Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Parker 45

You can see the slight curvature of the barrel in this picture.

Greetings from Augustana College! Baseball season is underway even though there is still freezing weather predicted for the next week.  I apologize for the slight delay in this post, but my schedule has been hectic as of late.

My uncle's reward during service week in Singapore.
This wonderful fountain pen was awarded to my uncle in 1976 for volunteer work for the Singapore government. What a gift it was!  It hearkens back to a day when a prize/award was useful and didn't just sit on a shelf like a trophy.  I found it in my basement along with the rest of my older pens and this one was in the worst condition of the bunch.  That's really not saying much, seeing as it still has the tag on the clip! 

Upon initial inspection, this pen has a slight bend to the barrel, which does not inhibit the writing process whatsoever, but does look weird at times.  I can't be sure of exactly what caused this warped body, but it was either great force or a combination of that and heat.  The filling mechanism of this pen was stained black, but had very little encrusted ink within.  This pen was taken care of, though less than my Parker 51 which I reviewed here.

Until I get the opportunity to inspect the rubber on this pen and replace it, I'm not going to use this pen as anything but a dip pen.  I don't want to risk a spill in my pen case or major leaks and spotting on a homework assignment. It's unfortunate, but I already have a TON of pens that I carry around with me everywhere.

Red-Black, you never cease to amaze me!

I do like the color of this pen, and I actually wish I had a pen with a green barrel that I could use on a daily basis, because I usually end up buying blue pens. The nib is a smooth writer indeed and not completely different from that of the Parker 51, granted however that I am using it as a dip pen. The balance of this pen isn't terrific because of the materials used in making it (let's get real here, it's not a higher end pen).  Posting the cap partially brings balance back to this average pen, but it's still darn good and holds a lot of meaning and history.  Overall, I'm happy to continue using this pen for writing letters and taking notes at my desk, but there isn't anything about this pen that blows me away. 

Χαιρετε παντες!

The Classicist

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Noodler's Polar Blue Part II

I've gotten much use out of Noodler's Polar Blue in the past few months, but the review that I did a while ago was lacking the more rigorous of the ink evaluations that are sometimes needed. Well, I figured I would do this full review of the qualities of the ink for those of you who are looking for a nice blue to use. I'm continually on the search for blue inks and I don't often find myself bored by them, which led me to purchase Noodler's Baystate Blue, which has blown my mind in every way. That's a post for another time though.  I bought the 4.5 ounce bottle online and it came with a free fountain pen (a modified Platinum Preppy .3)

"Noodler's Polar Blue is pretty standard in color, but can seem washed out at times. It almost seems to be chalky, especially when compared to other blues, specifically Baystate Blue.  After months of usage, I have not found this ink to feather, even on cheaper paper.  the included fountain pen has gotten a lot of usage and has performed like a champ.  The 'bulletproof' qualities of this ink are true after a bleach test. I have not tried this ink in any other pens because of the warning that it might stain pens (which others can attest is true).  If I remember correctly, this ink has often been compared to luxury blue in the Noodler's line, but I don't own it and can't make the comparison. I highly recommend this ink." 

I've taken many many pages of notes with this ink.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Addiction: Explained

I am a member of a community of pen enthusiasts. I realize that many of us really enjoy just using pens, but for some of us, it goes much farther than that.
I carry all of these around with me everywhere I go!

I'm addicted to pens, but this post will cover a small niche of that area, specifically fountain pens.
I am a college student, so my hard earned money almost all goes into my savings account, but I allot myself a certain amount for pens each month. I am sometimes forced to combine my allotment for two months so that I can make a purchase. This is my method for enabling my habit. The rush of opening a box from or is without compare.

I rationalize my habit in a number of ways:

1. I have a few bottles of ink (8) and I am often asked, "How long does it to to finish a bottle of ink?" It usually takes me quite a while to finish a bottle, and they don't seem to understand why I have so many. What they don't understand is that there are different inks for different scenarios. Different colors are appropriate for work and letter correspondence. Why should my life be drab and defined by one color? Using one color for a long time, no matter how vibrant, makes it become dull. I enjoy the variety and vibrancy that a reasonably sized ink collection provides.

2. As Nathan Tardif has stated, the price of ink (specifically Noodler's) are the cheapest per ounce on the market. Assuming a comparable pen, such as a G-2, costs $2.00, then a 4.5 ounce bottle of ink holds the same volume as that of 75 pens. The savings are ridiculous, even if you have many different ink colors. You just have to use them all to get the savings. It's a good motivation to write.

3. In regards to the number of fountain pens I own, I not only value each pen that I own, but appreciate being able to write with any ink at any time.  Having a pen ready to write for each ink that I own is a luxury, I realize, but it is also a necessity.  It allows me to easily grab notebooks by scanning a page, because I use different inks for different subjects.

I really liked the lighting in this picture, even though it is pretty much the same picture as above. :)

4. Part of the reason that so many of us in this community are interested in these niche pens is because they're far more interesting than the standard disposable pen and better for the environment. Our words are interesting, so shouldn't our writing instruments be too?

5. Last and most importantly, I feel like I'm more of a part of history.  Everything that I write (especially in the Classics) owes much to the past.  Writing is just that much more enjoyable knowing that I'm part of a great writing tradition.

I look forward to many more years of fountain pen enjoyment and feeding my addiction.  I'll also be sure to pass it on to others. Maybe I'm not addicted. Maybe I'm in love.