Tag Archives: ThePenMarket.com

Goodies from the Ohio Pen Show

November has been a crazy-busy month. First, I turned 40 near the start of the month. Friends flew in from Montana, and others locally joined in for much mirth and madness.

Here are three trays of new fountain pens for this website. Most of them are already fully restored!

Here are three trays of new fountain pens for this website. Most of them are already fully restored!

The following weekend saw me in Columbus, Ohio, enjoying their glorious pen show.

This weekend was Thanksgiving weekend.

I haven’t forgotten you, loyal readers. I’ve just been recovering and gearing up for a killer Cyber Monday and a spectacular holiday shopping season.

Ohio was wildly successful for all of the new connections, old friends and amazing pens. I finally got to meet the incredible nib specialist Richard Binder. I also met the legendary pen repairman Ron Zorn. Jonathan Veley gave me my first lesson in vintage pencil repair. A Mont Blanc specialist was able to assist in several specific repairs.

I picked up this mandarin orange Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman and Fiesta Red Clipper for my own collection, I love them

I picked up this mandarin orange Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman and Fiesta Red Clipper for my own collection, I love them




I scored more than 30 new pens for your perusal, and I picked up two rare color Sheaffer Snorkels. A mandarin orange Statesman and a fiesta red Clipper made my entire trip. Sorry, folks, I’m keeping those two for myself.

Yet of the 30+ new pens, there are ample rare colored 51 pencils to match up with any solitary pens in your collection. Pelikans, Parkers and Sheaffers make up the bulk of the collection. Yet, my favorite is a sky blue Conklin! It is difficult for me to resist it’s pull.

We’ve Struck the Motherlode!

Witness more than 300 vintage and modern fountain pens and writing instruments we have recently acquired for the website! If anything catches your eye, ask and we'll tell you all about it.

Witness more than 300 vintage and modern fountain pens and writing instruments we have recently acquired for the website! If anything catches your eye, ask and we’ll tell you all about it.

It has been a while since we updated these pages, but we’ve been extremely busy putting together 3 huge acquisitions of vintage and modern pens. We have tons of vintage Sheaffers, Parkers, Conklins and Waterman fountain pens as well as preowned pens by Mont Blanc, Parker, Caran d’Ache, Pelikan, Waterman and many others.

You will soon see more than 300 writing instruments available…once we restore them all to their former glory. We have great pens ranging from a Parker 20 1/2 Jack Knife Safety pen to red Wahl-Eversharp Dorics to early wide-bodied Sheaffer TouchDowns to half a set of oversized Sheaffer Balance Lifetimes with their original nib stickers including Extra Fine, Fine, Medium and STUB!

The Mont Blanc pens include a Writer’s Series Agatha Christie and many bargains on the standard Meisterstucks!

Keep checking in to see what is new every day on our vintage pens pages and pre-owned pens pages. Enjoy!

We Have a Winner!

Fireworks glow softly just out of focus on the Fourth of July. Congratulations to our winner of the First Ever Lamy Lottery.

Fireworks glow softly just out of focus on the Fourth of July. Congratulations to our winner of the First Ever Lamy Lottery.

Congratulations to Dacia N! She won the brand new Lamy AL-Star fountain pen and ink!

We had more than 30 entries from between June 4 and July 4. Thank you to everybody who purchased a pen during this time.

A special thank you also goes out to the good folks at Lamy who donated the pen for our drawing. It was a very generous gift, and we are grateful for their support of ThePenMarket.com.

This contest certainly seemed like a popular one, and I hope we can have more contests such as these in the future.

Thank you again to all of our participants, and I hope everybody had a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Customer Appreciation Lottery! Win a Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen!

We like you. We really, really like you!

We will especially really, really like one of you on the 4th of July!

With every purchase of a pen or pencil from ThePenMarket.com between June 3 and July 4 (at 6 p.m.) you will be given a chance to win this great aluminum Lamy Al-Star and a box of ink cartridges.

With every purchase of a pen or pencil from ThePenMarket.com between June 4 and July 4 (at 6 p.m.) you will be given a chance to win this great aluminum Lamy Al-Star and a box of ink cartridges.

For the next month at ThePenMarket.com we are giving each purchaser of a pen or pencil a chance to win this brand-new, factory-direct aluminum Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen! It comes with a black medium nib and one box of blue or black ink cartridges of the winner’s choice.

Our native Chicago is a pay-to-play city, and our contest works the same way. For every pen or pencil you purchase between June 4, 2015, and July 4, 2015, at 6 p.m. Central Daylight Time, we will enter your name on a slip of paper and put it in a hat. The winner’s name will be drawn at random from that hat some time after the fireworks have finished for the night.

If you buy 10 or 100 or however many writing instruments you want this month, your name will be entered that many times. Ink, refills and other writing ephemera do not qualify for entry. Items purchased from our Trading Post do not qualify for entry, either.

The winner wins this pictured Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen and a box of either blue or black ink cartridges. No substitutions will be allowed. The retail value of this prize is $52, but we will not grant a cash equivalent to the winner. You are stuck with a supremely awesome pen that writes smoothly, takes a lickin’ and travels extremely well on most any summer vacation adventure!

Seriously, we don’t vacation without one! I’ve taken my Lamy to Germany, Paris, Hong Kong and all over the United States. Their reliability and durability is why Lamy was the first new line of pens I decided to carry. Remember we have great bargains on Lamy Al-Stars, Safaris and 2000s on our new pens pages. Plus, we have a complete line of Lamy ink and refills.

Before I close, I want to give a special thanks to Mike D., our Lamy candyman, for this wonderful prize to give away!

Launching New Pens’ Site!

We’ve done it! ThePenMarket.com is now a fully licensed and authorized dealer of Lamy and Yard-O-Led writing instruments!

When we first launched this business, we figured we’d have a complete assortment of every brand-new modern pen available on the market within 6 months. We also didn’t know jack about anything. Yet, after 7 years of hard but fun work, we are proud to finally deliver on that promise of new pens.

This is the incredible 18k white gold nib from the Yard-O-Led Astoria. It is one of many great NEW pens you will find on our New Pens pages, now that we are an authorized dealer for Lamy and Yard-O-Led.

This is the incredible 18k white gold nib from the Yard-O-Led Astoria. It is one of many great NEW pens you will find on our New Pens pages, now that we are an authorized dealer for Lamy and Yard-O-Led.

If you wonder why we have been so quiet on the blog for the past several months, this is why. We were just way too busy working behind the scenes getting the new pens ready with help from our wonderful friends at Computer Friendly Associates.

Enough, with the small talk, come take a tour of the New Pens section with us. Click that New Pens link in the last sentence. It should open up a new tab showcasing the new section.

To go exploring just click whichever brand you prefer: Lamy or Yard-O-Led. This will show you all of the models presently available for sale. If you clicked Lamy, you will see the Safari and the Al-Star! We will be adding more soon, but we wanted to open this to you now so you can play around in it to see what you think and to get your feedback.

Let’s say you are interested in the Safari. Below the main image you will see tabs for the different styles the Safari comes in: Fountain Pen, Rollerball, Ballpoint and Pencil.

Click the Fountain Pen, and you will see all of the colors and nib options available. Unlike any other dealership, we gladly offer 11 different style Lamy nibs that fit the Safari–including the calligraphy 1.1mm through 1.9mm nibs normally reserved for the “Joy” pen by Lamy!

Why Lamy and Yard-O-Led?

Lamy is a fantastic brand that makes really good, really affordable fountain pens for any skill-level of fountain pen user. Their terrific German engineering makes them durable for any adventure you go on, and their nibs are so smooth and reliable.

Yard-O-Led is a writing instrument company in England that specializes in luxury pens not frequently found here in the United States. Their pens and pencils are made of sterling silver and are true works of art. They are damn good writers, too. I think if American pen users were more familiar with them, they would switch their allegiances from Mont Blanc to Yard-O-Led in a hurry.

Well, have fun exploring the new section of the site, and rest assured more pens are coming! In the meantime, please let us know what you think about the new section and how it works for you.

Improve Your Handwriting Today

See the difference a 1.5mm Lamy nib can make for your handwriting. Not only do the letters take on more distinctive shapes, the ink, itself, provides shadows and highlights on every letter. It is far more interesting than a boring old fine-point nib.

See the difference a 1.5mm Lamy nib can make for your handwriting? Not only do the letters take on more distinctive shapes, the ink, itself, provides shadows and highlights on every letter. It is far more interesting than a boring old fine-point nib.

It should be noted that my handwriting is terrible. Some of my friends who almost never write anything by hand think it is amazing simply because I can still do it. No writing expert on earth would praise it. However, with a with a nice broad stub nib, it looks much more exotic and fascinating.

You, too, can impress some of the people some of the time with a few simple handwriting tricks I have picked up over the years.

Unless you already have beautiful penmanship, I recommend staying away from those extra-fine nibs that are so in vogue today. Relax and let your handwriting out a bit to breathe.

Lamy calligraphy nibs range in size from 1.1mm to 1.9mm. Each provides a distinctive nuance to you handwriting. The Lamy Joy fountain pen set is a great way to try all three sizes for fewer than $70.

Lamy calligraphy nibs range in size from 1.1mm to 1.9mm. Each provides a distinctive nuance to you handwriting. The Lamy Joy fountain pen set is a great way to try all three sizes for fewer than $70.

Trick #1 to Handwriting Coolness: A stub nib. We now carry brand-new Lamy Joy calligraphy sets that feature three nibs: a 1.1mm nib, 1.5mm nib and a 1.9mm nib. These super-smooth broad flat steel nibs can create some wicked curves, lines and angles in your natural handwriting.

Trick #2 to Handwriting Coolness: Slow down.

Trick #3 to Handwriting Coolness: Think about what you are doing. When using a stub nib, the angle at which you write becomes crucial to developing richer characters. Experiment with ways to use the flat edge sideways for skinny lines and the flat edge of the nib vertically for thick lines. Watch as you practice O’s for how the circle should grow from skinny to fat and skinny again. See what happens when you try to grip your pen in one set position and write with your arm instead of your fingers and wrist. By setting the wrist, you can make more dynamic letters.

Trick #4 to Handwriting Coolness: Ink. If you think all inks are the same, think again. Most bottled inks are inconsistent, especially when using a stub nib. Very few blacks are true blacks, and many blues and blue-blacks are also inconsistent.

For example: Yard-O-Led Jet Black is really a charcoal grey. With a 1.5mm nib, the inconsistency is obvious, as the ink goes from black to grey in places. This gives your writing a fascinating texture and appeal. Pelikan and Cross (Okay, these two inks are exactly the same because they are made and bottled by Pelikan.) Royal Blue ink also has many inconsistent colorings when written with any medium nib or larger. Just keep in mind that Pelikan Royal Blue also fades heavily with time. It might not be ideal for your archiving projects.

I hope this helps set you on the write…oops…right path to improving your handwriting and developing a fascinating new look to your correspondence.

Yes, yes. It is a shameless plug, but I really do hope you consider buying one of our Lamy Joy sets because they really will introduce you (or a loved one) to several great stub nib variations that write well for a very affordable price under $70. The sets not only come with three nibs, but ink cartridges and an instruction manual with advice about making the most of the nibs. It is even packaged in a handy collector’s tin.

If you really want to get all fancy-shmancy, try our rare Mont Blanc Generations fountain pen with a 14k stub nib for only $99.99.

A Brief History of Cursive Writing

Since letters have been invented, people have looked for ways to write them more swiftly. Scribes writing on clay tablets developed a more fluid form of writing that served as an early cursive in Mesopotamia.

The cursive writing we recognize today started developing in Europe the 16th century. Connecting letters with loops and tails seemed to grow increasingly more uniform across languages as education became more available to the citizens of those nations. Instruction was made more simply by the invention of textbooks printed using a special copper plate. Students could trace the preprinted letters with their quill pens. The resulting form of writing was simply referred to as copperplate.

For a great example of copperplate writing, look no further than the U.S. Constitution.

Copperplate served as both a simple, functional script and as something that could be made to look fancy for special ceremonial papers. As literacy was far from universal, and the need for legible handwriting was great, copperplate writing was considered something of an art form to be seriously studied. Reading and writing was no small task in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Penmanship was critical.

The many forms of cursive writing in the centuries to follow evolved out of copperplate. Around 1840, a man named Platt Rogers Spencer believed it was important to make handwriting a true art form unlike those attempts that preceded him. A master craftsman in the art of handwriting Mr. Spencer developed his own variation of cursive that required dedicated training and skill to master its swirls and embellishments. The Spencerian method became the official writing style of government and corporate documents from around 1850 to 1925. Whole schools and textbooks were developed to teach this writing style around the country. The need for the super-flexible nibs most vintage pen collectors refer to today as “wet noodles” were essential for the modulating lines of Spencerian script that grew from extra fine to double and triple broad to accentuate a circle and add weight to the elements of each letter’s formation.

Today you can still see great examples of Spencerian script in classic century-old American brands such as Ford’s and Coca-Cola’s logos.

As elegant and beautiful as Spencerian script was, it was also time consuming and difficult to master. American business in the 19th century moved at a surprisingly fast clip by even today’s standards, and the Spencer method of writing was too slow for the needs of offices around the country. To keep up with the newly invented typewriter, secretaries, stenographers and many other white-collar workers needed a faster way to write.

In 1888, Austin Norman Palmer came to the rescue with his own method of writing. What became known as the Palmer Method caught on quickly for its legibility and ease of use. Most of the cursive writing we learned in school is, or was, based on the Palmer method.

Although Palmer method textbooks ceased publication in 1980, the very similar Zaner-Bloser method of cursive writing remains popular to this day. Developed in 1891, the Zaner-Bloser school realized the value in becoming a powerhouse in textbook publication for their handwriting and remain one of the top sources of handwriting instruction in schools across the country to this day.

In 1978, the D’Nealian handwriting method tried to breakdown the Palmer method into simpler steps to teach little kids how to write in cursive. It too remains popular, although my quick imperfect research into this piece seems to have found that the Zaner-Bloser method seems to dominate what is left of the industry to teach our youngsters how to write in cursive.

For much more detailed information about the history of handwriting and to learn how to master copperplate, Spencerian script, the Palmer Method and other forms of handwriting, visit The International Association of Master Penmen, Engravers and Teachers of Handwriting. The IAMPETH is an incredible resource for all of your handwriting needs.

Click here to be linked to their website: http://www.iampeth.com/.

Coming soon: Quick Tips for Taking Your Handwriting to the Next Level

Fix Scratchy Nibs

WARNING: The following repair advice can easily mess up your favorite nib if you aren’t careful and experienced.

You think you’ve found the perfect pen at a show, estate sale or antique store. The color is good. The filling system still works. And then you try to write with it. Although the nib looks good, it is a very scratchy writer.

Learn how to fix a scratchy nib with only a little water and some ultra-fine grit sandpaper.

Learn how to fix a scratchy nib with only a little water and some ultra-fine grit sandpaper.

You can fix that scratchy nib with some patience and nerves of steel.

It doesn’t take much effort to ruin or at least alter the width of your nib with the accidental flick of the wrist. DO NOT try this on your favorite pen that has just picked up a hint of a scratch. Get some junkers with which you can build up some experience.

Get to know your nib before you attempt anything. Is it gold? Is it tipped with irridium? Is it a steel nib? Look very closely at the nib. Use a loupe or magnifying glass. Are the tines even? Is the tip bent?

If the tines are slightly misaligned, you can push them back into place with just your thumb nail. Be careful, as misaligned tines often snap very easily. Often, I prefer to raise the lower tine to be even with the upper tine. To do this, push directly up on the single lower tine with your thumb nail to a position just above the other tine. Hold it for a second and then relax it. Check it, and repeat the process as needed. Sometimes, I push the upper tine down. Learning which to redirect really just comes with experience.

If the tip is bent, forget about it. We’ll save that for a different article.

If the tines are even but just scratchy…

Check to see if the tip is gold, gold with a metal (usually irridium) tip or steel. If it is plain gold, which is rare, the sanding process will weardown the nib super quickly. If it is tipped, check to see if the tipping material is still complete. If it isn’t, you’ll need to get it retipped. If the tipping metal is still there, then you will be safer to try to sand the nib into submission. The steel nibs are also pretty safe to try to smooth, although by their nature, they generally won’t smooth as well as the gold nibs. It is rare to find a truely smooth steel nib on a vintage pen, unless it is from the Esterbrook 9000s line.

If you are into freakishly extra-fine nibs, send your pen to a nib expert (and I am not that type of nib expert). If you aren’t so picky as long as you can have a smooth writer…continue reading.

To try to sand the nib into a sweet spot, you will need a small glass of water, a clean sheet of your normal writing paper and some very fine-grit sandpaper. I recommend 2500 grit or finer. You also will want a tissue or paper towel.

Set up on a hard-topped desk or table. A cushioned writing surface will have you putting holes in the sandpaper with the nib and putting odd edges on the nib.

To get started, I like to make sure the pen is full. Then spread a little water on the sandpaper. Next write a figure 8 with the scratchy pen on the watered sandpaper. The water helps to lubricate the sandpaper so that you don’t take off too much from the nib. Your figure 8 should be about the size of your normal letters when writing…maybe a little bigger. Don’t worry about the ink on the sandpaper. And don’t think that the ink will naturally lube the paper enough without water. It won’t.

I like to have the pen full of ink, so I can immediately test the nib on a clean sheet of paper. After your first figure 8, shake the pen in the glass of water and dry off the tip. This just clears the tip of any sand, as you don’t want to keep sanding the nib when you don’t want to sand it. Test the nib on the clean sheet of paper and see how it feels. Patiently repeat one or two 8’s at a time on the sandpaper and repeat the process.

If you find that you need more than a couple figure 8’s, start writing 8’s from different angles, as you don’t want to flatten out the nib in your normal writing position.

If everything is almost perfect but you are still having scratches at the top or bottom of your loops, try to work out those parts of the letter on the sandpaper.

REMEMBER, every time that nib touches the sandpaper, it is going to get wider. Often, it only takes an 8 or two. It is not uncommon for your fine nib to become a medium or a medium a bold nib while trying this repair. If you want to be assured perfection with little change to your nib’s writing characteristics, it is best to find an expert.

Adding Character with a 1915 Underwood Typewriter

Every wonder what we use on our classic shipping labels? You are looking at our beloved 1915 Underwood portable typewriter. This machine is as dedicated a writer as any of our vintage pens.

Every wonder what we use on our classic shipping labels? You are looking at our beloved 1915 Underwood portable typewriter. This machine is as dedicated a writer as any of our vintage pens.

Several customers have noticed our shipping labels are always typed up on an “old skool” typewriter and have asked after it.

In addition to vintage pens, I have a fetish for classic, old-fashioned typewriters. It is amazing to me how past generations created these incredibly complex machines to type so smoothly.

My typewriter for mailing labels is a 1915 Underwood. The Qwerty keyboard hadn’t been 100% formalized and made uniform when it was made. Some of the keys are out of place with where they are on a modern computer. There is no key for the numeral one. I have to use the lowercase “L”. The ribbon must reversed by hand when it runs out in one direction. The poor thing often veers off on a different direction when trying to type a straight line. It adds lots of personality to the occassional letter that I write upon it. I hope I work as well when I’m 99 years old. If I make it that long, I sure hope I’m in as good a condition!

Believe it or not, I found it in a second hand store with its original portable case for $12. It needed close to $100 of professional restoration work, but it was worth it. If I can’t write with one of my favorite fountain pens, this is my favorite backup.

I cannot restore vintage typewriters, but I hope to learn how one day. They look like a ton of fun to rebuild…because that’s the way I geek out. Maybe one day I’ll show off my electric 1963 Smith-Corona typewriter that is robin’s egg blue and white.

Proud to Present Rare Mabie Todd Pen

Here is a nearly mint condition Mabie Todd Eternal. Fully restored, it works beautifully.

Here is a nearly mint condition Mabie Todd Eternal. Fully restored, it works beautifully.

We hate bragging so much we started a blog. Just be forewarned.

Although we try not to get too crazy about any one pen on our site, we think this one is worth all of the hype. It is an original, museum quality Mabie Todd Eternal fountain pen. More than that, this is our senior size or oversized edition.

The hard rubber body is practically perfect, as its orange and black design is immaculate. The imprint is a little faded in one spot but is otherwise strong. The trim is great with only a little brassing on the ball of the clip.

Oh, and the nib. The nib is spectacular. It is a 14k gold dream that writes a smooth medium line. This vintage fountain pen has been refurbished with a new ink sac. So you can use this pen or brag about it on display.