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Back in 1995 or 96 I was the general manager of a smoke shop in The Florida Mall in Orlando Florida. Yep, prior to my career as a FP repair guy I was a Tobacconist for 8 years. Anyway, back then, the smoke shop was one of the only places in the mall where you could stop off and have a smoke. The general manager of The Colorado Pen Company just down the hall would stop in on his breaks and grab a cigarette. We became friends & after observing me on the sales floor he decided he wanted me to work for him. It tooka while for him to convince me I should come down to his shop and sell pens. At the time I knew NOTHING about fountain pens. The entire staff took me under their wing and began my education of modern pens. In no time at all I could answer just about any question a customer could come up with about anything we sold in the store. But I still didn't know anything about vintage pens.

Then one day I was in an antique shop and found a box of 50 plus pens for next to nothing, $20-30.00 IIRC. I brought them home and started looking through it. The pens that really caught my eye were the mottled celluloid pens from the 40's. It turns out that most of the pens in the box were Wearevers or parts there of. I knew even less about repairs than I did vintage pens. I still didn't have a computer at this time & had no clue there were online repair sources or even about Frank Dubiels"Da Book". Using various bits & pieces and some homemade tools I started tearing them apart to figure out how they worked. It didn't take me long before i was taking 2 or 3 pens and assembling a complete one. Most of the sacs i had back then were about 1/2 ossified & canabalized from dead pens. Hell I didn't know any better...lol. I started looking for pens in any antique shop I could find & before I knew it I had a couple of dozen pens. Were talking seriously low end schlock here, I knew some of them were junk but thought the Wearevers were really nice pens. This continued for a couple of years, hunting out pens and teaching myself how to fix them. I broke more than I repaired but thats all part of the learning curve.

My "world" changed whenI got my first PC & discovered ebay. My buying spree went through the roof when I saw how many and how inexpensive the Wearevers were. before I knew it I had over 100 wearevers in my collection. My wife of course thought I was insane, but I just KNEW i'd found something special in pens. I loved (and still do) the way they felt in my hand & the pleasures of wet ink on fine paper.

Shortly after I got online I found a couple of pen message boards & it was all down hill from there. My education continued at an exponentional rate & before I knew it I had people asking me to see what I could do for their misbehaving pen. I'd fix this and that & they would offer up a public thanks, then someone else would ask me to handle their pen & before I knew it I had a couple of dozen pens on the workbench. I dropped to part time at my "real" job and started repairing pens. Before I knew it again I had even more pens to repair than I could handle in the time I had available & decided to take the plunge and try my hand at full time repairs.

So here I am a decade plus later, still collecting & repairing pens and loving every second of it.

What about you? How did you get started?



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When I graduated from High School some good friends of my parents... I liked them too... gave me a sheaffer imperial in brushed chrome. I put it in a drawer. then I found my best friend whom I considered very classy and grown up, used a fountain pen and pointed out that it had much elan. I dug mine out and have used it off and on ever since. My next purchase was a Parker T-1. It skipped and I threw it away. This was long before I realized all it needed was a bit of nib work. Now, where ever it is, it's probably worth $750...
My first upscale pen was a Red Lalaque Targa. That led to a green one, one thing led to another and now I want a graphyscaf. People in Hell want ice water.

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My next purchase was a Parker T-1. It skipped and I threw it away.

You did what??!!?? My stomache feels queezy now for some reason.



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Newbie

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It was forced upon me against my will. I tried and tried to resist, but eventually I too joined the dark side. Now I have a nasty little habit of putting perfectly good Sheaffer Nibs in those Wearevers he has lying around the house!



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When I was in grade school in the 50's, we were marched to the school bookstore every month or so to stock up on tablets, pencils, pens, etc. I always blew my budget on Estie (red only) pens, and tried all of the nibs available. In high school, I remember ink wars among us sitting on the left side of the room. The teacher was blind in his right eye.
In the late 70's, I started searching flea markets for fountain pens, particularly Esterbrooks, but few were to be had in South Louisiana. Finally in the mid '80's, lucked onto one at a flea market in Crowley, and a year or so later, the university where I taught dumped a big collection of old n.i.b. renew points on the sale table for about a dime apiece. Bought 'em all. That got me off to a start collecting, and then really got involved when I found lots of pens on ebay in the late 90's.

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I was 13 and received a parker 51 for my barmitzva from then downhill all the way! The greatwst pens are onoto, burnham and summit as these were pens that I used when I lived in England/France. I also have a few French pens.

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akiva


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I've always used fountain pens. As a product of a parochial school education, fountain pens were mandatory as was penmanship. At the end of my 3rd grade, I got a nice Esterbrook J and used it throughout my grammar school years. When I graduated 8th grade, my grandmother gifted me with a black Sheaffer Valiant and I used that pen all through high school and 6 years of college.

Upon graduation, I was drafted and shortly thereafter spent the rest of my milatary years in Vietman. Upon coming home (I was one of the fortunate ones) I entered the business world as a Mechanical Engineer and worked for 33 years in that area.

Since my mid teens, I have beenan avid camera collector and still am to this day. About 9 years ago, I purchased a large camera collection from the widow of an elderly gentleman who was also a fountain pen collector. His specialty wasvintage Sheaffer pens. Having used my venerable Sheaffer Valiant for many years, I purchased his pen collection along with the cameras. I've been seriously collecting fountain pens ever since.

Jack blankstare

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Well, I guess I can say I started in the 1970's when I went into a gift shop where I was living in Albuquerque. This was the sort of shop that stocked classy, 'neat' items. Over in the corner was a display case that had a couple of pens in it. Hmmm, the sign says LAMY 2000...
Hmmm, I really like to look of that... Well, I bought it then and there. I was hooked. My real collecting phase didn't start in earnest until quite a few years later. A friend of mine at Church noticed that I was using a fountain pen and said "You know, I'm an auctioneer and we get pens like that from time to time. If I see something, I'll get it for you, and you can pay me back". I said 'Great!" and didn't think much more about it. Then he came in a few weeks later with a Vac Maxima in good condition!!! Price, $10.00

After that, I haven't looked back.

I've collected about 75 pens thus far, but I have over 125 different inks. Am I hopeless, or what? smile.gif

As someone said "It's only an addiction if you try to stop".

Tom Connell

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Thomas F. Connell


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An old thread, but I'm new here, so here's my story. My first fp experience was in the mid 1960's in what we now call middle school. The Sheaffer school pens in red, blue, and clear plastic barrels and chrome caps were all the rage. I also had fp influence from my Grandparents, but I didn't appreciate it at the time. Years later, I would come to love the smell of vintage inks because it reminded me of my Grandfather's pens.
I didn't write with fp's in high school or college but I did begin an appreciation of better writing instruments. The company I worked for had a good habit of recognizing good work by awarding nice pen sets, usually Cross bp/mp's with the company logo on the clip. There were also Cross select tips and fp's available. The fp's were rarely given, I think because no one knew anyone who used fp's. I made it a habit to always use good pens and carried a couple of the Cross Select tips for years.
Sometime in the early/mid 1990's my wife gave me a MB 144 fp as a Christmas gift (although I didn't know from 144 then). I tried using the pen with the cartridges supplied and went through a box or so and wasn't impressed with the pen's performance so I put it in the box for a year or two. Then one day in Staples I spied a bottle of MB Blue/Black ink. U'mmm, I bought it and then figured out what that funny looking thing in the bottom of the MB box was (sometimes I'm slow in that regard). The pen responded well to the converter/ink combination and for the next few years I carried it and used it nearly exclusively.
I tired of the M nib in the 144 for note taking in meetings and started searching for a finer nibbed alternative - discovered Swisher Pens online and a Pelikan Steno with an EF nib and in the process ebay and acp-p and it was all down hill after that. My next purchase was an Estie J from ebay and with some help from Frank Dubiel and Hal Arnold on acp-p I repaired the pen and was hooked on vintage pens and pen repair. That was in 2001 and the accumulation has grown substantially, mostly vintage but with some modern pens thrown in as well.
It's good to be a part of this obsession.

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DWL


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Thanks for shareing Kelly. I enjoyed the read. I do have to admit extreme jealousy though. I would have loved to talked with Frank Dubiel.

I'd been collecting and restoring pens for myself & friends for years before I bit the bullet & got online. Sadly shortly after I got active in the online fp community I read that Frank had died. I've heard he could be a cranky bastard at times, but he loved Wearevers every bit as much as I do. He couldn't have been all bad, then there's his monumental contribution to the fp repair community.
Dennis

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I first started in elementary school back in the 1950s. My interest revived in the early 1980s, when I picked up a Chinese Parker 51 knockoff, in Cloisoinne, with an XF nib. I used it for several years before it got lost in some move or other. Then I picked up one of those fountain pens which can pierce a soda can and still write, which I used for several years (still have it, locked in a box, because an author whom I greatly respected, now passed on, used it to autograph a book of his I had purchased). Then, after I moved to Texas, I got hooked up on Fountain Pen Network, and got really serious about collecting.

Donnie


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Seasoned

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8 inherited fountain pens were on the way to the flea market. Was tasked by the boss to get a worth. At 0:200 in the morning I joined a Pen com,and saved 8 fountain pens form being $3 pens.

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Seasoned

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Still very fresh in my mind. My mother was kind enough to have instilled fountain pens in my life since I was young. Very sneakily. I remember her pointing out my grandmothers fountain pen (I must ask where it's gone, now I think about it!), and her buying me cheap and cheerful ones when I was in primary and into secondary school, my beloved one being a black and yellow CAT pen.

I've kept a loose journal and taken notes most of my adult life, it's something I've always enjoyed, but up until recently I always used a pencil. I liked the utilitarian nature, the pleasant scratch-scratch and light resistance to using it, and the physical act of sharpening it (always with a knife!), too! About 2-3 months back I was haunting ebay and spotted a Visconti Van Gogh, which I remembered seeing a picture of months before. It had had a 'wow' factor to it and I couldn't resist bidding for it.

At that point I had just lost my job, so, with lots of free time, I spent a few hours each day obsessively reading FP blogs, forums, trawling sites and shops, until now my taste and sense in fountain pens has begun to settle :) A few weeks after the Visconti I bought my second pen, and now I'm in the process of saving for my third!



-- Edited by Highbinder on Friday 6th of November 2009 05:14:26 PM

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jar


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I came to fountain pens late in life. As a child starting school we had to bring our own stones to scratch lines into the cave wall. For art we had to chew charcoal and ocher to spit over our hands leaving shadow paintings. Later we learned to sharpen sticks and make better drawings of the bison that almost killed us yesterday and the mastodon that used to chase us on our way to school.

Later we learned to search for the GREAT Fire bird and steal feathers. We went down to the stream and found rocks that we could split giving us sharp edges that could be used to shape the end of the feather into a nib. We would chew up the charcoal or ocher and mix it with water and fat to get lovely inks, red and black, purple and brown. But we had no paper and so tried to write on the hide of the antelope. Unfortunately they refused to stand still so writing became a challenge and often left us gasping for breath.

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Rawr.

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Your post is made of win, Jar.

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Mike Hungerford
http://goo.gl/dUVnUZ

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JAR you are now my new personal hero. I haven't laughed like hat in several days. Thanks man!

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jar wrote:

I came to fountain pens late in life. As a child starting school we had to bring our own stones to scratch lines into the cave wall. For art we had to chew charcoal and ocher to spit over our hands leaving shadow paintings. Later we learned to sharpen sticks and make better drawings of the bison that almost killed us yesterday and the mastodon that used to chase us on our way to school.

Later we learned to search for the GREAT Fire bird and steal feathers. We went down to the stream and found rocks that we could split giving us sharp edges that could be used to shape the end of the feather into a nib. We would chew up the charcoal or ocher and mix it with water and fat to get lovely inks, red and black, purple and brown. But we had no paper and so tried to write on the hide of the antelope. Unfortunately they refused to stand still so writing became a challenge and often left us gasping for breath.



rofl.gif rofl.gif rofl.gif rofl.gif



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I have only been using FP myself the last four/five years on a daily basis.
I had (Still Have) some pens from when I was a kid. My parents gave me a Grey Matte Cross BP/MP set for my Confirmation (Catholic Thing). STill have that along with the Chrome Cross BP from my Grandfather.
My dad always liked pens, but he only has/collects BP's. He even has the Waterman Le Man Opera BP, and a Parker Duofold BP (Rag on him about the FP values all the time !) :)
So, it was instilled in me early on to like pens. I did get my Dad to like the Parker 45 though! He does use the Kustom I got from that estate sale.
I have a Lamy Swift RB that I have had since college (original aluminum finish), and a couple other decent RB pens I have had 15-20 years or so. RB pens became my favorite. It was around this time I was getting Fahrney's catalog on a regular basis. I had a couple of cheap/disposable FP's around that time. Did not really know how to care for them, made a mess, and usually just threw them out!
Fast forward to about five years ago, I was teaching at a different school, and a new assistant principal came on board. I was in his office, and saw what he was writing with.
I said "that's a Lamy Safari". He looked up and Smiled "Hey, you know what this is!"
From there, a monster was created! This guy (Don) taught me about pens shows, vendors, etc.. He let me use/test some of his pens, and I was hooked from there!

Frank


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Seasoned

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I'd probably gotten my start with fountain pens back in Junior High school [ca. 1970-1972?], when I'd traded another kid something [I cannot recall what] for an old lever-filler [I know it was a big orange flat-top lever filler, make/model unknown at this time].
The pen probably had a broken sac although at the time I knew nothing about "sacs" or how a lever filler really worked inside. I never did fill it with ink but I did fill it with water to use as a squirt gun and is how I'd found out it leaked. It made a "stealthy" squirt gun, is all I had in mind at the time, squirt guns themselves being banned in my school [yet kids still brought them in and usually had them confiscated by the teachers] but no bans on fountain pens.
There was a small card and gift shop near where I lived that also sold magic stuff, like disappearing ink, bought some of that and nearly got my tail kicked when I squirted the wrong person with it as a practical joke.
Turns out that squirting people with invisible ink isn't particularly funny, not when the person being the squirt-ed has no idea it's going to disappear! Live and learn, usually the hard way in my case.
I have no idea what ever happened to that pen, probably stolen by my younger sister that was always stealing my stuff when I wasn't home.

It wasn't until @ 1985 when I tried getting a new fountain pen [I was @ 21 at the time], a MontBlanc Classique in black that was a cartridge pen I'd found on sale at a stationery shop.
I'd thought "Maybe if I buy something of quality, maybe it will work. You get what you pay for." scenario running through my brain.
Seeing it marked with an MSRP of over $400, on sale for @ $250, I thought it had to work, yet I was very wrong in my assumption that high cost would = high-reliability.
That pen ruined me for several years afterward, it leaked, it skipped, it was awful and I couldn't use it and had no idea back then how to fix it.
It was more than 20 years before I got another fountain pen, thanks to that defective and very expensive MB experience I thought all fountain pens were going to be just as nasty.

Christmas of last year, 2008, a carpenter friend went into pen turning due to the U.S. Economic & housing market crash.
He made me a nice fountain pen from South African Knobwood, he being from South Africa this wood was native to where he'd come from and made it even more special to me.
That pen wrote like a dream, it never leaked, never skipped, was by far a better pen IMO than was the very expensive MB that had tainted my experience and impressions for so long.
I still have that pen, I use it from time to time, yet it's unable to be posted and a bit too short for my rather large hand.
From that moment on I began to research fountain pens on the Internet, found a few forums and became so intrigued by the multitude of pens & inks that I'm hooked now!
I researched nib smoothing and re-shaping, found I have a talent for the same and began making my own specialty nibs and re-working nibs for others.

Now that I've found there are many great fountain pens out there, pens that don't leak, don't skip, some really interesting designs, filling systems, materials, my biggest regret is not finding out about them sooner.
Finding out about the vintage Sheaffer's with the Vac'Fil system really intrigued me, the idea of a sac-less pen that held ink in the barrel was to me both simplistic and sensible.
Learning about the Pelikan piston-fillers was also a revelation to me, as I'd previously have no idea such pens even existed.
My first Pelikan was an M605, a beautiful all-blue pen I'd bought NIB only to find it felt too light and too small for my hand when it arrived.
Not long after getting it I'd received a PM on another forum by a member that read my posts about how disappointed I was with the size & weight of than Pelikan, was made an offer to trade mine for a larger/heavier M800 so I jumped on that offer.
It wasn't until the M800 was already in the mail to me that I'd found out I was getting an "Old Style", had to research what that even meant as I had no idea at the time.
When I finally got the M800 ti was obviously "gently" used, a few scratches here and there that just got me into pen restoration supplies, bought some stuff from Tryphon and restored it to near-new glory.


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Great story Scott!

Love part about the vintage "squirt Gun"!
Glad kids do not think about that today! :)

As for the MB pen, did you consider taking it to a boutique for MB service?
I have the Classique (144) model myself. I bought it used about three/four years ago to say "yeah, I have an MB pen". It subsequently broke at the feed (stress crack or something).
I took it to MB for service. Got it back ($45) with a new feed/section.

This will probably be my only MB pen. I really cannot afford a new one. Though I may manage to find a 146/149 in the wild someday! I do not hate them, I just find them way overpriced.

Frank

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