Have you ever felt the sting of a prized fountain pen going missing without a trace? How about the joy of finding an ink that performs so beautifully that you can almost hear the angel choruses singing as you write? As members of the fountain pen community, we are very familiar with the sheer elation and utter devastation that comes with this hobby. It’s safe to say that we have all formed some sort of attachment to our pens and inks during our journey down the fountain pen rabbit hole. One of the best things about this community is our ability to appreciate the humor in our “obsession” that others simply don’t understand. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we decided to share some instances of love and loss that we’re sure you can relate to. Below, you will find some humorous letters exemplifiying common situations faced by fountain pen fans.
Our first letter comes from our friend, “Mooning Over Apache Sunset.” He says:
We really must set some boundaries. We cannot carry on like this. You’re all I can think about! Every time I think I am going to make a change, I just keep coming back to you. My friends and family are starting to ask questions. They think I should explore other inks and shake things up. Maybe I should try something new. Maybe. You are currently in all of the fountain pens I own. Life simply can’t be lived in all orange, can it?
Oh, Apache Sunset, you don’t understand! I love you! You are hands-down the best ink ever created. I just cannot escape your warm glow, the excitement and dimension you bring to everyday tasks, and the way you just seem to fit my style. How could I ever think to give you up? It’s out of the question.
Mooning over Apache Sunset”
Who hasn’t fallen hard for an ink at one time or another? Whether it’s the perfect shade for the office or the fact that it makes even your most stubborn pens flow perfectly, ink is a very important part of the writing equation. It’s hard not to get super excited when the right one comes along. What would you do in this situation?
Have you ever lost a pen? It’s pretty crushing, especially if it’s a favorite pen. Our friend, “Missing TWSBI,” shares her feelings in one of these situations. She writes:
“To the one I lost…
Where are you? It’s been days since I saw you last. My heart aches in your abscence, my precious TWSBI. One day, we’re working together as the perfect team and now you’re gone without a trace! I hope whoever finds you will keep your tines clean and flossed your tines andwill give you the love you so desperately deserve.
How heartbreaking! I’m sure you can relate to this pain and how hard it would be to lose your favorite writing companion. We can only hope that her pen reappears to end her longing.
Unintentionally hurting one of your pens seems to cause more pain that we can explain. No amount of apologies or regret will fix your pen unfortunately. This is a lesson “Brokenhearted over a Broken Nib” learned the hard way. Read her letter below:
“My sweet darling,
I am the worst person ever. I can’t believe I hurt you so badly! Three years of faithful companionship and I blew it all in a single moment of carelessness. Our lives are ruined. Destroyed. I never should have left you uncapped on my desk while I flirted with other, newer pens on Google. I didn’t mean it. You must believe me.
While my eyes were on another you fell, nib first, onto the cold hard floor. Forgive me, my pen. It breaks my heart that I can’t replace your nib and restore our relationship. Forgive me and I vow to search out the best nibmeister to bring you back to life once again. Please, just one more chance and my eyes will never stray again.
Brokenhearted over a Busted Nib”
Finally, who hasn’t lamented that “one that got away?” Whether it’s an ink or a pen or some other writing tool that you definitely regret not getting, we all have that one we feel sad we missed. Our friend, “Missed Connection with a Dark Lilac Beauty” shares her story in this letter:
“Oh Dark and Alluring Beauty!
Where have you gone? A few hours of hesitation was all it took for me to miss the joy of sharing my writing adventures with you. I thought you’d be there if I ordered you in the evening. I was sure there would be plenty of stock left and I could bring your beauty into my heart.
Alas, we were not meant to be. You are gone forever, LAMY Dark Lilac, and I’m consumed with envy for anyone lucky enough to bask in your sheeny glow. There will never be another.
Missed Connection with a Dark Lilac Beauty”
What is your fountain pen missed connection story? We all have one. Fret not, there will always be another pen or ink to catch your eye and make you fall in love again.
GIVEAWAY RULES!- CONGRATULATIONS TO @Dav1dtheGnome on his win!
Now is your chance to begin a new love affair! We will be giving away a $75 Goulet Pens store credit to one lucky winner to use on whatever their heart may fancy. Read the rules and methods of entry below.
- To enter, write your own letter of love and loss in the fountain pen community and share it with us.
- Entries will be accepted here in the blog comments, on Facebook, or on Instagram. You can enter on as many or as few platforms as you choose for a total of 3 possible entries (1 entry per person per platform).
- The contest closes at 12pm EST on Friday, February 15th and a winner will be randomly selected following that time. The winner will be announced on this blog post and on Facebook and Instagram.
- To enter on FACEBOOK- 1) Write a humorous letter about fountain pen love or loss using a fountain pen and ink. 2) Take a picture of your pen with your letter. 3) Post it in the comments of the post that is pinned to the top of our Facebook page.
- To enter on INSTAGRAM- 1) Write a humorous letter about fountain pen love or loss using a fountain pen and ink. 2) Take a photo of your pen with your letter. 3) Post the photo to Instagram. 4) Be sure to tag us @GouletPens and use the hashtag #FPLoveAndLoss.
- By entering this giveaway, you are granting The Goulet Pen Company to reshare and reproduce your letters as part of the promotion.
The contest is open Monday, February 11, 2019, at 12 pm EDT until Friday, February 15, 2019, at 12 pm EDT. One winner will be randomly selected and announced once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.
The Goulet Pen Company Team
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about when to use limited edition ink, the Goulet pen cleaning station, and how pen retailers feel about each other. Enjoy!
- Family visit last weekend
- staying very busy here at GPC, some illnesses going around
- Some Lines a Day colors
- Opus 88 colored demos
- new Retro 51 rollerballs
- new Colorverse Season 5
1) brutusbiker- Instagram (06:16)
I have some pens whose ink lasts several months before drying out, but in some pens the ink dries out in a couple of weeks. If this is due to bad seals, why don’t manufacturers solve this by making better seals? This has little to do with the cost of the pen.
- it’s true that some pens seal differently than others
- yes, there’s a certain degree of engineering involved that will help some pens seal better than they do now
- sometimes it’s just an oversight, or maybe not the most important thing to a manufacturer
- If you’re writing with a pen regularly, it doesn’t need to go months without drying out, because it would get filled/cleaning in that time
- many manufacturers aren’t necessarily thinking of how some people are using their pens (inked for months)
- certain materials or aesthetics would be compromised by a nib insert, so it’s not always such a no-brainer
- I’m a big fan of better sealing pens though! yes please manufacturers!
2) Eric H.- Email (10:11)
Is there such a thing as a high-quality international converter maker? Even the converters that come with my expensive pens look like they could be better engineered and made.
- eh…not so much
- some are better than others, for sure
- the Schmidt K5 is pretty much the best
- the Visconti metal converter is up there, but it’s just a fancier version of the K5
- manufacturers only make them but so good, because they’re more or less meant to be replaceable
3) John O- Facebook (15:39)
I have limited edition inks, only 40 bottles will ever be made. should i save them with the thought they’ll appreciate in value? is the value in using the ink? should i figure out a way to share the ink with others?
- this is totally a personal choice
- there are some bottles that will increase in price, but they’re not really a sure long-term investment
- any hobby item is a crapshoot for a financial investment
- I’d say if you love the color and want to us it, just enjoy it!
4) austlosada- Instagram (19:26)
Let’s admit that there has been a revival in fountain pens. Realistically, where do you see fountain pens and the fountain pen community in 10 years?
- haha, okay I’ll admit it!
- this is a great question, since it’s been about 10 years since I started it!
- 10 years ago, I journaled about where I hoped to be in 20 years (10 years from now)
- I truly see fountain pens as continuing to be a niche interest, I don’t think it’ll go mainstream
- I can see them gaining more popularity with handwriting and journaling, not just as standalone tools
- online will be dominant, as most niche commerce will be
- it’s hard to say where communities will be, IG wasn’t even invented 10 years ago!
- there may be a new platform that will dominate social media
- we will see some smaller manufacturers crop up, others may even grow and expand
- we plan to stay around, continue putting out great content and service!
- I could see the community maturing, connecting more and having even stronger gatherings and connectedness
- I’m very optimistic!
5) Joe B- Facebook (36:31)
You have, in past videos, shown us WHERE in your office you have the dedicated Pen Cleaning Station, but can you expand on that? Is Pen Cleaning an”office event” or is it one of those things where if you need too clean, you just go do it? Also, what supplies are at the cleaning station that makes it easier for yourself and your team to clean what I assume are a moderate number of pens on a regular basis?
- we clean as needed, no real “cleaning parties” or anything
- Small stainless steel sinks, formica counters
- paper towels, cups, syringes, q tips, pen flush galore! even ultrasonic cleaner
- this station sees daily use, we’re really glad we built it!
6) Christine K- Facebook (40:36)
You’ve mentioned a few business/leadership/self-growth books that you’ve read and refer back to as references. Do you make those books’ titles (or copies of the books themselves) available to team members to read? If so, are there opportunities for them to ask questions or discuss observations with you and/or other leaders in the company?
- I have a lot of the ones I’ve personally read, sure, and I’ll loan them out from time to time
- it’s not really a library that anyone can just come grab
- our HR Director has a lot of the most popular books for people to just have
- I’m always in favor of buying books for people
- our team also has a budget for books and educational/training stuff
- sometimes we’ll talk about certain books like QBQ! or Ideal Team Player in company meetings (and I’ll supply copies)
- we have regular 1-on-1’s with leaders, there’s plenty of opportunity there
- I’ll cover leadership topics with my managers
- We’re reading Dr. Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead as leadership right now
- I’m always up for chatting with my team, sometimes we’ll talk over lunch if it comes up, or I’ll make time to talk with people as they request (it’s not often)
- I feel that leaders are readers and I try to encourage as much of it as I can!
7) Solly S.- YouTube (45:10)
What’s your relationship like with other pen retailers (like Anderson Pens, JetPens, etc). Do you see them as partners in servicing and educating the community? Or as more traditional business rivals? How do you react when you see them doing similar things to you (like YouTube videos)?
- It varies a little bit with one to another
- there’s of course the natural potential for conflict, as we are “competitors” if you choose to look at it that way
- Honestly I don’t know a lot of our competitors all that well
- there are a number of folks who work a lot of pen shows together that probably know each other better
- I know a few and have been pretty friendly, I genuinely want everyone in this industry to succeed
- the rising tide raises all ships, I really believe that!
- I’m not a huge fan of outright copying, which I haven’t really seen a lot (in our industry) but it happens here and there
- I love to see other retailers coming up with creative and innovative ways to service the community
- if by “similar to us” on YouTube you mean being personal, sharing their knowledge, and engaging with the community, I 100% support as many retailers doing that as possible
QOTW: What’s your pen cleaning routine? Do you have a special place you clean your pens and what tools do you use? (56:14)
Exciting double news!
We’ve been waiting for this ever since we first met with Retro 51 last spring…. the newly designed Retro 51 Tornado fountain pens are finally here. We first teased the new updates with our Montana exclusive limited edition before the holidays, and now the regular editions are available.
Improvements to the fountain pens include a newly redesigned grip section, and a JoWo #6 steel nib in extra-fine, fine, medium, and 1.1mm stub italic. The nibs are unbranded for the time being, and eventually will come stamped with the Retro 51 logo. The fountain pens fill via standard international converter or cartridge, and come packaged in a custom tube that also doubles as a pen stand.
The regular edition Retro 51 fountain pen line includes three familiar colors: Stealth black ($53.60), Lincoln copper ($53.60), and the acid-etched P-51 Mustang ($63.20). Each of these styles are available in rollerball format too.
There are also three brand new fountain pen colors with a matte metallic finish: Aquamarine turquoise, Orchid fuchsia pink, and Ultraviolet purple. All have shiny chrome trim, and we’ll be selling them for $52.
The second piece of exciting news is that we are also launching three Goulet-exclusive limited edition Tornado rollerball pens, in the frosted metallic colors to match these new fountain pens (Aquamarine, Orchid, and Ultraviolet). I’m personally a huge fan of this color range, and had helped Retro 51 choose these new colors for the regular fountain pen line. It only made sense to jump at the opportunity to create a matching set. Each comes packaged in a tube with a custom label, and is numbered out of 300 per color. Our price will be $33.50 each.
What do you think of these new fountain pens and matching rollerball pens?
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about budget eyedropper pens, using 20 pens at a time, and fixing pens that dry up.
- Got back safely from New Orleans
- Goulet Handwritten Note Survey
- Diplomat Esteem
- Conklin Crescent Vintage Green
- Monteverde Prima
- New Conklin Empires
- Monteverde Essenza
- Monteverde Rodeo Drive
- Graf von Faber-Castell Pen of the Year Samurai
- LAMY Vibrant Pink package sets
- Aurora 88 Nera Unica
- Robert Oster Crystal Marine
- 3 Oysters Marine Green
- TWSBI 580 AL Emerald
- Diplomat Aero Red
1) Gary M.- Facebook (21:46)
What are the best budget eye-dropper pens among your brands?
- Platinum Preppy– $4
- Jinhao Shark – $4
- Noodler’s Ahab – $23
- Kaweco Sport – $25+
- Online Slope – $24
- *Pilot Varsity – $3.30
2) Gillian B- Facebook (31:22)
Deep dive on Nettuno. Any updates on the ETA of the Nettuno God of the Seas? I know you were really excited by Nettuno when you visited them in Italy. Can you tell those of us who are interested in this pen what you particularly liked about Nettuno? Not many places carry them–who is their distributor? This is my Grail at the moment and want to know more about it as I save my pennies.
- February, but that could and likely will push out
- Nettuno is a small operation, and it’s just taking time to build things up
- I’m excited for the potential of the brand, it’s a lot of people who were the heart and soul of Delta
- Delta went under, so there are limited funds to get it going again
- They aren’t available widely because they’re just not that big yet, so production is limited
- Yafa is their distributor, which is why we went to see them (while seeing Stipula and Pineider)
- Unfortunately I just don’t have a lot of information about the God of the Sea other than what we have on our product page, as I haven’t even seen a sample in person
- It’ll come, in due time!
3) kevin_lukas_klein- Instagram (35:30)
Is it bad if I dry my fountain Pens with a napkin/paper tissue instead of letting it dry on the fresh air. The drying includes (if possible) to go inside the pen to also dry it out from inside.
- nah, you’re fine, as long as you are gentle with it
- some paper towels and tissues will be better than others, you want to make sure you aren’t getting fibers stuck
- my specific favorite brand to use is Bounty select-a-size, where it has the half-sheet, I fold it into a square or smaller rectangle
- you definitely don’t have to let it air dry
4) ayako0chan- Instagram (40:14)
How do you clean behind the plunger when it cannot be unscrewed?
- this is somewhat of an open question as there are different types of pistons
- some pens (like TWSBI) you can disassemble
- many converters you can simply immerse in water and screw/unscrew repeatedly while under water to get the water behind the piston
- piston pens, I’m not completely sure if the water submersion thing works, I think it’ll vary by pen
- ink behind the seal doesn’t really hurt anything, it’s more aesthetic than anything
5) eruannecalie- Instagram (46:20)
I dedicate pens for certain inks and use about 20 pens at a certain time. It takes about a month to use up all ink if in a converter and months if in a piston filler (forever if eyedropper, harhar!). My question is what would be an ideal pen hygiene routine for such pens because for one, I’m a little lazy to clean pens and sometimes I don’t feel I have to because I’ll be putting in the same ink anyway. Thank you and I hope you consider my question.
- this will vary a little bit based on the person/pen/environment
- I generally use around a month as a guideline for when maintenance is needed
- if it’s the exact same ink, you can simply dump and refill the same ink, no need to even clean it unless it’s all dried out
- if you want to get it a little cleaner, just flush with water a few times, wipe with a paper towel, and refill, should take 1 minute max
- if you go longer, you’re risking the ink drying out in the pen, and you’ll definitely need to clean and refill
- 20 pens is a lot, on the upper end of the range, but not impossible
6) gbusbey- Instagram (50:18)
What is the darkest orange ink you’re aware of? Like a black orange if you will.
- Diamine Ancient Copper (if you consider it orange)
- Diamine Sunset
- Noodler’s Cayenne
- Monteverde Mandarin Orange
- Monteverde Fireopal
- Robert Oster Burned Orange
- There really isn’t a black orange, but you could make one! Just test dropping a single drop of black ink into the orange of your choice and darken it up (try to stay within brands if you can)
7) anthonydraper- Instagram (54:01)
I got my first new gold-nib fountain pen 6/7 months ago. I can rarely write with it for more then a paragraph or two. The ink won’t flow through it. Do I just need to use it more, or is there something wrong with it that needs replaced?
- Some things I’d really love to know is what pen you have and how long you’re going between writing
- My assumption is it’s sitting there for quite a while, and perhaps you haven’t done a thorough cleaning since you got it 6/7 months ago
- Just go ahead and clean it out thoroughly, that’s always a best bet for a pen with flow issues
- Eliminate the paper as a variable, try it on others
- Eliminate the ink as a variable, does it work well in all your other pens? Does the pen write well with another ink?
- I’m willing to bet if you clean it out and refill with the same ink, or maybe clean and change inks, you’ll see it writes a lot better
- try to refill it or clean it every 3-4 weeks and I think you’ll be good!
- Also consider how you’re storing it, don’t store nib up (if it’s having issues drying out), stick with horizontal or nib-down
8) Josh R- Facebook (01:00:05)
How receptive are most pen companies to the feedback you get from customers and pass on to them?
- it varies a lot, but most are willing to hear us out
- each day that passes, they’re paying more and more attention
- the larger the company, the more feedback they’re getting all over the world, so we’re not their exclusive source of intel
- you can pretty much guess which ones are most receptive, generally it’s the ones we’re doing the most exclusives and co-branded with
- sometimes companies will be very receptive but it’s not so easy for them to act on anything, but most brands are willing to hear it!
- I can’t encourage you enough to keep giving feedback, it really does make a difference!
QOTW: If there was one thing you could tell to a pen company and you knew they’d listen to whatever you say, what would it be? (01:09:38)
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about “detailing” your pens, aligning nib tines, and promoting the art of fountain pen use.
- Out of town on business but still wanted to record!
- Nock Sinclairs new colors out now
- Monteverde Essenza, Prima available now
- New Conklin Empire colors with lower price, now available
- Conklin Crescent in Vintage Green, with black Bock nib
- Diplomat Esteem, with new red color
- new Magnum colors coming, with exclusive Prismatic Purple
- Opus 88 tinted demos, soon
- Visconti Breeze soon
- Merlot and Teal Custom 74s in March
- Lots of new Lamy stuff this spring
- Pilot 100th anniversary things in March
- Pelikan Herzstuck 1929 LE in Feb
- GVF pen of the year Samurai soon
1) pkuziel- Instagram (05:35)
If you could have only one pen from each pen filling mechanism ie: piston fill, eye dropper, cartridge/ converter what would they be.
- This is a toughie!
- Cartridge/converter- Pilot Custom 74
- Eyedropper- Opus 88 Demo
- Piston- Lamy 2000
- Vacuum- Visconti Homo Sapiens
- Lever- Waterman 7 Ideal Pink
- Crescent- Conklin Crescent
2) chrislimyj- Instagram (11:26)
Do you recommend “detailing” a fountain pen in a similar fashion as to a car, because for car detailing, some of the chemicals are rather abrasive, so would a fountain pen material be thick or strong enough withstand such treatment?
- DEFINITELY not
- Cars are made to be outside, withstand direct sunlight exposure to the elements, rocks, bugs, bird poop, etc
- detailing a car you’re working to strip away the oxidation, dirt, and grime from road wear, not really something you deal with on pens!
- a simple rinsing with water and dish soap will suffice, with a polishing cloth for a real shine
3) jwj5000- Instagram (15:23)
I recently got the Monza gift set with 3 nibs and converters. Is there a good way to store the two nibs that aren’t in the pen but keep them full of ink for easy swapping?
- eh….not really, you pretty much need to clean them out
- flushing with a bulb syringe is the easiest way to get it clean fast
4) JT B.- Facebook (19:39)
In your experience, just how sensitive is a nib to having perfectly aligned tines? For example, under a loupe, if one tine is on top of the other, it’s obvious that has to be adjusted. However, when I look at many of my new pens, I can tell that one tine is maybe fractions of a millimeter lower than the other, and it’s very hard to correct that. So, do they need to be absolutely perfect before going to polish the nib with mylar or something if it’s writing scratchy?
- it actually depends a little bit on the nib
- harder nibs (most steel nibs) are a little more sensitive to the tines being aligned
- it’s best to try to align them, sometimes you have to bend them quite a bit to get them aligned
- softer nibs are more forgiving, may not need to be aligned exactly because they’ll “self-correct” under a little writing pressure
- in general, before smoothing, you want to align them
5) Stéphane N- Facebook (22:23)
On storing pens, is it possible that some storage method may damage pen finish, like for example using a varnished or stained wooded tray can damage some acrylic or celluloid or “precious resin”?
- I haven’t heard of this happening a lot with pen trays
- the only storage issue I know about is chrome-tanned leather pen cases causing sterling silver to tarnish
- it’s possible there’s more that I don’t know about, but it’s not anything I’m aware of!
6) raghuugare- Instagram (25:22)
Due the advent of computers and smart phones, the #skill &/or #art of #writing has been on the decline! What do you think we should do to encourage all the people of the #world to pick this lovely art? Having/beautiful #pens is one thing — having something beautiful to share is perhaps the other more important one?
- The best thing is to adapt to the medium
- Use social media to share and teach your medium
- Think of how popularized painting got with Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting
- There are artists like Liz Steel doing urban sketching, sharing their passion and connecting others
- Bullet Journaling has risen as a new medium for scrapbookers and casual artists
- calligraphers like Jake Weidmann and Michael Sull are able to teach and connect with others
- I’m a big proponent of teaching as a way to spread the joy of any craft, and it’s never been easier to do that than now!
7) susanbethc- Instagram (32:46)
Do you have favorite pens for different tasks? For example do you have one pen you use for journaling, another for quick notes and another for signing legal documents? Do your children use fountain pens for any of their homework assignments?
- I do! I keep a fine Lamy 2000 with Noodler’s Black at my nightstand for journaling
- I daily carry a fine Homo Sapiens for quick notetaking
- Traveler’s Brass pen is my knock-around pen
- Lamy Vista or Safari is my ink-reviewing pen
- I like to use broad nibs for my thank you note writing, Opus 88, Conklin Endura, TWSBI Eco, it depends
- most other pens I’m rotating out for experiencing them, so I use them for all kinds of note taking
QOTW: Who are some of your favorite artists you follow online? (YouTube, Instagram, etc)? (38:50)
At the Goulet Pen Company office, every day is handwriting day, but once a year, we also get to celebrate National Handwriting Day! January 23rd, John Hancock’s birthday, offers the chance every year to appreciate one of the most unique and individual things we possess as humans, our own handwriting style! In celebration, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite handwriting features from the past few years. Take a moment to enjoy some handwriting love!
Here are some great product you may also want to check out for handwriting practice!
- TWSBI Eco– This pen packs a great ink capacity and smooth writing nib for plenty of writing.
- CursiveLogic Workbook– This workbook for all ages focuses on the inherent shapes of letter, rather than memorization, for a fun journey into neat penmanship.
- The Art of Cursive Penmanship Book– Written by Master Penmen Michael Sull, this book is perfect for self-paced study and writing practice, no matter what your schedule may be.
- Ink Sample Package Sets– Add some fun to your writing with new splashes of color. Shop our ink smaple package sets to discover a new ink to give yourhandwriting extra pazzazz.
The Goulet Pen Company Team