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Post Info TOPIC: Philly Pen Show- a review/ report


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Philly Pen Show- a review/ report
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Last year I did not attend the show but decided ( through the help of several people on-site here) that I would make the trek down the turnpike to the city. A uneventful drive in the crisp air led me back down into the city of brotherly love. GSP on dash I was directed to the front of the Sheraton. But being thrifty I drove around to the back and parked in the $5.00 lot on the next block. Remembering that I was parked on level 6 I walked past Glaxo and tried the doors into the artium which were locked the last time. Luck would have it that one swung open and I was in a back hallway only steps from the main atrium.

Two levels up was the ballroom of all the pens and the excitement as well. In line before me was a family of 4 with two small children- a good sign that this hobby of ours could span generations and will keep going. Paying the $8 day pass I received two shiny gold coins in change, a $10 FPH card and a Stylus Magazine with a diamond confection from Curtis on the cover. Behind the ticket-master was a table of more PR ink than I have ever seen at one time for a very reasonable price.

My first thought was that I'd again forgotten a bag like last time and would be carrying a pile of papers around. But as luck would have it a pleasant lady from the King of Prussia Paradise Pens was handing out bags that included a $10 gift certificate and catalog!

Turning right into the main room I passed Brian Grey's table vowing to stop later as there were two people sitting and trying his wonderful pens. The first corner was full of antique and ephermia on multiple shelves stock high with just many things. Again a place that had people inside so I would return.

It appeared that the walls were reserved for stores and the first one was Fountain Pen Hospital where i picked up a catalog and looked at the multiple levels of pens that were being displayed. They had a Lamy Dialog 3 on tether so I played with that for awhile looking down the barrel and trying to figure out how it works. The action was smooth except when I was holding it with clip beneath my finger.!

To bookend that wall was Chuck Swisher's multiple tables with a spread of Diamine and Noodlers ink as well as Rhodia pads.

The back wall had Susan Wirt, Richard Binder and Ron Zorn as well as a table displaying turning materials and an eco-friendly line of pens. Mike it write was there too to craft your nib to perfection!

Half way down the first row was the Philadelphia Pen Club's table with two friendly faces and a spread of information. I stopped to chat a bit before moving on.

in the center of the show were many displays of vintage pens along with Steve's Indian Ebonite table (really have to pick up one of those double ended eyedroppers). Along the way catching my eye were a multitude of pristine dollar Esterbrooks. Buying one became my goal! But then I saw the Lamy 2000 at several tables along with some Safari and well you get the picture my mind followed my eye as I kept seeing pens that I would like to buy.

The first pen that really caught my eye was a Conway Stewart Centennial overlay that was huge and enrobed in a beautiful overlay. The price made me put it back down but I know that it is a pen I will continue to look for!

Lominchay had some of their pens on display including a mutton fat Jade pen that left me breathless. I just looked knowing that it was never going to be within reach. They also had some of their OPUS II pens which have a bamboo clip and body. A pleasing shape to boot.

To the left of the door was Visconti in the place of honor and the first pen you saw was their homo pen made of lava rock. Dante was presiding over it explaining the intricacies of it's construction which kept me rapt as the obvious enthuiasm for the creation was apparent. I was excited to actually get to handle this pen as I was trying to figure out how the sponge like material had turned. The final product was less interesting from a purely mechanical angle as it appears they just ground the rock down and mixed it with resin then machined the pieces from that. The pen's texture had a rubbery feel similar to the OMAS Emotica and they are using their special cap clip in bronze. The representative said that the internals were all titanium to withstand the ink and the pen was lined so no fears of the ink effecting the rock.

They had an neat display desk next to this pen with room for their complete line of ink wells and a fold down writing surface- I neglected to ask whether this was a dealer item or people could buy it.

They also had many of their special and limited editions, The knight templar pen was on display as well the Forbidden city and Alchemy.

Across from Visconti was Bryant who at the time I was passing by was excited that he had sold his K.T. and was asking Visconti if they had any others. His spread was full of overlays and knowing my limits I passed buy before making a purchase.

In the center was a wide range of pens for sale- everything from 'bag-o-pens' to vintage rarities that would never see ink and everything in between. Along with the pens were many vintage and new watches being sold as well- along with magnifying glasses and tools. (please excuse the lack of names for the sellers)

Bertram's inkwell also had a nice display of pens and ink I got to see the transaction for a whiteline notebook that just showed the joy of good paper purchase. No one had the new MB inks but there were several bottles of the older version.

In the back corner away from the main entry door I spotted a crate of Pelikan pens in the old tan & black boxes- NOS being sold at discount. On the off chance I asked the gentleman if he had an 800 in F or EF. He pulled a box out with a black & blue which at the price was nice and pristine...

then I picked it up and noticed the cap top...

it was a metal disk and there was one on the blind cap as well!!!

Several bill changed hand as I got one of my grail pens for less/ much less than a modern silk screened top. In my excitement I haven't check to see if it is west or just Germany but in any case it's a pen that I have been looking for and found!

The aisles were not packed but they were full with each vendor having at least one person and in some cases many standing and looking. There were groups of people standing and talking which made it sometimes difficult to pass and one triumverate had Swisher's Diamine ink blocked long enough for me to swing through the rest of the show and return to find them talking! Nothing that couldn't be dealt with with a smile -tho. The age range of people was refreshing to see everyone up and down the spectrum.

The one thing I would wish was that there had been a Pentrace "nametag" as while walking around I figured that I knew many people from the internet but could not place their voice or face.

I did return to Brian Grey's table at the end and tried one of his bulb fillers. I will say that the pen's construction is excellent and he said that he tunes the nibs himself- as smooth as butter on a bald monkey is how I would describe the writing of his nibs. I feel that there will be an Edison pen in my future.

I had planned on visiting the FPN room but the time to wait would be far too long so I took my prize and left the building.

But not before lunch. When I had walked across the street I noticed a lunch wagon on the corner and since he was still there I decided to have a city lunch. 2 dogs with mustard and cock sauce, bar-b-que chips and a diet pepsi all for less than a buck and the preparation was a show in itself as he placed the bun exactly on the waxed paper and aligned the hot dog as well.

The ride home was also uneventful as I took a side trip to LL Bean to see if I could get some slippers to replace my wife's glass encrusted ones.

So to sum up it was a excellent pen show and the smiling faces and excitement about pens was a great way to spend a Saturday.




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Thats fantastic man, sounds likem it was a great show for you. Finding a rare bird in the bush is great, we want pics!!. I wish I could be there this weekend but I have to wait for Chicago.


Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito
~Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them


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Thanks for the write-up, very cool! Nice score with the NOS M800. I have yet to attend a big show (still seeing if I can swing the drive out to the LA show next month) but this was a good taste of what to expect.



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I can't imagine going to a pen show, it must be fun getting to try out hundreds of pens :D I'd be hunting for (and sure I wouldn't find) a tortoise m800



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Nice Review Kurt!!
I must have just missed you, as I got there around 12:15!

It was a great show, as always! Though I did feel that it was "smaller" than last year!
It was great seeing familiar faces, and sampling some of the lastest pens. It was great meeting Dante Del Vecchio, owner of Visconti, who was there launching the new Homo Sapien ("Lava Pen"). My brother and I did manage to embarrass ourselves trying to open this pen with its' "Lockdown" cap! Dante was just waiting for a couple of suckers to try and open this pen! LOL

I was mainly there to get three Parker Vacs repaired, and Ron Z. was the man for the job!
Ron was so busy, that I had to go back Sunday to get the third pen done! He was the only person there doing complete repairs.

I did stay for the FPN "Meet and Greet". It was good to see familiar faces, and put names and faces to those I had not met before!



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