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Older articles from pentrace
  • Pump the Vac Slowly
  • by David Lee Mason

    " The dark sordid days were upon us. E-mail, relentlessly hammered into the hearts and minds of our people, handwriting, all but banned by the Fascist Pig Ruling Class, knuckles irreparably shattered for the mere whiff of royal blue, emerald green, burgundy, sepia. Only one force stood tall for the true believers..."

  • The Parker Duofold Monoplane
  • by Len Provisor

    May 1927, and Charles Lindberg achieves the first solo flight across the Atlantic, igniting the world's fascination with flying machines and the endless possibilities of the future. World records for speed and distance were being broken on a regular basis. Amelia Earhart followed one year later in June 1928 to become the first woman aviatrix to fly across the Atlantic.

    Rewind to 1921, when the Parker Pen Company introduced their new oversize Duofold fountain pen, with a patented bright red design with black ends which "Rivaled the beauty of the Scarlet Tanager". The Duofold pen was hugely successful, and when unbreakable Permanite was added in 1926, demand grew so rapidly that the war for market share exploded....

  • What to Buy Next?
  • by Robert Helfrich

    Bob writes "What you should buy next is BOOKS. Even a wildly expensive book like Lambrou, Andreas, Fountain Pens of the World (reprinted 1998) which can be picked up for anywhere from $100-$150 (but which is no longer published) ( so get a copy at whatever price you can get a copy). This history of major and minor manufacturers along with good color pictures is like having 1,000 pens...."

  • Guided Tour of the new Pentrace Site
  • by Donal Higgins

    Some fountain pens are used on a daily basis, some disappear in to collections without a trace.

    This site is about fountain pens and writing with fountain pens. It is about new, vintage, weird, wonderful or LE. The content comes from YOU. There is a vast fund of knowledge and stories out there about pens and things pen related; unfortunately the greater part is aired only briefly and then disappears into the ether, to be lost forever.

    Thats where Pentrace comes in. This is a cooperative site, the more you put in; the more you will get out! Most importantly the content will always be available online, because it is all stored in our database.

    This is how its going to work...

  • Fountain Pen, what does it mean?
  • by Paul LoCasto

    'Fountain Pen', what does it mean? The word fountain is borrowed from Latin [fontana (spring, fountain) from 'fons'] and can be traced back to the IE (Indo-European) *dhon-ti-, from the root *dhen- (to flow). Fountain, as used in 'fountain pen' is of the sense: "a reservoir or compartment for holding oil, ink, etc." (OED). However, the IE sense 'to flow' is certainly applicable to how fountain pens operate...

  • The Pelikan Future
  • by Barry Dean Milligan

    I first saw this pen on the official German Pelikan site. I'm a notorious sucker for cheap pens of modern design, and I knew when I saw the pictures that I had to have one. While the other well known modern Pelikan, the Level, has a sober look, the Future is much more colorful and lively, befitting a pen aimed primarily at kids. The pen comes in red, blue, green, and yellow. The interchangeability of the parts to create a multiplicity of different colored pens is used as a selling point. The German Pelikan site also shows a very smooth looking "silver" model. Whether or not this is silver colored plastic, or aluminum, I'm not sure. I'd love to find one though...

  • by Myra Love

    Hello. My name is Rita Esposito, and I don't know why they locked me up in here. They claim I tried to kill my husband, but that's ridiculous. I love my husband. It's just my fountain pens that hate him.

    Of course, it's not their fault. He doesn't understand them the way I do. They don't blame him for that, just for not even making an effort. He has said a number of times in their hearing that he thinks I spend too much time and money on them. "What are you spending so much on ink for? Just fill the suckers with that old blue ink your mother left in the cellar," he said loudly late last week. I could tell they were upset...

    The Case of the Haunted Pen, Chapter I by David Lee Mason

    My heart hammered like a caged falcon against the Parker Lucky Curve in my breast pocket as the stung-lipped little vixen hiked up a corner of her South Seas Blue silk skirt and settled a prime-grade haunch on the ink blotter hiding my scarred old desk. "So, Hotshot", she purred through her ruby-rouged bee-stung pout, "is that a 1959 Mont Blanc Diplomat 149 with a medium-flex left-oblique broad nib and the white gold triple cap bands in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?" My stained teeth worried nervously at my section-chapped lips like furry little rats in trash. Oh, Lawzy Mama - I had dem Ol' Roma 2000 Blues.

  • The New Conklin Pen Company
  • by Len Provisor

    With the flurry of modern pen releases in 2000, I have seen a few manufacturers take the hint from historical perspective to revive design ideas that have exceptional enduring merit. Such is the case of the Conklin Nozac fountain pen, introduced in 1931 with a most unique filling system design.

    The knob on the bottom of the pen simply says TWIST TO FILL. Advertised as a self-filler "that winds like a watch". Available in 5,000 (or 50 average letters) 7,000 and even 8,000 word capacity. Unique was the 12 faceted barrel design for grip and preventing the pen from rolling off the desk. Ink capacity was greatly increased due to the barrrel being the reservoir, no sack or "NOZAC" being the clever adopted name...

  • How to Work and Survive a Pen Show
  • by Len Provisor

    There are about fourteen major fountain pen shows in the U.S. lately, and if you are new to pen collecting and happen to visit a large show, this can be an awesome challenge.

    There is no one first rule. All the rules come first. Get organized, make a plan of priorities and how to attack the show floor and stick to it.

    If you are like me at my first show, all these rules were history soon as I hit the first table. I was overwhelmed, totally unprepared for the enormity of choices and variety of materials shown. Blew my budget by the time I hit table number two. It took a few shows for me to conceive and stick to a sensible plan...

    The Case of the Haunted Pen, Chapter II by David Lee Mason

    The Right Reverend Robert "Bobo" Penn, Molly's grandfather, had been the only man she had ever truly admired. He had been a penman of the old school. Well versed in Spenserian, Palmerian, Roundhand and Roman, fluent in Foundational, Carolingian and Blackletter, somewhere in the midst of all his scribblings he managed to slow down enough to sire Molly's unfortunate progenitor. Both her father Uncial Penn and her evil half-uncle Tremolo (Grandpop's second wife had been an opera singer) were cursed by a case of father-fear; Uncial could barely master a decent italic hand, miniscule at that, and poor Tremolo was but a scribbler all his life.

  • The Story of Sumgai
  • by Bill Riepl

    The name Sumgai has by now become synonymous with the dread nemesis of all collectors, the cause of "the one that got away". Of course, the real dark secret of Sumgai is that we all get a chance to be Sumgai ourselves sooner or later. As a wise fellow once said, "we have met the enemy, and he is us"

    Black Ink Reviews by Rick Womer

    About a year ago I started a search for The Perfect Black Ink. My old "daily user" pen (a 1976-vintage MontBlanc Noblesse) was the fountain pen equivalent of one of those engines that will run on anything (gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, perfume) and work well. My new pen, a Waterman Preface, is a little more particular, as are some of the other pens I've recently acquired.

    So, I've accumulated quite a collection of black ink in the last six months. I've collected black because I like it, and because my employer requires it.

    Among the things I have learned is that there are mysterious interactions between pens, inks, and papers. I've used many of these inks in a few pens, though, and their characteristics tend to be stable. Even so, YMMV ("Your Mileage May Vary").

    Thus, herewith my impressions of eight black inks..

  • Trick or Treat? Ugly Pens!
  • by Don Nelson

    Happy Halloween, welcome to the weird and wonderful world of STRANGE pens

    If you have some better examples, let us know!

    The New Jersey National Pen Show 2000 by Robert Helfrich

    "Psst!, Buddy, Wanna' Buy A National Pen Show ? Cheap? For You $500 ! Its in The Garden State, New Jersey. Close to Philadelphia, NYC, in the heart of the eastern megalopolis. Just $499.00. Look, you don't take it and we'll have to put it up on eBay #486276428"

    So, what do you get for your $499 ? Friday, the dealers get together and sell each other the real bargain pen for the show. On Saturday, displays set up, half the tables empty. At any given time, dealers out number visitors 4 to 1. This is the Mostly Vintage Day: Individual Dealers, in the main, collectors who have to part with some of their treasures in order to get more - or to keep a spouse happy - and what treasures they have: Large Jade Green Chilton Pneumatics, Scads of BCHR EDs, Duofolds, LF Balances in all colors, Flattops large and small, Sleek Black Swans, even J. G. Riders (only the Rorting 900 has a clip that looks like a rider), John Holland. . .

    “Its not a difficult question, but repeating "Wha'cha' looking for?" gets me no closer to the answer.”

    "Wha'Cha' looking for ?" says a dealer, and suddenly I can't remember...

    Vintage Italian Pens by Dario Giorgi

    It is an accepted fact that the "fountain pen" originated in the U.S.A. Since the early years of the last century, there were many different American pen companies producing very lovely and solid pens. Both the American design and the American ink filling techniques were always innovative. These had a leading role for companies of different countries, particularly in Europe.

    In Italy, during the late 30s, at the onset of the Second World War, the American patents were not always respected, either by the Italian Government or by Italian companies. It's for this reason that, during this period, some minor Italian pen companies 'borrowed' the American technical innovation in order to produce very lovely and well made pens..

    Meet Dante Del Vecchio from Visconti by Len Provisor

    As honored guest of the Ohio Pen Show, this was Mr. Del Vecchio's first trip to the United States, bringing with him his newest release of the Limited Edition Dragon pen with a very unique decoration, incorporating elaborate airbrush art and hand painting on the barrels of a new fountain pen.

    The pen has a new designed metal power piston filler. Similar to the Voyager filler except it is made from a shiny silver metal and has a cut-out inkview window at the point where the piston approaches the vaccuum chamber of the filler.

    The Dragon was created primarily for the Oriental market, however about 200 will be available for the U.S..

    Stop Sniveling and DO Something , or:
    Dave "The Toolman" Mason

    Many of us advanced boomers came to the fountain pen relatively late after a long apprenticeship with the ubiquitous ballpoint. Besides the romance, mystique, and downright funk, what drew us to the fountain was the free-floating ambience and lack of pressure needed to make it hum and sing.

    There is nothing inherently wrong or evil with a ballpoint pen as a writing utensil. If Aristotle, Shakespeare or Jefferson had had one, rest assured that they would have used them. Modern-day flexheads, stubheads and status seekers may quibble to no end, but the fact remains that most new fountain pens have stiff monoline nibs and the most valid argument against ballpoints is that they are uncomfortable to use because they are so skinny.

The Lost Pen of Percival Lowell
The Declaration of Independence
The Case of the Haunted Pen, Chapter III
Mixology 101
The Zerollo Two Pen
The Triangle Pen Club
The Radius Pen Company
A Present From Uncle Elmer
The Case of the Haunted Pen, Chapter IV
My Favorite Pen Memory
Proper Cleaning Techniques for Vintage Fountain Pens
"…even a monkey can mix ink."
Visconti Nib
The Case of the Haunted Pen, Chapter V
Rotring Core
Eddie's Lesson
Nellie, Clare, and the Special Pen
Why on EARTH Would You MAKE Your Own Pens?
Delta Pompei
Tallywacker Chap 1
Confessions of a Filigranophile
The Case of the Haunted Pen: Chapter VI
Reflections of a Newbie: One year later
Mont Blanc Hemingway
Tallywacker Chap 2
Yellow, Orange and Grey Ink
Treb's Brown Ink Guide
Krone Vintage Select (Blue Moon)
Tallywacker Chap 3
Mont Blanc Oscar Wilde
An Airplane that inspired the Parker "51" Flighter
Tallywacker Chap 4
What ink in what pen?
Nibs under the microscope.
James Bond Shooting Pen
Tallywacker Chap 5
The Joy of Flex
The 50+ Fountain Pen Filler Types
The Parker Patrician
Weapon of Choice I
How to Replace a Fountain Pen Sac
Fountain Pen vs. Gel Ink Pen
Weapon of Choice II
World War I soldier's buried pen still writes
Pen Pals
Weapon of Choice III
Tallywacker Chap 6

Tallywacker Chap 7
Will you help save a Sheaffer landmark?
Weapon of Choice IV
Nibs in New Haven
How can we talk about iridium?
Weapon of Choice V
The Quest
Weapon of Choice VI
Weapon of Choice VIII
Where's the Iridium?
Pelikan Level 5 Stub
Weapon of Choice VII
Flea Market Find and Fried Pickles
FPH profile
Weapon of Choice IX

Wreck on the highway.
The Omega Fountain Pen Company
Cartridge Chart
Like a kid in a candy shop!
The Chicago Pen Show Report
The 2001 Chicago Pen Show
Chicago Pen Show 2001, photo album
Sunday at the York Street Laundromat
The green ink user that never was
An 1856 Fountain Pen
A Time To Every Purpose II
The Forgotten Garden
Fountain Pen Nibs: The Basics
American Legend
A Time To Every Purpose I

Pen Limericks
A Time To Every Purpose V
A Life-Long Love Affair
Wallace Stevens Sings the Blues
A Time To Every Purpose IVe
One Boot and a Tennis Shoee
The Expatriate
A Time To Every Purpose III
You Never Know...
A Time To Every Purpose V
Quink Ink Charts
A Time To Every Purpose VII
New York Pen Show
A Time To Every Purpose IX
A Love/Hate Relationship
A Time To Every Purpose VIII

Handbound Journals from Muckross House
A Time To Every Purpose XII

Clips: Sheaffer's Balance
A Time To Every Purpose XI
Colors: Sheaffer’s Balance
A Time To Every Purpose X
A Time To Every Purpose XIV
Pentrace Poetry Competition
A Time To Every Purpose XIII

The Columbus Pen Companyy

Colors: The Parker Vacumatic

A Time To Every Purpose XVII

Colors: The Striped Parker Duofold 1941 - 1946

Sheaffer’s Flat-Top Pens

A Time To Every Purpose XVI

FILCAO Pens: a review

A Time To Every Purpose XV

Russ Stutler's Sketchbook 2

A Time To Every Purpose XIX

Russ Stutler's Sketchbook 1

A Time To Every Purpose XVIII

Happy First Birthday to Pentrace!

Anatomy of a Fountain Pen I: A Typical Lever Filler

Russ Stutler's Sketchbook 4

A Time To Every Purpose XXI

Russ Stutler's Sketchbook 3

New York Pen Show

A Time To Every Purpose XX

Sheaffer Viewpoint Calligraphy (2000 production)

London Pen Weekend

2001 Hallowe’en Drabble Collection

Russ Stutler's Sketchbook 5

A Time To Every Purpose XXII

A Good Day Hunting Pens

Colors: The Parker “Toothbrush” Geometric

Russ Stutler's Sketchbook 7

The Alchemist of Zionsville, IN

Anatomy of a Fountain Pen II: The Parker Vacumatic

Russ Stutler's Sketchbook 6

Negative Space I

Colors: The Parker 51 Part II - Aero Fillers

Anatomy of a Fountain Pen III: Sheaffer’s Snorkel

Colors: The Parker 51 Part I - Vac Fillers

My Pen Collection

Negative Space II

Negative Space III

Letters I

Negative Space V

Negative Space IV

$25,000 Horse

You never know ... your own strength

Frankfurt Paperworld impressions

Letters IV

Negative Space VIII

Ball Point Pens With Soul

Letters III

Negative Space VII

Deconstructing the Major Pen Manufacturers I

Letters II

Negative Space VI

Thoughts on Deconstructing the Major Pen Manufacturers I

Letters V

Negative Space IX

Letters VIII

Negative Space XII

Letters VII

Negative Space XI

Letters VI

Negative Space X

Letters XI

Negative Space XV

The Williamson Pen Company

Letters X

Negative Space XIV

Writing Equipment Society meeting in Birmingham

Letters IX

Negative Space XIII






































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