3.27.2010

Weekend Pen Spotlight

The big news last weekend was the signing of the controversial Healthcare bill. One of the intriguing (especially to pen fanatics) side stories that developed was when Obama signed the bill into law with 22 Cross Townsend Rollerball pens. Here is a video that goes a bit more "behind the scenes" of the signing.

All the President's Pens from White House on Vimeo.



Pen and Co wrote about the new Visconti "Dreamtouch" palladium nib. According to the representatives at Visconti, the company has exclusive rights to produce this type of nib for at least the next five years. It is this blogger's humble opinion that palladium is going to raise the bar for the entire fountain pen industry in terms of writing quality and luxury.

Creative writer Drops of Blood.. talks about encouraging the writing process by offering rewards of more pens!

Pocket Blonde does a book review of Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter. The title alone is intriguing and puts a smile on my face.

Scriblets writes in praise of the Lamy 2000, a pen design that was way before its time.

3.23.2010

Pres. Obama uses 22 Pens to Sign Healthcare into Law

Type a quick Google search for "Obama healthcare pens" and you will find several articles that talk about the odd Washington tradition in effect. The pens would be used in crafting the signature on a landmark bill, then they would be given out as gifts to the President's supporters as keepsakes. The Washington Post reports the following :

The White House didn't release details about the custom-made pens -- complete with the presidential seal and signature -- but aides to one recipient confirmed (on super-secret background) that they were black and manufactured by Cross, an American company. Obama used similar rolling-ball pens on his first day in office.

This sounds a lot like the pen that he used for his first bill signed as president, which we talked about over a year ago on this blog. They say it's custom made, but it looks like a Cross Townsend Black Lacquer with silver trim rollerball pen that has the Presidential Seal and the President's signature written on the barrel. True, it is custom-ized but not custom made. Another side note is that they mention Cross is an American company, which is true, but all Cross pens are made in China now. We owe China billions of dollars anyway, so what's a few pens between friends?

In the era of AIG, corporate finger-wagging and decrying pork, a lot can be said of a President who buys 22 pens that retail for $130 a pop (not including engraving). A bit excessive or is it called for in this situation? The hope is that these pens are going to end up in the National Archives or a museum. They would commemorate the historical significance of this momentous law being passed. But what if, and I don't really want to get into a political argument here, the whole healthcare overhaul doesn't work? That's an awful lot of expensive pens that end up in a messy desk drawer.


3.20.2010

Weekend Pen Spotlight

Finally, the floods have subsided in New Jersey and we've been treated with beautiful weather the last few days. Spring is coming and new releases are debuting every week on our store. Recently, we added the new Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Pens and Herringbone Pens. A quick note about the new Conklin : it is now being manufactured by the same company that brings us Monteverde. This means higher quality and new styles on the horizon. We've also added the Pelikan P58 Style, which is a sleeker version of the Pelikano. The new Lamy Studio Platinum is a nice addition to the line and the fountain pen uses a 14ct gold nib.

Office Supply Geek channeled his inner Tim Allen this week, literally "hacking" a gel refill to fit his Waterman Expert.

Half story about how he obtains his first Mont Blanc and a bit of a history lesson made the post on fountain pens over at Kaufmann Mercantile very intriguing.

I thought Lady Dandelion's British Triptych made for a very expensive, but elegant photoshoot.

3.19.2010

How does the Pen Addiction Start?

Bet you if you look quickly at this stock photo of a syringe, it seems an awful lot like a pen with a spot of red ink.

For many of us, "using" and collecting nice pens is no longer a choice. It is a part of our lifestyle. But how did it all happen? How did I end up justifying that a $300 fountain pen is a better buy than a Blu-Ray player? Or an Xbox? Or a nice suit? As with any addiction, pen addiction starts off small and seemingly innocuous.

Maybe it was back in grade school, when your parents took you to an office supply store the week before school started. Stocked up with folders, erasers, notebooks and a backpack, you make your way to the pen aisle. The last cheap-o pen you used last year has either dried up or got sucked in the "black hole" of your messy room. Gel ink?! Cushion grip?! Such things are unheard of! The callus that you developed on the middle finger of your writing hand rejoices, "God be praised!"

Starting off with relatively inexpensive, non-refillable Pilot or Uni-ball pens, you get a feel for how better life is without the cheap plastic of the pen you got for free at the bank. In college, you come to the conclusion that the cheap, mass produced Bic is a tool of socialism and that fine pens, although bourgeois, represent the American Way. Uncle Teddy gifts you a nice Parker for graduating high school and you think to yourself, "boy, now I've made it." Thinking about how flashy and great your new pen is, you start to notice what everyone else is writing with as they take class notes. You go down each row, "Crap. Crap. Bic with chewed up cap. Pencil. TD Bank Pen. Crap. Crap. Wait a second..." What looks like a white speck on top a cylinder of dark, polished lacquer is actually a snowflake, and you've spied a Montblanc. Allured by the prestige of even knowing someone who owns a Montblanc, you ask the student after class if you can try it. After a period of awkward silence, you grab the pen and jot a note down to test it out. "Huh. I don't see what the big deal is," you say as you hand the pen back and walk away. Best $500 you didn't spend.

This next part may vary, but it usually involves some type of window shopping. You've ran out of ink for Uncle Teddy's pen and he forgets where it was purchased. So, you do some research. Search online, visit an office supply store, or, if you're lucky, find a REAL pen shop. In looking for the refill, you find your next pen. "I think this rollerball will suit me. After all, if I'm going to get that promotion, I'm going to need to feel professional."

Since no one could refuse to sign a contract with such a beautiful pen, you get the promotion. Attributing all the success to the pen, you get another, and another, and another. Even when times are down, a pen will pick you up! The boring paperwork that came with your new responsibilities isn't so bad when you have a smooth-gliding Pelikan fountain pen in your hand.

Where does it end? Does it ever end? Many folks talk about having a "grail" pen, or a writing instrument of their deepest desire that is made almost unattainable due to price or scarcity. But once they obtain that pen, does the want for another really subside? Pen makers and manufacturers churn our interest by offering new materials, new technologies and better designs. Their enabling ways push the addict into relapse, over and over again.

Several ways a drug addiction is similar to a pen addiction:
  • "Users" have a stock (or stash) of ink refills to fill up whenever they go empty.
  • When the ink runs out, the user gets into a frantic rush about finding refills and often has to hunt around town for a "dealer" and sometimes has to go online to find the specific compatible replacements.
  • Yes, pen shops are commonly referred to as "dealers."
  • There is a syringe involved. Some fountain pen users prefer to refill ink cartridges by using a blunt syringe and bottled ink.
So, if you or someone you know suffers from pen addiction. Please call us. :-P

3.17.2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Goldspot Pens

Happy St. Patty's Day everyone! I grabbed a few green pens from our stock room to take this picture. From left to right, we've got the ACME Crayon in lime, Pelikan Souveran 600, Aurora Ipsilon Resin, Lamy AL-Star, Caran d'Ache Metal ballpoint pen and Laban Germana Rubber.
The poorly written (I'll admit I'm no calligrapher) greeting on top was done with Noodler's Forest Green Ink.

By the way, today is a great day to be a fan of ours on Facebook or to follow us on Twitter. We're running a special promotion for St. Patrick's Day ONLY. Join up to find the promotion code.

3.15.2010

Lamy Studio Stainless Steel Fountain Pen Review


Lamy is probably best known for their no-frills, inexpensive Safari line of pens. But when Safari owners want to step up to the next level, the Studio is usually their top choice.

The Lamy studio shows with great elegance just how close design and art can become. Take its clip, for instance: a completely new interpretation of the theme, an exceptionally appealing clip reminiscent of modern sculpture. The finishes vary from brushed stainless steel to matte palladium plating. The packaging is a basic Lamy plastic and cardboard box, nothing really to crow about. Each pen is sold with one blue ink cartridge and an ink converter, as shown below.


Not only does the minimalist design accentuate the futuristic, ultra-modern appeal to the Studio, the texture of the barrel and cap material complement the experience. Brushed stainless steel has been done before: Sheaffer, Parker and Waterman all have a "stainless steel" finish pen in their collections and it is my opinion that Lamy does it the best. The texture is not only very tactile, it provides a degree of luminosity that intriguing and beautiful.


The Lamy Studio nib is stainless steel. In the Palladium (and other limited edition finishes) a 14ct gold nib is used. The stainless steel nib is more than sufficient. As many Lamy Safari owners know, the inexpensive steel is a smooth writer. The Studio nib is similar in nib flow, line quality (thickness) and point durability, which is a definite positive. The nib sizes range from broad to extra-fine with a general tendency to be a bit thicker than the size indicates.


Writing with a Lamy Studio is definitely an easy, painless experience. The cap snaps on and off the business end while securely posting to the back of the pen with a satisfying click. The weight of the pen (even with cap posted) is heavy enough to let you know that you are writing with a solid pen without tiring your hand out over long writing sessions. The black front grip section has a bit of a matte feel. It offers enough "tack"-iness to aid with your grip and prevent sweat from making your fingers slide from their position.

Summary:
  • Writing Quality : Stainless steel nib performs just as well, if not better, than a Safari nib, which gives you a tremendous value for your dollar. (grade A)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Ultra-modern and artistic, the Studio is hip and uniquely designed (grade A-)
  • Utility : The snap-click cap that also clicks on the back of the pen makes it easier for people who like to post their caps as they write. The black front section offers comfort over long writing sessions. (grade A)
  • Price : Available in extra-fine, fine, medium or broad nib sizes for $75 (on sale at Goldspot for $59.95), the studio is all about high value with little glitz or glamor involved. (grade A-)

Final Grade : A
If you want a pen that will be your daily workhorse and diligent note-taker, the Studio is the way to go. This is a great gift idea for students in college or if you're looking for a pen that is a step up from the Lamy Safari that you love and cherish.

3.13.2010

Weekend Pen Spotlight

Pelikan - Germany debuts the new design of the fun and functional Pelikano series. Of course, Goldspot will be carrying the new Pelikano when they become available in the US.

We've recently added the S.T. Dupont Brand of fine-writing instruments to our store. As an authorized retailer, we will be able to supply our customers with brand-new pens of the highest quality, backed by manufacturer warranty.

Speaking of new brands, we are excited to add Moleskine notebooks to our store's offerings. Reading Unposted's review of the Book Journal heightens our anticipation. The Moleskine Passions line is a very creative way of re-imagining the notebook.

The Fuel Your Writing Blog asks, "What is your Pen Personality?"

Think you know about italic and calligraphy nibs? Try taking a look at bleubug's post on Music nibs.

Have a great weekend, folks! Spring is coming right around the bend and hopefully it will bring better weather than this rainy weekend!

3.09.2010

The 8th Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper at Pocket Blonde

This month, Pocket Blonde has the hosting duties for the ongoing Blog Carnival that features the month's best posts from the blogging fine writing community. Our blog post on the Cross Affinity is featured under the "pens" section of the article.

If you enjoy reading our blog and love to read about notebooks, fine pens, inks and topics related to writing, the Carnival is a great opportunity for you to explore new products and get an informed opinion on their quality before you buy. This month is chock full of different blogs. I'll definitely be adding a few new RSS feeds to my Google reader today.

3.06.2010

Weekend Pen Spotlight

This weekend's spotlight is brought to you by the new Visconti Homo Sapiens Collection:
This is a great chance to own a truly one-of-a-kind pen that features world-class Italian craftsmanship and innovation. The fountain pen features an exclusive 23kt solid palladium 'dreamtouch' nib available in a wide array of sizes (extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, double-broad and 1.3mm stub). We've seen this pen demo'ed at the Philadelphia Pen Show and the flex that the palladium nib provides is amazing. The power-filler quickly draws up a large supply of ink into the internal reservoir. This series could be considered as valuable as a limited edition, but is designed to be an everyday writer and priced to own. We are now taking pre-orders on a first-come, first-serve basis for early April delivery.

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Bleubug talks about retractable fountain pens, notably the Aurora 98 and the Pilot Vanishing Point. There should definitely be more retractable fountain pens on the market. Fountain pen aficionados would know that the Lamy Dialog 3 came out last year to quite a severe degree of demand, despite its $300 price tag.

Apparently, Colorado Pen Direct has a hatred for Mommy Bloggers. This goes to show you that treating someone poorly, customer or not, has consequences for a business' image on the internet.

The Pen Addict gives the Tombow Air Press ballpoint pen a mixed review. The whole "write-anywhere and everywhere" ability of the Tombow (and Fisher pens, to be honest) is a nice novelty, but the quality of the writing tends not to be as smooth and easy as a normal ballpoint or gel ink. Personally, I don't find myself in a situation where I have to write upside-down, under water or atop Mount Everest.

German pen collector's club visits the Pelikan factory in Hanover.

3.01.2010

Review : Noodler's Standard Brown Fountain Pen Ink

I think I've been watching Food Network too much lately, as I've got chocolate on the brain. Looking for a chocolate-colored ink, I gave Noodler's a shot with their standard Brown ink. Used in our previous review of the Parker Premier, the Noodler's Brown provides a nice mid-toned brown color. It is also being tested in an Edison fountain pen with a fine nib and I am finding similar results with both fine point nibs.

The color is as neutral as a brown can be, hence the "standard" epithet. It flows very nicely and has a decent drying time. The hue has a deep, saturated tone which, in my opinion, would be acceptable for professional use. This is a good choice if you like the old-time, sepia aesthetic.


Perhaps you are also in the mood for chocolate as well? Maybe the choice in ink color is a deep-seated desire to see earth again after back-to-back snowstorms made all the ground white for the last 2 weeks. Maybe it's because I'm wearing a brown shirt today? Anyway...

Since Spring is (hopefully) coming, we will move into reviewing the gargantuan selection of green inks that we carry in search of a perfect spring color. Any suggestions of where to start?