On Sunday, I had the change to head down to the Philadelphia Pen Show to see some new products and some familiar friends from the office supply industry. Never having been to the show before, I was not sure what to expect, but it was cool to get to see all of the names and people who you would normally just read about or interact with online.
The majority of the excitement around the Philadelphia Pen Show revolved around the new Visconti Declaration of Independence pen, which you see pictured above at the Goldspot Pens table. I got a chance to take a close look at the Declaration of Independence pen, and I have to say it is very impressive that they managed to fit the entire text of the Declaration of Independence on the body of the pen. Although you can do a pretty good job of making out the text with the naked eye, (or with glasses in my case) the pen also comes with a small magnifying glass to help you read it with a little less strain. Another really cool touch is that the pull for the plunger mechanism which is located under the silver cap on the back is actually a miniature replica of the Liberty Bell. Tom from Goldspot was even gracious enough to indulge my smart-aleck line of questioning about whether or not the Liberty Bell plunger pull even had the famous crack running up it, which of course it did. When all was said and done though, it was pretty cool just to know I was handling a $3,000 pen.
For a pen more in my price range though, I got my first in person look at Twsbi Diamond fountain pen at the Goldspot table. I was really impressed by the bright and highly polished bodies on these, although the only pens left were the clear and red versions. I will however be picking up the translucent orange version once Goldspot gets them back in stock, I cant wait to get my hands on that one. My initial test writing with Tom’s own personal Twsbi though had me sold. I also like his clear version because the pen body itself really makes the color of the ink pop when you look at it through the body. They are just great looking and writing pens, and at about $60, it seems like a great investment. Ill have more for you on these once I get mine and have time to write up a review, although you can find plenty of reviews of them online already.
In addition to the fine folks from Goldspot, I also had the pleasure of meeting Brian from the Edison Pen Company. Brian was incredibly nice and he even had some of his hand-made custom pens set up (sorry I forgot to take a picture of that) so that visitors to the Philadelphia Pen Show could test out the different nib styles. I tried one of the gold nibs in a fine width and on the Rhodia paper pad that Brian had at the table, the pen wrote with an exceptionally smooth feeling. Also, of the Edison Pen Company pens that I handled, the quality of the craftsmanship all looked fantastic. I am sure I will be buying a pen from the Edison Pen Company at some point, but since they have so many options to pick from, my indecisive personality has me at a standstill when I try to figure out what I want.
My only real purchase at the Philadelphia Pen show was with the well-known and highly regarded Nibmeister, Richard Binder. I’ve got one Lamy 2000 and one Lamy Studio that are now in his skillful hands awaiting service. The Lamy 2000 was accidentally dropped on my floor, bending the nib, so I’ll be having him straighten it back out and also grind it down to a slightly more narrow width, and the Stainless Steel Studio that I left with him I will also be having ground down to a more narrow nib. Both pens currently have an EF nib, but the EF on the Lamy pens are a bit wider than I prefer. The only down side to having such a well renowned and highly skilled set of hands taking good care of your pens is the turnaround time, it will be about 16 weeks before I have these two pens back in my hands. I am normally a pretty impatient person, but knowing the quality of work that Mr. Binder is known for, I know it will be well worth the wait to get these pens back and start writing with them again.
An interesting thing that I also noticed was that I know sometimes I find myself being frustrated when I end up with a few streaks or spots of ink on my hands or fingers, but after having met Brian from Edison Pen, and Mr. Binder, I have a totally new outlook on what it REALLY means to have inky fingers.
My last little insight I’ll share with you from the Philadelphia Pen Show is more of a general warning, which I have given before, but alas I failed to heed my own advice. You should always be careful when using one of your favorite pocket notebooks as I like to do when I travel to a pen show or stationery show. I typically bring either a Moleskine Volant Mini or my Doane Paper Flap Jotter with me to take notes or remind me who I want to be sure to visit, but the thing that makes them so great (easy pocket placement) also makes it easy to forget that they are there, which spells disaster come laundry time:
So besides the minimal $8 cost to get into the Philadelphia Pen Show, Ill obviously be incurring the cost of a new set of Doane Paper Flap Jotters. If you are in the area next year though, I definitely recommend checking out the Philadelphia Pen Show because you will get to see some great people and pens in person that you would otherwise only see or talk to online.