Friday, August 14, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 59

I couldn't resist picking up this Cross 'Bailey Light' fountain pen in white from to go with the grey and teal models I bought this Spring (I reviewed the grey one here):

(photos by Maja ~ click on images to enlarge)

Happily, this newest one has no start-up issues at all, and the Medium steel nib (which has a drop of ink on it in the photo above---oops!) is very smooth...

I love how the glossy white of the resin material goes so well with the shiny chrome trim ...

In addition to white, teal and grey, the fountain pen also comes in blue and black. It's also available in ballpoint and rollerball form, although I didn't see the latter on I'm debating whether or not to get the other two fountain pen colours; at less than $20 CAD apiece, it's very tempting ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 58

And now for a modern fountain pen with a very interesting (and useful) feature - Lina's new IndiGraph fountain pen!

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

Lina: "Here are some pics and info from my relatively new IndiGraph fountain pen. It is an innovative fountain pen that differs from the rest because of a unique feature: its ability to keep the nib constantly moist, preventing the inks from drying out. This allows you to use almost any kind of ink with this pen: India inks, pigment inks, acrylic inks, etc."

"The pen was created by an artist who wanted to use waterproof ink with fountain pens to be able to draw with fountain pens and use watercolors on top of the linework."

"The pen is made with aluminium and it is a bit heavy, but not too much. I bought the pen second hand, and it is the first edition of the pen, so the nib is a steel nib. But newer editions come with gold nibs and calligraphy nibs as well (I'm attaching the website as well if you would like to check it out:" 

  "The pen has a small chamber at the top of the cap that you fill with water so it keeps the nib moist. I've been using it for over a week now with India ink and the pen has not clogged or dried up. It has a little window so you can see the water level."  


Wow, what a great invention! For more details about the technology behind this cool fountain pen, check out IndiGraph's official Kickstarter page. Many thanks to Lina for sharing her new acquisition with us!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 57

If you've been reading the virtual "show & tell" posts here, you might have noticed that longtime VPC member Stuart has acquired some lovely desk sets over the last few months. So far, we've featured two made by Sheaffer (this one and this other one), one by Esterbrook and a modern set made by Platinum. Today's "show & tell" item is another desk set Stuart recently purchased---an Eversharp 'Skyline' desk set (the desktop counterpart of the famous Eversharp 'Skyline' fountain pen)

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

Stuart: "Here are the pics of the Eversharp Skyline desk-set. The first shots are with the base the pen comes with, a nice rectangular onyx one."


  "The other pics are with the circular onyx base I got last year as a bonus included with a boxed Sheaffer set from Nebraska." 



 "I actually like this (circular) base better, the shape is more interesting and the colour veining livens it up. The sockets and hardware are the same for both bases. So I now have in effect two Skyline desk-sets! Maybe I’m nuts, but the pen with the circular base makes me think of that giant raindrop sculpture at Canada Place."

(I agree---the circular desk set does look like "The Drop" sculpture :) Many thanks for all your contributions to our online show & tell, Stuart!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 56

And now, another lovely vintage writing instrument recently acquired by René--his rolled-gold metal overlay Eclipse fountain pen...

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

René: "As many of you know I collect Eclipse pens. The Eclipse company was started in San Francisco in 1903, and eventually moved operations to New York. Depending on where you set your marker, a branch of Eclipse was started in Canada in 1925-28. The Great Depression took a toll on the American branch of the company, and it (ironically) eventually became mostly under the control of its subsidiary branch in Canada by the mid to late 40s. The company lasted until the 60s before disbanding."

"Like many other companies of the early to mid twentieth century, Eclipse also supplied pens for other companies and made several no-name pens and sub-models, including Keene, Ever-Ready, and Marxton. Some tell-tale marks of the Eclipse brand are the Klein clip (sort of a clip clipping on a clip which clips into the pen cap), which they patented in 1923, the suspiciously Waterman-like lever box (except that the top is U-shaped, instead of having a semi-circular piece of metal end), and the laurel wreath on a circular lever end (though some other companies had something similar as well)."

"This is my third rolled-gold metal overlay Eclipse pen, but my first that was made in Canada. It has a pseudo-checkerboard pattern with an personalized inscription that says, "NDB." It needed a lot of metal polishing and cleaning, but, like the other two rolled-gold overlay pens, it cleaned up beautifully, though this one has some slight cosmetic damage to the metal, close to the section, and a hairline crack on the cap metal from the lip (which, thankfully, is just on the metal overlay, so it's not a structural issue, and it's rather hidden by the chasing pattern). It dates from the later 20s (after 1925, of course), and possesses the Klein clip. It is yet to be restored."

"The nib is a Warranted nib (like my other two Eclipse overlays) which appears to be rather broad, with some flex to it, and is Canadian."

(closeup of the pen's Klein clip mentioned above)

For more information on the history of the Eclipse Pen and Pencil Company, check out this website and this one, too. For lots of great photos of various Eclipse fountain pens and pencils, head on over to this page.

René-thanks so much for another great contribution to our virtual "show & tell".
VPC members--please keep those photos of your newest pen-related acquisitions coming! It doesn't matter if your new pen cost $5 or $500---we'd love to see it :)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 55

Many thanks to Jerred for sending photos and a mini-review of his latest acquisition. It's a modern fountain pen made by a European brand that's never been mentioned on this blog before, and it has a very unusual nib.

Wondering what it is?

Keep on reading.....

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

Jerred: "This is an Inoxcrom Model 77. Inoxcrom is a Spanish maker of fountain pens, founded in 1942 and still around today. It's notable among European brands in that it produces its own nibs, instead of buying them from an established maker such as Bock or Jowo."

 "The Model 77 itself is relatively common, and is most often found with an inset (or "fingernail") nib. The variant pictured here, however, is much less common in that it uses a Sheaffer-styled inlaid nib instead."

"Of particular interest is the two extra slits on the nib visible in the picture above, on either side of the ink channel. As far as I know, these were added to prevent heavy-handed writing from popping the nib out of place on the pen. Unlike the vast majority of Sheaffer inlaid nibs, the Inoxcrom nib has a decent amount of give, and it's a lovely writer."

Great find, Jerred!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 54

After avoiding nearly all non-essential shopping since mid-March, I swung by the Nikaido gift & pen shop in historic Steveston shortly after their June re-opening to say 'Hi' to Sara and Joe (Nikaido's friendly owners) and meet Billy, their cute new dog/store mascot (we miss you, dear Beckett :( ...

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

...and here's what I acquired there---(L-R) Diamine Shimmering "Enchanted Ocean" ink, a Kaweco 'Perkeo' "All Black" fountain pen, a Parker 'Jotter' ballpoint in "Portobello Plum" and a Faber-Castell 'Essentio' ballpoint pen.

The Kaweco 'Perkeo' is a faceted, full-sized, entry-level fountain pen made of sturdy resin measuring 13.5 cm capped (a shade under 5½ inches) and 15.9 cm posted (nearly 6¼ inches). Don't let the posted length put you off, though---at 12 grams, it's a very light fountain pen and it's well-balanced, posted or unposted. It's also a very comfortable fountain pen to hold, thanks to its triangular grip section. The 'Perkeo', however, doesn't come with a clip (and Kaweco's 'Sport' clips won't fit), so that may be a deal-breaker for some people...

The pen takes international ink cartridges or converters and the black stainless steel Medium nib looks cool and writes beautifully out of the box---no nib tuning required on mine!

The 'Perkeo' is available in a variety of colours (most of which aren't as conservative as the "All Black" model!) and two nib widths (Fine and Medium) so if you're looking for an affordable, well-made, portable, reliable lightweight fountain pen, I'd recommend it.

My two newest ballpoints---(bottom) a Parker 'Jotter' in "Portobello Plum" (named after the famous road/market) to add to my growing collection of London-themed 'Jotters' , and a Faber-Castell 'Essentio' in anodized aluminum (a little pen trivia: in January 2018, the Faber-Castell 'Basic' writing instrument line was renamed 'Essentio')

Many thanks to Sara and Joe for the great pens & ink, and their always-excellent customer service!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Support your local pen shop :)

Happy BC Day! Now that our province is well into Phase 3 Reopening, I thought it'd be a good time to remind anyone looking for writing instrument supplies to consider shopping locally. We're fortunate to have so many pen stores in the Lower Mainland, and I know they'd appreciate your patronage and support in these difficult times.

Here's a list of some Vancouver-area stores that sell fountain pens and inks:

The Vancouver Pen Shop - 512 W Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC - official Facebook page
Charals - 171 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC -official website
Nikaido - 3580 Moncton Street #150, Richmond (Steveston), BC -official website
Paper-Ya -1666 Johnston Street #9 (on Granville Island), Vancouver, BC -official website
Buchan's Kerrisdale Stationery - 2141 W 41st Avenue, Vancouver, BC -official website
Warriors & Wonders - 555 W 12th Ave #21 (City Square Mall), Vancouver, BC -official website
Opus Art Supplies - various locations in BC - official website
Perks - 123 Carrie Cates Court (Lonsdale Quay), North Vancouver, BC - temporarily closed due to COVID-19

Many thanks to VPCer Christopher for the image of the old advertisement above. In his email, he writes:"I ran across an old 1930s Parker Vacumatic in-store ad. The repro was not incredible, so I enhanced it and colourized it, marrying it with a snap of one of my favourite Parker sets. The strange thing about it was that both the ad and my set hail from the same year. Makes you wonder if one of the Vacumatic sets in the dealer’s cabinet in a Vacumatic clamshell display box could actually be mine. Dream on Christopher, but nice thought!"

Stay safe, everyone!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 53

I love learning more about lesser-known fountain pen brands, so I was delighted when new VPC member Kevin W. sent in some photos of his Creeks N' Creeks fountain pen...

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

In Kevin's words: "Coming in at a rather petite 12cm, this Gallic pocket pen was a promotional device for Peugeot cars in 90s Europe. This one was actually acquired as a gift with my wife's car in the UK, but the car and the pen are decidedly French."

"Made by Creeks N' Creeks, similar little pens were once common in the French schoolroom.

Owned by Stypen, Creeks N' Creeks were absorbed along with the parent company into BIC in 2004, and as far as I can tell, pretty much disappeared from view. There is still a small BIC Xpen which was originally a Stypen Xpen, so maybe its genes do still live on in that metal pen after all.

"It has a bit of pitting on its gold(en) nib now, but still writes incredibly smoothly."

"I find its small size surprisingly easy to use and really love the gunmetal lacquer finish.

The only thing I dislike about it is that it only takes the small standard international cartridges. One day I'll get around to trying a Kaweco bulb convertor in it, but until then it's relegated to the second tier lineup. Surprisingly, they’re still around and I recently discovered a mint version of the pen still in its box for about CAD55."

Thank you, Kevin, for your photos and mini review of this handsome pocket pen!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 52

Today's featured newest acquisition is Stuart's 1930s Sheaffer desk set with 'Lifetime' desk pen:

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

Stuart: "The set from San Marcos, California, is here! It’s beautiful, the brown onyx or marble base has rich, varied colouring, and the metal rim is elegant."
"The pen has what I think is a Medium-Fine point, and is super-smooth. I filled it with Sheaffer Brown, an appropriate choice!"
"Another winner, I’m really happy with this one."

I'd be happy with this great vintage desk set, too! Congrats on another nice find, Stuart :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 51

Next up in our virtual "show & tell"--Lina's beautiful Benu 'Minima' fountain pen in the aptly-named "Blazing Gold" pattern"...

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

Lina: "This pen is slightly small, compact, with a streamlined, faceted body. It's small and lightweight, great for carrying. It has a screw cap but it is not postable, and its sleek design can roll off the desk so you have to be careful with that."

"This pen is handmade of a high-quality transparent resin with golden leaf and glitter inserts. It has a #5 Schmidt stainless steel nib F and writes very smooth and reliable, just as you would expect a Schmidt nib."

"The body is actually quite small and came with a Kaweco cartridge (I bought it second hand), not sure if anything bigger fits. I tried fitting a Kaweco Sport converter and it fit just right."

"A small bit about the company: The Benu Pen company is a small Russian company, based in Moscow, which makes handmade writing instruments in streamlined shapes and vibrant color combinations. The name Benu comes from the ancient Egyptian deity linked with the sun, creation, and rebirth. Benu is a symbol of constant changes, recurrence, and renovations."

As a side note, the "Blazing Gold" material used for Lina's Benu "Minima" was also used for another Benu fountain pen model called the "Essence". The "Essence" is slightly larger than the "Minima", has a clip, and is postable.

Lina - thank you so much for sharing your lovely new acquisition with all of us!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 50

And now for a couple of nice vintage fountain pens recently acquired by René - his Sheaffer 'Craftsman and 'Admiral' Thin-Model Touchdown-filling fountain pens...

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

René:"Sheaffer was always an innovator in terms of filling mechanisms and was the first to introduce the lever-filling system that was very common among vintage pens into the 60s, and one of the first to re-introduce the cartridge pen later on."

"The "Touchdown" filler first appeared in 1949, and was a new take on the pneumatic filler system that usually only takes one or two pumpings (pull the plunger out, put the tip into the ink, push the plunger back in, wait for half a minute, and you're done) to fill."

"In the early 1950s they used the Touchdown system in a new line of pens, made of mold-injected plastics, that they called the Thin Models (TM). These are two from this line."

"The green ("evergreen green") pen is the Craftsman, the lowest end of the TM series, but by no means a poor model. It is a simple, but elegant cigar-shaped design with a subtly beautiful gold-tone metal ring at the rim of the cap. Like the other TM models it has a spiral-cut no-slip grip section with a visulated part. The nib is 14-karat gold, marked with a "33" on it, which is a mark of the Craftsman model. This one has a medium nib and is, like most Sheaffer nibs, a wonderful, smooth writer."

"The burgundy pen is an Admiral, the next step up from the Craftsman in the TM tree. Appropriately, it has a bit more "bling" to it, with a wider gold band and a fine, elegant two-tone nib, with the markings, "Feathertouch" and "5" - the latter is a mark of the TM Admiral model. I haven't inked this one yet, but I expect that it would be an excellent writer as well. There is a barely-noticeable hairline crack in the cap, but it's quite stable, thanks to the cap ring."

Many thanks to René for the photos and historical background on these two classic vintage Sheaffers!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 49

The Laban Pen Corporation was founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 1981 by John Hu and his brother Charles. Almost exactly a year ago (July 29, 2019), the company released their Laban '325' "Sun" fountain pen, which I purchased in May 2020 as a self-gift for my birthday :)

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

I ordered the pen from Goldspot Pens in the U.S.A, and it came in simple-but-elegant packaging-- a nice blue cardboard box with a pullout drawer and a satiny "pillow". Goldspot's regular retail price for the '325' was $111.95 USD (not including shipping) but I got it for 15% off during their "Laban Week" (which essentially paid for the shipping to Canada).

The '325' is available in a variety of colours, including orange, green, blue, red and purple (the "Sun", "Forest", "Ocean","Flame" and "Wisteria models, respectively). I chose the "Sun" model because I love the colour orange and thought it went beautifully with the pen's ivory material and gold-plated accents. The orange material has a lovely glow with chatoyant flecks, and although it's made of acrylic, the ivory resin has a very "natural" look due to its subtle striations.

If there's one thing I could change in terms of the 325's design, it's the shape of the barrel/cap end. Most (?) fountain pens have cap tops and barrel ends that match. I find this symmetry aesthetically-pleasing, so I was disappointed that the '325' didn't have this feature. In fact, I held off on buying the pen for quite a while, just for that reason. I finally relented, though, because the pen was just too pretty to pass up...

Aside from that, I love the look of the pen and was very pleased that Laban used the ivory-coloured acrylic for the section. One small caveat: because of the section's light colour, it may be more prone to staining from fountain pen inks, so I would strongly recommend wiping the section thoroughly after each fill.

Another design feature I really like -- the double rings on the section. Double trim rings are also found near the top of the pen's cap. Also on the cap is a finial in the form of a small medallion with the Laban logo on it. With all this ornamentation, some might say the pen borders on gaudy, but I think it's tastefully done.

My 325's nib is a German-made JoWo #6 size single-tone gold-plated stainless steel Medium nib with the Laban name in cursive script, "GERMANY", and the number 3952 (the height of Mt. Yushan, Taiwan's highest mountain) laser-engraved on it. The steel nib on mine performs well and lays down a nice, smooth line. The '325' is also available with a 14K gold nib option, but costs substantially more.

The Laban '325' feels good in the hand - solid, sturdy (thanks to the thick acrylic material used in its manufacture + the metal section and barrel threads) and substantial. It's 5.9 inches capped and 5.16 inches uncapped, so it's long enough to be used uncapped comfortably. When posted, however, the pen extends to 6.81 inches and (due to the weight of the cap) becomes top-heavy. And it's not a light fountain pen either--at 34 grams capped, the '325' is heavier than a Pilot Vanishing Point (30 grams) or a Pelikan M1000 fountain pen (32.6 grams).

Overall, I think the Laban '325' is a good value for the money if you're looking for an attractive cartridge/converter-filling fountain pen that is a smooth, reliable writer.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 48

Performance and price don't always go hand in hand, as you'll see in these reviews of two modern fountain pens recently acquired by Jerred...

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

Jerred:"This is a Hongdian 1850, also called the Black Forest. Hongdian is a Chinese maker, one I'd never really heard of before the beginning of this year. They seem to be very influenced by the severe, almost industrial designs that are the hallmark of certain German makers, such as Staedtler, Faber-Castell or Lamy."

"This pen comes in three finishes; black (seen here), blue and what looks like a raw, brushed aluminum. Fit and finish is excellent, the coating is evenly applied and seems reasonably tough, and while the pen is all metal and slightly on the heavy side, it's well balanced in the hand."

"One thing that definitely bears highlighting is the nib: The nib on this pen is absolutely excellent. Out of the box it was smooth, well adjusted, and wrote very reliably. It's also black-coated, and (apparently) it's a PVD coating instead of paint or epoxy, which should help with wear. All-in-all, for a $25 pen, I'm very impressed."

"This is a Parker Duofold International, in Ivory. This is part of Parker's modern Duofold lineup, and International is the smallest size in the lineup. It's similar in size to a Pelikan M600, though with a slightly shorter section. Fit and finish are merely okay, however. While the body is well enough put together, the nib slit is quite badly off-center and the masking isn't great either. While I normally wouldn't complain about such things, this is quite an expensive pen, and I would expect perfect, or close to perfect attention to detail."

"Worse than the aesthetic issues, however, are the functional issues with this pen. To put it bluntly, the nib was pathetic. The tipping was so uneven that it would not write unless I applied pressure, the inner tines weren't smoothed properly, and the tines were out of alignment. It was so bad, in fact, that I ended up having to completely re-grind the nib to make the pen functional. It writes well enough now, but overall I was quite disappointed."

Many thanks to Jerred for sending in his photos and reviews for our virtual "show & tell"!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 47

About a year and a half ago, Stuart acquired a really nice handmade leather zippered pen case/wallet made by the Galen Leather Company in Turkey, so he was very excited to acquire a special edition fountain pen made for them...

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

Stuart: "The Mystery Parcel has arrived! It actually came before 10 A. M. It is a special edition Kaweco Sport made for Galen Leather in Istanbul!"

"I’m very pleased; the pen’s a lovely writer and the colour is very warm and rich - I have to say it reminds me of whiskey, LOL! The CDN price of the pen was $44.00, and with shipping the total came to $61.80 CDN, which I consider very reasonable for a quality SE pen. And fast turnaround - 12 days from order to delivery."

"The colour is Cognac, in transparent acrylic, with a gold-plated nib in a 1.1 mm stub, and a gold finial on the end of the cap, and Galen Leather in gold on one side of the barrel."

"I filled it with Monteverde Fireopal, which is a good pairing for the colour of the pen."

"As you can see from the pics, the packaging is lovely..."

"... and look at the extras - a charm against the Evil Eye; a postcard of an historic site in Istanbul; an Earl Grey teabag; a packet of instant Turkish coffee; and a lavender-scented hand wipe! The people at Galen are always lovely to deal with, and their own products are excellent. If you want one of these pens I wouldn’t wait too long. I think they will sell fast."

Wow - all that and a great pocket fountain pen for less than $62 CDN shipped?!? What a deal!
Congratulations on your newest acquisitions, Stuart, and thanks for sharing your photos with us :)