My collection of fountain and ballpoint pens - click on each photo to see it all!
Every time I visit Las Vegas, I go to the Paradise Pen store. The company has its own line, called 5280, and this was too nice to leave behind. The cap is magnetized and it snaps in place.
I just love Acme, because the pens are so much fun. This ballpoint twists from the cap. There's a pencil version, too.
I like Aurora, which are made in Italy. This ballpoint and fountain pen set was on sale and so I scooped it up. I like the soft feel of the rubber on the barrel.
This sweet little Aurora Fuoco Aurea Minima is a pencil on a necklace. I wear it quite often. It twists to reveal the lead.
If you take the cap off the Aurora necklace pencil, it reveals a tiny eraser.
This Cross Autocross, in "Tobacco", is my favorite ballpoint pen. It's just four inches long, but it's the perfect shape for the hand. It writes beautifully, and the knurled end glints like a diamond in the light. I've learned not to let other people write with it, because it's a huge fight to get it back.
The Belmont Pen, made by Richard Binder Pens. It's a beautiful writer, but what I love is the filling system. Based on a design patented in 1893, it's a syringe. Unscrew the blind cap to expose the plunger, put it in the bottle, push and pull it, and the pen fills. Brilliant in its simplicity.
I love little pens for their portability, but I like a larger pen for writing. The Jitterbug is a nice combination, because it's 4 inches long when closed, but extends to 5.5 inches when posted. The mosaic design is lovely, too.
A new Bexley Stalwart, purchased in 2015. I like this American brand because it writes so well.
Bexley brought out these pens for 2005, but Richard Binder found an old stock of them, and so I bought one. The writing portion screws completely into the barrel, so it's just under four inches when closed. When you want to write, you spin it around and screw it onto the barrel, and you have a huge pen that's seven inches long.
I've wanted a Caran d'Ache for years, and bought this on a trip to Las Vegas. It's the Ecridor, in Retro trim, with a lovely crosshatch pattern. It's very slim and writes very smoothly.
Founded in 1858 in Massachusetts, Carter made pens until 1932 and then became an ink company. I bought this little item at a flea market for $8. It's 3.5 inches long.
The barrel is marked "Carter's" and "Made in the U.S.A.," and with the number 11. The nib reads "Signature 6 Made in USA."
I thought it was a salesman's sample, but other people say it's a dip pen or signature pen.
This Crescent Filler is engraved with Mark Twain's signature; he wrote a letter to the company saying that he liked the pens because the crescent kept it from rolling off the desk. To fill it, you turn the ring under the crescent until there's a slot. Then you dip the nib in ink, and press the crescent to fill the pen. By turning the ring again, it prevents the crescent from being accidently pressed and forcing the ink out.
I admit to being a sucker for demonstrators, and since I liked my regular Crescent Filler so much, I couldn't resist getting one with a see-through barrel -- especially when the mechanism is so interesting in the first place.
I really love the Glider's "chased" pattern, fashioned after the hard rubber pens when the company was young. This new version of Conklin makes some very nice pens.
This is a Conklin Glider, made by a U.S. company, and it's the longest fountain pen I own -- six and a half inches when posted. That said, it's a very frustrating pen. When it writes, it's just delightful -- smooth and wet and just perfect. But if you put it down for a minute, even with the cap on, it dries up. I'll ink it if I have a long letter to write, but it's too aggravating to have to constantly coax it to start flowing.
This Cross fountain pen is only four inches long when it's closed, but it opens up to five inches when you remove the cap and post it. It writes really nicely, too, but removing the cap always loosens the two sections of the pen, so I'm always tightening it. I buy these pocket pens regularly, and yet never seem to carry anything in my pocket other than a Fisher Space Pen.
I bought a Cross gel refill that I thought would fit another pen. It didn't. Naturally, I went back to the store and bought the pen it did.
The first higher-end pen I bought, when Day Timers offered them by mail order. I think I bought it some 20-plus years ago. It was a special offer and they somehow engraved my signature into the cap.
This is a lovely set of a Delta Mini Trend fountain pen in orange with a matching case. The silver tube is for storing extra ink cartridges. It's made in Italy but I bought it in Germany.
Diplomat pens are made in Germany; this is the Excellence, in a pattern called Gilloch Rhombus.
I've always admired Dunhill pens, and on a recent trip to Las Vegas, I stopped into Paradise Pen and this one caught my eye. I just love the way the light catches all the facets on the barrel. It's a stunner.
These pocket staplers were made from the 1950s to the 1970s. Close the stapler and put the cap on, and it's similar to a medium-sized pen.
This Eversharp Skyline Demi lever-fill fountain pen commemorates the Freemason lodge in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and is engraved "Logan Lodge #490 - F. and A.M. - 1871 May 1st 1946." I contacted the Freemasons and it turns out it was a commemorative piece to celebrate the lodge's 175th anniversary. It's a great writer, too.
These came out in 1995 as a boxed seat. But do I consider it part of my pen collection, or part of my taxicab collection...?
Graf von Faber Castell's Classic fountain pen, in Pernambuco wood. This is a beautifully-made pen, especially the clip, which pivots to make it easier to put it into a pocket. I bought this in Stuttgart.
The Space Pen on a chain! It's actually so thin that it's tough to write with it, but it's a neat necklace.
The old reliable, always in my pocket. I think I've lost it a dozen times, but it always turns up. The story, undoubtedly a myth but very cute, is that NASA spent millions of dollars designing these pens so they would write upside down and in a pressurized space capsule. The Russians just used a pencil.
A beautiful pen from a North Carolina company. The tiny cap reveals a semi-hooded nib, and slips under the clip for writing. It's extremely smooth and just a lovely writer.
I love my Model 25 so much, I bought the Franklin-Christoph Model 29 Bellus. It's a beautiful pen, with a cap that's held on by a tiny magnet. This company makes some lovely stuff.
Here's one I guarantee you won't find in any other pen collector's stash. This is my right arm. The artist worked off a photo of a Delta Dolcevita. One day I'll have to buy the real one to complete the set.
I have a quill pen in my collection -- on my shoulder blade. This was done at a tattoo shop in New Orleans. I had to supply a picture to the young artist, who'd never heard of such a writing instrument.
A ballpoint and fountain pen set by Spanish company Inoxcrom. I suspect it's from the late 1960s or 1970s.
A relatively new brand to Canada, the Jinhao is made in China. It's not the greatest pen - it could be better balanced, and the converter is an odd thing - but it cost $7.50 and writes like a pen that costs much more than that.
These pens are made in the U.S. and are milled from metal. It weighs a ton and writes beautifully.
This is a small pen, less than four inches when it's closed, but it's very heavy and it writes beautifully.
Despite the Japanese-sounding name, Kaweco is a German company, founded in 1883. This aluminum-bodied Sport is four inches long capped, and five inches long posted. It's about $30 and writes very smoothly.
This Krone is a plastic barrel, with blue paint designs on it, so you can see the interior of it. It's a nice fat pen and good for writing.
This is probably as close as I'll ever get to a skeleton pen, because they can be ridiculously expensive, but I couldn't resist this pen's lovely design. It's a great writer, too.
A lovely Lady Sheaffer from the 1970s, given to me by a friend who used to use it on a regular basis. I cleaned it up, filled it, and it immediately started to write as nicely as it did when new.
A Lamy Safari demonstrator, with extra-fine nib. This is a good, solid workhorse at a sensible price.
The Lamy Dialog 3, designed by Franco Clivio. This German fountain pen has quite the engineering in it. When you twist it, the nib emerges, and the clip hunkers down so it's not in the way. Twist it back, and the nib retracts, a chrome hood covers it, and the clip lifts up so it can be used in a pocket. The little hood keeps the nib from drying out, and eliminates a cap. It's a really nice writer, too.
Everyone should have a Lamy Safari! They're inexpensive, they write well, they come in great colors, and they're fun.
Lamy is a German company and you can buy all sorts of variations there that you don't always see in Canada, and at very good prices. This is a metal one that caught my eye.
I was on vacation in New Orleans, and found a lovely pen store, Papier Plume, where I bought this. I love Lepine's pens, and this chunky creature is just gorgeous when the light hits it.
I saw this in a catalogue and had to order it, because it was just too wild. It's a ballpoint, and you push that saddle-shaped end to reveal the point. You can't really write with it, because it's just too unbalanced. But it's fun to display on the shelf.
These are beautiful pens, with designs that shimmer and move in the light. I bought the ballpoint from my favorite paper shop in New Orleans, sadly a victim of Hurricane Katrina. They're both small enough to slip into a pocket.
Mabie Todd has been resurrected as a new version of the old defunct brand. This Gramercy is metal with lovely red inserts.
New York-based Mabie, Todd was in business from 1860 to the 1950s and made some gorgeous pens. Some are now being reproduced, including this Swallow. It looks and feels expensive but was only $40.
I'm not sure exactly how old this German pen is, but the company made pens after WW2 and into the 1950s. It's brand new, bought from Richard Binder Pens, which indirectly got them from the widow of the Dutch distributor. It's a button fill and made of nitrate celluloid, and its flexible fine point writes as beautifully as a pen made today.