An old pen I’m not sure what to do with…

On a drive back from Shropshire this weekend, we ended up stopping off at a little village for lunch. The village were having a summer fair and there were stalls of bits and bobs all out in the street. We were in a bit of a hurry but I just had time to find this pen, which intrigued me, pay the man 50p, and be on my way.

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It says:
The “Unique” Pen
Made in England

I can’t find a huge amount of information about Unique, but from what I have read, they were around from the 1920s to the late 1950s.

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The thing that really intrigued me was this lever on the side, which I now know is the way you fill it. The pen has a sac inside, and in order to fill the sac, you lift up the lever (which depresses the sac) and dip the nib in ink. You then let go of the lever and the extra room created in the sac is filled with ink. That’s how I understand it anyway…

I had a little explore around the inside of this one, but unfortunately when I opened the pen up, it became clear that the sac had disintegrated and pieces fell out, along with lots of ink powder.

I found some instructions of how to replace the sac but then it all started to go a bit over my head and I knew I’d never bother to replace it.

It has an Osmiroid 35 nib:

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It’s not the prettiest pen, it has a plastic body which is a little beaten up and the clip has come off the cap:

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Anyway, it needs a bit of love, and I’m probably not going to give it, so if anyone fancies a restoration project or just wants to challenge themselves to replace the sac and get it working, I’d be happy to post it to you (anywhere!), just let me know!

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Stationery Tatts

Like me, you’re probably pretty into stationery. Perhaps enough to thinking about getting a pen or pencil tattoo? But you’re still not 100% sure and you’d like to test the water? Well, I’ve got JUST the thing for you!

These temporary tattoos are by Tattly who, in their words, are a “temporary tattoo store for design-minded kids and kids-at-heart”, created by Swissmiss.

They are $5 for a set of 2, so pretty reasonable. They’re made in the US but designed by designers from all over, and these particular ones are by the brilliant, UK-based, Peagreen.

Cute, fun, cool and wouldn’t cost hundreds of pounds to remove if you change your mind… You can check out the full Art Supplies collection here.

All pictures courtesy of tattly.com

Hermès Nautilus Pen

I’ve been squirrelling away, getting my new blog ready to go,  but have just squeezed in time to share this Hermès Nautilus Pen, which I saw on Dezeen.

Hermès have teamed up with Japanese pen gurus, Pilot and Australian designer Marc Newson to launch the first item in their upcoming stationery line.

It’s a capless, retractable fountain pen, made of aluminium and stainless steel. It has a rhodium-plated white gold nib, and will come in 6 nib widths.

The idea is that it looks very simple from the outside, but is hiding a very complex mechanism that allows the nib to be retracted by twisting.

Now, if I’m completely honest, I don’t really like the way it looks, I think it’s kind of bulky and not very sophisticated. However, I do think it’s a positive thing that luxury fashion brands and famous designers are concentrating on stationery.

Anyway, I’m probably not the demographic they’re trying to impress as it’ll be retailing at about £1000, so…

 

Mark’s Inc. Tous Les Jours ballpoint pen

I was recently buying a couple of things from Bureau Direct and needed to add something else to my basket for free shipping so I thought I’d get a wild card item… I chose the Tous Les Jours ballpoint pen by Mark’s Inc. P1040768
It’s a very lightweight 0.5mm ballpoint pen. It’s USP comes in that it has the days of the week listed around the side, each with a suggested activity.

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Spending the last 2 years doing evening classes in French has finally come in handy!

It translates as:
Monday – watch a film
Tuesday – listen to a CD (bit old school…)
Wednesday – Read a
Thursday – Write a poem
Friday – Buy a ticket
Saturday/Sunday – Go on a little trip

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As I said, it’s very light, and actually, as you can see in this picture the body of the pen is a pencil casing. I really like how it writes; the line comes out incredibly thinly, and feels precise. I don’t generally like to use ballpoint pens very often, but this one could change my mind. The only negative thing about it is that it’s kind of noisy. The actual pen part rattles around inside the casing.

At £5.95 it’s actually extremely expensive, for what is essentially a biro. But I do like it and it’s a bit different, so maybe it’s worth it. I also recently reviewed another Mark’s Inc product, the Pensée sticky note rolls.

Now… A Millionaire’s Pen that You can Afford to Carry: 1930s & 40s Parker Pen Ads

How cool are these old Parker adverts?!

A guy on eBay is selling loads of ads from old Life Magazines and I found a couple of Parker Pen ones that I thought would make good prints to put up in the house.  I’ve scanned them so I can share them with you.

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This first one; “Now… A Millionaire’s Pen That You Can Afford to Carry and Can’t Afford to Miss” is for the Parker Vacumatic fountain pen, from 1937.  The wording is all so brilliant; “It holds 102% yet is Slenderized for Restful Balance”. I especially love the picture of the “noted Millionaire’s pocket” with Parker Pens in it. Do open up the pictures and zoom in so that you can read it properly.

Parker Quink

This second one; “This is proves pen failures can be avoided!” is for Parker Quink, from 1944.  The selling point of this ink is that it contains “Solv-x… cleans your pen as it writes!”. Again, do zoom in and read it properly, there are some real gems in there – proper Mad Men stuff 🙂

This makes me wish advertising was still like this – they REALLY worked to sell it to you!

 

Kaweco Sport Skyline in Mint Review

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I don’t think I’ve really used a fountain pen since school. I’m not sure why, I’ve just never really felt like I HAD to get one. I think a lot of my stationery choices are design led, and to be honest, I think fountain pens often look quite dated and “luxury” and just not very me. That is until I saw reviews of this pen by The Well-Appointed Desk AND From The Pen Cup, and I had to order one!

I’m afraid I don’t know a huge amount about fountain pens, so I can’t give too much of a technical review, but here’s my attempt.

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I ordered it in a fine nib. I always go for as fine a pen as possible, but I didn’t want to go for extra fine as I know I’m a newbie and I feared it would be scratchy. I also chose not to have a clip, as I wouldn’t use it and I think it looks nicer without.

Firstly, it looks amazing. I love the 1930s design and it comes in my favourite colour, mint. So much of what I own is this colour (kitchen cupboards, bedroom blinds, bed quilt, bathroom walls, the mug on my desk right now… I could go on – in fact, in our house it’s called “Tessa colour”) so that alone makes it a winner in my book. But further than that the design is beautiful, simple, and classic (but not dated!). I especially love the typography on the packaging of the pen and cartridges. I think I especially like the pen box as it looks like it could be make-up packaging!

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Next, to using it. It feels good. I mean, I don’t have much to compare it to as yet… But I know that it’s smooth and I like it. The line comes out a little wider than I was expecting so perhaps I should have gone for extra fine. But I like that it makes me write carefully and neatly. I think I’m being overly aware of it at the moment so I have been holding the pen quite hard, so I’m hoping I’ll relax into it. I think it slows me down a little so it’s probably not a pen for every day use – more for special occasions like writing in greetings cards. It’s small, so great for carrying around, and incredibly light. In fact, so light that I prefer to use it with the cap posted on the end.

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I chose the blue-black Kaweko ink. It has grey and purple tones and I really like the colour. It didn’t bleed through the page, even though I gather ink often does in Moleskine notebooks, which I have been using. 

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For something so good looking, so well designed AND functional, it’s at a relatively low price point. I got it from Fontoplumo for €16.95 (and FYI if you check out The Well Appointed Desk review, there may just be a discount code on there). 

For a first go at fountain pens – I think I’ve chosen well. I look forward to showing this one off on my desk!P1040746

My last birthday present and a reason to visit Paris

This is my last birthday present I’ll be writing about – promise! (this year anyway…)

This time from my friend Annie who found a couple of items for me when she went to Paris. Apologies in advance for the photos – a thunderstorm rolled in just as I set up so the lighting is terrible!

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I’ve seen these pens “Color On You” pens from Korean brand LiveWork before, and although they look great (the different colours they come in are listed on the packaging above – not sure about the one called “mayonnaise” though…), I’ve never been that interested as they just seem like a normal ballpoint pen. However, after writing with it, I absolutely love it!P1040702
I assumed that a 0.7mm would be really thick but this has a pleasingly thin line and feels really nice to write with.

She also got me this card:P1040705
It’s by Papier Tigre, who I now am totally in love with… It’s a great geometric design – I’m not sure if it’s a French things but I noticed that Season Paper Collection also leave a blank space on the front of cards, to allow you to write “Happy Birthday” or ‘Congrats!” or whatever the occasion on them. Which is a nice idea.  I really like to logo on the envelope too.
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Papier Tigre have a shop in Paris. I have been to France probably at least 20 times but have somehow still never been to Paris!

This shop gives me even more reason to make it happen! Now, excuse me while I go and look at Eurostar tickets…