Sunday, October 10, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 268

Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I find it's a good time to try practicing a bit more gratitude...😊

I'm very grateful and fortunate to have so many good friends in my life, especially during this global pandemic which has been a challenge to our collective mental health. One such person is my good friend and fellow VPCer Stuart. We'd been trading emails regularly and back in May, Stuart mentioned that he had his eye on a Narwhal 'Schuykill' "Porpita Navy" Limited Edition fountain pen that he'd just seen at the Vancouver Pen Shop. I'm a big fan of the brand, but that LE flew under my radar for some reason, so I looked it up online right away...and instantly fell in love with the pen. The only problem was that it was selling quickly....very quickly--in fact, nearly every online pen retailer that had it in stock had run out.

In his email, Stuart had mentioned that Van Pen had more than one in stock, but their store was already closed for the day,
they didn't have an online shop, and I was worried about missing my chance to get one (only 800 pieces were made worldwide), so I ordered mine online from the family-owned Vanness Pen Shop in Little Rock, Arkansas that night. I'd heard good things about their customer service and their shipping rates were reasonable, so I didn't really hesitate to order from them, although it was my first purchase from their online store.

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

A few weeks later, the pen arrived safe and sound... and in a cute Narwhal-branded box!

Narwhal's 'Schuykill' model (named after the river in Pennsylvania) was launched in January 2020 at the Philadelphia Pen Show. It's a nice-sized piston-filling fountain pen with a clear ink-view window that enables the user to see the ink level even when the pen is capped.

The 'Schuykill' is very similar to the Narwhal 'Original' (yes, that's its actual name)--both models are piston-fillers of nearly-identical size and weight--but the 'Original' lacks the ink-view window (it has a lovely engraved barrel band in its stead).

 As you can see, the pen looks quite different in bright light---the blue color really pops!

Even though only 800 were made, the "Porpita Navy" Limited Edition pens are not individually numbered. I've seen many photos of this LE pen online, though, and it seems to me that no two pens look exactly alike (which I think is really cool).

The pen can be posted, but I actually wouldn't recommend it as you could accidentally turn the piston knob when removing the cap (it's actually long enough to be used comfortably unposted by most users)

(please excuse my worn-out bamboo keyboard - its location has the best lighting in the house ;)

Now for some specs, courtesy of Goldspot Pens
Narwhal Schuylkill Fountain Pen Specifications:

  • Finish: Acrylic
  • Trims and Clip: Polished Chrome
  • Nib: No. 6 stainless steel
  • Filling System: Piston mechanism (bottled ink fill only)
  • Pen Length, closed: 5.71 in. / 145 mm
  • Pen Length, open, cap off: 5.16 in. / 131 mm
  • Pen Length, open, cap posted: 6.97 in. / 177 mm
  • Pen Diameter, barrel: 0.51 in. / 13 mm
  • Pen Diameter, section: 0.35 in. - 0.43 in. / 9mm - 11 mm
  • Pen Total Weight: 0.7oz. / 19.8 g

For some reason, I thought the "Porpita Navy" LE was named after a porpoise (the company gives nautical/marine names to all of their pens), but I think it was named after the Blue Button aka Porpita Porpita. What is a Blue Button? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Porpita is "A genus of small bright-colored siphonophores that float in the warmer parts of the ocean and have a large feeding zooid and a float in the center surrounded by smaller nutritive and reproductive zooids and by slender dactylozooids near the margin". In other words, it's a marine organism that's actually a colony made up of other marine organisms. There's a short video of these graceful creatures in action here (they're not actually jellyfish, but they do sting!).

The pen's gold-plated steel nibs are proudly made in-house by Narwhal and have an engraving of (what else?) a narwhal and some tasteful scrollwork on them. The nib width is stamped on the side of the nib. My particular nib is an F (Fine) and it was very smooth out of the box, with no hard-starting issues, even after several days of non-use. There's very little spring to mine (ie. it's not a flexy nib) but the nib feels "soft" and very pleasant to write with.

A few days after I ordered my pen, Stuart sent me photos of the one he got. As you can see, his "Porpita Navy" LE has more brown shades in it than mine (but I wasn't surprised as I'd seen the colour variation online already):

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

I don't know Van Pen's price, but I paid $55 USD (not including shipping) for mine, which I think is a great deal on a piston-filling fountain pen with a very smooth nib...and as Stuart said, the colour of the material is "gorgeous" :)

In addition to the "Porpita Navy LE", the 'Schuykill' model comes in four non-LE colours: Marlin Blue, Asfur Bronze, Chromis Teal, and Rockfish Red. There's also a 'Schuykill 365' LE made of red ebonite, which came out in September 2020. 

Stuart - thank you for your photos for our joint virtual "show & tell", but most of all, thank you for your friendship over the years. May you always use your lovely "Porpita" fountain pen in good health!

(~ review by Maja ~)

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