Where did I put that pen?

After having a lot of fun reading numerous posts from AKMA on the status of his pen arsenal, I have felt my inner pen geek come out and felt the need to blog about the pens in my life right now.  It isn’t as impressive as AKMA’s collection but that is okay.

  • Parker IM :: It’s a rollerball pen but a thing of beauty.  Stainless steel construction that is gun metal grey.  Wendy gave it to me as an anniversary gift and I love it.   It may be the best pen I have ever owned.  No one borrows it and I know where it is regardless of what I am doing.
  • Parker Vector :: These were the first nice pens I had as a kid.  I loved them but I made the mistake of brining them to school too often and they would always get stolen.  I bought one for $8 at Office Depot a couple of weeks ago and it is my carry around pen at work.  It’s worth enough to make sure that no one walks off with it but cheap enough that if it gets lost, it’s okay.  It’s also the pen that Mark identifies with me when I am at work.  Tonight I bought him one and said it was for his desk downstairs when he is doing important work.  It was kind of fun to pass on the tradition to Mark and he gets a kick out of it because he sees me use the same pen at work.  It’s his first non-disposable pen and he has already made plans for us to do some work that will require writing this weekend.
  • Sheaffer No Nonsense Fountain Pen :: Everyone needs a fountain pen in their lives and I have had this for almost a decade.  It has a red marble finish but it works pretty good and has stood up pretty well considering I haven’t always given it the respect a fountain pen deserves.
  • Merangue Acero Ergo Grip :: I bought this pen a couple of years ago and I wasn’t impressed when I got it home.  It looks cool as it is stainless steel but we never really bonded until a couple of months ago.  I have to fill out forms at work for the Ministry of Social Services.  While a rollerball pen is nice, it isn’t great for carbon paper forms which really are designed for a ballpoint pen.  It looks good, writes pretty good, and has held up well despite not getting a lot of love and respect by yours truly.
  • Papermate Flexgrip Elite Pink Ribbon Retractable Pen :: I buy these for two of the women who work for me.  They are closely guarded by each other and while I like to think of myself as fearless, if I messed with their pens, I would die.  I also have bought some Parker Jotter pink ribbon campaigns.

Of course what you write on is often as important as what you write with.  Wendy buys her journals from Ten Thousand Villages that use handmade paper.  I used to just buy hard cover journals from Staples but lately I have started to buy leather journals from the Gallery Leather Company in Bar Harbour, Maine.  They are larger than a Moleskine but small enough to carry around.  Thick paper, durable, and understated.  I like them a lot.  You can find them at Indigo or Chapters among other places.

What pens do you use?  Any classics I missed?

6 thoughts on “Where did I put that pen?”

  1. Hey – a pen geek! I thought I was the only one!

    Back in the sixties, in the office supplies closet at work, I found a few cartridge type fountain pens. I had a particularly boring class in college, and, while sitting next to a black marble windowsill, I found i could quietly and gradually sand the nib into a calligraphy point. I taught myself to write old english and became a calligrapher. This skill came in handy. There were many rituals and ceremonies whenit was nice to hand someone a document with fancy writing. It was nice to receive something with one’s name, and the native slill meant I could redo the document, if I had spelled his name wrong (which was fortunately rare). Growing up in the fifties and sixties, there were only two pens available – ballpoint, and ink (mostly inkwell, although some would drink through a straw).

    The first modern pen was the Pilot. It was a marker pen, and it would write in a finer line than most ballpoints. Plus, it would write on paper that had accumulated a bit of skin oil, such as logbooks. Pilot pens were popular with pilots. You could fill your logbook with arcane details – such as which days Bob’s Ribs in Ada, Oklahoma, was closed. Pilot pens did not bleed through, which is necesary for a logbook.

    About the same time, Pentel pens came out. They were far cheaper than pilots, but wrote a broader line. I hated them, and one place where I worked, I asked the stationery clerk to order me a box of inkpen cartridges and she grumpily refused, telling me to use Pentels like everyone else.

    I always preferred black to blue, until the Bethel Series set me straight. Then I got used to color, and likied a deep navy blue, which was relatively easy to find. Also, a deep red, which was hard to find, but maroon was often an acceptable choice, and easier to find, in a ballpoint.

    Sharpies came out, and they were broader than a Pilot, and even broader than a Pentel. But they were permanent, so they became the standard techie pen. We would file the point and make a tip close to a Pilot, but invariably, a forgotten cap rendered them useless. But Sharpie took the cue and came out with ultra fine point and lots of colors.

    In the past, pens wer something I got at the office, or got free at a trade show. Nowadays I have to buy them, and notice how expensive they are. About five years ago, I cleaned out a dozen abandoned offices, and stocked up, but, alas, my stash has run out, and I wait for sales, coupons and gift cards for the local suppliers.

    Two “pen things” I do nowadays. I bid for my job, along with 400 coworkers. Naturally, some assignments are bettr than others, so I color code the bid. The first 40 are in black, the next 40 in gray, then two shades of brown, then blue, green and red, all in a dark and a light variant. Dividing the workforce into rten percent slices makes it easy to see who goes where. I’m a “light green” (303), so my realistic options are other light greens and dark greens. People are creatures of habit, the colors make it easy to spot an oldtimer making an unusual choice.

    Sometimes it takes a sense of humor to lighten up the job. There’s supposed to be a radio in every train, but sometimes it’s missing. It’s not that obvious, the radio is two pieces – a small simple control head, with knobs and a display. But the actual huge radio is buried remotely, and it’s not apparent if it is out for repairs. So, you will see a post-it note, saying “Radio missing, called in Feb 2” Calling in means that the shop has logged it, and they can nudge the techs to get it back. If a radio is missing for a while, a succession of post it notes accumulate, and some become an attempt at humor – “Radio missing, called in, Jan 2, 1901, operator Marconi.” Followed by a parchmentlike scrap with “operator Galileo” and a 1620 date. And one with old English and “Henry VIII” (and another with Heny VII, VI …) That’s when the calligraphy gets fun. As they said in Catholic school, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” 🙂

  2. Mike,

    The story about the radio is hilarious.

    Pilots are an old favorite of mine but I haven’t picked them much lately. Wendy is a big fan of gel pens but they never work reliably for me so picking up some Pilots may be in the future.

    I am also a blue ink fan. Wendy uses black ink around the house, I use blue.

  3. Pencils. You need pencils at your desk at work. Not retractable lead, but the kind you have to sharpen. I work at an arts center where pens always walk, but no one ever steals the good old pencil. However, the BIG pen sounds like a good plan…

  4. I’m left handed so fountain pens are out of my league. My penmanship is horrible, I never developed a taste for pens.

    I like pencils. Laurentians. I still trail my hand in the writing and wind up having to wash up but it’s easier to get off than ink. One of the nicest gifts I ever got was a box of 60. When I worked pencils didn’t freeze up.
    Never developed a taste for fine notebooks either, a spiral stenopad was easy to carry, flip though and scribble on.

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