A couple weeks ago, I was having lunch with a couple of friends at a cafe in Mt. Vernon, IA. As I will do from time to time, I wandered into an antique store that was located across the street from the cafe. When I enter an antique store, I usually head right for the glass case that is located somewhere near the cash register. This is usually where the “good stuff” is kept. This day, there was really good stuff. The Parker Vacumatic caught my eye immediately. It’s been on my list for some time, and whenever I get my hands on one, there is usually something wrong with it. Cracked case, broken nib, inoperable vacuum pump. This one looked different at first glance. This one looked perfect. And it was in a Parker box.
Once I got the store owner’s attention, she took it out of the case for me to get a better look. The first thing I noticed was the price. Under $70. Most that I find on Ebay or other sites, if they are working, are in the $150-$200 range. I asked the owner if she had a little bit of water that I could use to test the vacuum and she brought me a little saucer from the back. As soon as I hit the pump, I could tell that it was going to draw water and it did. I gave it a couple of pumps and then grabbed a piece of scratch paper from the counter and started to write with it. Some of the residual ink, mixed with my addition of the water, began to flow out on the paper as I wrote a couple of random sentences. It was beautiful. The nib glided along the surface of the paper as if it were brand new. I bought it on the spot.
So glad I went to lunch that day!
A few years ago I spent the better part of two weeks in Bogota, Colombia, working with an amazing group of people. After I had returned home and back to my normal routine, I received a package in the mail from two of my new friends. Inside the box was one of the most unusual pens I had ever seen. Definitely the first dip pen I’ve ever owned, and perhaps one of the few I’ve seen or held. The yellow glass is spectacular.
The card that accompanied the pen was just as important. Hand written, it said, ” La vida te da sorpresas” (life gives you surprises). Powerful and ever meaningful words.
From the day this pen arrived, it has been a permanent fixture on my desk. Whenever I need to write a special note to someone, this pen is in my hand, carefully laying ink to paper. It takes time and patience, but that’s what a special note to someone deserves. Right?
Thank you Clara and Paulette!
Welcome to Classic Nibs. A blog dedicated to fountain pens. My love of fountain pens started when I was probably 8 or 10 years old. In the basement of my grandparents home there were cabinets. The cabinets held cigar boxes and wooden boxes that at one time held salt packed cod. Those boxes held hundreds upon hundreds of pens. I didn’t know at the time why my grandfather seemed to hold on to every pen he ever held in his hand, but as an adult, I’m starting to understand. They were fabulous.
The pens that held my attention the most were the fountain pens. What I know now, and didn’t know then, was that there was a treasure in those boxes. Parker Duofolds everywhere. They were gone before I knew what they were.
My passion for pens was cultivated in the 80’s when I worked for a man named Bob Stretch. Bob had, what I remember anyway, a gold, Cross, Century with a fine nib. I can remember being in Bob’s office while he worked on reports for the department we worked in. He would meticulously record numbers on green bar ledger paper with that Cross pen. It was like watching a surgeon work.
Now, I’m in the second half of my life. The way it feels to hold and write with a great fountain pen has never diminished for me. In the age of technology, my everyday writing instrument is a 60 year old Parker 51.
So, that’s why this blog. Here you can expect to read personal accounts, like the one above. Reviews of pens and ink, and occasionally, there may be a pen or two for sale, looking for a new home.
Come back often. Join the conversation. Remember, life is too short to write with disposable pens.