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Plant a Tree, Create a Legacy – just like our Founding Fathers
Fahrney’s is excited to present each year an exclusive limited edition knife crafted in woods of historic significance and custom-made for us by the artisans at William Henry Studio. The first piece in the series features the wood from a
Horse Chestnut tree planted by George Washington
- just a few pieces left! Our newest limited edition knife features an inlay of the natural wood from a
Tulip Poplar tree widely believed to have been planted by Thomas Jefferson
on the southwest corner of his beloved Virginia home, Monticello. Removed for safety reasons in 2008, the tree was one of the grandest specimens of its kind.
It seems that many of our founding fathers had an affinity for trees, recording the conditions, locations and progress of various plantings – and leaving us today with fascinating documents detailing their arboreal passions. Jefferson was particularly enchanted with trees, having been described as "the father of American forestry" for an 1804 planting of white pine and hemlock – not to mention the other 158 species of trees he cultivated. His commitment to tree preservation was strongly suggested by a statement he allegedly made during a dinner at the President's House: "I wish I was a despot that I might save the noble, beautiful trees that are daily falling sacrifice to the cupidity of their owners, or the necessity of the poor. . . .The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder." Two months before his death, at the age of eighty-three, he designed an arboretum for the University of Virginia. Such an epilogue to years of planting at Monticello was perhaps inspired by Jefferson's own adage: "Too old to plant trees for my own gratification I shall do it for posterity."
Jefferson might be pleased to learn that his Tulip Poplar lives on today, not only as a handsome and useful knife, but also on a college campus in a state that did not even exist in his lifetime. After a ferocious storm in 2006, the ravaged landscape of the grounds at Kansas University in Lawrence was slowly brought back to life with the planting of new trees. One concerned alumnus brought a seedling from the Tulip Poplar that stood on the west lawn at Monticello, which Jefferson likely planted in 1807. "It's a tree descended from a man who loved learning more than anything," said Dennis Farney, the KU alumnus who donated the tree.
Farney (no relation to Fahrney’s) bought the seedling eight years earlier at Monticello, flew it home and had been nurturing it before replanting at KU. Farney earned journalism and political science degrees at the university. A retired journalist, he held many positions, including White House correspondent, at the Wall Street Journal. We will try to contact Mr. Farney to find out the progress of his seedling to share with you. In the meantime, keep the ink flowing and the trees growing!
Parker's 125th Anniversary Celebration
Last Thursday, Fahrney's hosted a Parker Pen 125th Birthday celebration at its Washington DC store. It was a lovely event with a robust visitor turnout to meet Geoff Parker, great-grandson of founder George Parker. Geoff brought many fascinating items from his archival collection and also signed the authenticity cards for Fahrney's entire stock of new Duofold Mandarin Yellow limited edition fountain pens.
In addition to his extensive Jotter ball pen collection, (which included several "presidential signing" pens), Geoff displayed some unique marketing props from earlier eras, and books and photos that captured the rich history of the pioneering pen business. Parker aficionados waited patiently for the opportunity to share their favorite pen stories with Mr. Parker. Some folks who could not make it to the event even phoned in their greetings.
The stories shared were deeply personal, heartfelt renderings, some of which had been passed down from earlier generations. The love and admiration for this iconic company and founding family was a delight to witness by all in attendance.
Click here to see pictures from this special celebration on Facebook
As the event came to a close, Geoff Parker shared several of his favorite stories including one that struck a special chord in my heart.
The story began at the 1964 World's Fair held in New York City where Parker Pen had an exhibit. As part of the exhibit Parker had a large mainframe computer (from fellow exhibitor IBM) in which they asked visitors to fill out basic information cards along with a few personal likes and dislikes. The cards were fed into the computer, which would then produce matches for an international pen-pal based on compatibility.
Years later, Geoff Parker was visiting an area pen show and ran into a couple who had quite the story to tell him. He was an American and she was from the U.K. Both of them had visited the Parker pavilion, filled out the cards and were subsequently matched as pen-pals. After several years of writing to one another, they eventually met, were later married and remain happily so. An early example of technology co-existing with the written word and yet another instance of the good things that can and do happen when you keep the ink flowing!
"A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment."
That's a quote from the modern-day founder of Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis, who had become embittered at the commercialization of the holiday she so passionately created to honor her mother.
In 1907 Jarvis, who had lost her mother two years prior, organized a small memorial service in the Grafton, WV church where her mother had taught Sunday school. The next year an official service was held in the same church accompanied by a larger service at Wanamaker's department store in Philadelphia, PA Jarvis then campaigned to make it a national holiday and in 1914 Congress passed a law designating the 2nd Sunday of May as Mother's Day.
In the 99 years since, the holiday has spread and is celebrated (at varying times) throughout the world as a time to honor mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. Has it become too commercialized like most other holidays we celebrate? The answer is an obvious "yes", and it didn't take modern technology to accomplish that as Jarvis' quote from the 1920's plainly illustrates.
For those of us who still have a mom, are a mom or have wonderful remembrances of a mom; it hardly matters. The true importance is honoring your mother and acknowledging with gratitude the importance of her supportive role in your life and the lives of your family.
My mother, who lives several states away came up for a visit last weekend and left yesterday morning. I already miss her and I'm counting the days until we are reunited again. I will not be able to be with her on Mother's Day but my heartfelt feelings for her written out in my very own personal hand will be. And, who knows? I might even send her a pen and a few refills because in our family we like to keep the ink flowing.
Fahrney's has created a
Mother's Day Gift Guide
for your convenience. Shop now for those special Moms in your life and receive complimentary gift-wrapping with a hand-written card.
Something to Celebrate – The Fountain Pen is Here to Stay!
It seems somewhat unlikely that in 2013 – the age of digital communication – we would be celebrating several momentous anniversaries of notable fountain pen manufacturers. These enduring pen brands are still flourishing and producing beautiful and pleasing writing instruments for all to enjoy. It just goes to show that the appeal of putting pen to paper to record one’s thoughts and ideas is an everlasting and very human desire and that handwriting is here to stay!
One anniversary we’re very excited about is
Pen’s 125th. The American-bred company was started in 1888 by George S. Parker who decided to build a better pen after many years of repairing the leaky and undependable pens of the time. His patents and innovations kept Parker at the forefront of pen manufacturing and established it as a worldwide brand. Fahrney’s will be celebrating Parker’s 125th in our retail store on May 2nd with a personal appearance by Geoffrey S. Parker, the great-grandson of George S. Parker. It promises to be a grand celebration of all things Parker, including the new
Parker 125th Anniversary Duofold Mandarin limited edition fountain pen
Click here for more event details
Fahrney’s kicked off 2013 with the launch of
Pelikan’s M101N Lizard Special Edition fountain pen
– a tribute to
’s 175 years of fine German pen making. To top that, Pelikan has just released its
M101N 175th Jubilee Limited Edition
– a replica of the 1937 Lizard pen set with three brilliant diamonds – a rare beauty!
Pen Company’s 100-year history is an authentic American tale: In 1913, Walter A. Sheaffer risked his life savings to start the company, believing that what he had invented in the back of his jewelry store, the first practical lever-filling fountain pen, was better than anything on the market. For its Centennial year Sheaffer presents two limited editions in precious silver, the
Legacy Heritage fountain pen
Centennial Sterling fountain pen
will not see 100 years until 2018, its ground-breaking
Vanishing Point retractable fountain pen
turns 50 this year. The amazing design that is often copied but never duplicated, the “middle-aged” Vanishing Point will have its own 50th Anniversary limited edition version later in 2013.
A.T. Cross Company
has been providing writing instruments to the U.S. and beyond since 1847 (that’s 166 years!) and this year commemorates the 20th Anniversary of its outstanding Townsend model. The
20th Anniversary Townsends
feature a unique diamond-cut pattern enriched with precious platinum.
A relative youngster in comparison, but still noteworthy,
has created unique and artistic writing instruments in Florence, Italy for 25 years. To celebrate, Visconti presents its
25th Anniversary Steel Age Homo Sapiens
– the pens crafted in lava from Mt. Etna, an extraordinary material that is perfect for writing instruments.
Add all these anniversaries together and you’ve got almost 500 years of inventive design, innovation, beautiful and precious materials, technological break-throughs and great functionality – just for the humble pen. If only my smart phone would last that long! Keep the ink flowing . . .
Handwriting on the Wall
Let me begin by saying that I love technology and I don't know where I'd be without it. Every time I email—whether it's for business or pleasure—I am thankful for its economy. Through social media, I can reach out to a broad cross section of people in the blink of an eye. I think my iPhone is a worthy companion (I never leave home without it). And, however reluctantly, I'm privy to the moods and activities of a variety of people I've never even met due to the labyrinthine reach and full transparency of Facebook.
It seems to me that the common denominators among all these kudos to technology are efficiency and speed. And these, in my opinion, are not the measures of a life well lived. If they were, then a technically perfect phone-camera photo of my garden would be equivalent to the inexplicable joy in its subtle shades and scents experienced during a leisurely morning walk. The texted recording of my grandson's newest words would make my heart fill like it does when he's talking to me while snuggled on my lap. A birthday email? It doesn't even come close to the anticipation of a snail-mail card or the soul satisfaction of a handwritten letter.
Perhaps it's the engagement of the number of senses across a variety of experiences that adds the richness and humanity to our lives, not the quantity of things we crazily cram into the years we are given. Technology has taught us to trade capacity for abundance and disguise the impersonal as personal, the end result being a frantic pseudo-life that sells us short as fully developed sentient beings.
John Freeman, in his wonderful book The
Tyranny of Email
, says we're at risk of losing the organic quality of communication when we connect at the speed of electricity. We are not "biologically trained" to keep up with it, he says, adding that there's an intimacy and craft to handwriting in particular that can never be duplicated electronically. And while we can neither go back nor should we, we can attenuate the effects of high-speed living by developing some of the more traditional and sensual forms of communication. Like conversing face-to-face over coffee or writing by hand.
Also in his book, Freeman cites an editorial in an English newspaper from 1901, referring to the newfangled and super-efficient telegraph and its displacement of the letter: "Our desire to outstrip time has been fatal to more things than love. We have minimized and condensed our emotions… We have destroyed the memory of yesterday with the worries of tomorrow… We do not feel and enjoy; we assimilate and appropriate." Over a century later, I couldn't have said it better.
Nancy Olson has been writing about pens and writing for the past 24 years and hosts the popular site
*Are Your Children All Thumbs?
Does it seem that your children are always texting, with their hands (and thumbs) permanently attached to their cell phones? Are you concerned that they spend most of their spare time in front of computers or playing video games? If your answer is YES to any or all of the above, now is the time to introduce your kids to the world of handwriting and fine writing instruments.
While it may seem that you will have to drag your kids kicking and screaming away from their electronic devices, once you get them going, you will be starting your young ones on a lifetime love of the written word – in their own hand, of course. My store colleagues and I often see the following scenario: an adult comes into the store accompanied by a child (sometimes that child has a very bored look on their face… like "Oh, Dad or Mom, Can’t we go?"). Then they see their parent try a pen and the look on the child’s face changes. The child will ask, "Can I try?" We always say "YES, you can!" He or she picks up the pen and starts writing, and becomes transported to another world – the world of fine writing. Thus begins a lifetime tradition of beautiful writing by hand with a fine writing instrument.
Do you think nice pens are not appropriate for kids? In our store, catalog, and on our website, there is a wide selection of pens and pencils available that are kid-friendly (size-wise and price-wise) for children of all ages. From
series is popular with our young customers for its fun, bright colors. The
series, available in a fountain pen and pencil, is easy to grip for the youngest writers (even kindergarten-age children). Also popular are the
Pelikano fountain pens
and the disposable
Pilot Varsity fountain pens
. Please stop by our store or check the catalog or website for information on these and other entry level writing instruments.
An issue that many of our adult customers complain about is that children are not being taught cursive writing in some schools, and as a result they can’t read it either. Recent studies have shown that high school students who wrote the essay portion of the SAT in cursive, as opposed to printing, scored higher on that test. At the time the results of this study came out, Fahrney’s aimed to make a dent in solving this problem by offering, in the Washington, D.C. store, a cursive handwriting workshop for children in 3rd—6th grade. These late-spring/early summer workshops were well attended, and became popular not only with the kids, but also with parents and other adults wanting to improve their cursive writing. If you reside in the DC area, check our website for information on the workshops (for children and adults). We also send e-mails to local customers when the classes become available. If you are not in the area, check through your local universities, private schools, etc. We also offer
books on cursive writing for children
which, used with adult assistance or on their own, should start your young ones into the world of beautiful handwriting.
Stay tuned for my next Write Point: Thank You Notes Are Always a Write Thing to Do
Yours for the lifetime love of the handwritten word, Elizabeth Bunn
*A quote from our PEN DOCTOR, Charles Edwards
The Advent of Computers
As an employee of Fahrney's at the DC store for over 20 years, I (as well as my colleagues) often get asked by customers: "With the advent of computers, e-mails and texting, do people still use nice pens (fountain pens)?" My answer is always a resounding YES! Here are my Write Points for saying yes:
A NECESSARY FUNCTION…
Computers, e-mails, texts, etc. certainly are a fast and efficient means of communicating. In fact, I'm writing this with my lap-top. However, some things still need to be done with pen and paper…. Taking phone messages…signing your name to documents or charge card receipts (and yes, some stores and restaurants still need you to sign the receipt)…Filling out applications for loans, schools, jobs, etc.
ONE OF LIFE'S LUXURIES…
A number of our customers who use computers at work, feel that one of life's luxuries is to sit down with their favorite pen and nice paper and write! They feel that writing by hand allows a person to relax and really think about what they are writing, and that experience is like no other.
WRITING BY HAND BECOMES CONTAGIOUS…
Many "Fahrneyites" (regular customers) often take their new pens back to work and get their colleagues hooked on pens and luxury writing paper. That colleague then becomes a new customer, and that new customer then passes the tradition on to still others.
THE NEXT GENERATION…
Those same Fahrneyites who pass their love of fine writing instruments to co-workers often extend their passion to young people as well. Frequently, we have adults who drop by bringing their own kids, nieces, and nephews, etc. Upon seeing their parents writing with our pens, these kids (often as young as five or six) want to try a pen themselves. It is wonderful to see the concentration on these young ones' faces. Unfortunately, some of these parents are complaining that their children are not being taught cursive writing in school. At Fahrney's, we have not forgotten that seemingly lost art through our series of cursive writing classes and calligraphy classes for children as well as adults, offered in our Washington, DC store. Stay tuned for scheduled classes in the coming months.
Remember, hand-done will always be a "write" thing to do.
Stay tuned for my next Write Point: ARE YOUR CHILDREN ALL THUMBS?
Yours for the written (hand) word, Elizabeth Bunn.
DC Store Associate and resident calligraphy teacher.
Uncle Bob Is Fine
"Uncle Bob died on the horse," the letter read, which saddened us for two reasons: we liked Uncle Bob a lot; and, how unfortunate that after all these years we didn't even know he rode. We called my mother-in-law in Minneapolis to get the details, and she assured us Uncle Bob was fine. Rather, he'd "demolished his house," making way for a new one, she explained.
For the first ten years or so of our marriage, until she finally resorted to a keyboard, this is how we rolled: my mother-in-law wrote a letter to each of her children and their spouses weekly; we sometimes laughed til we cried trying to decipher her handwriting. My husband called it "hen scratching," I called it impossible.
She wasn't alone. I hear it all the time, in a variety of places, and it is as much a lament as it is a statement of fact. "I have terrible penmanship," is a common refrain, particularly in a world where cursive handwriting is given nothing more than a cursory overview—if that—in school. A keyboard and screen reign over paper and pen these days, and, let's be honest, there are things higher on our priority lists than having picture-perfect penmanship.
I was a victim of Palmer Penmanship classes for most of my elementary school life, taught by nuns I wholeheartedly aimed to please. As a result, I have good cursive handwriting and often receive positive comments about it. And while I tend to deflect the praise to my choice of fountain pen, I will admit that I'm secretly proud and enjoy the fact that I know how to write well. I like looking over a letter (yes, I still write letters), and once finished, think, "Wow, nice paper, nice ink and nice ascenders and descenders!" We all have our quirks.
I regularly teach penmanship classes in my community, so I know that good cursive handwriting is available to anyone, young or old, willing to invest some time and effort. The process is an enjoyable one and, like anything else, practice does indeed make (almost) perfect. But where does one begin?
Foregoing a class, there are a number of self-help options available via a quick search on the web, with even a few YouTube lessons that are quite good. There are also several books for purchase, if you don't mind making a small investment of $10 to $20. Most of these include accessible instructions and practice lessons. "Cursive" simply means handwriting with flowing strokes and joined letters, so just pick a style you like—whether it's Palmer, D'Nealian, or any other—and begin.
There are a few things to keep in mind: 1) Tools, as in pen and paper, do count. I find that my handwriting improves when I use a good pen and some fountain-pen-friendly paper. I think it's a mutual respect thing: if I value the implements I'm using, they will do their job in improving the end result. 2) A knowledgeable pen specialist will help you choose the right pen by evaluating your hand size and style of writing and will make some suggestions for choosing good paper. 3) Remember that posture is an important element of good handwriting, and that means that your hand (whether you're a leftie or a righty) does not do all the work. Rather, the motion is a whole-arm movement that may at first seem awkward, but will undoubtedly yield good results.
Lastly, understand that perfection is not the goal. Recognize small changes, have fun, and enjoy the self-improvement journey. And rest assured that Uncle Bob is alive and well and still living in his now not-so-new house.
By Nancy Olson
Nancy Olson has been writing about pens and writing for the past 24 years and hosts the popular site
Happy St. Patrick's Day
This Sunday is Saint Patrick's Day - a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on March 17th and named after Saint Patrick, the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. The day (the anniversary of his death) commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions on the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. Today people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick's Day with parades, festivals, the wearing of green attire and shamrocks.
The color green and shamrocks have been associated with Saint Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity, hence the origination of the phrase "the wearing of the green".
It just so happens that emerald green has been named Pantone's 2013 Color of the Year, making it a popular choice in the fashion industry.
"Lively. Radiant. Lush Green… A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony."
Fahrney's can assist your "wearin' o' the green" with Waterford's beautiful
Kilbarry Emerald Isle Series Writing Instruments
, named for the lush Irish parish where Waterford resides, and our unique
Ireland Harp Pence Coin Cufflinks
– a customer favorite.
Sport the color green in style on St. Patrick's Day and celebrate the Irish!
Happy Birthday Bess
A beautiful young woman named Bess celebrated a birthday yesterday. She left her home in Rome, Ga. to travel with her friend Wallis down to Florida to enjoy some sunshine and camaraderie. Wallis recently lost her husband to a lengthy illness and the two women have shared a lifelong friendship. They are undoubtedly enjoying many laughs, cries and a lifetime of stories.
Bess has stayed in contact with Wallis mostly through written correspondence over the years. Letters that detailed what the children and grandchildren were doing and many cards that wished Happy Birthdays, congratulations and sometimes condolences. Bess had met her future husband at Wallis' wedding back in 1959. The following spring they were married and enjoyed 36 amazing years together until his sudden death in 1996.
After Bess became a widow, she shared with her children some of the letters she had saved from her courtship with their father. The letters were not exactly your typical mushy, romantic musings that would cause even grown children to cringe – they were something else all together. They were wonderfully creative, imagery-laden essays that spoke of warring tribes gathered outside of ancient castles and many other stories that seemingly had little to do with courting a young woman. One of her sons was particularly struck at the similarity between his and his father's writing styles and it provided a certain peace of mind that he was truly not the spawn of space aliens.
Before she embarked to Florida, Bess received Fahrney's latest
Cherry Blossom pen and journal
. A fine and thoughtful gift for a mother who rarely misses a day to take the opportunity to journal or write to friends and family. When she returns home from her trip she will open her mailbox and discover an even more thoughtful surprise. That son who (as it turns out) was not of extraterrestrial stock will have penned a letter and mailed it to the best mother ever. His father taught him many valuable life lessons but perhaps none as great as taking the time to put pen to paper and express love and admiration to those who matter most. I love you Mom and remember to keep the ink flowing.
A tribute to Albert Einstein
Perhaps no historical figure is as associated with a single term as Albert Einstein is to Genius. Merriam-Websters' Dictionary (among others) lists Einstein as an example of genius along with Sir Isaac Newton.
Born in Germany in March of 1879, Einstein became a theoretical physicist and developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). As a very small child he was fascinated by the invisible force of the needle on a magnetic compass. That experience convinced him that there had to be, "something behind things, something deeply hidden."
The 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics winner eventually renounced his German citizenship; (following Hitler's rise to power) and settled in the United States. His warnings to President Roosevelt concerning Germany's atomic bomb research in large measures was the key stimulus for the United States embarking upon an atomic program of it's own, the Manhattan Project. That research and development program led by the US, UK and Canada produced the first atomic bomb which in turn hastened the end of World War II.
Einstein's scientific and cultural contributions are far too numerous to list and there is little doubt that the historical perspective on this great man will only grow as generations pass. History Inscribed (the historical document division of Fahrney's Pens) has been fortunate enough to have owned and sold several original
over the years. These rarities have provided a unique insight into the man and are always sought after when we are able to obtain them.
Montblanc has also launched its stunning tribute to the legendary scientist with a
limited line of pens and special edition ink
. Our pen and historical document experts are ready to answer any questions you may have, including the details of our latest Einstein acquisition.
Our Top 10
Thanks again to all who participated in our annual National Handwriting Day Contest. The number of entries far exceeded last year's contest and we thoroughly enjoyed reading every personal story, tribute and haiku we received. There was such an amazing array of fine penmanship, some of the entries are truly a work of art. Here are 10 of our
. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did.
Whitney M. Young Jr.
For many in the Washington DC metro area, Whitney M. Young Jr. is simply a span of steel and concrete crossing the Anacostia River near historic RFK Stadium. In other areas of the U.S. it is the name of a school or public building in their town (including First Lady Michelle Obama's high school in Chicago). Surprisingly, very few, particularly the younger generations, realize that Young was one of most influential civil rights leaders of all time.
Born in Lincoln Ridge, KY in 1921, Young graduated from college at 18 and joined the army serving in Europe in an all-black regiment with a white captain. It was this experience and his ability to mediate the differences and bridge cultural gaps that propelled him into a career in improving race relations. Young himself later spoke on this experience saying, "It was my Army experience that decided me on getting into the race relations field after the war. Not just because I saw the problems, but because I saw the potentials, too. I grew up with a basic belief in the inherent decency of human beings."
After serving as a dean at Atlanta University, Young was appointed Executive Director of the National Urban League in 1961. Young worked closely with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon as well as corporations and their CEO's to effect dramatic changes in race relations. He was one of the organizers of the historic March on Washington and often times found himself walking a fine line to bridge the gap between black and white and rich and poor.
As we celebrate Black History Month this year, let's not forget the behind-the-scenes leaders who are sometimes overlooked. The accomplishments and influence of Whitney Moore Young Jr. are far too numerous to list in a short article, but anyone truly interested in the evolution of civil rights in this country should closely study this remarkable man's life story. A story cut short far too early when he tragically drowned after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage at age 49.
Richard Nixon delivered the eulogy himself and spoke the following words, "He leaves his own monument, not one, but thousands, thousands of men and women in his own race who have a chance, an equal chance, that they otherwise might never have had except for what he did; and thousands of others not of his own race who have an understanding in their hearts which they would not have had except for what he taught."
Here is a
of the original typed and signed letter (on Atlanta University letterhead) addressed to Dr. Gomberg at the White House Conference on Children and Youth on February 8, 1960. You can
own this piece of history
from Fahrney's History Inscribed collection, which is beautifully framed and mounted complete with a picture of Young.
The Personalities of Pens
Pens, as you know, have personalities. Oh, not those ubiquitous ball points, which even with today's wide selection possess a certain stamped-out uniformity that deprives them of much interest. No, I'm speaking of fountain pens, whose individuality in expressiveness gives them true character that distinguishes one from another just as no two persons can ever be truly alike.
My own collection of fountain pens, which began with a high school graduation gift from a favorite aunt and uncle and has grown to more than 90 representatives, has many such characters. Their appearances vary widely; their characters are equally distinct. There are, of course, the expected variations in nib style and type. But beyond that are their weight and balance, their feel in the hand, their breadth and ease of grip, their comfort and suitability for long versus short writing sessions.
These differences inevitably lead to specialization when applying them to paper. Signatures favor broad or stub nibs. Journaling works best for me with a smooth-writing medium or broad nib, while drafting articles and books (I draft in long-hand, then dictate what I've written) seems well-suited for a fine or medium nib. Note-taking is generally delegated to a medium or fine, but stubs, broads and italics are nice for a change. Making lists—how else to stay organized?—can be accomplished with whatever pen happens to strike my fancy, and often changes from day to day. My day planner merits a fine nib to help me color between the lines.
And speaking of color, the whole business of matching inks with pens raises an entirely separate dimension of personality. I, for one, take great care in harmonizing my pens with the inks that flow through their veins. The first criterion is how the ink performs in a given pen. Since inks have differing flow characteristics, each new pen I acquire goes through a series of tryouts with various inks until I find one that fits it well.
But beyond flow performance is the matter of personality again—and how the ink's hue and saturation match the color and style of the pen body. Most pens call out to me for blue, but what shade of blue? I have something over 30 inks in my pen pantry and thus lots of available choices. Pens in tones of tan or brown generally rate a shade of sepia, but not always. Others cry out for black ink. Then there are purple pens to match with royal blends, and mauves with wine colors, and on and on, for as personalities go, the combinations are endless.
In fact, the characters in my collection have outgrown my ability to recollect all their features. Oh, I know them well enough by name and performance and even by nib size. But the ink colors, ah, these change frequently enough that I require an
. And thus was born a database that tracks all my pens, their nibs, models, colors, origins, prices and—most important of all—the particular ink they currently employ.
Like characters in a play, each of my favorite fountain pens has its appointed time for entry onto the scene, its roles to play, its lines to present—or write—its individuality to add to the
that combines into the whole cast. And like our friends and acquaintances, my pens—with their special delights of personality as well as their quirks—bring a dimension of spice into my life of writing that is simply unattainable by any other means.
By J. Norman Reid
A Valued Fahrney's Customer
Get on the Write Track this Year!
Tomorrow is National Handwriting Day – it's the perfect opportunity to commit to expressing yourself through the written word, in your own handwriting of course! Texts, emails, Tweets and online posts are great modes for quick communication, but nothing outlasts the impression one gives by sending a handwritten note or letter.
We at Fahrney's are celebrating this occasion with our Annual Handwriting Day Contest, which is now in full swing. We've received numerous submissions from our customers that emphasize the power and rewards of handwriting and the enjoyment of using a fine writing instrument. Click here to learn more about
Fahrney's National Handwriting Day Contest
– you could be the winner of a great writing favorite – the Pelikan 600 green stripe fountain pen!
Here's a few excerpts from some of our early entries to get you started on the "Write Track". We will share our top ten favorite entries after the contest ends on Jan. 31st, so submit yours soon. Good luck!
"The written word demonstrates the time and care taken to express a thought or sentiment to the intended recipient. I send hundreds of note cards just like this one each year and find them more effective than email or text, although not as speedy. When the message counts nothing beats a handwritten note, preferably written with a fountain pen. Happy New Year!"
Grand Rapids, MN
"With handwriting, you can get a personal feel for one's thoughts. With typing, everyone looks the same. Why would one not want to be an individual? You can further express this individuality by changing ink colors, expressing flourishes to letters, and know that the sender took the time and care to give you a handwritten letter. The world of typing is so boring and sterile!"
"Fifty years ago people would not have thrown away razors, pens, napkins, diapers or plates. We have truly become a disposable society, or at least a society that loves its disposable things. If it is fast, cheap and easy it must be better, right? Well, no. Sometimes a thing is more valuable when it has taken longer, cost a bit more, and been rather complicated. A perfect example of this is a handwritten letter. It takes time. It requires thought and effort. You can't just bang it out on a keyboard. As a result, a handwritten letter has a permanence to it. It conveys to the recipient great respect, showing them that they are worth the extra effort and time. Emails are deleted with one button, often before they are even fully read. However, a handwritten note will be treasured and saved. They are often passed on to others. This will undoubtedly become even more prevalent the rarer handwritten communication becomes. Some things are more valuable in spite of being more time consuming and harder to accomplish. Handwriting is one of those things."
Teach Your Child To Write Thank You Notes
Proper etiquette says we should all practice the act of expressing gratitude for a gift with a thank you note. Every gift deserves a thank-you note and what better way to let the giver know their gift is appreciated.
Experts say not to underestimate the power of a "thank you." Kim Izzo, etiquette columnist, says, "It's making the effort. People really appreciate getting mail that's not a bill, for one thing, and just taking that extra bit of time to write a thank you note really means everything."
As adults, most of us understand the value of a thank you note, but sometimes getting our kids to show gratitude to others can be a bit more challenging. I personally found that explaining to my daughter how special it makes one feel to receive a thank you note in the mail encouraged her to want to write them. Including a photo of her with the gift was also a way to get her excited about the process and the gift-giver surely appreciated the effort. Somewhere in the note, have your child write about why the gift was important to them or how they have used it already. If the present was a gift card or money, encourage your child to share what they bought with it.
"Grateful kids tend to be much more satisfied with their lives," according to Jeffrey Froh, an assistant professor of psychology and the director of the Laboratory for Gratitude in Youth at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York. "They do better in school and are less materialistic, less depressed, and less envious. Their relationships are much stronger and more supportive." In one study, grateful kids even reported fewer physical symptoms, like headaches, stomachaches, and fevers.
On that note, I encourage all parents to help your kids understand that showing gratitude and thankfulness is an important part of receiving gifts.
Express Yourself Through Writing on National Handwriting Day!
The art of handwriting is one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There's something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words. So, the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) suggests you celebrate National Handwriting Day on January 23 and use a pen or a pencil to rekindle that creative feeling through a handwritten note, poem, letter or journal entry.
Handwriting allows us to be artists and individuals during a time when we often use computers, texts and e-mail to communicate. Unlike electronic devices, handwriting can add intimacy to your message and reveal details about the writer's personality. Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.
"Though computers and e-mail play an important role in our lives, nothing will ever replace the sincerity and individualism expressed through the handwritten word," said David H. Baker, WIMA's Executive Director.
The purpose of National Handwriting Day is to bring attention to the importance of handwriting. According to WIMA, National Handwriting Day is a chance for all of us to re-explore the purity and power of handwriting.
WIMA sponsors National Handwriting Day every January 23 to commemorate John Hancock's birthday. Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and is famous for his large, bold signature. You can even purchase your own authentic
signature of John Hancock
through Fahrney's History Inscribed division.
In honor of the holiday, Fahrney's is running a Handwriting Contest for a chance to win a Pelikan Souveran 600 Green Fountain Pen.
Click here for details
Sailor Maki-e artist Mr. Koushu Nishihara
Fahrney's Pens has a lengthy and rich history aligning with artisans around the globe. From the United Kingdom to Hawaii and from Yellowstone National Park to the Italian Alps we have found the most talented of pen craftsmen to partner with us on unique and stunningly beautiful offerings.
Our latest partnership is with Mr. Koushu Nishihara, the famous urushi lacquer artist and craftsman, who started working with Maki-e designs on Sailor's fountain pens in 2002. Starting with Sailor's "Creatures of The Deep" series, which pays homage to marine life, Mr. Nishihara delicately hand decorated each pen to celebrate these ocean creatures. The collection includes ten fountain pens, each depicting a different creature, each limited to 88 pieces worldwide, numbered and signed by Mr. Nishihara. At 5 1/2", weighing 24 grams, and taking the entire range of 21K Sailor nibs, these pens are identical in size and weight to the Sailor 1911. Following the "Creatures of the Deep" collection, Sailor changed their focus to the natural world and our fragile relationship with it in their "Endangered Species" series, including three "Endangered Birds", representing avarian life, and the first in the "Endangered Mammals" collection, the new
Giant Panda Limited Edition
. With the Giant Panda, Sailor turned its attention to one of the most beloved of all land animals. Stay tuned for the 2nd in the Endangered Mammals collection, the African Elephant!
Mr. Nishihara was born into a family of Butsudan Maki-e artists in Hiroshima, Japan, and has practiced traditional Japanese Art of Maki-e design all of his life. During his training in the Wajima Urushi Lacquer Institute of Art in Ishikawa, he mastered the traditional Japanese Urushi Lacquer Art from the famous master Mr. Masato Ikawa and Mr. Chokou Watabe. Mr. Nishihara resides in the Hiroshima region of Japan where he continued to practice Japanese traditional techniques, yet will not hesitate to bring new youthful ideas into the art of Maki-e. Many of his original and imaginative works of art are exhibited in traditional Urushi lacquer art shows in Japan and several other private exhibitions.
Stay tuned in the coming months for our newest Cherry Blossom pens, the 2nd in our William Henry Presidential wood knife series and so many more unique creations from the finest artists anywhere. Until then, Have a very Happy New Year and remember to keep the ink flowing!
An Easy Choice
As we inch a little closer to the critical part of the holiday season where make or break gift-giving decisions hang over us all like a looming storm, it's always good to receive helpful advice. For 83 years your friends at Fahrney's Pens have worked diligently to relieve just a little of the stress that can sometimes work itself into our lives at this time of the year.
With thousands of affordable gift choices for that discriminating person on your holiday list, the only real dilemma could be whether to let last years' Claxton Fruit Cake from Aunt Eloise sit in the cellar freezer another year before presenting it to cousins Josiah and Regan at the annual family gathering. We are not against delightful (somewhat mysterious) holiday delicacies or even re-gifting, but we are definitely more supportive of helping you become this year's Holiday MVGG (Most Valuable Gift-Giver).
It is not only within your grasp but is literally as simple as a browse of our website, a page turn in our catalog or a stroll thru our Washington DC breath-taking retail store. We have experts ready to assist and guide you; why we will even offer up tips to preserve aforementioned frozen treats for another year. Our writing instrument and accessory assortments have never been as broad as they are this season and with free shipping on orders over $75* why delay finding that perfect gift another minute? To help take the guesswork out of your selection, we've created a Holiday Gift Guide that includes the newest product releases as well as our favorites. Of course you can always play it safe with a Fahrney's Gift Certificate. You may also create your own Wish List and share it (via email) with those that have your name on their list. This will assure you won't be the recipient of Aunt Eloise's Fruit Cake!
Not one single item on our shelves has any intention of venturing to the island of misfit gifts this year and you can be one of the many who assists us in that lofty goal. Most of all, we at Fahrney's Pens hope this season is a blessed one to all of our loyal customers, suppliers, friends and family. We feel very fortunate to have earned your trust and it is always a privilege to bring the joy of writing to so many. And as always keep the ink flowing!
Symbolizations of the medical and legal profession
Delta's new Limited Edition Hippocratica
is representative of the Hippocratic Oath, widely believed to have been written by Hippocrates - the father of western medicine. The Hippocratic Oath is historically taken by physicians, physician assistants' and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically and honestly. The top of the Hippocratica cap offers a carving portraying the first-recognized diploma in medicine awarded by the School of Medicine. The clip portrays the Rod of Asclepius, which is a serpent-entwined rod wielded by the Greek god Asclepius, a symbol associated with healing and medicine. This series has already proven to be such a great success. Makes for a great gift and can be personalized!
Designed to reflect the dedication and life's work of the legal and medical fields, Conway Stewart's Professional Series
pens are crafted in gleaming black resin engraved with intricate patterns from the Victorian era and trimmed with solid sterling silver. The cap is accented with an engraved Caduceus and Staff of Aesculapius for the medical profession and an engraved "Blind Justice" symbolizing the legal profession.
Also a very popular item is our series of handsome book sets, including four hard-bound volumes of collected
for lawyer's, doctor's and CEO's. Our
Lady Justice & Scales Pen Stand
is also a customer favorite, as well as the
Scales Of Justice Cufflinks
, a wardrobe staple for the legal eagle or healer of the gods, whomever's on your holiday gift list.
An extremely successful limited edition released in 2010 was the
Omas Limited Edition Doctor's Pen
. A re-creation of the original 1927 design, patented by Armondo Simoni and known as the "Doctor's Pen" for the clinical thermometer it housed inside the barrel. This model eliminates the thermometer but retains the unusual flattened shape which is actually very comfortable and balanced when writing. Crafted in blue/black cotton resin with a sterling silver body, this pen is engraved in an Art Nouveau design featuring the staff of Aesculapius.
A Pen for All Seasons
Why pens make the perfect holiday gift
By Nancy Olson
What's compact in size, but big in impact. reasonable in price, with a luxury look? A pen, of course. Even with the proliferation of today's virtually instantaneous methods of communication, fine pens have lost none of their luster as writing implements and fashion accessories. And where else can you find a gift that is perfect for both genders and comes practically already gift-wrapped? If that isn't enough to encourage you to head to your nearest pen shop, consider that a pen is an appropriate gift for a male or a female, comes in a broad range of prices and requires little-to-no sizing. Also, it can be a very personal gift or not, depending on your choice of pen, making it a welcome surprise for either a loved one or a colleague. Sounds like one-stop holiday shopping to me.
So where do you begin? First, decide on an appropriate pen retailer and a general price range. There are wonderful pens in the $100-and-under category and truly fabulous pens if you wish to spend more. But quality should be your first priority. A pen should feel solid in your hand with no wiggly parts, ill-fitting caps or uneven plating. More expensive fountain pens will usually have18-karat gold fountain pen nibs, more luxurious production materials, and perhaps even enhanced collectibility. But a well-crafted steel-nibbed resin pen can be just as enjoyable as its higher-priced counterpart.
Next consider the style, mode, and how the pen will probably be used. There are so many shapes, sizes and hues from which to choose these days that there truly is "something for everyone." Bigger and heavier pens are more appropriate for a larger hand. A smaller pen might be best for pocket or purse, as opposed to a signature pen that stays on one's desk. Thematic limited editions or a particular brand might be just the ticket for a giftee with special interests. I am particularly drawn to fountain pens, but rollerball pens, ballpoints and even pencils make great gifts, too. And for as many conservative black and silver pens as there are out there, there are at least as many bright and wildly patterned ones for the more colorful personalities in your life. Finally, hold the pen and try it out if you can. If it feels comfortable and writes smoothly, it will perform well for the lucky recipient.
No doubt you'll have questions about your new soon-to-be acquisition, and most pen retailers employ knowledgeable salespersons. So ask as many questions as you'd like, including: What type of warranty does the manufacturer/store provide? What is the store's return policy? What type of refills and inks are appropriate? Can the fountain pen nib be exchanged for a different size?
So don't get all wrapped up this holiday season. Instead, go to your nearest pen shop and say, "Wrap it, please."
Nancy Olson has been writing about pens-vintage and new-for the past 23 years. She hosts a popular blog:
Authentic Lincoln-signed Document at a Very Rare Price!
Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg's latest creation, "Lincoln", hit movie theaters a few days ago and is generating ample Oscar buzz especially for Daniel Day-Lewis' breathtaking performance as the 16th President of the United States. Whether Day-Lewis beats out Denzel Washington or his other challengers we will not speculate on in this edition. One prediction we can make is that it is very unlikely we will offer another authentic framed document signed by Abraham Lincoln at the price we are now offering for a very long time.
History Inscribed is a division of Fahrney's Pens and has brought the past to life for many serious historical document collectors over the years. Our beautifully framed, meticulously researched, authentic signed artifacts are the envy of the collectible industry. While we specialize in noted leaders of politics, science and business, there is virtually no historical figure (from the past 250 years) for which we have not been able to obtain an original signed item. From Thomas Edison to General George Patton, from the Wright Brothers to Thomas Jefferson, our presentations create the "wow" factor that can fill the most hard-to-please gift recipient with child-like glee!
Abraham Lincoln Framed Document
is a partly printed vellum document signed by him as President and William H. Seward as Secretary of State, Washington, DC, October 8, 1864. The document is an appointment of Julius Von Borries of Louisville, Kentucky, as Consul of His Majesty, the King of Prussia. A white presidential seal is fully intact in the lower left corner. This would make a magnificent centerpiece for any office, study or living room. Document is 12" x 15"; with archival matting and frame that is 19¾" x 22½".
We have sold other Lincoln documents over the years but our current acquisition is as stunning an artifact as we've ever seen and at 20% off the regular price (until Thanksgiving) it will not be with us for long. Spielberg's "Lincoln" will be a topic of conversation for history and movie buffs for weeks if not months, and in all likelihood Day-Lewis will have to clear additional space on his award shelf. Displaying this magnificent, original Lincoln-signed document in your home or office will evoke conversations for generations. Own a piece of vanishing history and pay tribute to one of our country's greatest leaders.
Here's Something to Yodel About!
New Caran d'Ache from Switzerland Fahrney's is pleased to introduce some great new writing instruments from one of our favorite Swiss manufacturers,
- just in time for the gift giving season!
Caran d'Ache (the Russian word for pencil) was founded in 1924 by Arnold Schweitzer and has since become a part of Switzerland's long history of superior quality and technical expertise. The Swiss-made writing instruments are coveted for their luxurious materials, traditional craftsmanship, superb performance and lifetime guarantee.
2012 Ecridor District Holiday Gift Set
is sure to be a popular gift (at a great price!). The elegant diamond-engraved Ecridor ballpoint pen comes in a special luxury gift box with a Caran d'Ache notebook. The gift set is available for a limited time and can be engraved for a personal touch!
Caran d'Ache honors centuries of Swiss lace-making expertise with the
Ecridor Dentelle Ballpoint Pen
. The lovely pen is engraved with delicate floral motifs in patterns that echo the style of precious lace.
Dedicated to all lovers of architecture, the
Ecridor Lignes Urbaines Ballpoint Pen
is a superb reflection of the breathtaking, ultra-modern design aesthetics of iconic skyscrapers. The proportioned guilloche pattern captures the rhythm, symmetry and vertical lines of these creations in perfect balance.
Combining elegance and simplicity, the
Perla Akoya Ballpoint Pen
holds a jewel in its cap, the Akoya pearl from the Sea of Japan. This exquisite writing instrument is coated in platinum and subtly engraved with scrolls based on seashells.
You'll love what's new at Caran d'Ache!
Let Your Pen Pick Your Halloween Costume!
We couldn't resist celebrating Halloween by featuring a parade of pens with great personality! If your costume choices lean toward the impersonation of superheroes, celebrities, rock stars or historical figures, here's a few ideas to enhance your Halloween disguise!
Just in - the wildly popular comic book hero,
! Montegrappa dresses the limited edition pens in black anodized aluminum with accents in carbon fiber and ruthenium and bats everywhere! The Batman rollerball and fountain pens are available separately or in a spooktacular 3-piece set with a Batman watch and cufflinks.
Acme Studio presents everyone's favorite Halloween personality,
, in a limited edition corresponding with the 100th anniversary of the death of the vampire's creator, Bram Stoker. The black and blood red pen rises from its casket-shaped box to the haunting melody of Bach's 'Fugue in 'D' Minor'. It's a real hair raiser! If your taste is a bit more musical, take a look at one of Acme's
limited edition pens that feature the Liverpool lads from 1962 through 1969.
THINK brings a few legendary figures into your hands with the limited edition
pens. Each one is designed to evoke some of the memories and characteristics that make these two icons timeless heroes. Order soon - these two editions are almost sold out.
And how can you celebrate Halloween without a favorite Disney character or two? Retro 51 has a terrific ball pen with vintage comics designs that include
and many of his friends. A fun writing instrument for any Mouseketeer!
When you want to give more than a pat on the back
I think we can all agree that, especially during the Holiday season, there is plenty of work and stress to keep us busy. Fahrney's is not just the fine writing experts but also the stress-free gifting concierge that can take the largest of corporate orders and turn them into a no-worry occasion.
Fahrney's Pens has a great selection of
corporate gift ideas
- from the world's finest writing instruments to our unique selection of leather goods, timepieces and stationery - all custom engraved or embossed to your specifications. Whether you need just a few pens, or a gift for everyone in the company, we can help you select just the right item to meet your goals and most importantly, stay within your budget. Many items can be engraved with a name, phrase or even a company logo.
Fahrney's secret weapon is its knowledgeable team of Corporate Gift Specialists that make selection and ordering fast and easy. Quick turn-around, complimentary gift wrap and handwritten gift cards make Fahrney's Pens your one stop gift shop!
Call us toll-free at 800-336-4775, Monday-Friday 9:00am - 5:30pm EST and ask for Brenda Gray or Acy Crawford. They will be thrilled to get you started with ideas, possibilities and pricing for your multiple gift requirements. And to keep your gifting stress a mere memory of holidays past!
Fahrney's Fall Pen Show
With Election Day three weeks away many in the nation's capital and elsewhere have become distracted. The nation's premier source for fine writing instruments is not among them! This Friday and Saturday at its flagship retail location (1317 F St. NW) in Washington, DC, Fahrney's will be celebrating in a very focused manner for its annual two day
Fall Pen Sale
This not-to-miss-event will showcase new and exclusive products and give attendees the opportunity to
"test drive" the latest writing instruments
, chat with representatives from the world's top pen manufacturers (including Montblanc, Parker, Waterman, Pelikan, Faber-Castell and many more) and
enter to win over $7,000 worth of exciting door prizes
. Fahrney's is also excited to be the first in DC to show the all-new line of Porsche Design watches, a must-see for every watch aficionado.
Mr. Tim Tufnel from the British pen company, Yard-O-Led, will demonstrate the traditional Victorian technique of hand-engraving and hammering an intricate pattern on a one-of-a-kind sterling silver writing instrument. These artisanal techniques are almost a lost art and display the meticulous craftsmanship and dedication that goes into the production of each of these beautiful precious metal pens.
So whether you are a local getting a jump on your holiday gift list or an out of towner looking to escape to an enchanted land of pen doctors and pen craftsmen, Fahrney's has the write distractions for you.
History of Lamy
In 1930 C. Josef Lamy left his managerial position with the Parker Pen Company to start his own fine writing instrument enterprise in Heidelberg, Germany.
soon became known as an innovative leader with its use of molded synthetic plastics and sleek, modern designs. Like Fahrney's, Lamy is still an independent family-owned business. Today Lamy is one of Fahrney's most important pen lines. Perhaps no other pen company has worked as diligently to capture the imagination of new pen consumers and keep existing users as devoted as any other pen brand.
Affordability and cutting edge design are what set the German based Lamy apart from other manufacturers. Lamy's ability to design and market an alternative to "adult" fountain pens to the younger generation put them on the world map. Though it is certainly not just children and young adults who are fans of Lamy. Pen lovers who are design purists and the cost-conscious alike have helped the brand become the success it is today.
In 1966, Gerd A. Müller designed the groundbreaking
using a special fiberglass resin and the pen world took great notice. After 46 years in production, this marvel of form and function (and still Lamy's only piston-filler fountain pen) has a new finish - the
- which we are sure will be popular for at least another 46 years! Also recently released, the new
collection has been very well received by our many Lamy followers. Of course the
continued to be another popular series, especially the
fountain pen with italic nib
, available in all sorts of colors. Great for kids too!
Dr. Manfred Lamy (the son of Josef the founder) only recently retired but there is very little else about Lamy that appears to be slowing down. If you have never experienced the pleasure of writing with a Lamy; we think there is no better time to try one - and as always, keep the ink flowing.
For Women Only... or not
By: Nancy Olson
There's been a lot of brouhaha on the Internet–and national news– lately about the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen intended "for her." Apparently Bic struck a nerve with some women for its perceived pandering to the fairer sex with a pen that has a slim (for diminutive hands?), pastel-tinted (for ladies-who-lunch?) and "sleek" barrel. I say, Come on, gals–it's just marketing; they're basically great and reliable pens made by a well-known manufacturer. Yet it does raise an interesting question: Are pens gender specific?
Quality, comfort and that je ne sais quoi, very loosely translated to mean "I'm not sure why, but I think I'm in love with this pen," are more important to me in a pen than its appeal to me as a woman. I really like fountain pens, and it's the way in which the nib meets the paper that interests me, not the shade of the pen or its girth. I like a smooth, medium-sized nib that flows well with my light touch, whether it's a great 18-karat gold model or well-crafted steel.
It's important to get acquainted with a pen before purchase, so I buy from knowledgeable and reputable pen retailers I can trust. They are able to help in choosing a pen and trying it out, swapping a nib if necessary and warranting a purchase. A good retailer can even take a look at your penmanship and hand size and offer suggestions as to which pens might offer a perfect fit for you. And they'll readily fill you in on different manufacturers and their reputations for quality and service, which is really important in the long run.
My hand is small, but I like a pen that is heavier, with a larger circumference, as opposed to the slim and super-light variety. I always check for good balance, because I find this keeps writer's fatigue at bay and makes the whole writing experience more enjoyable. I am not concerned about whether or not the cap is intended for posting, as long as the pen feels stable in my hand as intended, with or without a cap. My preference is for piston-fill models, but I must admit that a cartridge-fill fountain pen is literally a snap when traveling. I am drawn to a sleek fountain pen without much adornment (though I like overlays)–preferably in a classic color like black, white or British racing green. But I do own some pens in hot colors and patterns and more than a few ornate limited editions.
Finally, I think it's always best to buy what you really like, male or female. If you're a woman with bold taste like me, revel in it. If you're a guy who leans toward slim pastel pens, I give you my blessing. But never, and I repeat, never, buy a pen that doesn't make your heart sing–in whatever register.
Nancy Olson has been writing about pens–vintage and new–for the past 23 years. She is writing instruments editor at Fine Life Media and hosts a popular blog:
Cross - New Products
Fahrney's Pens began serving the pen community in the nation's capital in 1929. At the same time, the A.T. Cross Company was celebrating 83 years in business right up the road in Rhode Island. Another 83 years later, both companies are thriving and for the first time Fahrney's can claim, "We're half their age!" For 166 years Cross has re-invented writing instruments combining design ingenuity with jewelry-quality craftsmanship and they show no signs of slowing down.
America's first manufacturer of writing instruments is launching a wealth of new and exciting merchandise for the fall. Most recent is the 2013
Year of the Dragon
, the second in their Chinese Zodiac series honoring the sign that symbolizes great wisdom and intuition. The Cross
Century Click Ball Pen
is the first push-button ball pen from Cross! The iconic Century silhouette is modernized to add an easy 'click' activator and a slim gel ink retractable refill. Judging by its first weeks of availability, it will be the newest "breakout" hit.
The stunning new
Forever Pearl collection
is graced with shimmering circles, adding dimension to the delicate and elegant pearlescent finish. Cross' ingenious Tech 3 multi-function pen has been taken to a new level, allowing you to expand your creativity beyond paper!
Tech 3 Plus
is one clever multi-tasker, with a detachable stylus on the top to operate your Smartphone, tablet or any touch-screen device. Cross is offering special holiday pricing on its
Cross Edge Ballpoint Pen
through the end of the year as well as a special color, pink! Save $10 on each one.
Non-writing instrument categories are also getting a makeover with an all-new range of
inspired by the timeless style and precious metal finishes of the classic pens, 15 new styles in all! Lastly, Cross presents its hugely successful
in all-new European-designed styles.
That is a lot of newness and excitement for a company who evidently doesn't believe in the slogan, "act your age". Fahrney's Pens is proud of their long partnership with the A.T Cross Company and it's continuing dedication to making products unsurpassed in quality and value. If the last time you experienced the joy of writing with a Cross pen or pencil was when you received one as a graduation gift; there is no better time to get reacquainted. And keep the ink flowing!
Try Writing with a Porsche or Ferrari
For most of us, zipping around the German autobahn in a Porsche 911 or cruising down Italy's amazingly scenic Amalfi Coast in a Ferrari 458 Spider are simply lavish dreams. The two visionary car makers - Ferdinand Porsche and Enzo Ferrari dreamt big and fast creating performance car companies that remain the envy of the racing and automotive world.
Like the legendary sports cars, the new
Porsche Design P'3110 Black Tec Flex writing instruments
feature an extraordinary barrel woven from fine stainless steel thread finished in black matte. The barrel design is based on Tec Flex braking hose material - known for its high wear-resistance and flexibility. The new
P'3115 Laser Flex Ballpoint Pen
is yet another unique, innovative achievement. It's flexible stainless steel barrel with a repeating pattern created by precisely-lasered slots contracts and releases when you activate or retract the point.
Presenting two new contemporary
Ferrari Official Licensed writing instrument collections
, Sheaffer and Ferrari reflect the same profound passion, extraordinary talent and incredible expertise that drives the Scuderia Ferrari Racing Team. Inspired by the instantly recognizable red and the unparalleled speed of a Ferrari race car, these pens proudly display the Scuderia Ferrari Shield and the Sheaffer White Dot symbol of excellence.
Reminiscent of MOMO Design's racing background, Delta crafted the new
Momo Tork collection
in precious black and white resins with the Momo Design logo subtly engraved along the entire body of the pen for a sporty graphic effect. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Momo Design, Delta also released the
Momo 30th Limited Edition collection
earlier this year.
Inspired by the look of a car's grill, S.T. Dupont introduced the
Défi Grille collection
. Its palladium-finished metal overlay is a masculine and ergonomic design perfect for everyday use. The Défi is created from a carbon fiber body with a palladium plated metal frame.
Some of us will never tire of dreaming of the day when our ship comes in and a garage full of luxury automobiles follows soon thereafter. For the rest of us more practical dreamers, our love of fine writing instruments and fine cars can be merged together with little guilt but lots of writing pleasure. Keep the ink flowing.
Pens - They're Good for You
Stephen King wrote "Dreamcatcher" in longhand - using a Waterman pen. J. K. Rowling penned "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" - all 157 pages of it - in longhand, and the leather-bound tome sold for an amazing $4 million at Sotheby's. F. Scott Fitzgerald did it, as did Hemingway, Kafka and countless others, each of whom had access to either a typewriter or, later, a computer. They chose to put pen to paper and see where it took them. And that is perhaps the true magic of a pen: It transports us to unexpected places, on wings that require no more than a timely shot of ink to keep them aloft, destination unknown.
Call it inspiration. Call it creativity. Or just call it fun. But the mere action of writing by hand unleashes something powerful in our brains not easily accessed in any other fashion. And high-tech magnetic resonance imaging has indeed shown that low-tech writing by hand increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain, much like meditation. Writing is also good for keeping one's gray matter sharp and may even influence how we think, as in "more positively." Apparently sequential hand movements, like those used in handwriting, activate large regions of the brain responsible for thinking, language, healing and working memory. And if that isn't enough, another often-overlooked benefit of writing by hand is that it just plain forces us to slow down and enjoy the moment - a novelty in today's world where immediacy reigns.
Sounds good, right? So why not find a good pen and some perfect paper and get started? Sadly, we often become intimidated by our bad penmanship or our lack of anything "meaningful" to write about. That's why I prefer the write-just-because-you-like-it mentality that says that whatever you produce need never see the light of day, as long as it makes your spirit soar. Some might consider this journaling, but that can have headier overtones. Maybe it's better to consider it a no-strings-attached date with yourself. In fact, one stormy day not too long ago, when our electricity had gone out, as had the batteries on my computers, I did just that. I wrote by hand - by candlelight - for hours, about everything and nothing, and I'm not sure I've ever even re-read what I wrote. Was I inspired? Possibly. Were my neurons firing madly? I don't have a clue. But I can tell you that it was a transportive experience, and one that I have often repeated just for the feel-good buzz. I felt like I'd tapped a direct line to my soul, even if just for a short time. And it felt good.
Letter writing, too, has a profound effect on one's brain and psyche - whether you're the writer or the recipient. Who can argue the qualities of a handwritten note to bring people together? Consider the love letters of John and Abigail Adams, or Winston and Clementine Churchill, or Robert and Elizabeth Browning, all of which have captured our imaginations for decades. But just as important as these torchy missives are the quotidian letters to and from family and friends. I came across a few of these not so long ago in a box in my attic. One was a chatty letter from my mother to her newly married-and-moved-away daughter (me). I remember how I'd look forward to those weekly letters in my mother's uninhibited scrawl and the almost palpable affection tucked inside each one. Another note was from a high-school friend, also from a couple of decades ago, catching me up on all her day-to-day goings on, from career to kids to hobbies. It was written in perfect Catholic-girls-school Palmer penmanship. I think Virginia Woolf said it best when she called letter writing "the humane art."
Writing by hand is a powerful tool for learning, relaxation, creativity and healing, and it's an integral part of our culture. It offers insights and renewal, whether intended for anyone else's eyes or not. But I fear it will soon be a lost art, as we succumb to the efficiencies of our computers - handheld or otherwise - or the apps on our iPhone. It's been said that a pen compels lucidity. And lucidity, I believe, offers a different and often clearer perspective of dreams, goals, challenges and life in general. I'll raise my pen to that, then quickly put it to paper.
Nancy Olson has been teaching and writing about handwriting and pens for over 20 years. She is currently editor of the Stylus Annual and her popular blog,
welcomes several thousand visitors per month.
Time for a New Watch?
We've found that many of our pen-loving customers at Fahrney's also appreciate fine timepieces that are unique and stylish. To satisfy that demand, we search for watches that are out of the ordinary - personal accessories that will be appropriate for all occasions and satisfy every taste. Whether for business or casual wear, for men or women, for yourself or as a thoughtful gift, Fahrney's selection of classic and modern watches is sure to please!
The all-new line of
featured above are elegant, appealing and up to the minute - and a superb value, too!
Among our most popular choices are the award-winning
, known for their Official Swiss Railway Clock design. The unmistakable face of the watch is a tribute to the highly functional, minimalist design that makes Mondaine an icon of the Swiss watch industry. Choose from the new ultra-slim
Simply Elegant watch
, for men and women, extra-large dials, chronographs, sport watches and contemporary pocket watches.
Towson Watch Company
is one of the few companies to design and manufacture its watch line in the United States. Its founders, George Thomas and Hartwig Balke, have succeeded in their dream to create and manufacture a classical mechanical watch collection of rare beauty and precision. The newest TWC timepiece is the
, a one-of-a-kind self-winding watch with a shield-shaped case. It is dedicated to the Pride of Baltimore II, a modern day reproduction of the historic top-sail schooner vessel that helped America win the War of 1812.
For sheer elegance and superb style, the
Montegrappa NeroUno watches
can't be beat. The handsome collection of Swiss-made watches was created to match the distinctive
- you're assured the finest quality that is the hallmark of Montegrappa.
Add some rock and roll to your style with
Acme Studio's Limited Edition Beatles "Abbey Road" watches!
The automatic watches feature the four Beatles "walking" around the dial as the watch hands move.
Many of the watches we offer at Fahrney's are available with custom personalized engraving. Please call us for more information on engraving and any other details about our terrific range of fine watches.
The Making of a Gladiator
Last summer in Florence, Italy, Ken Jones, Vice President of Yafa Brands, brought up the topic of future pen designs over lunch with Luca Viti, President of Stipula. For many years Jones had thought a pen based on a Roman Gladiator theme would resonate in the U.S. market but had yet to find a manufacturer to share his excitement. Things were about to change as Viti removed his pen from his shirt pocket and began furiously sketching a design on a napkin. When he returned to the states a week later, Jones dropped by Fahrney's office to review business and, as an aside, produced the napkin to get some feedback. To judge our level of excitement, one has only to open his or her mailbox in a few weeks to see what pen graces the Fahrney's Fall 2012 Catalog cover.
The Stipula Gladiator collection has arrived and we have to say Mr. Jones' perseverance and Mr. Viti's vision have produced a huge hit! These large commanding pens have a masterful band sculpted in high relief depicting the Roman Colosseum, an icon of Gladiator fights and of Rome itself. On top of the pen is a typical shield with the tools of the gladiator; a net, used to harness the opponent, a helmet and a trident. The Gladius, the famous short sword of Romans, is represented by the clip of the pen, while the ring at the bottom of the barrel mimics the studs around the gladiator's shield.
The myth of the Gladiator, the armed combatant who entertained audiences in ancient Rome in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals or condemned criminals, has been long celebrated in history and in modern times as well. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the arena. Originally, the Gladiator games evolved out of an Etruscan religious practice, then were adopted by Roman society to honor the bravery portrayed in the face of death. Stipula has embodied this valor with these stunning red, black and blue pens.
In Ridley Scott's epic movie,
, Russell Crowe's character General Maximus Decimus Meridius says to his troops, "What we do in life echoes in eternity". Ken Jones recently told me, "What we do at lunch, sometimes echoes in a Fahrney's Pens cover". Keep the ink flowing!
Soon to Vanish
Namiki Vanishing Point
retractable fountain pen was launched in Japan during the early 1960s by the
. Much like the 1971 action movie that shares the same name; the Vanishing Point has been known for decades as an enduring and timeless classic. Each year around this time fans of this innovative pen begin calling Fahrney's Pens to inquire as to what this year's color is and when they can acquire it.
Well, the wait is over! Fahrney's Pens and
Pilot / Namiki
present the highly anticipated
Vanishing Point limited edition finish for 2012 – Charcoal Marble
. Jet black lacquer is screened with an intriguing marble pattern that seems to float around the barrel of the famous retractable fountain pen. Click the easy push-top mechanism and you're ready to write with the 18K white gold nib that writes clearly without a skip. Limited to 850 pieces in the U.S., each
Charcoal Marble Vanishing Point
has its own engraved serial number and is presented in a black leatherette case.
was originally called "Capless," and had one of the most complex inner mechanisms ever made. The twist-retractable nib action was a remarkable innovation, making the Capless a truly sensational pen. Later, a more economical Capless model with push button retraction was introduced for students. In 1973 the Capless fountain pen was renamed the
. Shortly afterwards Fahrney's began carrying the pen and to this day remains one of our best sellers, year after year.
The world's first and only push button fountain pen merges comfort, beauty and style in a manner that remains a flawlessly designed premium writing instrument. The brilliant design and ingenious technology make it a pen for the new age, even after almost 50 years!
Our very limited allotment will be gone in no time so don't delay. As the advertisement for the movie said, "Tighten your seat belt" and as we say "you may never own another pen like this again". Keep the ink flowing!
Ah Nostalgia! The term used to describe a sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. It was once considered a medical condition and a form of disease. Sir Joseph Banks, the famous English botanist/naturalist used the term on his first voyage with Captain Cook on the Endeavour in 1770 when he stated in his journal that the sailors "were now pretty far gone with the longing for home which the Physicians have gone so far as to esteem a disease under the name of Nostalgia."
Fahrney's Pens has seen an increase in the demand for nostalgia from both our manufacturers as well as our clients. Often times
and others will reintroduce a favorite pen from yesteryear and the result is usually a very quick sell through as clients remember using the pen or seeing their parents use the pen years earlier. The Holiday season will see an updated version of the
Omas 1932 Arte Italiana
as well as Pelikan re-visiting the
series has been a huge hit with several editions from the series still available for a limited time. Later this year will bring 1968, 1969 and the eagerly awaited Liverpool Collection to the stage. These tributes to the lads from Liverpool are a perfect example of our nostalgia for exceptional music and affordable, iconic designs coming together.
pens have also benefitted from the phenomena and the recent success of the
pens and their most current
collection are testaments to that.
is another proven winner when it comes to nostalgic writing instruments. Their
inspired pens continue to resonate with our clients. This week also marks the launch of their latest nostalgic creation, a fun tribute to the classic 1970's video game
which is sure to be an out of this world hit!
It's reassuring to know when we express to others we are feeling nostalgic that we do not have to worry about filling a prescription for the malady. On second thought, maybe it is best to have it checked out by
The Write Place
for all of your writing needs. The doctor can see you now and keep the ink flowing!
Back To School
In the 1986 movie "Back to School", Rodney Dangerfield, a fun-loving and obnoxious businessman decides to enroll in school as a student himself to help his discouraged son get through college. While we at Fahrney's Pens do not recommend such drastic measures, we are very comfortable in suggesting a few pens and accessories that should help any student's school year start the right way.
Get your kids on the 'write' track early with a
Pelikan Pelikano Junior
Faber-Castell Children's Pen
, available in pencil, rollerball or fountain pen. Each feature specially developed grip sections in bright fun colors for our young aspiring writers. We also suggest the colors
Claire Fontaine Notepads
For the next generation, more tech-savvy students,
Monteverde's One Touch Stylus
allows you to press the top to instantly write, flip it over to use the patented stylus on all your touch screen devices! If a fountain pen is preferred, the
Pelikan 200 Fountain Pen
is a great choice. For note taking,
by Exaclair come in all shapes and sizes in lined, graph or blank paper.
And let's not forget the often times underappreciated teachers who will spend the next nine months preparing our children for life's many challenges. As Donald Quinn so truthfully said, "If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job." Apples and gift cards are nice but make a great first impression. Browse our
section and save. And keep the ink flowing!
The Value of History Never Fades
When the father of our country, George Washington, was not planting
trees he was leading troops, presiding over conventions, serving as our 1st President and signing some pretty important documents. One of the documents, his annotated copy of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, recently sold at an auction for $9,826,500 setting a new world auction record for a historical document.
After 223 years, this amazing document had remained in near pristine condition. Remarkably, in the margins of the Constitution, Washington has added careful brackets and marginal notes. These notations highlight key passages concerning the President's responsibilities, testifying to Washington's careful, conscientious approach to his powers and responsibilities in his ground-breaking first term. The successful bidder was a representative of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union, the non-profit educational organization that owns and operates the historical site and museum of George Washington's Virginia home. The unique book had been in the Mount Vernon library until 1876 and will soon be returned to that library.
While History Inscribed, a division of Fahrney's Pens, has never possessed a document of quite this historical importance; we do have one of a kind, authentic historical signed documents from all the U.S. Presidents as well as many other notables in the fields of science, business, sports and world leadership. At our retail store, located at 1317 F St. NW in Washington, DC, one can find examples of our beautifully framed historical documents including a stunning document signed by
as President with the seal intact.
Our History Inscribed expert, Acy Crawford, is available to answer your questions and find that special document from your historical hero. These framed rarities make a unique gift that any recipient would treasure for a lifetime. Investing in the vanishing pieces of America's history also makes good sense. Anyone doubting that can simply look up the fact that the aforementioned George Washington document had been previously purchased at a 1964 auction for $27,000. This left the recent seller with a tidy profit of just under $9,800,000! Visit us
, and as always keep the ink flowing.
It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Summer
In the 1940 movie "Christmas in July" Jimmy MacDonald (a character played by Dick Powell) is tricked by his co-workers into thinking he has won a radio contest and $25,000. In typical Hollywood fashion all ends well and Jimmy is able to keep the prize money which he has already spent on family and friends.
Similarly, your friends at Fahrney's Pens are celebrating this very warm summer with red hot deals you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Our recently mailed catalog contains three pages of special closeout items. Our downtown Washington DC store is loaded with sale pens and accessories (which we will be replenishing each Tuesday and Friday). And today we present these early holiday bargains for our web shopping friends.
In the southern hemisphere winter falls in July which has resulted in many Australians and New Zealanders celebrating Christmas early in order to have a winter feel. We have no issue with this practice but why should they have all the fun? We will even put aside a few Pelican Technixx ballpoint pens at 65% off and some Online All-Wood pens at 40% off in reserve to allow them a chance to really feel the holiday spirit (a bit early).
In the Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer a group of misfit toys are stranded on an island and are left bemoaning the fact (with a catchy, well-choreographed number) that nobody wants them. The pens featured in our promotion (if they could sing and dance) would explain that they are very loved, but the manufacturer made a few too many and therefore are headed to loving homes at a greatly reduced prices.
No one ever said that happy endings happen only in Hollywood. Keep the ink flowing!
Fahrney's Summer Closeout
The 90 mph winds of late June's 'derecho' left most in the area without power for days and the following unrelenting 100-plus degree heat wave left most of us with limited patience. Fortunately, the always resilient Fahrney's Sales team was only slightly affected by these events and have put together another gigantic Summer Closeout Sale!
Our buyers are careful and shrewd professionals, but no one is perfect and our occasional unforeseen overstock is nicely supplemented with closeout purchase opportunities to make this a sale that our clients look forward to each summer. Our current catalog that is now in the mail features three pages of extra special offers with discounts up to 60%!
Our retail store located at 1317 F St. NW in Washington DC does not have the space constraints of the catalog and is brimming over with new closeouts and dramatically reduced current stock. If your plans have you coming to the area, there will be constant closeout inventory replenishment until the Summer is officially over.
We are constantly getting feedback from our valuable clients that they delight in this annual event as a chance to not only treat themselves but to stock up on holiday, birthday and all of those hard-to-find-the-right gift occasions. Fahrney's 83 years in the fine writing instrument business have certainly given us buying opportunities that few other retailers can experience. It is our pleasure to share these special savings with our loyal customers.
We hope that the weather conditions leading up to next year's sale are a little more predictable, but barring a rare swarm of locusts, we have every intention to keep the Summer Closeout Sale a Fahrney's tradition. Keep the ink flowing!
What July 4th Symbolizes
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more", wrote John Adams to his wife Abigail.
As the legal separation from Great Britain had occurred on July 2nd, Adams had surmised that future celebrations would be centered on that day and not the day the resolution was approved in a closed session of Congress on the 4th. While his prediction was two days off and the actual Declaration of Independence was not signed until the following month (August 2) his enthusiasm for this historical moment was probably justified.
Fifty years to the day later (July 4, 1826) both Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away knowing that their efforts and those of the other 54 signers of the Declaration had laid the foundation for a great and admired nation. Today, 236 years later, oppressed and marginalized people around the globe take inspiration from the ideas and principles of this cherished symbol of liberty to work towards an independent future.
A reproduction of the full text of Declaration of Independence and the famous painting associated with this historic day is inscribed on the barrel of
Visconti's Limited Edition Declaration of Independence
pens. You can also find the full text in the
US Constitution book
, featuring an impressive array of documents that reveal the ideas, aspirations, and differing views of our founding fathers.
Join us at Fahrney's Pens in wishing our great country a very happy birthday and however we individually choose to celebrate, make it a memorable one and keep the ink flowing!
Delta's Indigenous People of the World Collection
With the release of its new Hawaii Kanaka Maoli series, we join Delta in celebrating 10 years of success with its Indigenous People Limited Editions – a spectacular themed collection honoring the oldest and most authentic cultures of the world.
On a recent visit to Fahrney's, Nino Marino, the president of Delta, offered these insights into the creative development of the collection:
"Writing has always been considered the foundation of human culture, communication and information. The Indigenous People collection represents Delta's itinerant travels around the world in search of those indigenous people's that still exist, but are often forgotten by us all. People rich in traditions and cultures. Through these writing instruments Delta informs and recounts a significant part of the history of man on earth."
The first three Indigenous People editions were launched in 2003, and have since sold out. They included the
of the Arctic Tundra, the
, the African ethnic group located in Kenya and northern Tanzania, and the
, who have inhabited North America for more than 25,000 years.
The 2004 Indigenous People Collection was dedicated to the
, the peasant soldiers of the Ukraine region, the
of New Zealand and the
, nomads who once traveled Western Africa.
Delta dedicated the 2005 collection to the legendary
of Japan's northernmost Island, Hokkaido, followed by the 4th collection in 2006, honoring the Amazon's
("Indians"), a name that is still used today in Brazil. In 2008 Delta released the 5th collection,
, the only native population in Europe, inhabiting the extreme north of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
During the first decades of the 20th century, educated and politically active tribes from eastern central India started to use the Hindi/Sanskrit term
. This word consists of "adi" (original) and "vasi" (inhabitant). The self-designated name "adivasi" corresponds with the modern concept of "indigenous peoples." Adivasi was the 6th collection, presented in 2009.
In 2010, the 7th Indigenous People Collection honored the
, the first inhabitants of half of the area known today as Chile and Argentina. They were the only indigenous group in South America that withstood attacks by the Inca and were never conquered by the Spanish. The Mapuche nation now constitutes the third largest indigenous society in South America.
The 8th edition of Delta's Indigenous People collection of 2010 represents the
civilization, which began around 2,000 B.C. in the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America and is regarded as one of the most sophisticated ancient cultures.
This brings us to the 9th and most recent edition – the
, which captures the natural beauty and tropical allure of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiian aborigines migrated from the Marquesas Islands about 100 B.C. The Kanaka Maoli once numbered more than one million - its population is now around 250,000.
We applaud Delta's dedication to this wonderful series and look forward to its next creative interpretation of the Indigenous People of the world!
Fahrney's Celebrates 83 Years!
In June of 1929, Earl Fahrney opened Fahrney's Pens as a fountain pen repair shop and soon thereafter relocated to the historic Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. With the start of The Great Depression only months away and discretionary spending in a lull, Mr. Fahrney's repair business thrived. He slowly expanded the business to include sales of fountain pens and ultimately decided to take the daring step of also offering the "revolutionary" ballpoint pen in 1946.
Eighty-three years later and just a block away from The Willard, Fahrney's Pens recently celebrated its birthday with a few hundred of its closest customers, family and friends at the retail store. With more than 20 representatives showcasing over 50 pen brands and writing accessories it was one of our most successful Anniversary Events yet! This year, the annual show (held the 2nd Friday and Saturday of June) attracted customers from as far away as Japan, Brazil, and Australia, as well as many of our faithful regulars from the city and surrounding regions.
In many ways the event is more like a family reunion than a sales event. Stories of past pen purchases and remembrances of store visits from years ago are affectionately shared and are always appreciated. Gladys, Debra, Tony, Mark, Lenny, Elaine, and Barry are but a few of the clients who have volunteered their cherished favorite Fahrney's stories to me. Mr. Mitchell's story of coming into the store as a young man just home from serving the country in Vietnam is a personal favorite. "I ran into Fahrney's to make a quick ballpoint purchase but after two hours of proper pen education from Ms. Chappell", he excitedly explained to me, "I was a pen lover for life!"
Odell Chappell was hired in 1962 and mentored by Mr. Fahrney himself. In turn, she trained every new recruit at the store including "Pen Doctor" Chuck Edwards and Elizabeth Bunn (both current Fahrney's employees) who have faithfully passed on her knowledge and love of pens as well as extolling the many benefits of putting pen to paper. As Tony explained to me, "Any company can train an employee to learn the product and sell it. Fahrney's has folks that know me and how I write – that's a big difference".
I've recently noticed an abundance of commercials that poke fun at the so-called technology challenged; those of us who still use a writing instrument in our every day lives to conduct the most vital of communications. If you are reading this article you probably find it as humorous as we do that "the hot technology of today" is going to suddenly render obsolete the thousands year-old practice of expressing oneself by putting thoughts and ideas on paper. Join us at next year's anniversary and the many to follow, tell us your stories and keep the ink flowing.
Visit us on Facebook to view pictures of this event
Submitted by Acy Crawford
Fahrney's Director of Operations
Celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee!
Britons around the globe celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this week with a four-day extravaganza, culminating with a crowd of hundreds of thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheering "God save the queen!" The Diamond Jubilee marks the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II (1952 to 2012) and continues throughout the year. The Queen is only the second British monarch to serve this long, the first being Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years.
The "Central Weekend" of the Jubilee began on Sunday with the Thames Jubilee Pageant, a flotilla of close to 1,000 boats cruising up the Thames with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh sailing on the Royal Barge. The following day, an historic concert was staged for the Queen with a host of musical stars performing against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace. That night, over 4,000 Beacons were lit by communities throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, along with the Commonwealth and UK Overseas Territories in the Queen's honor.
Fahrney's joins in the celebration with some unique offerings to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee. Our British friends at Yard-O-Led created an extraordinary
Diamond Jubilee Sterling Silver ball pen and pencil
that wear the Official Diamond Jubilee Hallmark issued by the UK Assay Office. Visconti's stunning
Diamond Jubilee limited edition pens
feature a detailed replica of the British Royal Crown on the cap. A great gift for Anglophiles, these
are crafted using authentic British pound coins that are individually hand-painted and fired by artisans. For British-made quality and vintage appeal, try the
Conway-Stewart Marlborough limited edition fountain pens
crafted in solid ebonite and 18K gold.
God Save the Queen!
The Power of the Pen
Traveling in some of the more impoverished regions of the world it is not unusual to be greeted by swarms of children begging for food or money. Such begging is as depressing to see as it must be humiliating to do. But I once traveled widely in one country where the children did not beg. That country was Egypt, and only if asked a direct question would the children there respond with a request. What they wanted, from one end of the Nile to the other, was quite a surprise: child after child after child asked only for a ball point pen.
I suppose this discovery about Egyptian children should not have come to me as such a shock. While peoples all across Europe, Africa, and Asia were content to remain illiterate nomads, Egyptian scribes were recording answers to the great mysteries of the universe. The neighbors of the Egyptians in what is now Syria and Iraq invented the characters that have evolved over a five thousand year period into our modern alphabet. While a benighted Europe suffered through the ignorance and intolerance of its Middle Ages, Arab scholars kept alive the learning of the ancient and classic worlds. That Egyptians place a high value on writing instruments is nothing new.
I readily admit to my own fondness, or, as my friends might call it, obsession for ball point pens. While some people may never go anywhere without a cell phone or a wrist watch or a purse, I carry my Parker Sonnet ballpoint with me at all times. My glasses and my pen rest together on the nightstand next to my bed through the night and both see me though my waking day. I keep my pen in my shirt pocket and I have a habit of checking every few minutes to be sure it is still there. While others may lose pens on a daily basis without much regret, my pens outlast my shirts, my shoes, my wallets, even my cars, and I am currently driving a 1991 Buick.
Two years ago my wife and I, along with some friends and relatives, were traveling through Italy when we stopped for gas in Siena. I signed the credit card receipt and thought I placed my pen back in my pocket. But after returning to the highway and proceeding down the road for thirty minutes I made one of my routine checks of my pocket and did not feel the pen. As I hastily executed a u turn, my companions sensed something had gone terribly wrong and asked what had happened. They sat in disbelief as I told them why we were backtracking to find a pen. "It's just a pen," one of them observed. Had I not been preoccupied with racing to rescue my ballpoint, I would have stopped to explain the inherent fallacy in this observation.
The roads of Tuscany are winding, often unmarked, and too often one way. Other motorists there seem intent to prove the validity of the old adage that the Italian Driving Manual contains only one rule: pass the car in front of you. After winding around for more than an hour as scores of supersonic Fiats streaked around us, we were still many miles away from the service station where I had last seen my pen. My traveling companions were growing increasingly restive. Sensing that a passenger revolt was imminent, I decided to violate the only rule in the Male Manual of Operating Procedures. I decided to ask for directions.
A policeman was directing traffic at a busy intersection. I parked the van and as I walked dejectedly toward him, my wife was lecturing me at a rate of 47 words per step about the absurdity of my quest for the missing pen. When we reached the officer, she told me she wanted to write down the directions we hoped to obtain from him. Without a moment's hesitation, I reached into my pocket and handed her my pen. It had been there all along. It had simply sunk to the bottom of the pocket. As we walked back to the van, the velocity of her lecture surpassed 94 words per step.
As we slid back into our seats in the van, I turned with a big smile to my fellow passengers and showed them the pen. Remarkably, they did not share my elation. The miles between that point of our journey and our arrival at our hotel in Florence hours later were consumed with a barrage of angry comments about my pen. As we entered the hotel and the anger level declined to a simmer, one of my traveling companions revealed a mystery I have yet to explain to him. He said, "I can't understand how that policeman happened to have your pen."
Quietly absorbing the anger and insults emanating from my wife and friends, I longed for the company of the Egyptian children. I was sure they would understand my obsession. The pen is a tool and a symbol. It is tool for and a symbol of one of the things that most clearly distinguishes humans from other forms of life. We may lack the speed of the deer, or the strength of an oak, or the soaring power of the eagle, or the beauty of a rose, but we can think in ways beyond the comprehension of any other species, and we can place our thoughts on paper where our great grandchildren and generations beyond them can know what we know long after we are gone.
One of my friends from the Italian trip came to visit last week. He still is unsure how the policemen came into possession of my pen. Coincidently, he was reading Gilgamesh, the oldest literary heritage of Western Civilization and the inspiration for some of the stories of the Bible.
More than five thousand years ago, an author whose identity is lost to history wrote down this epic tale. Yet two hundred and fifty generations that followed him have been able to read the thoughts that he recorded. In some remote way, my pen makes me feel connected to this ancient scribe.
Dr. Jim McClellan is a Professor of History and Dean of Liberal Arts at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.
Dads Deserve Some Love, Too!
Having been inspired in 1909 by Anna Jarvis' efforts the previous year to establish Mother's Day; Sonora Smart Dodd suggested to the leaders of her town (Spokane, WA) a celebration dedicated to fathers. She suggested June 5th as that was her father William Jackson Smart's birthday, a Civil War veteran who had raised six children and had recently passed away. Needing a little more time to organize the event, the city leaders deferred to the third Sunday in June and a local holiday was born.
In 1914 Woodrow Wilson made Mother's Day an official National Holiday, but the dads of this country would end up waiting 68 years (1972) for their special day to become a National Holiday. In the interim, numerous neckties, electronics and let's not forget tools, were presented to dear old dad and many more have been presented since.
I would guess there are a lot of fathers who would have preferred this special day (tucked neatly into June as the final round of the US Open Golf Championship is played) had remained more of an underground celebration. Save the really big fanfare for other groups of people and causes. Sure, the gifts are nice and hearing from a child (whether it's a collect call or a special visit) is meaningful, but do we really need a National Holiday?
My two grown children will call me (before or after the aforementioned golf tournament) and we will catch up on the week's events and I will have a huge smile on my face. Not because they remembered dear old dad on Father's Day but because they have grown into such fine young adults.
Thirty or so Father's Days ago I wrote a long letter of appreciation to my father thanking him for all he had done for me and how much I loved and was inspired by him. In 1996 he passed away and I came upon this letter in his dresser bureau. My mother saw me picking it up and remarked, "That letter meant more to your Dad than anything". I had always enjoyed writing but that experience forever changed my view of the power of the written word. How a man as great as my dad could consider a simple letter from his son (who probably couldn't afford a store-bought gift) a great treasure was a mystery. A mystery solved several years ago when my son wrote a similar letter to me.
Happy Father's Day to all.
Fahrney's Director of Operations
A Salute to our Troops on Memorial Day
As Memorial Day approaches, we'd like to reflect on the true purpose of this holiday, not as the unofficial start of summer and a welcome three-day weekend, but as the one day the nation honors the American men and women who have given their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated in the years following the Civil War.
The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country's first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, numerous towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to the countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
The name gradually changed from Decoration Day to 'Memorial Day', which was first used in 1882. It did not become common until after World War II – it was declared the official name by Federal law in 1967 – and was extended to honor those who died in all American wars. The traditional May 30 date was changed to the last Monday in May when Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which took effect in 1971.
In the early 20th century, Memorial Day became an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of deceased family members and friends, whether they had served in the military or not. The long weekend has become increasingly devoted to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, vacations, and national events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
The true meaning of Memorial Day has had resurgence in recent years. The National Moment of Remembrance asks that at 3 p.m. local time, all Americans voluntarily observe a moment of silence for our fallen soldiers. Another tradition is to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff from dawn until noon. On the Thursday before Memorial Day, 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 2004, the first National Memorial Day parade in over 60 years was held in Washington, DC. This year the parade will feature a tribute to the generation that served and sacrificed in the Iraqi War.
Before you start your weekend, take a few moments this Memorial Day to reflect on the meaning of the day, to be mindful of the sacrifices of others, and to salute the brave servicemen and women who have allowed us to enjoy the freedoms of our great country.
Tips for Graduates: Don't Forget the Job Interview Thank Yous!
The Graduation Season is in full swing – ceremonies, parties, gift giving and good wishes from friends and family are all part of honoring the graduate on a job well done. The graduate should feel proud of his or her accomplishment and be grateful for the recognition they receive. So grateful, in fact, that they will be immediately compelled to take out a pen and write thoughtful Thank You notes to show their appreciation! Well, maybe.
If your graduate is like many, it may take some gentle coercion to get them to sit down long enough to complete this very important task! But once the notes are written, it might be a good time to mention to college graduates the importance of also writing a thank you letter to any prospective job interviewers. Yes, the reality of a job search after college has finally arrived.
While Fahrney's often touts the merits of handwritten communication, it is also appropriate to type the follow-up thank you to a job interview and add a written signature. If one's handwriting is clear and legible, by all means, write the entire letter! Amazingly, only about 10% of interviewees actually send a follow-up letter, so yours will stand out from the crowd either way. One executive told us that when she sees a hand-addressed envelope, it goes right to the top of her resumé pile. Here's a few more tips to keep in mind when composing your letter:
• Respond quickly
– Remember to get business cards from all those who interviewed you and plan to send a thank you letter to each one within 24 hours of the interview. This will also convey your enthusiasm for the company and show that you will be an organized and conscientious employee.
• Give thanks
– Thank the interviewer for the time spent with you and emphasize why you are interested in the position.
• Brag a little
– Briefly cover the reasons why you would be an asset to the firm. Address any issues or questions that may have come up during the interview that you feel needed a better answer or more clarification.
• Stand out
– If you are one of many candidates, remind the interviewer of a shared interest or highlight of your meeting that will make them remember you. Recap your qualifications and specify how you can meet or exceed the expectations outlined in the job description.
• Check your spelling
– Nothing stands out more than a misspelled word or bad grammar. Show your professionalism with a letter that has been carefully proofread and is free of errors and typos.
Good luck! It always makes a good impression when you send a letter on fine stationery like
. If you'd like more guidelines for writing a proper thank you or business letter, Fahrney's offers great
to help you find just the right words.
A Tribute To the Graduates of 2012
It's that time of year . . . when students toss their caps, as well as their books and old papers. It's graduation day!
We are particularly attuned to the achievements of graduates this year as a number of (aging!) Fahrney's staff members are celebrating the college graduations of their children. This event is a milestone in every student's life, as well as a source of pride for every parent, guardian, relative or friend of the graduate. A diploma signifies the accomplishment, hard work and perseverance of each student who deserves recognition for a job well done.
If you are planning a graduation celebration or simple tribute for a graduate in your life, here are some creative ways to make the day extra special.
Create a Life Montage - Highlight the graduate's life with a collage or display of photographs in a frame or scrapbook. You could also decorate a table showcasing awards, photos and accomplishments. A professionally produced photo book makes a wonderful keepsake for the honoree.
Go Digital - Make a home video or PowerPoint slideshow that recaptures the memorable events in the graduate's life. Add a music soundtrack and keep it playing during the graduation party.
Guest Comments - A guest book is a great way to collect mementos of the celebration. Leave a guest book or decorative card box in a prominent place where guests can write a personal message or note to share their congratulations and good wishes.
Give a Toast – Invite guests to honor the graduate with heart-warming or funny toasts or a short speech. This public tribute is sure to make a graduate feel extra special (or embarrassed!) and will bring smiles to the entire crowd.
Of course, a pen makes a great graduation gift! A personalized writing instrument is an ideal gift for any graduate, a useful tool that will serve them well as they embark on a new career and future. And, they will remember you every time they write.
to see some of our recommended items:
American Ingenuity at its Finest!
This week's newsletter features two of America's most venerable brands – the Parker Pen Company and Waterman S.A. It's pretty remarkable that both companies were founded over 120 years ago by amateur inventors trying to improve the performance of fountain pens – the basic but essential tool for daily writing at the time. Today, Parker and Waterman are multi-national companies recognized worldwide as makers of high-quality writing instruments, ink and refills with brand names that are familiar around the globe – a result of the perseverance and American entrepreneurial spirit of Lewis E. Waterman and George S. Parker.
In 1883, Lewis Edson Waterman was a successful New York City insurance broker who brought a new fountain pen to an important contract signing. When the pen leaked ink on the contract, he rushed back to his office for another copy – by the time he returned, the client had signed a deal with a rival broker! This experience made him determined to devise a fountain pen that he could rely on at all times.
He discovered that the problem was in the ink flow through the pen's feed. After much experimentation, he developed the 'Three Fissure Feed' based on the principle of capillary action. This invention was awarded a U.S. patent in 1884, and became the system adopted by all fountain pen manufacturers. His company was established and prospered even after his death in 1901. Waterman remained successful with innovations throughout the early 1900's, like the 'Sleeve Self-filler', the 'Lever-and-Sac' filler and the very first ink cartridges in 1926. These were all inventions that maintained Waterman's leadership in the world of fine writing.
George Safford Parker followed a similar path to Waterman's – a former sales agent in Wisconsin for the John Holland Gold Pen Co., he repaired fountain pens in his spare time. Frustrated with the unreliability and messiness of the day's writing instruments, he vowed to "build a better pen" and founded his company in 1888. By 1894, he indeed built a better pen with the introduction of the 'Lucky Curve' – a pen that drastically reduced the inevitable leakage problems with a feed that allowed ink to flow back into the reservoir. Parker's company was now on its way to mainstream success.
The business grew and expanded with constant pen innovations and improvements leading to the most famous Parker of all time – the 1921 Duofold – a highly dependable, fashionable fountain pen at the astounding price of $7.00! More classic pens followed including the high-capacity Vacumatic in 1933, and the Parker 51 in 1941 (with its hooded nib and cigar shape, it became the most popular model in fountain pen history).
Both Waterman and Parker dove into the modern age with the adoption of new writing modes (the ballpoint pen, rollerball, and felt-tip pen among others) and continue to innovate and dazzle us with their fine products. Amazing that it all started over a century ago with a leaky fountain pen . . .
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