2013 in review

After posting the year-end post WordPress sent me the annual report. They even auto-generated the post below so I figured I’d share.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 92,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Obligatory Year End Post

15 pens inked for the year ahead
Fountain Pens inked up at year end

It’s been a good year at the Fountain Pen Quest.

Readership has grown in no small part to some steady links from Brad Dowdy, The Pen Addict and half the team at Nockco. The Pen Addict sent me over 9,000 referrals during the year. Thanks Brad! I risk insulting people by going deeper into thanking those who linked to Fountain Pen Quest, but Ana at The Well-Appointed desk referred over 1,000 viewers so deserves a public thanks in my opinion. Thanks Ana! And thanks to all the other bloggers who linked to this site.

And thanks to all you readers! As a thank you I’ll have a grab bag going up at noon eastern US time on January 1st. Four readers will get the grab bags on a first to claim basis so they’ll hopefully go the regular readers and subscribers.

A Year for Firsts

The year saw a few firsts in my fountain pen life. Long Island was my first pen show in March. I also attended the DC show in August a came home with quit a haul.

The Long Island Pen Show was where I acquired my first vintage fountain pen, an Esterbrook from Anderson Pens. At last count I have seven working Esterbrooks and 28 different nibs. I’ve accumulated 26 vintage pens, not including unusable pens bought for parts or practice and not yet repaired Speaking of firsts, two of the Esterbrooks were my first fountain pen re-sacs. I can be obsessive.

The home page and archives received the most hits, but individually the top 5 articles of the year, based on views, were…

1. Review: Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black

Some readers have mentioned discoloration on their Sailor Pro Gear caps upon arrival. Mine is still like new and number three on my Modern Favorites List.

Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black

2. Review: TWSBI Vac 700

I still like this pen. The Vac filler needed some minor maintenance but the pen has held up well despite the frequent fills and nib changes as my ink tester.

TWSI Vac 700
Disassembled with the TWSBI wrench and silicon grease.

3. Favorite 5: Modern Pens

This list is still valid as the year ends. But some recent additions may knock one or two off the list.

Edison Menlo Pump Filler

4. Pen Review: Cross Bailey “Gift” Fountain Pen

Photo of the Cross Bailey packaging
Cross Bailey packaging

This was actually posted in 2012, just after Christmas, but was popular this year. It’s not a pen I’ve used much since the year began. I really should give it more respect, it’s a good pen.

5. Ink Notes: Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun

Still number two on my favorite inks list. Although as I look over my pens currently inked it’s absent. Something I’ll need to remedy as soon as possible.

Irosjizuku Fuyu-syogun ink bottle

Plans For 2014

I received a lot of new pens at year end so I’ll be spending the first part of the year getting to know them. I’ve also got a lot of Esterbrook nibs that haven’t seen nearly enough use. This will keep me busy for at least the first half of the year. So there will be a buying hiatus unless I’m at a pen show or it’s an Esterbrook nib I don’t have, at least for the first six months. This will be made easier by the depleted pen fund that needs to be refreshed. No crying on my part though, I’ve got plenty to explore.

Barring completely unforeseen events I’ll be at the Long Island Pen this year. It’s the show closest to me and an easy day trip. I’d like to get to the D.C. show again but that requires more planning due to the travel and required overnight stay. But by then I should be ready to get some more vintage pens. Boston is close enough but being a downtown show it’s more of a hassle (and more expensive) to get to.

I’ve become obsessed with Sheaffer’s. If I’m able to concentrate my accumulation in 2014 it will probably be this brand. But I’m not taking any bets on whether or not I can actually focus. I do want to thin out my accumulation, especially the lesser used pens. The previously mentioned give away will start things off tomorrow

Happy New Year


This Just In: TWSBI Classic

I just received my TWSBI Classic today and wanted to post my early impressions. Really early, I’ve only had the pen a couple hours.

In the interest of time the photos are from my phone and it’s a picture of my article draft written with the pen. I usually don’t inflict my writing on you, especially since sometimes the words in my head appear differently on paper.

It’s a thinner TWSBI than usual, there’s a comparison photo in the gallery. So here’s the initial impressions and a camera phone gallery (double-click the photos for full size).

For some reason I want to call this the “Mini”, a pen I do not have. Hopefully I caught the only slip.

While I say the ink is Diamine Ancient Copper. It’s not. That was my plan but I picked up Diamine Oxblood instead. Long day, didn’t notice until the post went up and I was proofing it.

Write-up of first impressions
Diamine Oxblood ink. Not Diamine Ancient Copper like it claims to be,

Inked Up – December 30, 2013

I can’t really call this “This Week’s Ink” any more since at 15 pens it’ll take me well over a week before I need to call for replacements. I was at 15 pens back in late November, but there’s been considerable turnover, I just can’t seem to say no to a new pen when it wants to be inked.

There’s not a vintage pen to be found in the bunch which surprised me when I noticed. The list is dominated (well, just over 1/2) by recent additions to my accumulation. What’s left are the pens that have become standard work horses and a couple I inked up to share with non-FP people.

The Sheaffer Balance II Aspen just arrived and I inked it up Saturday, I used it extensively after writing this list and taking the photos. I seem to have gotten one that’s plagued with skipping (a complaint with the early run of this pen). After draining the Scabiosa (even with the skipping I wanted to use all the ink) I flushed it and thoroughly cleaned it (not that it didn’t seem pristine when I got it) then filled it with Waterman Florida Blue. Same problem. It’s a lovely pen and writes great right up until the feed dries out. Definitely something that will be worth fixing.

The Sheaffer “Custom” Legacy is a mash up of a Sheaffer nib unit & section and a Franklin-Christoph made fleck blue barrel. The Pelikan 101N Lizard is another gorgeous pen with subtle details.

I’ve still seeing them with rose colored glasses since they’re so new, but I venture to say these are among the best looking pens in my accumulation. In the top 5 if not the top 3 themselves. Only my Marine Green Sheaffer Balance comes to mind as a pen that can rival them. The Edison Menlo is close but I think the vibrancy and detail in these pens outshines it. Pictures don’t do them justice.

I’ll rotate the pens in and out of my daily carry except for the Sheaffer Balance II Aspen and the F-C Model 66 which won’t leave the house.

15 pens inked for the year ahead

This is where I usually list the pens, nibs and ink with links to any reviews I’ve done. In the interest of time I’m skipping that this time. The pens are listed below in the same order they’re pictured (left to right), except for the Kawecos which are below the tray. For the few pens that have reviews you can find them on my accumulation page and any ink reviews on the ink notes page.

Writing samples for the inked pens

Sunday Notes and Links

Three recent additions to the accumulation.

The picture above shows my three more recent acquisitions. I just inked all three and can’t wait to use them. So with these three, my total inked pens is back up to 15 but at least there has been some turnover. For the first time in recent memory none of the inked pens are vintage. Seems like I’ve always has a vintage pen or two (or six) inked since I discovered them last March.

The pen on the left (in the picture) isn’t 100% Sheaffer, the barrel was made by Franklin-Christoph, but I consider it one. So between those (the third in the photo is a non-vintage Balance) and a VFM on the way I’m up to 19 Sheaffers in the accumulation. Thinking back, I wasn’t really impressed when I tried my first Sheaffer fountain pen just over 9 years ago and I ignored the brand until this year. Now it’s my most accumulated brand.

The One Pen is a new pen blog that’s started off with a Pilot Metropolitan review, a Sailor Sapparo review, a TWSBI Mini review and more.

Write to Me Often shows off her Lamy Safari collection and a Sailor King of Pen Emporer Crown fountain pen.

Ed Jelly reviews the Doane Paper Flap Jotter, a notebook I’ve used nearly every day for the past couple of years.

M 800 Tortoise Shell at Canetas e Coisas

There’s a vintage Eversharp holiday advertisement at Fountain Pen Restoration

Gourmet Pens has a Sheaffer Taranis review. I still haven’t decided if I like the look of this pen or not. Today I’m on the “not” side.

There’s a overview of the “Word. The Standard Memorandum” at East…West…Everywhere. I picked up one of these to use as a work journal to record highlights during the year so my memory isn’t so taxed during year-end reviews. I didn’t find the paper to be fountain pen friendly during my testing. No problem, I need something for those Retro 51 rollerballs to be used for.

The Daily Acquisition reviews the Pilot Decimo, a capless sibling of the Vanishing Point

Field Notes Pitch Black is reviewed at Ink on Hand

Dannyboy Writes discusses Fountain Pens and Inks, Part 1. He shares the root cause of my early dislike of blue inks “…blue was the default color of ballpoint pens.” He’s gotten beyond that and appreciates blue. I’m still working on it.

Pilot Custom Enju photos and information from KMPN

The Philadelphia Pen Show will kick of the 2014 Pen Show season Jan 17-19th. Philly is just within range of a day trip for me so I might attend but most likely Long Island will be my first show.

Ink Reviews

Kaweco Sepia Brown at EdJelly.com

Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo (Crimson Glory Vine) at The Pen Habit (via The Pen Addict)