Sailor fantasy

No, it’s not what you think. I don’t fantasize the way other people do. This is a recent one.

After a dull day at work, I stopped by my favorite stationery store for mindless browsing. I brought a few little things to the register — just mildliners and stickers. As I paid, the cashier asked if I was registered for their loyalty program. I was, so I gave her my name. She typed my name into the system and said, “Oh, hm. I have something for you.” She handed me a paper bag. “What’s this?” She didn’t have a clue.

Outside the store, under the dome of the shopping center, I looked in the bag. There was a box and a letter. Contained in the box was this pen. The letter was written in a beautiful but nearly illegible hand. It said simply,

Darling Dolly,

I hear you like demonstrators. 

I love you. 

<3, B 

TWSBI 540 Diamond EF

Another wonderful birthday present:

That’s what it looks like unfilled. I can’t wait to fill it with something gorgeous like Iroshizuku Murasaki Shikibu (try to guess what color that is before clicking on the link). Up to now, I’ve had the most experience with Lamy extra fine pens. While those are good, reliable writers, none of my Lamys write nearly as smoothly as the TWSBI. This pen glides like a dream. It has the added bonus of being easy to refill without taking anything apart. Sure, for $56 you could probably buy 560 Bic pens. But then you’d have to write with Bic pens. *shudder*

Highly recommended, especially if you die for demonstrators like me.


My very first vintage fountain pen

I haven’t decided whether it’s a “he” or a “she” yet, but my very first vintage fountain pen is a Waterman Junior. As with all firsts, I probably paid too high a price for it and will probably proceed to take too many pictures of it. Notice how the cap is a little misaligned with the lever? I think I should give it a name based on that feature.

Without context, it looks cigar sized, but it’s called Junior for a reason. Here it is compared to a Lamy Safari, which is a relatively thin fountain pen. See? It’s tiny.

Fountain pens, even very expensive ones, are simple creatures. Delicate? Maybe, but still, simple. Experts will charge $30-40 to replace an ink sac when the parts cost only a few dollars, and the labor takes no more than 10 minutes. I don’t think this pen is worth that much, so when I couldn’t get the lever to a 90 degree angle from the pen, like it’s supposed to go for filling, I took it apart.

Most lever-fill fountain pens, like this one, have barrels which are friction fit to the nib assembly, so a bit of rocking and pulling action will get it right off. It seemed that my pen had been fitted with a nice replacement ink sac — that rubbery thing at the bottom. So, why didn’t the lever work?

It turned out the barrel was crammed full of mummified bits of old ink sac.

ink sac remnants

After coaxing all of those out with water and Q-tips, the lever mechanism worked just as it should. Hooray!

lever action

All of the writing in the above pictures was by the pictured pen. And the ink, in case you were wondering, isn’t a fancy ghost grey. It’s water and whatever used to be in the ink sac. I know, I’m so posh, aren’t I?