Tuesday 22 July, 2014
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Fast Facts
Fast Fact: 1919
Aurora was the first Italian fountain pen company, founded in 1919 in Turin by a wealthy textile merchant.
 
Fast Fact: Acme in Maui
Acme Studios was founded in 1985 and is now located in Maui, Hawaii.
 
Fast Fact: Lone Swiss Maker
Caran d’Ache is Switzerland’s only fine writing instrument manufacturer.
 
Fast Fact: Mark Twain Endorses
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) endorsed the Conklin Crescent Filler in 1903 and became a spokesman for the company.
 
Fast Fact: Oldest American Pen Makers
America’s oldest manufacturer of fine writing instruments was established in 1846 by Richard Cross in Providence, Rhode Island.
 
Fast Fact: Fisher Space Pen
The Fisher Space Pen Company, now based in Boulder City, Nevada, traces its roots to 1948 when Paul Fisher developed the original Bullet pen. An instant classic, it is one of the most recognizable and best known pens of the 20th century.
 
Fast Fact: NASA and Mir
Beginning with the October 1968 Apollo 7 mission astronauts began using the Fisher AG-7 Space Pen and cartridge developed in 1966. Since then Fisher pens have also been used aboard NASA’s space shuttle and the Russian MIR.
 
Fast Fact: Pilot/Namiki
In 1994, Pilot introduced maki-e pens in the U.S. under the name of Namiki.
 
Fast Fact: Bush and Yeltsin
In 1993, George Bush and Boris Yeltsin used personalized Parker Duofold World Memorial Rollerballs to sign the historic START II Treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.
 
Fast Fact: Old German Firm
Founded in 1838 by chemist Carl Hornemann in Hanover, Germany, Pelikan started out in the color and ink business.
 
Fast Fact: Retro 51 Slogan
“Life is too short to carry an ugly pen.”
 
Fast Fact: Retro51/Fossil Related
Retro 51 and Fossil are owned and operated by brothers. One owns each company.
 
Fast Fact: Jeweler Founded Sheaffer
In 1912 in Fort Madison, Iowa, Walter A. Sheaffer takes his grand idea of a pen-filling apparatus that utilizes a lever system and, with his life savings, founds the W. A. Sheaffer company in the back room of his jewelry store.
 
Fast Fact: Stipula of Florence
Renzo Salvadori founded the company now called Stipula of Florence, Italy in the spring of 1973.
 
Fast Fact: Moldy Ink?
Since modern ink does not contain biocides, which would prevent mold, your ink supply could go moldy. You don’t want to have to send out your pen to be disinfected, so if you ink looks gunky, discard the moldy matter and start a fresh bottle.
 
Fast Fact: Dusty Ink?
Your ink may collect paper fibers over time. If you notice this in any abundance discard the ink and start anew. This is far less expensive than having to pay for repairing a clogged pen.
 
Fast Fact: Discard Old Ink
Keep your ink bottle tightly capped when not in use. Otherwise, accumulated dust or evaporation will gunk up your supply. If you suspect your ink has seen better days, discard it. It’s far less expensive to use a new ink bottle than to have your pen repaired.
 
Fast Fact: Resin Can Fade
Never store your pens in a sunny location. Besides the obvious problems with heating and cooling, even modern resins can discolor. Ink is best stored in a desk drawer or cabinet as it, too, can fade.
 
Fast Fact: Lefty Challenge
Fountain pens can be a challenge for lefties. The left-handed writer generally “pushes” a pen across the page, while a right-handed person “pulls”.
 
Fast Fact: The nib for Lefties
Some claim that a “right oblique” nib works best for southpaws. If you’re a lefty you’ll need to experiment.
 
Fast Fact: Paper Choice
Your choice of paper will affect your nib choice. A rough paper calls for something other than a fine nib, which might catch, while smooth paper will work with any nib. Absorbent paper calls for a medium to fine nib.
 
Fast Fact: Everyday Nibs
Most people prefer fine or medium nibs for everyday writing on your average paper.
 
Fast Fact: Nib versus Nib
Broad nibs will suit someone who writes big, but for "small" writers a broad nib will dispense too much ink and fill in your o, p, e, etc. However, for the "big" writer, a fine nib may not fill in enough!
 
Fast Fact: Does Size Matter?
The size of your hands, the length of your fingers, the thickness of the hands and fingers are all factors in determining what pen thickness best suits your needs. Many times it just comes down to personal taste.
 
Fast Fact: Skinny versus Fat
Some people just prefer a skinny pen, others a fat one. Over the years I’ve found the “medium” pens to be my favorites.
 
Fast Fact: Ink versus Ink
The ink is the difference between a ballpoint and a rollerball. Ballpoint ink is made from an alcohol-based paste while a rollerball uses a water-based liquid ink. The former dries faster but doesn’t apply as smoothly.
 
Fast Fact: Like Roll-on Deoderant
Ballpoint pen and rollerball pen refills work in much the same way as a roll-on deodorant works. The ball is in a socket that helps keep the ink from flowing out or air from getting in. As the ball rolls gravity forces the ink from the reservoir onto the ball which dispenses the ink onto the paper.
 
Fast Fact: Ballpoint Metals
Typical ball materials for ballpoint and rollerball refills are steel, brass, or tungsten carbide.
 
Fast Fact: Typical Pen Lengths
A common length for ballpoint pens is 5 to 5.5 inches. Capped rollerballs or fountain pens can range from 5 to 5.5” closed, and from 5.5 to 6.5” with the cap posted. There are both smaller pens and larger pens from the examples described.
 
Fast Fact: What is maki-e?
“Maki-e, meaning “sprinkled picture” in Japanese, is a traditional multi-layered lacquering technique in which fine colored or precious metal dust, often silver and gold, is sprinkled to form a design or picture on a lacquer surface before it hardens.”
 
Fast Fact: Centuries old technique
Maki-e is a centuries old technique that wasn’t applied to fountain pens until the 1920’s. There are a number of maki-e techniques and a vast range of prices for maki-e pens.
 
Fast Fact: What is Acrylic Resin?
Acrylic resin is defined as “any of numerous thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers or copolymers of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, esters of these acids, or acrylonitrile, used to produce paints, synthetic rubbers, and lightweight plastics.” It is excellent for making pens in a wide variety of colors and mixes of colors.
 
Fast Fact: What is lacquer?
Lacquer is a clear or colored coating that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish in a sheen from matte to high gloss that can be further polished as required. (Wikipedia)
 
Fast Fact: What is Cellulose?
Cellulose is the main component of plant cell walls and is the basic building block for many textiles and paper. Celluloid is derived from cellulose and camphor, is environmentally friendly, can be created in a wide range of colors, and is very shock-proof making it ideal in the manufacture of fine pens.
 
Fast Fact: How Fountain Pens Work
A fountain pen disperses ink through a force called capillary attraction. In much the same way as a blotter absorbs ink, so the feeder pulls ink from the reservoir.
 
Fast Fact: Pen Materials
Pens are made from many materials including but not limited to gold, silver, brass, acrylic resin, wood, horn, and cellulose acetate.
 
Fast Fact: Fountain Pen Parts
Fountain pens are comprised of three main parts; the nib, the barrel which holds the ink reservoir, and the cap.
 
Fast Fact: Never Squeeze the Charmin!
Never attempt to operate the filler mechanism when your fountain pen is capped. Doing so can cause excess pressure and damage the pen, not to mention leaking ink all over the place.
 
Fast Fact: How to carry the pen
A filled fountain pen should be carried upright with the cap on in your pocket or in your purse to prevent leakage.
 
Fast Fact: In case of a leak
If your fountain pen does leak for some reason, use a soft cloth to clean off excess ink both on the pen and inside of the cap. Use cool, clear water to do any major cleaning making sure once again to rinse out the inside of the cap. Never use hot water or any solvents as you might damage gaskets, lacquer or other materials.
 
Fast Fact: Avoid temperature extremes
Its not a good idea to store your fine pen in your car. Excessive heat can easily damage non-metal parts, dry out rubber gaskets, and even warp your writing instrument.
 
Fast Fact: Beware the loaner!
Loaning out your fountain pen can be risky because the nib tends to adapt to the person using it. In other words, the nib flexes according to your writing style and memorizes how it is supposed to act.
 
Fast Fact: Flying with a fountain pen?
When you fly with a fountain pen some would advise that you empty the pen to avoid leakage, and that seems obvious enough, while others suggest that keeping the reservoir full will prevent leakage. Either way, make sure the cap is tightly closed and you carry the pen nib up.
 
Fast Fact: Nib Materials
Fountain pen nibs are typically made of either 14K or 18K gold, or stainless steel. The choice of material will be determined by your price range and by the “feel” that you’re after in the writing experience. Over the long haul, gold nibs should outlast steel nibs since they don’t corrode from the acids in ink.
 
Fast Fact: What is a nib?
In general, a nib is defined as a sharp tip or a point. In the pen world, we usually refer to a nib as being the business end of a fountain pen.
 
Fast Fact: You can't fight gravity!
Once your fountain pen has ink store with the nib upright. You can’t fight gravity! Keep the pen capped, too, to help prevent the ink from drying out too quickly or thickening.
 
Fast Fact: Use it or loose it?
A filled fountain pen should be used to avoid having the ink dry which will cause flow problems and possible damage to the piston.
 
Fast Fact: Ammonia soluable
If you get fountain pen ink on your hands, and who doesn’t, soap and water works pretty well with some effort. Window cleaner does an even faster job since the ink is ammonia soluable.
 
Fast Fact: When changing ink colors
Always flush your fountain pen first if you are changing ink colors.
 
Fast Fact: Clear, cool water
The easiest way to care for a fountain pen is to flush with clear, cool water. Whether you are using a converter or a built in mechanism, fill and flush until the water runs clear.
 
Fast Fact: Don't soak too much
If your fountain pen is clogged, fill with water and soak overnight in a glass of water with the nib in the down position. Do not soak the barrel or the cap. Just rinse and dry those.
 
Fast Fact: Forced Penmanship?
Some people feel that writing with a fountain pen forces one to write more slowly and carefully, hence creating a neater and more legible script.
 
Fast Fact: Rollerball inks
Liquid ink and gelled ink are both considered to be rollerball inks. The difference is in the formulation.
 
Fast Fact: Smooth writing
The rollerball pen was designed to combine the convenience of a ballpoint pen with the look and feel of ink from a fountain pen.
 
Fast Fact: Rollerball vs. Ballpoint
A rollerball pen requires less pressure to write than a ballpoint so there is less stress on the hand. However, a rollerball refill will tend to run out of ink more quickly than a ballpoint.
 
Fast Fact: Gel ink
Gel ink was invented in 1984 by the Sakura Color Products Corp. of Osaka, Japan.
 
Fast Fact: First U.S. Pencil Factory
Eberhard Faber built the first U.S. pencil factory in New York City in 1861.
 
Fast Fact: Eraser Invention
Natural rubber can be used to erase pencil markings, but it can spoil. Charles Goodyear discovered a way to cure rubber in 1839 to make it a lasting material. In 1844, Goodyear patented his process, called vulcanization. Erasers then became more common with the availability of better rubber.
 
Fast Fact: The First Pencils
Graphite is a form of carbon first discovered near Keswick, England around 1564. The first pencils were made in this area shortly thereafter.
 
Fast Fact: Origin of "Pencil"
Pencils got their name from an English word meaning “brush”.
 
Fast Fact: About Bexley
The Bexley Pen Company was founded in 1993 by a handful of vintage pen enthusiasts. Bexley pens are made in the U.S., one of the last American-made pen brands.
 
Fast Fact: About Titanium
Titanium is non-magnetic, non-corroding, and completely hypo-allergenic. It makes an excellent pen material, super strong and extremely lightweight.
 
Fast Fact: Titanium uses
Titanium has such amazing properties that it is used not only in pens, but also in the space program, for bicycle frames, as knife handles, in jewelry manufacture, and even as replacement human body parts such as for the hip or shoulder ball joints.
 
Fast Fact: Lots of patents
With more than 21 registered patents, the A.T. Cross Company developed and marketed many “firsts” in the field of writing instruments.
 
Fast Fact: Famous Fisher Pen
Cited as an outstanding example of industrial art, one of the original Fisher Bullet Pens was exhibited for years in the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York. Fisher Space Pens are made in the U.S. and have been used by NASA since the late 1960's.
 
Fast Fact: What to collect?
You should collect what appeals to you. Never purchase just in the hope that you might "make money" someday. Purchase a collectable for the enjoyment of the experience of ownership.
 
Fast Fact: What is aerographic painting?
This technique uses a compressed air devise which, through a nozzle connected to a can containing the color, sprays finely pulverized paint, or other liquid colorants, on various types and sizes of surfaces. After applying a base layer, successive layers of sprayings using various cut-outs and silhouettes, give form to the subject of the painting. Once the work is finished, the result is very similar to a photographic image.
 
Fast Fact: Proprietary Ink Cartridges
There are several brands of fountain pens that use proprietary ink cartridges, meaning that you must use their brand so the cartridges fit correctly. Aurora, Cross, Lamy, Parker, Pilot, Waterman, and Sheaffer all use their own style of ink cartridge.
 
Fast Fact: International Ink Cartridges
There are many brands of fountain pens that use the same style of ink cartridge, which means you can buy one to fit all. These brands would include: Acme, Bossert & Erhard, Caran d'Ache, Cartier, Colibri, Conklin, Conway Stewart, Delta, Dunhill, Elysee, Faber Castell, Inoxcrom, Itoya, Jean Pierre Lepine, Jorg Hysek, Libelle, Montblanc, Montegrappa, Monteverde, Omas, Pelikan, Recife, Retro 51, Rotring, Schmidt, ST Dupont, Stipula, and Visconti.
 
Fast Fact: What is a Selectip pen?
Commonly referred to as a rollerball pen in the industry, a Selectip pen is a registered trademark of Cross that allows the writer the opportunity to interchange the refill. Choices of these refills are: jumbo ball point refill, rollerball refill, porous point refill, and highlighter refill.
 
Fast Fact: Nib Widths Not Standard
Nib sizes do vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. In other words, there is no industry standard for what constitutes a fine, medium, or broad nib. For instatnce, you'll find that Japanese nibs are generally much finer than the grade listed compared with nibs from other countries.
 
Fast Fact: Golden Age of Fountain Pens
According to author Andreas Lambrou, the Golden Age of fountain pens is the era from 1920 to 1940. The major players of that time were Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl Eversharp, and Waterman.
 
Fast Fact: Why is it called Parker 51?
The Parker 51 was so named because research for development of the pen was concluded in 1939, Parker's 51st anniversary. The 51 is known for its hooded nib and start-up reliability.
 
Fast Fact: Introduction of the Parker Jotter
In January, 1954 Parker introduced the Parker Jotter, their first ballpoint pen. It was advertised as being so tough that a 400-pound man could stand on it without denting it.
 
Fast Fact: Mark Twain used a Conklin
Roy Conklin of Toledo, Ohio formed the Conklin Pen Manufacturing Company in 1898. He had invented the world's first practical self-filling pen in the Crescent Filler. Mark Twain used a Conklin Crescent Filler and endorsed the product with a now-famous glowing letter of recommendation.
 
Fast Fact: Waterman's Invention
Lewis Edson Waterman lost a major insurance policy sale when his fountain pen flooded the document, ruining the application. This incident motivated Waterman to develop a new feed based upon capillary attraction. His famous fissure feed, making fountain pens practical, was granted a U.S. patent on February 12, 1884. He left insurance sales with the success of his invention to form the L. E. Waterman Company.
 
Fast Fact: The First Lever-Filler
The first practical lever filling fountain pen was developed by Walter A. Sheaffer, an Iowa jeweler, and granted a U.S. patent on August 25, 1908. His invention eliminated the need to use an eye dropper or the protrusion of the half-moon shaped hump of the Conklin Crescent Filler.
 
Fast Fact: Big Early Era Manufacturers
According to author Andreas Lambrou, the most notable pen manufacturers prior to 1920 were Conklin, Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl Eversharp, and Waterman.
 
Fast Fact: Introduction of the Parker Duofold
The Parker Duofold was first introduced in the first half of 1921. Its most important feature was the high-gloss, red, hard-rubber body which made it stand out in a field of mostly black pens from other manufacturers.
 
Fast Fact: Introduction of the Parker Vacumatic
Parker began marketing the Vacuum Filler in 1932. Besides a novel filling system, the arrow-style clip made its first appearance (destined to become a symbol for Parker), along with a body made from a unique laminated plastic with alternating layers of black and silver. The more attractive name "Vacumatic" replaced "Vacuum Filler" in July, 1933.
 
Fast Fact: Ballpen vs. Fountain Pen
By the 1950's the ballpoint pen was gradually perfected and reduced in price until it was outselling the fountain pen by almost two to one.
 
Fast Fact: The Sheaffer Snorkel
To combat the growing threat of the ballpoint pen, in 1952 Sheaffer launched a unique new pen called the Snorkel, named after the tube-breathing submarines of WWII. It was the world's first clean-filling sac-type fountain pen with a complex mechanism. It filled through a tiny retractable tube which extended far enough so that the nib-feed assembly did not have to be submerged in ink.
 
Fast Fact: Sheaffer Pen For Men
In October, 1959, Sheaffer introduced the PFM, or Pen For Men. It was an oversized Snorkel design that many collectors consider as one of the best fountain pens ever made.
 
Fast Fact: Remember the T-Ball Jotter?
The Parker T-Ball Jotter was introduced in 1957. It featured the first ball specifically designed for writing, a textured tungsten carbide sphere with thousands of microscopic paper grippers on the surface. All previous ballpoints had used a common steel ballbearing, whereas the tungsten sphere facilitated better ink flow and prevented skipping.
 
Fast Fact: When Waterman Became French
Although founded in the U.S. in 1883, Waterman shut down operations here in 1954. Jules Fagard, a Waterman rep, had established Jif-Waterman in France in 1926 and this became the foundation for the Waterman of today.
 
Fast Fact: When Parker Became English
Although founded here in 1889, by the 1980's Europe had become a stronger market for quality fountain pens. Gradually, most of the Parker upper lines were manufactured there and on February 1, 1986 the UK company took over the American parent company establishing Parker's new headquarters at Newhaven, England.
 
Fast Fact: Vintage Pen Trivia
At the turn of the 20th century, Waterman dominated the market when seven of ten fountain pens sold bore the company's trademark. By the 1920's, with the rise of Parker, Sheaffer, and Wahl Eversharp, Waterman's market share had fallen to three of ten.
 
Fast Fact: Parker Vintage Duofold Trivia
The Parker Duofold was introduced in 1921 at a retail price of $7.50. The most successful year for Duofold sales was 1927 when over 1.2 million were sold!
 
Fast Fact: Parker Vacuum Filler Trivia
Introduced in 1932, the Parker Vacuum Filler featured a barrel that no longer contained a sac. The barrel itself held the ink supply, which had over twice as much capacity as did the Duofold.
 
Fast Fact: About Parker Quink
After 1021 attempts and $68,000 spent in research, Parker finally announced the successful development of a quick drying, pen-cleaning ink known as Quink, launched in the summer of 1931.
 
Fast Fact: Why a vent hole in the nib?
The vent hole in fountain pen nibs serve two purposes. First, it provides a place for air to enter the pen replacing the ink as it is consumed. Second, it also prevents the slit from continuing into the body as the beginning of a crack in the nib.
 
Fast Fact: Holes in Vintage Fountain Pen Cap
So you might wonder why there might be a hole or two drilled into your vintage pen cap. Those were put there to prevent a vacuum from forming, that way when you pull off the pen cap ink isn't sucked out of the nib section.
 
Fast Fact: Montblanc Repairs
For all Montblanc pen repairs please call the Montblanc Boutique at Scottsdale Fashion Square, 480-970-8320. They do stock parts for basic repairs, particularly involving their resin caps, barrels, logo caps, or pocket clips. Repair costs usually range from $50 to $70. Other repairs will be shipped out to their repair facility.
 
Fast Fact: What is anodizing?
Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish. Aluminum is ideally suited to anodizing, although other nonferrous metals, such as magnesium and titanium, also can be anodized.
 
Fast Fact: What is a liner lock?
The liner lock is a locking mechanism for opening and closing folding pocket knives. The modern liner lock traces its lineage to the late 19th century, but the design saw significant improvement in construction and execution in the 1980's by custom knifemaker Michael Walker. The liner lock functions with one section of the liner angled inward toward the inside of the knife. From this position, the liner is only able to go back to its old position with manual force, therefore locking it in place.
 
Fast Fact: What is a frame lock?
The main difference between a liner lock and a frame lock is that a frame lock uses the handle to form the frame and therefore the lock. The handle, which has two sides, is often cut from a steel that is much thicker than the liner of most locks.

Just like the liner lock, the frame lock is situated with the liner inward and the tip engaging the bottom of the blade. The frame lock is released by applying pressure to the frame to move it away from the blade. When it is opened, the pressure on the lock forces it to snap across the blade, engaging at its furthest point.

Knifemaker Chris Reeve is credited with popularizing the frame lock.

 
Fast Fact: What is a lock back?
The lock back is one of the oldest and most reliable locking mechanisms on the market predating the liner lock. Due to its simplicity and affordability, the lock back is one of the most well-known knife locks. The lock back functions with a locking arm, which sits along the handle spine and is created with a hook that fits into a notch on the back of the blade, behind the pivot. This hook is dragged by tension from the back spring into the notch, therefore locking the knife with a snap.
 
Fast Fact: What is a mid lock?
The mid lock is similar to a back lock, except the release mechanism is in the middle of the handle spine as opposed to near the butt end of the knife. This shortens the locking arm, producing more tension and lock strength. Mid locks are famous because of their ability to withstand large amounts of pressure.
 
Fast Fact: What is an assisted opening knife?
An assisted-opening knife is a type of folding knife which uses an internal mechanism to finish the opening of the blade once the user has partially opened it using a flipper or thumbstud attached to the blade. The first assisted opening knife was designed by Blackie Collins in 1995 and was named the "Strut-and-Cut". A similar concept was developed three years later by knifemaker Ken Onion. Onion applied for a patent on his design in 1998 - his design took the knife industry by storm and is very common today and offered in a variety of forms by many companies.
 
Fast Fact: What is a switchblade?
A switchblade (also known as an automatic knife, pushbutton knife, ejector knife, switch, flick knife, or flick blade) is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle which is opened automatically by a spring when a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster is activated. Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the spring extends the blade to the fully opened position. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position.
 
Fast Fact: What is a blade flipper?
Flipper knives, popularized by custom knifemaker Kit Carson, offer another way to smoothly open both spring assisted and manual folding knives. The flipper is normally located on the spine of the knife as part of the blade. The blade is deployed by using the index finger to pull back on it. This not only keeps your hands at a safe distance from the blade but gives you an added finger guard once opened as the flipper portion of the blade forms a half hilt.
 
Fast Fact: What is a thumb stud?
The thumb stud makes for an easy and comfortable one-handed way to open up a folding or spring assisted knife. The thumb stud sits on the side of the blade near were the blade pivots on the handle.
 
Fast Fact: What is the IKBS bearing system?
The Ikoma Korth Bearing System (IKBS) is a ball bearing pivot system for folding knives. IKBS gives exceptionally fast and smooth folder opening and closing with very low initial friction. The pivot requires very little maintenance and has a long service life. IKBS uses uncaged ball bearings at the blade pivot which are held in reliefs machined into the folder frame and blade. Typically, the blade is opened by the nudge of a flipper, and is held in the closed position by a ball detent.
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