). 

The craftsmanship that went into making the pen is exceptional--from the shininess & smoothness of the pen's exterior to the carefully rounded inner cap lip and "flat-topped" threads which make for a very comfortable grip. You can feel, as well as see, the quality of its construction... 


About those section threads...As he explained to me in one of several emails we traded about the pen's design, Ash created what are called "triple lead threads" for this pen model. What does this mean? Well, for starters, it means that you only need about one-and-a-half turns to screw the cap on. Some pens need a couple of extra turns, which is fine for eyedropper-fillers (because you can never be /too/ careful with them) but for a cartridge/converter fountain pen like this one, that isn't necessary...and it's kind of annoying when you're trying to cap/uncap the pen quickly.    


 Much more interestingly, this threading feature also allows for three different end positions for the cap, which means that when you screw the cap on, you can get three different "looks" to the pen (depending on how the cap and barrel align). If you look at the two photos above, you'll see what I mean (I didn't take a shot of the third alignment, but, trust me, it exists ;)....


Initially, I was looking for a handcrafted fountain pen where the cap was flush with the barrel...but then I realized that the trade-off would be a "step" from the section to the rest of the pen's barrel. The latter is a deal-breaker for me, as pens with a big "step" are uncomfortable for me to hold (and I think the aesthetics look a bit "off"). I then decided to look for a pen that had a wide section with minimal-to-no-step, and a cap that wasn't markedly wider than the barrel....and I found it in the Rockster "TroubleShooter 1313"; it walks a perfect line between those two "wants" and fits my hand perfectly

So, what does the "1313" part of the model name mean? Well, it refers to the barrel thicknesses at its narrowest and widest parts. In this case, 13 mm is the barrel thickness at the section/cap threads and 13 mm at the widest point of the barrel (meaning there is no "step" between the section/cap threads and the rest of the barrel).


The subtly-flared section is beautifully turned and is made of the same material as the rest of the pen -- an absolute "must-have" in my search for a handcrafted pen. The pen is a good size (139mm capped, 134mm uncapped), but the material isn't heavy, so if you prefer to use the pen posted, it's still nicely balanced in the hand.   

My particular pen has a Jowo #6 gold plated steel nib with a matching yellow metal accent ring permanently attached to the end of the section (ie. so you can't lose it---another great design idea). Its broad nib writes very well, but other nib options (nib material and nib widths) are available, and if you have any questions, Ash is great at communicating and very easy to work with.  


My pen was shipped quickly & securely, and came with a lot of things (see above) that show just how much detail and thought Ash puts into his pen-making business: a Nib Dip Test card, a Certificate of Authenticity,  a nice hand-written note of thanks, a Rockster Pens sticker, a sturdy-yet-stylish shipping tube (with a message to "Please recycle or reuse me")...and even custom-printed Rockster Pens tissue paper! (Ash's pen company, incidentally, is named after the sweetest dog imaginable--his little Miniature Schnauzer, Rocky) 

Although my particular fountain pen wasn't custom-made for me (it was available in the Rockster Pens online store), it had all the features I wanted in a pen and I couldn't be happier with it. Most of Ash's pens are custom-made, so if you're interested in having one made for you, check out this page on his official website.

Many thanks to Ash for this wonderful fountain pen and his amazing customer service! When we resume in-person meetings (at some point in the future), I'll bring the pen to a meeting so our members can see just how beautiful it is :)

(Photos & review by Maja)

Friday, October 9, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 87

Today's featured new acquisition is a lovely Parker '51' "Signet" fountain pen belonging to honourary VPC member Glenn from Australia. 

The "Signet" (which came out in 1948) is a gold-filled (a/k/a "rolled gold") version of the famous Parker '51', and is one of only three all-metal version of the '51'. Of the three (the "Signet", "Flighter" and "Presidential"), it's the only one that was also available in a smaller ("Demi") version. Without further ado, here it is...

(all photos courtesy of Glenn ~ please click on images to enlarge)



Glenn: "This is my latest arrival, a very lightly dented Parker 51 Signet, made in England circa 1950-54.  It came from a FPN member in Poland and took ages to arrive via surface mail; I was becoming concerned that it may have got lost in transit."
"It has a fine gold nib, and the rolled gold finish is in good condition. I’ve waited quite a while for one to come up at an affordable price, and I notice that slight dents are not unusual in the few I have seen on sale."
"As such, it is an unremarkable example of a pretty pen that in due course will take its turn in the rotation."
Many thanks to Glenn for sharing his photos and thoughts on this beautiful vintage pen with us!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 86

A couple of months ago, Stuart acquired another lovely vintage desk set made by Sheaffer... 

(all photos courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on images to enlarge) 

Stuart: "The set from Switzerland arrived this afternoon, it took only nine days point to point!"


"I’m thrilled with it - you can see how beautiful the base is, and the pen has been restored so it’s working."  

 "The nib is a No. 3 with an XF point, firm and very fine as is typical of Sheaffer.  It’s a plain gold nib, so probably the economy desk-pen Sheaffer offered at the time.  Still a wonderful pen!"

A few days later, Stuart sent me another email--"A cool thing about the teardrop-shaped set that arrived the other day - right now it’s getting sun through the window blinds, and the stone is translucent and with the light shining on it it shows depth.  Very beautiful!  The marble really comes alive with the light on it."

 Thank you, Stuart, for sharing another great vintage acquisition with us for our club's virtual "show & tell"!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 85

Our pen club's virtual show & tell seems to be on a roll lately with numbered pens (Jerred's Delta '365', René's Parker '88'. my Caran d'Ache '849, Armando's Sailor '1911 S), so here's another one--René's vintage Parker '21 Special' !

 René: "One of the most well known and commonly seen Parker pens from the mid 20th century is the Parker 21. It was meant as a more affordable alternative to the well loved and iconic 51, and so was made of cheaper plastic and used less metal, as well as having a steel alloy nib, instead of gold."

(all photos courtesy of René ~ please click on images to enlarge) 

"Because of the cheaper plastic used, not many of the first generation of the 21 survived without some kind of damage, among a few other issues, but Parker improved it over the next two generations of the pen, and the Mark III, also known as the "Super," became the most common version found today."

"Their design is undoubtedly similar to the 51, and they are also aerometric fillers like the 51, though the mechanism is more similar to the budget "51 Special" than the main line of 51s, and they are good workhorse vintage pens in a more affordable price range than vintage 51s (though a bit more fragile)."

 "I obtained this particular 21 from someone in Kelowna. It's a mint Canadian-made Mark I (large opening with large visible feed and convex chevron clip) blue 21 "Special" in its mint original box."


" I don't really know what makes this particular model "Special", but it does come in a cap that has a glossy ring with the Parker name on it, rather than one that is completely Lustraloy brushed steel."


"This one also still has a sticker indicating that it's a "Special" and that it cost $5.95, and a second, pale blue, sticker with nothing written on it. I have found little more on the "Special" 21 so far, and the only other examples I've found have been of the same blue colour, and one was also in a box with a pencil."

Many thanks to René for his great photos and information on this underrated vintage pen!

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 84

 More Italian fountain pen goodness!

(all photos courtesy of Jerred ~ please click on images to enlarge) 

 Jerred: "This is a Delta 365.  This particular pen was released just after the year 2000, and is a somewhat uncommon pen in Delta's lineup.  This particular model has an acrylic resin barrel in "Amber" flake, black acrylic cap and ends, chrome plated trim and a solid sterling silver cap band in a heart pattern."

"The nib on this particular pen is made of rhodium-plated, 18k gold and uses Delta's "Millennium" engraving as well as a heart-shaped breather hole.  This is the last nib engraving that used the stylized "D" on Delta pens, and was retired in the mid-2000s.  It is, as expected, a lovely writer."
Many thanks to Jerred for another wonderful contribution to our virtual "show & tell"!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 83

 Continuing our online "show & tell" with another British writing instrument, specifically René's Parker '88' fountain pen... 

(all photos courtesy of René ~ please click on images to enlarge)

René: "Like cars, the Parker 88 was actually released in 1987, but was a "1988" model, and was named as such. It was modeled after the Parker Vector, and was renamed the "Rialto" in 1994, the name the model is now more known as." 

"The basic design is quite uninspired, really, just a plain, slim brass cylinder with enhancements and a small, almost semi-hooded steel, and a sleek, but basic, long arrow clip. It was first introduced in the UK before it was released in the North America.

This particular model, however, is a pre-Rialto, a UK-made, top-of-the-line 88 labeled the "Place Vendôme" line, after the square in Paris, meant to reflect elegant European designs. The barrel and cap are partially encased in a 22-karat gold-plated steel column with a Corinthian design, and the pen sports a 22-karat gold plated steel nib." 


"Though the burgundy/gold Place Vendôme existed from the beginning until 1992, before the 88 became the Rialto, the medium nib, inscribed with the Parker name, indicates that this one dates from 1989 at the earliest. The Place Vendôme originally sold in the US at a price of $135 (though another source said, $80)."

"I haven't inked it and tried it yet, so I can't say anything about its performance yet, but it seems to write smoothly (without ink - it came with a cowled aerometric converter). Despite the very simple design I do find that the gold plating appears to be quite thick (no sign of plating loss, even after polishing) and the combination of the sleekness of the cylinder, the gold overlay, and the burgundy end sections make for a very elegant writing instrument, and I can't stop looking at it.

Many thanks to Rene for the photos and background info on this handsome fountain pen!