A visual look back at all of the annual special edition LAMY Safari fountain pens that have been available in the United States, at least as long as we’ve been around. 🙂
2018: All Black
2016: Dark Lilac
2014: Neon Coral
2013: Neon Yellow
2012: Apple Green
Have a favorite special edition color?
The Goulet Pen Company
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about proper writing position, great inks to read back, and the one thing he’d change about fountain pens! Enjoy.
- Apollo 11 in the news, 50th anniversary!
- offsite planning for leadership
- continued ink sample sales, going on the whole month, cleaning/tuning sale
- spending some time working with our kids (bagging converters!)
- not a whole lot in the way of product launches this week
1) Mark L.- YouTube (4:01)
Also, what’s the deal with the numbers on the friction feeds? I’ve seen what look like the same feeds on several brands of pen, with various numbers on the underside.
- honestly? they don’t mean anything significant
- feeds aren’t something necessarily manufactured by the company making the nibs, or the pens
- they’re just some kind of internal indication and I don’t know what they mean, perhaps there’s a purpose but I don’t think so
2) Savannah S- Facebook (9:12)
- it’s certainly on the table
- we’d have to think about what we’d want to see, they have so much crazy cool stuff out there already!
- any ideas?
3) @LaySouls- Twitter (14:34)
I sometimes get sore when I write. I think that I never really learnt the correct posture for writing. What would be your tips or suggestions? (I am left-handed, it probably doesn’t help…)
- one great thing about fountain pens is that they don’t need a lot of pressure, which is what usually causes cramping
- fountain pens should write under their own weight, so no need to press
- 45 degree angle
- three finger grip (optional, of course)
- as a lefty, you might be cramping because of your hand position, especially if writing hook handed
- underwriter is the most comfortable, but I understand that’s hard to change
- turn the page, make the paper conform to you
- sit up straight, keep elbow at 90 degrees
- rest ball of your thumb on the page, use a combination of finger, wrist, and arm movement
- the larger the muscles you’re using when you write, the less tiring (but less control, so you need more practice)
- Michael Sull’s book Art of Cursive Penmanship has some good stuff on this
4) Isabella R.- Email (23:41)
I used to fall for really vibrant, saturated inks (and still do), but find when reading back old notes, some of the duller and softer colors like Iroshizuku Ajisai are actually more pleasant to read back than the really dark or saturated ones. Funny how tastes can change! Which inks do you think offer the best read-back?
- This is a great point to bring up, especially with the popularity of vibrant, shimmering and high sheening ink
- 10 years ago when I was just getting into fountain pens there were fewer options for really vibrant colors
- I would use more subtle ink, like Herbin, and really appreciated the “read back”
- for things like journaling and letter writing, I really do think the subtle inks are nice, especially on white paper
- off white paper is even better for read back
- Herbin Poussiere de Lune, Lie de The, Pilot Iroshizuku (many of them), Pelikan Edelstein, RnK Salix and Scabiosa, Noodler’s Lexington Gray
- It’s totally a matter of personal preference, but it’s worth considering the read back when writing with stuff you may re-read!
5) Michael B- Facebook (32:34)
Can you explain how the weight of paper helps or impacts how fountain pen friendly it is. I know different inks will react differently, but I get lost when I see a sheet has so many grams. For example Rhodia paper has 80g and 90g paper, but how much does the extra 10g actually help? I am trying to understand the correlation so I can find copy paper that may be fp friendly at work.
- this is a little confusing if you’re not neck deep in the world of paper!
- it’s a measure of paper weight, not necessarily thickness (though there’s a correlation) or fountain pen friendliness
- 80g is a pretty good standard if the paper’s good, 90g is better, more of a standard with fountain pens
- what I’ve found with copy paper is (in the US), it’s tough to find anything that’s a good indicator as to how FP friendly it is advertised on the packaging
- laser printer paper is better than inkjet paper, for sure
- 24 LB is okay, 28-32LB is better
- price can usually be an indicator of how good it is
- try to get acid-free, pH-neutral if at all possible
- HP 32lb Premium Laser is some of the best stuff I’ve bought by the ream at an office supply store, though it’s been a while for me!
6) Armando U- Facebook (42:33)
If you had the power to change one thing about all fountain pens (such as getting rid of proprietary cartridges) what would you change?
- getting rid of proprietary cartridges is a HUGE one, for sure! That might be it for me
- being able to fully disassemble every pen would be awesome, either without tools or with them included (that’s a very specific personal preference for me, though, not ideal for everyone)
- having standardized nibs across brands would be really cool too, but I like having different nib styles and designs though
7) Chrystalyn R- Facebook (46:11)
As I’ve been broadening my experience and exposure, I’ve realized that the sorting and filtering available for shopping on the Goulet website is WAY beyond what is available on most other sites, and really fairly unique. Comparatively, some sites really look like they haven’t been updated in design since the early 2000s. Has that been an active decision for your business, to choose to develop those additional features, and if so, why? In extension, I can easily imagine that web design actually has an impact on traffic and business, do you feel that it is an investment you’ve made that pays off in driving your business?
- that’s great feedback to hear!
- website work takes a lot of commitment, there’s no question
- we’ve devoted so much time and money to the several versions of our site over the last 10 years, it would probably shock you
- the standards change a lot, so we have to be constantly updating, bug fixing, testing, improving in order to keep it current
- it’s been a focus and commitment for us to have a great site, mainly because it’s a part of our company’s mission “To provide fountain pen enthusiasts with the most personal online shopping experience through comprehensive education, exemplary service, and products we believe in.”
- online shopping and exemplary service weigh heavily into the site UX
- it is an investment that’s paid off, because it’s our sole storefront, our single sales channel, so it has to be great
- it’s not the only thing, we do a ton of education-based marketing, great photography, customer service, excellent packaging, product offering, it all comes together to make for a great customer experience, but the site is a huge part of that
- Rachel is a huge driver for our site, it’s her baby, she is the liaison with our web developers who we have working continually on new features for our site
- recently we rolled out color swatches on products that have other colors available in the same model, that was all custom code for our site
QOTW: If there was one thing you could change about fountain pens, what would it be? (50:36)
Writing Prompt: Write about where you were when you watched the moon landing or some other significant global event happen in your youth? (55:49)
A visual look back at all of the annual limited edition Platinum #3776 Century fountain pens that have been available in the United States. The Platinum #3776 Century fountain pen is made in Japan, and features a resin barrel and cap with a 14kt gold nib, and fills via cartridge/converter.
2019: Rokka, the 3rd color in the Fuji Shunkei series. The Fuji Shunkei series features a lineup of fountain pens inspired by the seasonal scenery of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji gets surrounded by a pure world filled with cold air in the silence of snow. Rokka reproduces such a pure and gorgeous view of Mount Fuji covered by snow and ice.
2018: Kumpoo, the 2nd color in the Fuji Shunkei series. The Fuji Shunkei series features a lineup of fountain pens inspired by the seasonal scenery of Mount Fuji. The refreshing breeze that blows through the fresh greenery reaches up into the blue sky. Kumpoo fountain pen expresses such pleasant seasonal scenery of Mount Fuji surrounded by blue and green colors.
2017: Shungyo, the 1st color in the Fuji Shunkei series. The Fuji Shunkei series features a lineup of fountain pens inspired by the seasonal scenery of Mount Fuji. Shungyo is inspired by the dawn of early spring, when the freeze has not yet passed. Sunlight is diffused through the silent air, turning the sky red. Shungyo expresses this seasonal scenery in which the dawn sky and the silhouette of Mount Fuji harmonize by using a red color on the barrel with irregular fine lines and a matte finish.
2016: Kawaguchi, the 5th in the Fuji Five Lakes series. An image of the Mt. Fuji and the water of the Lake Kawaguchi waiting for the dawn in the pure silence is expressed with this fountain pen. “Dawn blue” refers to the gradation of colors at the dawn, when the sky is covered with the darkest blue just before the dawn. It is reflected upon the water together with the image of Mt. Fuji. Platinum incorporated such color into the transparent water of the lake. The contrast between the mirror-like surface and the quiet streams that ripples with breeze, which symbolizes the state of the lake at dawn, has been reproduced in the barrel using a technique to apply lustrous convex/concave patterns.
2015: Yamanaka, the 4th in the Fuji Five Lakes series. Lake Yamanaka, located near Mount Fuji, is the highest of the Fuji Five Lakes in terms of elevation with an altitude of 1,000 meters. Surrounded by gently sloping mountains, the sunbathed lake located in grandeur and rich variety of scenery is illuminated with light. It is a beautiful lake, which the water waves with the reflection of the highland shines while fresh wind blows through the lake. The fountain pen was made to reflect the image of a ripple of the brilliant lake on the transparent barrel.
2013: Sai, the 3rd in the Fuji Five Lakes series. The simple yet beautiful form of this pen features a transparent body that is free of decoration. It was designed to express the profound nature of Lake Sai, the central lake in the five lakes around Mount Fuji that is surrounded by a sea of trees and mountains.
2012: Shoji, the 2nd in the Fuji Five Lakes series. It is said that “shoji-ko (Lake-Shoji)” is the most beautiful reflected lake of Mount Fuji in the Fuji Five Lakes. Platinum decided that the image of body should be the color of the atmosphere of the lakes when being illuminated by the morning sun. The scene with the bright, light color of blue on the edge of the transparent body, lights up the imagination with the light that is reflected upon the water landscape.
2011: Motosu, the 1st in the Fuji Five Lakes series.
The Goulet Pen Company
Goulet Q&A Episode 259, Platinum Procyon, Applied Patinas On Metal Pens, and Early Goulet Pens Assets
In this episode, I talk about the Platinum Procyon, applied patinas on metal pens, and resources and assets that got Goulet Pens off the ground. Enjoy!
- July 4th off, surgery went well for Ellie
- Family time, taking care of random stuff around the house
- Coming into summer, our slower time but working to keep ourselves busy
- Lots of sales, deals, clearing out inventory to make room for fall
- Colorverse First Moon Landing ink
- All-gold plated Goulet nibs
- Rhodia 2020 planners
- Field Notes National Parks
- Mastering Hand Lettering book
- Blue Demo shark pen
- Jinhao 51A wood, Red/Purple Ombre, Amber/Black Ombre
- Monteverde Tanzanite, Malachite, Citrine
- Retro 51 Apollo Fountain Pen
1) @Aeronaute- Twitter
Most vacuum fillers have a valve that seals, isolating the ink in the reservoir from the feed, which makes them great for airplanes. The Visconti double reservoir pens clearly do. It’s unclear if the single reservoir pens (e.g. the Bronze Age Homo Sapiens) do this? Can you say?
- not every brand distinguishes if there’s a double or single reservoir, that’s kind of a Visconti thing
- but no, my experience with the Bronze Age HS is that it doesn’t seal off the ink chamber, so you don’t see that same benefit as you would with the double-reservoir
- on the plus side, you don’t ever have to unscrew the filler knob to write with it
- I’ve flown with the HS before and a little ink might get on the nib, in the cap, but it’s nothing a quick tissue swipe in a hotel bathroom can’t fix easily
2) bitethehandd- Instagram
Forgive me if this has been covered in another Q&A, but I’m eager to know your thoughts on the Platinum Procyon! I’ve been looking for a “next level” pen in the 40-100 $ price range that performs well, isn’t too traditional or “cigar”-looking in appearance, and of course writes reliably. Thanks so much to you and the whole Goulet team!
- I would say the Procyon would fit your criteria here!
- on the light side, not a heavy pen
- seals well, writes reliably, nibs ground on the finer side
- easy to fill with filler hole closer to the tip than most pens
- posts securely
- $66 MSRP ($52.60 at Goulet), converter not included ($8)
- all around very solid pen choice if you’re looking for a next-level pen
3) suluboyayolculugu- Instagram
Does reverse writing damage the pen in any way? Is it sustainable to write reverse for long periods?
- yes and no….with light pressure it can write just fine, but with heavy pressure it could be an issue
- pens aren’t designed specifically to be written with upside down for extended periods, so they’re not always ground smooth on the top of the tip
- you can write with it upside down for long periods, but it may not be quite as enjoyable a writing experience or flow the ink as smoothly over time
- you can smooth out the nib in reverse position with micromesh if you desire (at your own risk)
- it’s really up to you, it won’t hurt to try as long as you keep a pretty light-medium touch, see how you like it
4) Bryson B- Facebook
With raw metal pens is there a way to safely speed up and or intensify the patina process besides just normal use? Thanks for all you do for our community!
- the short answer is yes, and it gets way more complicated from there
- it depends on the metal, as different ones will patina/oxidize/reach to different things
- there isn’t a lot of info about doing this specifically in the pen world, but if you have a pen in solid brass, copper, silver, whatever, the rules should apply the same to whatever the bare metal is in your research
- I first started learning about this from artist/craftsman David J. Marks, he has a DVD on gilding/patination that’s pretty amazing
- you can get different colors, effects, based on the chemicals used to apple a patina (also called distressing) and the interaction with a specific metal
- for example, copper: ammonium sulfide = blue-black, cupric nitrate = blue-green, ferric nitrate = yellow-brown
- you can use different materials like cheesecloth, string, leaves, etc to apply chemicals to distress in a specific pattern, too
- you can put the pen in a bag with chemicals to get a more even coverage, if you do that, take out the nib/feed/other parts as much as you’re able, try to just patina the specific metal
- if you want to experiment with this, maybe try off a pen first, you can really have a blast
- it’ll still patina over time, any applied patina you may want to seal with lacquer if you really like it and want it to keep
5) Savannah S- Facebook
Do you have a pen you keep in your car? I want to keep a Kakuno or something in mine, but then I’m afraid something unexpected will happen. If it’s not an eyedropper pen should it be fine?
- I keep a Pilot G2 in my car, because it withstands the cold of Virginia winters and heat of Virginia summers
- I always keep a fountain pen in my pocket so or in my backpack, so I haven’t felt a compelling need to keep one in my car
- others that have, Platinum Preppy, Pilot Varsity do pretty well
- something with a good sealing cap is pretty key, because it’s less temperature and humidity controlled then a building, and will endure more extremes
- eyedropper is not really ideal, a C/C is the best way to go, or a vacuum with a shutoff valve but those aren’t cheap
6) @SomiAnimations- Twitter
In unfortunate circumstances, my water bottle leaked in my bag and got my notes wet. I was able to salvage the situation but are there water resistant fountain pen inks you can recommend?
- yikes! This is good as an example for when waterproof ink would be handy, since I get asked that sometimes, “why would anyone need permanent ink?”
- we have in our menu (top navigation on desktop, hamburger on mobile) a sub-navigation of ink classified as water resistant
- currently we have 202 different options there, though that includes bottled, cartridge, samples (103 bottles, for example)
- we have to drill into specific ink colors to get to just how water resistant they are, and that’s where we’ve tried to do ink reviews with water tests (as secondary images on the product page), we don’t have all of them
- in the product reviews, water resistance is something people rate, and if there are a decent number of reviews that can be fairly accurate
- we have no definitive scientific way to say to what degree they’re water resistant, and it can vary with paper, too
- Platinum Carbon Black/Pigmented Blue, Namiki Blue, Noodler’s Black, Noodler’s Eternal series, De Atramentis Document inks are some of the best, a great place to start
7) Justin G- Facebook
Would there be a way to indicate certain ink properties in an ink’s technical specifications section like spread and bleedthrough, or would that be too complicated to try to set up?
- that would be great, but would be really hard to do definitively, especially because there are SO many variables (paper being a huge one)
- if we standardized everything else (paper, writing implement, writing pressure and speed, etc) then we could probably come up with something consistent, but that’s a massive project to take on
- we’ve considered putting it as an element in our product reviews for ink (which we could), but it would take quite a while for enough new reviews with these factors in there to accumulate, plus it’s VERY subjective so we’ve hesitated to do that
- currently, reviews have dry time, shading, flow, water resistance, and value
- we do get asked about it a lot, so we’ll keep thinking on it, we’re open to all ideas….
8) Kimberly R- Facebook
I’d enjoy discussion of environmental factors, how they affect fountain pens, and some possible mitigations. I’m thinking of things like high elevation, low/high humidity extremes, very hot or cold climates, etc.
- they do affect pens, to a degree
- most of my understanding comes from qualitative data (hearing from others) not quantitative (scientific testing)
- elevation, I honestly don’t know how it impacts when stationary
- it does make a difference when ascending and the pressure changes, can force ink out of a pen (this is what happens when flying), can have a similar effect in a car when driving and going up thousands of feet
- perhaps elevation affects flow of ink? I honestly don’t know, that’s about all I could envision it affecting
- humidity makes a big difference in terms of your pen drying out, and dry time of ink on the page
- more humidity = longer dry time, less ink drying in a pen
- less humidity = shorter dry time, more ink dries in a pen
- hot or cold, extreme heat isn’t great, but it’s more about changes in heat (really pressure caused by temperature swings) that are the issue, with pens burping/leaking
- cold is an issue with freezing, especially pens left in cars in the cold, ink is water, it freezes
- is barometric pressure a factor (ink flow changes with a storm coming?), maybe, but I don’t know that for sure
- in sandy/salty environments, metal pen parts could corrode quicker (not just on pens but everything)
- direct UV rays in any environment can cause discoloration and oxidation of pen materials, paper, ink, really everything! With prolonged exposure of course
- That’s about all I can think of…
9) cat.jeanie- Instagram
Business question: What resources and assets did you have before starting GP and what did you have to obtain (ex. Loans from banks/friends/family, equipment, etc.) in order to get the ball rolling?
- when we started GPC in its current form we were 25, Rachel was 7 months pregnant, we had a mortgage on a house we’d bought that year, and a completely unprofitable pen making business we were transitioning over
- the “assets” we had were a bunch of pen making equipment and supplies (which we either stored or sold at a loss), a crappy old PC that was killed by a virus a couple of months into operation, and under $3,000 in cash on which to do all our operations and purchase inventory
- we had a personal camcorder that Rachel’s parents gifted us for the birth of our son, which we used for 5+ years in shooting our earliest videos
- we ran everything out of our house, paid ourselves nothing, did everything ourselves, bought only enough inventory that we knew we’d sell it in 30 days or less, and reinvested everything
- 5 months after we started selling FP stuff, while on maternity leave, Rachel quit her job, worked 10 hours remotely and we lived on that and a few thousand in savings we had
- we didn’t eat, drive, go out, do anything recreational at all unless our parents treated, and we had zero social activities outside family at that time
- we were 100% focused on getting Goulet Pens off the ground, it was truly make or break that first year
- the only money we every borrowed was a little bit from my parents to place initial purchase orders for Diamine, Private Reserve, and a couple other brands over the summer of 2010, which we paid back in 3 months
- since then, we’ve never borrowed a dime, we’ve always reinvested, established emergency funds, sinking funds, and saved saved saved
- if we needed tables, we built them. We bought furniture at yard sales and Habitat for Humanity Restore or Goodwill. We’d hit up estate auctions, craigslist warehouse deals, etc to get things like shelving, office furniture, whatever we needed to operate
- It wasn’t until we had probably 20 people in our company after 5 years that we would buy new furniture, because by then our team wasn’t as enamored with the $2 duct-taped desks as in the early days!
- But we’ve always, always, always lived below our means, whatever that took, and we still do today even as our means are greater than they were in the beginning
- when you have no choice, are driven by passion first, and don’t really care what others think, you can be very lean when starting your business!
QOTW: What characteristics (like ink bleedthrough or feathering) do you wish we had more clarity and distinction around on GouletPens.com? Pen specs, ink performance, paper qualities, anything?
Writing prompt: Write out what you would do if someone gave you $1 million that could had to spend but couldn’t buy anything for yourself.
A pen that won’t write can make for a very frustrating fountain pen experience. Especially if you are new to the hobby, it can be hard to know where to start to solve this type of issue. We created this video and blog to offer you some of our most common tips to troubleshoot writing issues with your beloved pens.
Check Ink Levels
It may sound silly but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get into a writing frenzy and not realize there’s no fuel in your pen’s tank. If you’ve suddenly run into a scratchy, dry pen, check the converter or cartridge to be sure it has ink. If it is empty, give it a refill and you’ll be off and writing again. You can check out these videos for tips to help you refill a converter or cartridge.
Make Sure Cartridge is Seated Correctly
Cartridges are a great alternative if you want a more mess-free ink experience. But occasionally they present problems if they aren’t properly inserted. Be sure the cartridge is inserted correctly and firmly seated. If there are any air leaks between the cartridge and feed, it will stop the capillary flow of ink down the feed. You need to also make certain that the cartridge is fully punctured and the ink saturates the feed. You may need to give it a squeeze to help move ink down the feed channel.
Cleaning a pen is hands down the best solution for a pen that won’t write. Whether it’s residual materials from the manufacturing process or clumps of dried ink from a previous fill, anything that obstructs the feed can also stop the flow of ink. To clean your nib and feed, you can use a cup of water or running water from the tap. You’ll want to run water through the nib and feed to free the obstruction. If it’s especially stubborn, you can try a bulb syringe for some extra muscle to push the clog out. Check out our Quick Tip for a great demonstration!
Use a Brass Sheet to Floss the Tines
It is possible for nib tines to catch and hold onto paper fibers through your writing adventures. By utilizing a brass sheet, you can remove debris from between the tines with ease. You can do this with the nib still installed on the pen or remove nib for more thorough cleaning. Simply swipe the brass sheet between the tines a few times to clear any debris with ease.
Consider Switching Inks
Is your pen writing dry or skipping mid-stroke? Your ink choice could be the problem. Give your pen a good cleaning and consider refilling with a wetter ink. If you would like some suggestions of inks to try and one to possibly avoid in a drier writing pen, check out our Top Wet and Dry Inks blog!
It may be tempting to just dab the nib on your tongue and keep your pen writing, but we do not advise this. A fountain pen is sneakily prone to spreading and you could end up with an inky tongue or teeth. We hope if you encounter a pen flow problem, you will remember some of these tips and be able to get your pen safely and quickly flowing again.
The Goulet Pen Company Team
Hi there! It’s Andi and today I am sharing with you my experiences with Robert Oster Honey Bee ink! I enjoyed using this warm, honey-colored yellow ink, which was the perfect inspiration for my drawing. Read on to hear why I think this ink is a great, legible choice for your summer writing adventures!
Drawing Inspiration and Technique
I really liked the warm yellow, almost orange, color of this ink; it was almost reminiscent of honey. This fact, plus the aptly chosen name, were all the inspiration I needed to draw a cute little honey bee. To start, I gathered inspiration from the overhead illustrations of insects laying down. This way you can see all the details of their wings or patterns on their bodies.
For the first step of my piece, I printed off a bunch of illustrations of bees (Thanks for the idea from last month’s insploration, Sarah!). I wanted to go for a mix of illustration and realism. Using the EF TWSBI Eco, I roughly sketched out the outlines of the bee’s body, including the legs, but I chose to leave out the wings. To get the effect of the wings, I instead used a brush pen and “painted” the wings on. If I were to do it again. I wouldn’t use as much ink so that I would get a lighter shade of wing.
Then it was all about the bees fuzz. Didn’t really think about it till drawing this image but bees are actually covered in hair, so small stroke lines all over helped me get the effect of their fur. I used the TWSBI Eco 1.1mm stub nib to draw the hair. For the areas that I wanted a little darker, I went back and layered more ink on top. I also needed to get the signature yellow stripe, so to do this I colored that space in with the brush pen, followed by small strokes with the TWSBI Eco EF nib since I didn’t want it to be too dark.
- Flow- Medium
- This ink had a medium flow.
- It’s wet but not so wet that you wouldn’t be able to journal.
- Dry Time- 30+ Seconds
- it takes over 30 seconds to dry but I wouldn’t say over a minute to dry.
- If you had a finer nib, it wouldn’t take as long to dry.
- Water Resistance- Low
- The water basically took all the ink away during the drip test.
- Using the wet swab, it took the entire ink up or pushed it to the side leaving a tiny bit of colored residue.
- Shading- Medium
- That is some variation in the color when writing.
- I would let the ink dry for a bit and then add more layers on if you want a darker shade
- How did the ink behave on other papers?
- The ink performs well on all types of paper.
- Special Features Worth Noting?
- I really liked the warm yellow color, almost orange
- almost reminiscent of honey (probably why they picked the name Honey Bee)
If you’d like to try other inks in this color range, be sure to check out the suggestions below:
- Diamine Sepia– More of a brownish hue to it but nice a wet flowing
- Kyo-No-Oto Yamabukiiro– On the drier end of the flow range, but similar in color
- Noodler’s Overlord Orange– Very bright!, also fun and cheery
Thanks for joining me for another round of Inksploration. Don’t miss your chance to win a bottle of this sweet ink and a TWSBI ECO too! Check back at the end of the month.