Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 411

Short(er) reviews of a couple of my recent acquisitions...

 (please click on images to enlarge)

As promised, here's the other item I purchased from CFPE (Canadian Fountain Pen Enthusiasts) member Jayne at their picnic early last month---a bottle of Ferris Wheel Press "Edwards Garden" fountain pen ink! I recently won this lovely Parker '61' ballpoint on eBay, but I'll talk a bit about the ink first....

Ferris Wheel Press is a Canadian design and stationery company based in Markham, Ontario. They've been around for ten years and, in addition to producing inks, they also have a small line of writing instruments (fountain pens, ballpoints and rollerballs). Their ink bottles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but I think this beautiful bottle (that holds 85ml of ink) was their first ink bottle design; I have a bottle of "Candy Marsala" ink from their first Kickstarter campaign (2018), and it's in the same type of bottle.

The glass bottle resembles a globe-shaped Christmas ornament, and has a hexagonal brass screw-on cap with a special locking mechanism to prevent leaks. The bottle comes in a soft velour drawstring dust bag, and the bottle and bag, in turn, are protected by the elegant hexagonal Ferris Wheel Press box you see in the photos. This is some of the nicest ink packaging on the market, in my opinion.

(Interestingly, the 85ml bottles don't have the names of the inks printed on them...but look at how gorgeous the bottle is!!)

But of course, it doesn't matter how nice the bottle and packaging are if the ink isn't any good, right? So, onto the writing samples we go!

I decided to use a couple of different fountain pens for the writing samples in this review, starting with the Lamy 'Al-Star' "Vibrant Pink" (above) that I also bought from Jayne at the CFPE picnic. I did a full review of the pen last week, but this shot above was taken against a white background, so its cap and barrel colours are a bit more accurate than in the shots taken for that older review.

(The Lamy came with a steel 1.1 mm italic nib that was very smooth and laid down a good amount of ink...)

This water-based fountain pen ink is part of Ferris Wheel Press' "Twilight Garden" ink line, which came out in the summer of 2021 and also includes "Dusk in Bloom" and "Main St. Marmalade". The ink's name is a tribute to Edwards Garden in Toronto, which was part of a large estate that bordered the Toronto Botanical Garden.

Ferris Wheel Press describes their "Edwards Garden" ink as having a "gold shimmer" and "red sheen". I should have chosen better paper for the sample--my apologies---but if you check out some online reviews, you can see the sheen & shimmer. At least one retailer recommends giving the bottle a good shake before using the ink, and then rolling the inked pen to keep the particulate matter (which is responsible for the shimmer element) evenly dispersed. Rolling the inked pen also helps to prevent it from clogging, as does regular pen maintenance, of course.

The lighting wasn't the greatest for the photos above, so I switched to a different fountain pen in a brighter room for the photo below...

This sample above was done using a Kaweco 'Sport' fountain pen with a factory Broad nib and I think it shows the ink's shading a bit better (to see extreme closeups: left-click on a photo, then right-click & select "Open image in new tab" or "View image", then left-click on the image in the new tab). This is pretty cheap paper, but as you can see, there is minimal (if any) feathering. As for water-resistance, that's another matter--FWP inks usually have pretty low water-resistance, so don't use them for your message in a bottle lol. 

The "Twilight Garden" line of FWP inks are available in 85ml bottles (like mine), glass 38ml narrow bottles (which are shaped like a large pocket watch), or as a set of three different inks in the portable (and adorable) 5ml glass bottles known as "chargers" (which look like batteries).

I love this ink! It's a beautiful
shade of tealish-blue, it has good flow in my pens, and it's dark enough for everyday use but also looks great on writing paper or greeting cards.  Many thanks to Jayne for the ink (and the Lamy pen :)

The Parker '61' fountain pen was in production for a very long time---from 1956 to 1983--but the ballpoint version didn't come along until 1962 (actually, the desk set version of the '61' ballpoint came out in 1961) and was known as the "Parker 61 Jotter". According to, the pen I'm reviewing today was a higher-end model known as the "Insignia" model (but it was first referred to as the "Jet Flighter" ... and it was also known as the "Signet" -- rather confusing, methinks!).

The gold-filled Parker '61' ballpoint models first came out in 1963. This one has a series of fine, evenly-spaced parallel lines that run the length of the pen. The lines are so close together and so finely engraved that I didn't notice them at first. I love the simplicity of this pattern--it's elegant and matches the long Parker arrow clip on the pen.

It wasn't until I had a closer look that I also noticed some features of the pen that the seller overlooked. One of them was the previous owner's name on the cartouche; it was neatly stamped in block letters, but the font wasn't a bold one, so the name was very faint.

The '61' ballpoints were cap-actuated---pressing down on the top of the cap engaged the mechanism which caused the pen's refill to propel and retract. The Parker name is nicely engraved on the bottom of the cap...

...and to the right of the Parker name are the model number ("61") and "Made in U.S.A."

There is a very small shield-shaped hallmark above the "61" that says "1" and "10" in its top row, "12" and "K" in the shield's middle row and "G" and "F" in the bottom row. Thanks to this article on, I figured out this means: (a) the gold layer of this gold-filled item contributes 1⁄10  of the item’s total weight of metal, (b) that the gold layer of this gold-filled item is made of 12 Karat gold alloy and (c) that this item is gold-filled (a/k/a rolled gold). The seller didn't see it, and described the pen as just being a "gold-plated" pen ... but a gold-filled one is even better

The cap top jewel is grey... and undamaged-whew! I've come across a lot of lovely vintage writing instruments with cracked cap jewels, but this one is in great shape.

It's a handsome ballpoint and (at 16 grams) it's not overly-light -- it has a bit of heft to it. It's exactly the same length as a modern Parker 'Jotter' ballpoint (the regular one, not the "Jotter XL") and equally slender. I find it comfortable to use, but if you're used to much wider ballpoints, this might not be the right pen for you. It takes modern Parker (or "Parker-style") ballpoint or rollerball refills and mine works very well--it has no problems with the mechanism inside. I got this one via eBay for $15.99 USD plus shipping (the seller was in Canada), which was a great deal, I think.

(photos & review by Maja)

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